CD: The Adventures of Chatran - Soundtrack


The Adventures of Chatran - Soundtrack

Japanese CD Title

[Koneko Monogatari]

Music By:
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Ryuichi Sakamoto

Based On:

The Adventures of Chatran



By: Anthony Romero

Thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review.

Back in the day, The Adventures of Chatran was a huge box office hit in Japan, not to even talk about its success in the US as The Adventures of Milo & Otis. Besides putting up impressive numbers at theater houses in its home country, the production also enjoyed a nice media blitz that included merchandise from books, to pre-paid phone cards, to even a Nintendo game. Among that media blitz was a healthy push for the original soundtrack, which saw release on vinyl, tape and CD. In terms of the quality of that soundtrack... it's okay. The biggest weakness of the score is an awkward melding of musical styles and an over abundance of weaker tracks.

Composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, the score is a mixture of orchestration with a lot of synthesizer work. This causes the soundtrack to drift from sounding like a high budget theatrical production all the way to a small scale TV production... and sometimes within the same track. The best example of this is the "Opening Theme", which is actually one of the better cues from the soundtrack. The theme features great violin and piano work, but is intercut with some very flat synthesization. The end result is a theme that just feels at odds with itself. Another nice cue from the disc, and one that leans into its orchestration, is "Summer Clouds". While it sounds more traditional, the track does convey a level of grandeur that makes it feel like classic music. "Chatran in the Forest" is yet another orchestra track, and a bit more whimsical in nature, which feels right at home given the subject matter of the movie.

For weak points on the CD, these tend to gravitate around the more synth heavy tracks. "Fishing" is a great example of this, sounding almost like early Millennium video game music due to the repetitive, electronic nature of the cue. "Morning Mist" is a bit better, but also really sounds like video game music. As a slight oddity, one of the synth tracks from this disc actually comes from an earlier album by Sakamoto. The track in question is "Self Portrait", which was first released on the 1984 album Music Picture Book (音楽図鑑 - Ongaku Zukan). While the track isn't stellar, it does have a pleasant and upbeat melody to it and is far superior to the original synth tracks created for the 1986 movie.

In terms of songs, the CD features a single one by singer Keiko Yoshinaga. Titled "A Kitten's Story", the Japanese name of the movie, the track is an okay pop song. It's dated for the period, but has a nice energetic feel to it.

Now in terms of this particular release, it's actually a 1991 reissue of the 1986 CD (35MD-1017). The track selection is exactly the same between the two. There might be a difference in audio quality, but without being able to compare the two I can't comment.

Overall, this is an okay soundtrack. It's not particularly memorable, but even though it does have a lot of weak tracks there aren't any that could be considered awful. As a side note, worth bringing up that the soundtracks for the original version and The Adventures of Milo & Otis are quite different. So those considering this CD because they have a nostalgic attachment to the US cut should probably look elsewhere.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Opening Theme
  2. Morning Mist - Good Morning, Chatran
  3. A Kitten's Story (Instrumental Version)
  4. Self Portrait
  5. Fishing
  6. Summer Clouds
  7. Dandelion Field
  8. Piglets
  9. Chatran in the Forest
  10. Fox
  11. Struggle
  12. Spring Has Come
  13. A Kitten's Story (Vocal Version)
    By: Keiko Yoshinaga