The Cat Returns - Original Soundtrack
International Title
 The Cat Returns
Music By: Yuji Nomi
Record Label: Tokuma Japan Communications
Running Time: 64:08 Discs: 1
Release: July 2002 CD Number: TKCA-72367
Anthony Romero
Yuji Nomi's soundtrack for the 2002 animated feature The Cat Returns is an enjoyable one, although not particularly memorable much like the film itself. The score tends to feel more like a classical body of music, done for orchestra as a stand alone experience, rather than a soundtrack bent to reflecting onscreen action. So the end result will appeal to some, but might turn off others who don't associate their musical taste as falling in the "classical genre".

As far as the score as a whole, it tends to be on the soothing side. Its the type of soundtrack that one can happily fall asleep to, as the music isn't too engaging but is pleasant to listen to. The only real exception to this is the over the top "Me, a Cat?" track, which blares horns and other things to address the onscreen action and seems to counter balance the overall feeling of the rest of the work. The other outliner is the song by Ayano Tsuji, which closes out the film. The song, "Become the Wind", isn't bad, as Tsuji's soft and slightly rustic version of playing is an interesting element. Regardless though, at heart its still a pop song, and feels really at odds with this mostly classical score.

In terms of the rest of the soundtrack, it has a few noteworthy cues. "Procession of the Cat King" is one of these, as it has a slightly exotic flavor akin to its Egyptian-like subject matter. "To the Cat King's Castle" is another great cue, being a little bit more foreboding than the others while a little more rousing as well. "Escape from the Labyrinth" is also a nice soothing piece, but like a lot of the soundtrack does sound predominantly classical in its approach. A strength about this selection, though, is that there really isn't a weak cue, with maybe the exception of "At the Crossroad (Street Organ)" which tends to drag on for too long.

While most of the previous talk was about the score, its worth mentioning the aspects of this disc in particular. The contents are organized mostly by how they appear in the film, with the exception of tracks 26 through 30. The reason for their separation is because how they were conducted. Tracks 1 through 24, with the exception of track 9, were conducted using the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. The ending tracks, however, were conducted using the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Due to methods, these ending tracks feel even more like classical pieces and less like work for soundtrack. Still, it's interesting to compare them to similar themes found on the disc, as these end pieces tend to be a bit more grandeur in their style.

Overall, this isn't a great soundtrack, but should definitely appeal to those who tend to find they like classical music. Nomi may not be the best at composing for soundtracks, but his work does make for a soothing stand alone experience.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Opening
  2. Have You Awoken, Haru?
  3. Meeting Lune
  4. Cat Chat
  5. Procession of the Cat King
  6. The Cat Returns
  7. After School Boredom
  8. Mysterious Voice
  9. At the Crossroad (Street Organ)
  10. Following Muta
  11. Welcome to the Cat Office
  12. The Abduction to the Seraglio
  13. Is this the Land of Cats?
  14. To the Cat King's Castle
  15. Me, a Cat?
  16. Rumba of the Juggler Cat
  17. Polka of the Belly-Dance Cat
  18. Waltz Katzen Blut
  19. I'm Humbert von Gikkinge
  20. I'm Not a Decoy
  21. Escape from the Labyrinth
  22. Lune and Yuki
  23. Escape
  24. I've Returned, Returned Home!
  25. Become the Wind (Acoustic Version)
    By: Ayano Tsuji
  26. Baron
  27. The Cat King
  28. Haru's Boogie
  29. Pastoral
  30. Haru's Memory