Copycat Criminal
International Title
 Copycat Killer
Music By: Michiru Oshima
Record Label: Culture
Running Time: 70:12 Discs: 1
Release: June 2002 CD Number: CPC8-3050
Anthony Romero
I will make it no secret that Michiru Oshima's soundtrack for Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla (2002) is one of my all time favorites. Now I have heard that her approach for the Godzilla series was vastly different compared with her normal scoring technique, as she tried to create rousing military marches and more foreboding themes to fit with the long running franchise. Regardless, and perhaps unfairly, I still went into listening to this CD with the hope that it might capture some of the same grande that her kaiju soundtracks did. Consequently, my initial reaction was one of extreme disappointment. It's a good thing, though, that I didn't attempt to review this disc right after my initial listen, as my reflection would have been overly harsh. In fact, I spent about a week listening to this CD before attempting to review it, which was simply due to a busy schedule. What surprised me about the soundtrack was that it quickly grew on me, to the point where I even found myself reminiscing about a few of the themes while at work.

Now to describe the CD as a whole, it's a fairly unorthodox score for the most part. In fact, a lot of these cues could be classified as using a "techno" approach. The themes that fall into this category tend to work better in short duration, although a few of the longer ones, such as the five minute "Media Influence", still succeed. The odd atmosphere to the disc is very much intentional, though. This is made clear right off the bat with the first theme, "Modulation", by Takahashi Taku. The track starts off with a heavily synthesized beat, as a girl, in English, begins to state plainly that: "people who are intellectually super normal are sometimes abst to become bored and frustrated on the level of the common normal life, life, li--fe; and sometimes apply their... Mohouhan". It's a very bizarre track, conveying an almost insanity type of vibe which is very appropriate considering the subject matter. A couple of the more traditional themes here also stand out wonderfully, in particular the piano dominated "The Chosen One". It's a really beautiful and soothing theme by Oshima, and I know it's going to find its way onto my iPod very soon. The disc's five minute self titled cue, which leads into "The Chosen One", is also another winner.

To be fair, though, there are a number of themes here which I would qualify as "misses", and consequently soured my initial experience with the score. Leading the way in this respect is actually the second theme on this disc by Takahashi Taku, which is the highly repetitive "Dilemma of Peace". The track starts off well enough, structured like a decent Techno composition, but slowly starts to get on one's nerves past the 30 second mark. "Confrontation" suffers this same fate too. It's just far too repetitive. It does pick up around the two minute mark, but there is still a couple minutes prior of unpleasant music to wad through. "Childhood" is another lackluster cue on this disc. For a harmonic heavy theme, the track sounds very clichéd. The theme is later reprised too in the "Gymnasium" track.

Overall, I was really conflicted in handing out a numerical score to this soundtrack. My initial reaction was a flat "2", before that generally changed to a "3". Again, it's a very unorthodox score. A couple of these themes flounder, and hard, which is sure to turn off a number of people. In the end, though, the score does more right than wrong, and with a running time just over 70 minutes it can get away with a few bad tracks. It is more than worth a listen for those interested.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Opening Theme "Modulation" (M1)
    Composer: Takahashi Taku
  2. Family's Love (M2)
  3. Fateful Mischief (M3)
  4. Shigeko and Shouji (M4)
  5. Shapeless Challenge (M5)
  6. Act of Peace (M6)
  7. I'm the Real Thing (M7)
  8. News Show (M8)
  9. Criminal Investigation Meeting (M9)
  10. The First Suspect (M10)
  11. Provoking the Media (M11)
  12. The Public is Manipulated (M12)
  13. Lost Heart (M13)
  14. Insertion Music "Dilemma of Peace" (M14)
    Composer: Takahashi Taku
  15. Childhood (M15)
  16. Mariko (M16)
  17. Women (M17)
  18. Crime Entertainment (M18)
  19. Show Time Begins (M19)
  20. The Arima Household (M20)
  21. Trout (M21)
  22. Income (M22)
  23. Gossip (M23)
  24. To a Dear Friend (M24)
  25. Gymnasium (M25)
  26. Expectation of Peace (M26)
  27. Taken Love (M27)
  28. Jigsaw Puzzle (M28)
  29. Media Influence (M29)
  30. The Pursuer and the Pursued (M30)
  31. Shigeko's Decision (M31)
  32. Confrontation (M32)
  33. Copycat Criminal (M33)
  34. The Chosen One (M34)
  35. Ending Roll: "Modulation" - The Chosen One (M35)
    Composer: Michiru Oshima & Takahashi Taku