Animal Forest: Movie Edition - Original Soundtrack
International Title
 Animal Crossing: The Movie
Music By: Kazumi Totaka
Record Label: VAP
Running Time: 62:47 Discs: 1
Release: December 2006 CD Number: VPCG-84854
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Let me preface this review by saying that I am a fan of the original Nintendo video game series, having gotten my first exposure, like many, with Animal Crossing for the Gamecube. So I was hoping for some recognizable themes from this CD, having not seen the particular film to date. What I got was a complete surprise, starting off as a welcome one before disappointment hit in, as the score is actually catered, for better or worse, toward appealing strictly to fans of the game with an almost reused score.

The disc starts off strong with the vocal track "Let's Go to the Forest" by Taeko Onuki, an artist who has been active since the 1970's. The song is set to the familiar main title back drop to the Animal Crossing series and is easily the most enjoyable track from the CD as Onuki has a very soothing quality to her vocal delivery. The next cue is likely to make many fans eyes widen as it includes a very faithful version of the "Main Theme" from the game. This is followed by faithful versions of "Arrival!", "Town Hall"... and then it more or less dawns on the listener that this isn't so much a unique soundtrack, as it is the musical score straight from the game very loosely retooled with the "Let's Go to the Forest" song slapped onto the start.

Now I'm all for having a lot of music that harks back to the source, but there is a good way to do this and a bad way to do this. On the good side, you have content like Shinji Miyazaki's Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998) that adapts music from the original video game series, but delivers it with robust orchestration that gives the music a familiar sentiment while breathing new life into it. On the bad side, you have Kazumi Totaka's performance here that creates themes that are almost indistinguishable from their video game counterparts. To be fair, the themes aren't exactly the same, like "Silver World" is a spin on an existing theme and stuff like "Ninja!? Yu" is new, but the content is just far too familiar. It's a shame that more work wasn't put into this, to the point where some of this music that was adapted for Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii sounds infinitely better than the same content here, such as "The Roost" from Smash Bros versus "Coffee Shop: The Roost" here. The Brawl soundtrack didn't even use an orchestra to boot, just more sophisticated synthesized score than Totaka used here.

Overall, this score isn't bad. There are a few decent tracks, like "Main Theme", "Coffee Shop: The Roost" and the more robust sounding "Snow Festival", and also a few bad ones like "Questions". The bonus track "Blue Riceball" is also an an acquired taste, featuring the vocal cries of K.K. from the game similar to his songs there. To, once more, be fair: Totaka is the original composer of the game, so the involved companies like Nintendo, Toho and Shogakukan at least seemed to be on the right track... just rather unfortunate that Totaka never really left his comfort zone and try to make the score sound a little more robust, or even just a little bit more different, than the game scores that he had already done up to this point.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Let's Go to the Forest
    By: Taeko Onuki
  2. Main Theme
  3. Arrival!
  4. Town Hall
  5. Questions
  6. Tanuki Shop
  7. Part-time Job
  8. Bouquet Check
  9. More Part-time Work
  10. Able Sisters
  11. My Home
  12. Ninja!? Yu
  13. Caught It
  14. Let's Work Part-time
  15. Righteous Resetti
  16. Welcome to the Museum
  17. Coffee Shop: The Roost
  18. Sally's Cherry Pie
  19. Big Dreams
  20. Summer Vacation
  21. "K.K. Gospel"
  22. Pirate!? Yu
  23. Suppressed Romance
  24. Escape!
  25. "K.K. Bossa"
  26. Summer Festival
  27. Tom Nook's Street Shop
  28. Mother
  29. Sudden Farewell
  30. Afro!? Yu
  31. Champ the Monkey!
  32. "K.K. Bossa" Orchestra ver.
  33. "K.K. Gospel" Piano ver.
  34. Lonely at Night
  35. Letter from Margie
  36. Memories of "K.K. Bossa"
  37. Silver World
  38. Snow Festival
  39. Crash
  40. A Serious Matter!
  41. Encounter with Gulliver
  42. Welcome Back Sally!
  43. Only Way Up is to Climb!
  44. Falling Down...
  45. Nice Catch!
  46. The Starlit Forest

    Bonus Tracks
  47. New Year Party
  48. 02AM
  49. 01PM
  50. 08PM
  51. Blue Riceball