So I was at my parents' house and had Last Ranker Piano Trio Arrange on the stereo when my mother asked me what it was. I told her it was a Last Ranker arrangement and that she had a few tracks from the OST that I'd given her a couple years back on her iTunes . After which she says, "You know what I'd like to hear next is Kingdom Hearts". This without explicitly knowing that they were by the same composer. Go Mom.
We never had much discussion of these soundtracks when they came out but are there any fans out there? Given Ms. Shimomura's popularity I know there must be.
The sequenced tracks that make up the bulk of Last Ranker OST are too typical JRPG for my own tastes but there are a half-dozen or so tracks on the first disc, particularly the acoustic ones featuring violin, that are VERY nice. Especially "The Flower Blooms on That Shore" which is so serene and oh so pretty. Easily still one of my favorite tracks of 2010. A couple of tracks combining orchestra and chorus with rave-like electronica are interesting as well (though they could have been better developed). And though I complain about the soundtrack being too typical JRPG, "The Town with an Exotic Fragrance" is a quirky and catchy JRPG town theme in all the best ways.
Last Ranker came out the same year as Xenoblade and that game and OST got more attention but if it came down to one OST or the other I would definitely take Last Ranker. I tend to prefer acoustic soundtracks over sequenced ones and moderate-length OSTs over really long ones so no surprise there. I can see how fans of lengthy, traditional JRPG OSTs would go for Xenoblade though.
As for Last Ranker Piano Trio Arrange I haven't listened enough to judge it too strongly... the three-instrument ensemble (piano, violin, cello) and arrangements are nice but don't compare to the best acoustic tracks on the OST in my opinion. Quite a short album as well of course. I consider it a nice companion disc to have but not worth going out of the way for.