Great for Akino Arai fans
If you like Akino Arai, you'll like this. Takeshi Hama joins Akino here and he compliments her well, as long as you're not completely opposed to male vocals. This is strange for me, since I can't think of any male-female singer duos I like, except this one.
The songs unmistakably feel like Akino's past works, but Takeshi seems to have added just the right amount of power, arrangement complexity, and additional instruments (I'm assuming it was him), that makes each of these songs something special and not just rehashes of Akino's previous work or generic Jpop.
1. Shardora: Average. Not much complexity, is very short, vocals are a little rough. Though not bad. Might make a good ending song for a thought-provoking tv series.
2. Toward the Moon: Great! Slow and give a great feeling of mystery with just a bit of sorrow.
3. Shanti: Great! The powerful song of the bunch that gives a feeling of ascending or progression in an alien or dystopian setting.
4. Ophelia: Great! Traditional slow/bare Akino song, but with more instruments and a background singer. All I can think of while listing to this is Akino's unique and amazing voice.
5. Lastina: Greatest! When I got to this one in the preview list, I just had to buy it to hear the rest, and I'm not disappointed. Cycles between slow and fast/powerful. It feels like it was made to go along with some sort of great struggle and subsequent triumph.
6. Dawn: Not good. We can't win them all. This one is just generic-sounding. Though one benefit is that Shardora (track 1) sounds much better after listening to Dawn.