International Title
Music By: Hiroyuki Namba
Record Label: Toshiba EMI
Running Time: 44:09 Discs: 1
Release: October 1989 CD Number: LD32-5115
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Released by Toshiba EMI under their Futureland label, this is the full soundtrack for the 1989 direct to video Anime Baoh. Considering the animated feature is only around 50 minutes long, the 44 minute runtime of the CD is a little surprising although its padded with a few extra songs. Sadly, aside from some okay songs like "Soldier of Eternity", this disc is mostly a misfire, being both very dated and overtly low in terms of production values.

Now I will attest that I'm not a fan of the OVA (Original Video Anime) concept, having yet to see a decent film from the format. Still, just because a movie is direct to video doesn't mean the soundtrack can't be a winner, and you have to look no further than the amazing, fully orchestrated soundtrack to Super Atragon (1995) for an example of that. Baoh's score is obviously a much, much cheaper effort, though. The bulk of the soundtrack for the 1989 film was created by Hiroyuki Namba, whose synth heavy, progressive rock style is sure to save a lot in terms of the budget. Namba himself is somewhat of an OVA legend, having most of his work in the format and very little outside, save some TV and a Sega Saturn game. This soundtrack itself comes off as a video game too, sometimes being relentlessly monotonous, such as "Baoh Awakening", to being very simplistic, such as "Attack" or "Mortal Combat" which sounds like they would fit as boss music in a Super Nintendo game. The few tracks that do somewhat click tend to be for their more cheesy qualities, like "Assassin" which is incredibly dated but with a small slice of charm.

The score aside, the disc does contain four vocal tracks as well. Two are done by voice actress Noriko Hidaka, who plays Sumire in the animated film but is probably best known for her role as the older sister Satsuki Kusakabe from My Neighbor Totoro (1988). Both songs, "Tomorrow Feels Bright" and "The Heart is Talking", are pleasant. Hidaka's performance might not be memorable, but she has a soothing enough voice to carry the song, which is a godsend as you can tell in songs like "Tomorrow Feels Bright" that the background music is awful and the lyrics are really surviving in spite of them rather than being supported by them. The other decent song is "Soldier of Eternity" by Yoshito Machida, who can really belt out some vocals. The song is over the top but its not bad and this time supported by some okay guitar work. Finally there is the opening song from the CD, which is actually the worst off the disc too: "The Muteki". This song is credited to an artist called Steve Nicks who I actually can't find anything about, as they have the unfortunate luck of having a name similar to the much more famous Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks. What I can say is that the song is a train wreck combination of English and Japanese, with the Japanese being tolerable and the English being awful for anyone who can understand the language.

Overall, this soundtrack is hard to recommend. Someone needs to really love the film or character, who seems to have a modest following with recent toy releases and even netting an appearance in the 2013 game JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle for the Playstation 3, to find some merit to the compositions here.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. The Muteki
    By: Steve Nicks
  2. Tomorrow Feels Bright
    By: Noriko Hidaka
  3. Escape
  4. Baoh Awakening
  5. Assassin
  6. Attack
  7. Armed Phenomenon I
  8. Parasite
  9. Slaughter Group
  10. Armed Phenomenon II
  11. Dordo
  12. Rescue
  13. Armed Phenomenon III
  14. Walken
  15. Mortal Combat
  16. Ikuroo
  17. Heroic Warrior
  18. Soldier of Eternity
    By: Yoshito Machida
  19. The Heart is Talking
    By: Noriko Hidaka