Anime, Reviews

Sword Art Online Music Collection: Limited Edition (Review)

February 18, 2016 | | Comment? Share thison Facebook Sword Art Online Music Collection: Limited Edition (Review)on Twitter

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It’s not often that soundtrack fans get something like the Sword Art Online Music Collection. The fact alone that it exists is something I am very thankful for. With the popularity of online streaming nowadays with sites like Crunchyroll and Netflix – we now have anime content available to us in record numbers. What I’m trying to say is that with this availability our need to purchase physical releases of the series themselves is decreasing.

However when it comes to getting our hands on the music for Sword Art Online in the past you had to buy it bundled with expensive import or domestic Blu-Ray sets. What you get in the Sword Art Online Music Collection is all of that exclusive musical content in one solid package. Read on to find out what I thought of this release, and my thoughts on the Blu-ray bonus disc included in the limited edition.

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Yuki Kajiura composed an abundance of music for Sword Art Online and this collection presents 115 tracks of that music, several which have never been released before. She is one of the most prolific composers working in the anime industry today. The music in the collection is spread across 4 CDs based on the story arcs in the series Aincrad, Fairy Dance & Extra Edition, Phantom Bullet and Calibur & Mother’s Rosario. The video game music database entry for the album has all the information on the track listings for each CD here and some images of the actual discs and covers. ANIPLEX handled the release and housed the discs in the multi-imaged digi-pak above featuring an image for each story arc. The discs themselves are simply labelled with text and no artwork, which is fine by me because I’m making the assumption that this is what has made the collection more affordable.

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The Blu-ray included with the limited edition features a total of 9 songs performed by Yuki Kajiura during the “Sing All Overtures” Concert that was held in Japan in 2014. For me this was the highlight of this release, and what I pre-ordered. So was it worth it?

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Absolutely. Although the release is only 26 minutes in length, it provides fans of the series music with a wonderful performance of some of the key themes in the series. Many of the themes feature live chorus vocals which are stunning. Absent from this performance is many of the vocal songs from the series not composed by Yuki Kajiura – which is not a problem here. Every performance is solid and you can see that she is having a great time as she’s playing her Roland keyboard.

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5 of the 9 songs are pure performances of the original songs as heard on the album. The other four are labelled as live versions because they deviate slightly from the recorded compositions and they are just a joy to watch. I watched the Blu-ray on my Playstation 3 and used my digital camera to take a few images of the concert on the TV. The image quality is great, and the audio although only presented in 2 channel stereo is a quality presentation. The Blu-ray is Region Free, has no menus and immediately plays the 26 minute program and stops once completed, keeping it simple.  For the additional 500yen it costs to get the Limited Edition, I’d argue it would be worth the price of 4500yen for the entire set.  My only complaint with the set is that I wish it had been released sooner!

If you’re a Sword Art Online fan this is a must own release, listening to the music on this set will bring back all the memories of the series highs and lows. If you’ve never seen Sword Art Online, there is still a lot to take away from this collection. Yuki Kajiura uses a variety of instrumentation in her compositions, including rock guitar, wonderful vocals, flute, and expertly played strings. Watching her perform this music on the Blu-ray really enhanced my appreciation for her musical style.

The Sword Art Online Music Collection is still available in its regular and limited editions from a variety of Japanese retailers. I ordered mine from CD Japan, and if you’re concerned about ordering from overseas I noticed that The Right Stuff Anime is stocking it, and has it on sale now for just $40!

Did you order this collection? Are you a Yuki Kajiura fan or the music of Sword Art Online?

 

 

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