From Xenoglossia to Repeating Themes in Soundtracks

A lot of people didn’t think iDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA was any good. Well, it wasn’t; but looking closer you can see that it’s not consistently bad or mediocre, but a mixed bag.

I actually finished (if one can call watching just the first episode and 18-26 “finished”) watching the show a few weeks after it finished airing. A recent fansub of the last episode came out finally, so I’m sure for some of you this show is still a little fresh in the mind.

The mixed bag is most impressive in the high quality of production value. In fact it’s pretty good throughout the episodes I’ve seen. The choreography is average for mecha but pretty enjoyable when it’s just a bunch of dressed loli flinging axes and other instances of non-mecha stuff. There’s a lot of good visuals that goes alongside with good production value, at least.

But what made me want to blog about this mixed bag is the music. There are some parts of the show where it’s plainly invisible while accompanying the show, but there are parts of the show where the music shines. Just by looking the role of the music in the show, it reminds me a lot of Mai-Hime.

Mai-Hime is one of my two most favorite Kajiura soundtracks, but the music for that show was a lot more repetitive than other Kajiura’s works as many of them are rearrangements of the main theme. The focus on a central theme expounded across the series (and on the OSTs themselves) was the way Mai-Hime BGM worked. Xenoglossia, likewise, focused on a handful themes and Tsuneyoshi Saito’s various arrangements were quite good.

Well, I guess for the soundtrack buff, Xenoglossia is going to be a hit and miss because most tracks on the CD are straight out of the show, and the show, well, is mostly silly. There are some pretty great tracks, though, especially if you like piano or a slightly more jazzy style. There are some more classically orchestrated stuff as well, and for me those are a cue when they pop up in the show, to pay extra attention to the music.

Oddly enough I didn’t care much at all about the main theme (which is aptly the first instrumental track on the first soundtrack), although it seems to be penned with the idea that it’s going to pluck your sentimental strings or whatever as a fan of Xenoglossia might feel when they relive the more emotional moments of the show. I thought the various arrangements are much easier to listen to even if they aren’t as… interesting.

But overall, the two soundtracks to Xenoglossia are pretty solid, as far as anime soundtracks go. Tsuneyoshi Saito also worked on some notable shows like Fafner, Nazca and Denno Coil, so that should give you an idea what sort of stuff he writes. I think there is some FF6 music with his name on it, too. Xenoglossia is probably the odd one out from Saito’s collection?

4 Responses to “From Xenoglossia to Repeating Themes in Soundtracks”

  • j.valdez

    Aside from the ending theme song I didn’t really notice anything extraordinary about the music.

    > A lot of people didn’t think iDOLM@STER: XENOGLOSSIA was any good. Well, it wasn’t…

    That’s a bit harsh.

  • omo

    It is harsh. There are good aspects to xenoglossia, obviously. So I probably overstated that it wasn’t any good…just not good for regular consumption.

  • dm

    Mai Hime has been one of my favorite Kajiura soundtracks, too (well, her Boogiepop and others is very nice in a completely different way). The El Cazador de la Bruja soundtrack may well replace it — that soundtrack has a lot of standard Kajiura fillips, but also has a good number of Spanish-influenced guitar pieces, which is an instrument that she has made excellent use of in the past.

    El Cazador is no Mai Hime, but its music is quite nice.

  • TheBigN

    I wouldn’t quite go as far as DM did (El Cazador is good, but not great, IMO), but I agree that El Cazador is a variation on the same trend. Does it make sense to say there’s a Kajiura repeating theme when looking at the OSTs she’s done? Either way, since I like her stuff, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

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