International Title
Music By: Joe Hisaishi
Record Label: Tokuma Japan
Running Time: 42:51 Discs: 1
Release: January 1996 CD Number: TKCA-70799
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

This disc is a re-issue of the 1986 CD (32ATC-111), also by Tokuma Japan and released under their Animage Records label. This particular score is an early one by the famous Joe Hisaishi, and arguably one of the highlights of his career during the 1980's. While the soundtrack does have a few uneven moments, this score is none the less a very enjoyable body of work from Hisaishi that is worth seeking out in some form from its many CD releases.

The score to Arion is an odd mix of sweeping classical music with more contemporary, and dated, methods sometimes woven in. On the sweeping side, there are the violin heavy themes for "Arion: Main Theme" and "To Olympus", both incredible tracks that are a joy to listen to each and every time. When he isn't doing his classical work on this score, Hisaishi tends to think outside of the box, such as the rousing, horn-led theme "Poseidon", or the synth fused theme "Battle", which sounds more at home in an arcade game of the time than a theatrical score but make no mistake is an enjoyable track regardless.

Not all of the abnormal score methods are successes, although the disc has no outright bad themes but a few of them with moments that are weaker than others. A perfect example is the peciular "Athena and Apollon ~ Seneca", which starts off with a sitar-like sound that feels like it would have been better suited to a film focused on India rather than on Greek myths before diving into a mess of a synthesized solo that sadly never really comes together. Another track, "First Battle", is an interesting mix of drumsand synth work that is at least different enough to stand out, even at times riveting... although has a slightly odd trumpet-like synth blare sequence.

As for the movie's song, it's by artist Kyoko Goto called "Pegasus Girl" and is decent, although unmemorable. It is distinctly 1980's, for better or worse if one enjoys Japanese pop from this decade.

Overall, the score might not be one of the composer's very best soundtracks, but is undeniably a very enjoyable ride and one of the many gems found in Hisaishi's career as a composer and is worth owning. In terms of getting this release versus the 1986 CD (32ATC-111), both are just about identical. This 1990's release has a red banner on the next to the booklet that says "Animage Library", but is otherwise hard to tell apart from the original release. In terms of the contents itself, I attempted a blind listen test and couldn't distinguish the two. So bottom line, whichever can be had at a better price is the best option, unless the original holds higher value for you as a collectable.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Hades, Underworld Ruler ~ Main Theme
  2. Athena and Apollon ~ Seneca
  3. Arion: Main Theme
  4. Battle
  5. Resphoina ~ Memories
    By: Miki Takahashi
  6. Prometheus ~ Sea Cave
  7. Poseidon
  8. First Battle
  9. Destiny and Hades ~ Poseidon's Death
  10. To Olympus
  11. Typhon
  12. Gaia, Mother of the Gods ~ Apollon
  13. Resphoina and Arion
  14. Pegasus Girl
    By: Kyoko Goto