Always: Sunset on Third Street Sequel
International Title
 Always: Sunset on Third Street 2
Music By: Naoki Sato
Record Label: VAP
Running Time: 53:35 Discs: 1
Release: October 2007 CD Number: VPCD-81580
Anthony Romero
I'm not readily familiar with composer Naoki Sato's work, but this album has definitely placed him as someone whose scores I will be looking out for in the future. To the point, his soundtrack for Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 is a fairly diverse body of work all on its own. From soothing and beautiful themes to more light hearted and whimsical, this disc has it all while also making for a fairly stellar stand alone experience.

The CD starts off on a very strong note with the always fantastic Godzilla Theme by maestro Akira Ifukube. This isn't stock music, though, from a previous soundtrack. Instead, Sato has re-conducted the famous theme for the picture, while adding his own little twist. The end result, while admittedly not as good as Ifukube's own efforts in the 1990's, is still faithful to the source while its deviations make it a fairly memorable rendering of the theme. Following this is the very soothing "Opening Title", which is one of the more noteworthy cues off the disc. This leads into some more comical themes, in particular the "Lawyer Norifumi Suzuki" track which, like the scene it is attached to, is over the top and fairly enjoyable for being so unabashedly so. " Ryunosuke Chagawa's Shock" also maintains a similar type of style, although also has a slight retro flavor to it that adds to the charm. The very long titled "The People of Third Street's Excitement Over the Final Selection" is yet another whimsical track, although this one maintains an almost carnival type of vibe to it. These tracks are flanked, though, by more subtle themes like the "The Writing is Finished" and "Akutagawa Prize Decision!?", each of which is also pleasant to listen to. One of the standout cues, though, is a track called "Ryunosuke Chagawa's Decision", which is stunning composition due to its simplistic yet very catchy nature, and is one of my favorites off this release. Finally, it's also worth mentioning the "Rabies" track on this CD, if for nothing more than to highlight Sato's diverse talent as this theme feels right at home in a horror movie and further adds to the varied score.

Sadly, though, this disc is not perfect. Despite all the praise I might lavish on it, there is at least one theme that fails to rise to the occasion and that is the "Drum Battle". This theme, which plays while Mutsuko Hoshino and her friends are at the theater, could almost be described more as a sound effect as it's simply a minute long drum solo that, quite honestly, outstays its welcome ten seconds in. Also, it should be mentioned that this release is missing some music from the movie. For example, Norifumi Suzuki's "rage" theme that plays when he loses his temper is not included on this CD, as is the ending song that plays during the credits.

Bottom line, despite some very minor flaws, this is a pretty fantastic soundtrack all around. I'm sure some will be less amused by some of the themes here, as it's going to be hard to find someone whose tastes will range as diversely as Sato's score is, but I was pleasantly surprised by nearly the entire soundtrack from beginning to end.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Godzilla's Theme
    By: Akira Ifukube
  2. Always: Sunset on Third Street Sequel · Opening Title
  3. Dining Table of the Suzuki Family
  4. Lawyer Norifumi Suzuki
  5. The Children of Third Street
  6. Summer on Third Street
  7. Firefly
  8. Ryunosuke Chagawa's Shock
  9. Yasunari Kawabuchi's Promise
  10. Ryunosuke Chagawa's Decision
  11. To Ginza
  12. Drum Battle
  13. Tomoe's Recollections
  14. The Writing is Finished
  15. The People of Third Street's Excitement Over the Final Selection
  16. Akutagawa Prize Decision!?
  17. Rabies
  18. Jewel Box
  19. Lie
  20. Dancer
  21. Reunion
  22. Always: Sunset on Third Street Sequel · The Setting Sun