Ah! My Goddess : The Movie OST

Yushiro (Former Staff) — September 3rd, 2002
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The soundtrack for the exceptional Ah! My Goddess movie is probably one of the better composed traditional scores set to anime that I've come across. That said, it is very much a traditional soundtrack - using mostly symphony orchestration, from the superb Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. The songs do use a couple of different styles to accommodate the scenes of the movie, including lightly dramatic, graceful action, and even a couple of playful pieces (though far less than in the OVAs or other spin-offs, as the movie takes a more serious tone), along with a number of vocal songs. The songs on the album tend to be rather short, staying around the one to two minute marks, but there are a good number of them included on the single disc to make up for this. As such, I couldn't possibly do the album justice and touch upon every song, but there really is very little diversion from a handful of styles used, which I shall try to faithfully speak to.

The album opens with a song that is a fairly good gauge of what to expect on the album, Luna Aeterna ~ Nemuri wo Samasu Mono. It starts off very quietly with a childish flute set to some more drawn out strings, then slowly builds and quickens the pace, almost as if it were an entirely different song, in a tension rising twenty second crescendo. It then suddenly drops off into silence, only to have the strings reappear to carry you out into space. Many of the songs on the album are like this, combining varying tempos and melodies in a single song that you often wouldn't expect to be together. I often thought, considering the small sizes of the songs, that I thought they were transitioning between different songs as I casually listened to the soundtrack without watching the clock on the song. Often it works out well, but there are songs like Kizua, Motomete where it would have been better to separate the distinctly differing styles. This song starts off with a quietly persuasive solo piano, and thirty seconds into the song breaks into a small symphony's, though very much percussion driven, action type song. (Not as in violent action, but more in terms of competition or rapid movement; i.e. motor sport races, as featured in the movie.) But at the ending, again, it takes you down to the very light piano. It can be an interesting combination at times, but it is used a bit too often and doesn't always transition between them as well as it could.

Other than that small gripe, there are often times when the different styles are used off of each other quite well. Once such moment is in Kitai Shinaide..., a sometimes blithe, sometimes grave piece in which a flute and oboe play off of each other, almost as if in conversation. Another example is Crystallus Malus ~ Kurai Kagayaki, one of the better dramatic songs on the album. A single violin, a harp, and a piano work in unison on the same rapid refrain, giving a compellingly beautiful effect. But again, the song is rather short, standing at only fifty seven seconds, which does accomplish the intended effect, but leaves it, and many songs like it on the album, feeling like a 'cute little song', but nothing truly great that the listener will latch onto and distinctly remember.

As mentioned, the movie does take a rather serious stance, and this is supported quite well thorough a number of songs that appear on the soundtrack. The two songs that, I think at least, express these more threatening tones are actually two character themes - Celestin's and Morgan's. Celestin - Seditionis Auctor is clearly one of the darkest song on the album, perhaps only surpassed by something like Ventus ~ Abareru Megami in terms of bleakness. It's not that the song is truly evil or malevolent, as that would far too out of place for the movie. It is just menacing, at least as menacing as anything this soft can be. The other character song, Morgan ~ Amor Tristis, isn't nearly as sinister, yet manages to be far more disheartening. This song I liked a lot. It's easily the most moving piece on the album, and immediately evocative of the tribulations Morgan has experienced. Rather, a very specific event in her life, but I don't want to give out an spoilers. Let me just say that it has to do with love, and you should understand once you've watched the film. It is heart-rending, but not terribly so - enough to present the feelings love gives a person when it is lost. It's an excellent compliment to Morgan as a character, and though perhaps I latched onto this song so readily because I liked her character a great deal, but it is probably my favorite song from the soundtrack. If nothing else, these two songs saved the album for me. (Go listen to those samples. Now.)

While on the subject of characters from the movie and to move onto the vocal songs, Belldandy's Japanese voice actor, Kikuko Inoue, makes a couple of appearances. The first is in Dea Cantat ~ Megami ha Utau, which is composed entirely of 'la's by Inoue, without any instrumentation. You'll recognize it straight off - it is sung towards the opening of the film as she sings to the tree. Absolutely gorgeous song. Inochino Sasayaki is a similar tune, also sung using 'la's, but adds a light piano and uses the voice actor for the young Belldandy in addition to Inoue in an interesting duet.

While most of the music was composed by Shirou Hamaguchi, Nobuo Uematsu (of Final Fantasy fame) stepped in for two songs as well, including the ending theme, Try to Wish ~ Kimi ni Hitsuyou na Mono. The song is quite lovely, using pop-like intonations, but in the end, the music really falls into a supporting role to the incredibly beautiful vocals by Saori Nishihata. (There was a single released of the song for anyone interested, which includes a couple of different versions of the song and another of her songs.) The second song composed by Uematsu is Koi no Lesson 3, or Lesson of Love 3, the karaoke song Sora sings at the Motor Sports Club party at the beginning of the film. It's kind of a light pop song, heavy on corny synth and tinny noises throughout. It's actually quite pretty as recorded for the soundtrack, as opposed to the movie, as Sora was... well, slightly inebriated when she was up on the stage. Though, of course, every time I hear the song, I immediately think of her... antics (^^) at the party. It's probably the most comedic song on the soundtrack, and it does very well at being so.

Finally, the album closes with Catinlena Angeli Tenshi no Uta, the song that is sung by the entire host of heaven (or the Warsaw choir, if you prefer) towards the end of the movie. It has a hymn-like tone to it, set toe strings and an occasional flute. Lovely song, but I find myself a bit disenchanted with it. It served its purpose in the film, and that's all I shall ever require from it.

The Ah! My Goddess Movie soundtrack is a pretty good album on it's own, and is excellent as background music for the movie. But it's just too softly toned overall for me personally, and deviates so little from a few select types of songs, so much so that the soundtrack doesn't seem fresh, but rather stale, each time I come back to it. Most everything is very light and feathery, sometimes even when it tries to be dark, which is in keeping with certain themes and styles in the series, but considering the more serious tone of the movie compared to the rest of the series, doesn't always fit. I just don't see myself listening to it on a regular basis, outside of a select few songs (Morgan's song and Try to Wish readily come to mind) that I truly enjoyed.