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Study Album Of The Week: Yoko Shimomura – “Last Ranker”

Film and game soundtracks are among some of my favorite types of study music. While much of the “traditional” classical music I’ve come across features the instruments I want to hear while studying – violins, pianos, brass instruments – the great majority has rhythmic structures that don’t really appear to me. The soundtracks to many films and games, however, have the fast paced contemporary structure that I like. Films like The Rock, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the Harry Potter series, along with games like Kingdom Hearts and Bioshock, have provided me with a great amount of study music in the past.

Today, I’d like to share what I consider to be the best game soundtrack I’ve ever heard. Yoko Shimomura’s accompaniment to The Last Ranker is epic, ethereal, and breathtaking. It shares a lot of similarities with past works of Shimomura such as the Kingdom Hearts soundtracks, but introduces many elements of its own. In particular, I really enjoyed the many choir additions in a lot of the tracks.

The music of The Last Ranker is more often of the “epic” variety than what is featured in the Kingdom Hearts games, and for that reason I prefer it to those soundtracks. However, there are many softer songs that provide the album with excellent pacing. These softer tracks often feature some nice additions such as icy-sounding bells and even some Arabian influences.

The Last Ranker was released on the PSP in Japan, and only in Japan. Therefore, the only place I found that sold this sound track is The page for the soundtrack is here. However, the entirety of the soundtrack is currently up on Youtube, so you can listen to it there.

Choice cut: Main Theme of The Last Ranker