F2 Grand Prix - Original Soundtrack
International Title
 Formula 2 Grand Prix
Music By: Kentaro Haneda
Record Label: Universal EMI
Running Time: 41:56 Discs: 1
Release: September 2013 CD Number: TOCT-11611
Anthony Romero
Released in 2013, this disc is a budget reissue, priced at around ¥999 (~$10), of the long out of print original soundtrack for Formula 2 Grand Prix by Virus (1980) composer Kentaro Haneda. In terms of contents, the score itself is a mixed bag, but the biggest detractor here are the added sound effects and, to a lesser extent, dialogue mixed in with the themes.

I don't have a large enough sample size to make a definitive statement if its a by-product of the time, but like fellow 1980's soundtrack Checkers in Tan Tan Tanuki - Checkers Soundtrack (D32A-0089) this disc has a heavy helping of added sound effects and sometimes dialogue. The sound effects are particularly annoying, as its often the revving of car engines or other car related noises that aren't really pleasant to hear and kind of drown out the music... when there is music at all, as sometimes you will hit a minute of silence with just the car effects going. While the worst offender is "White Smoke Spin", which has 90 seconds of car effects with no music, there are tons of tracks with car sounds added in like "Opening Race" and "Intense Dead Heat". Dialogue is kept to a minimal on the score, with only two tracks having it, "Unnecessary Arrival" and "A Man Comes of Age", although the former does have a minute of straight dialogue with no music.

As far as the music, its not Haneda's finest hour. Call it human nature, but I bought this soundtrack with hopes that it might sound like Bye-Bye Jupiter (1984), a fellow 1984 career peak; in turn, kind of ignoring that it had more chances of sounding like other work by the composer such as the lackluster score for G.I. Samurai (1979). As it turns out, its definitely more like the latter, featuring forgettable and very dated music. "The Champion Machine Returns" is a great example of this, including trumpet and other work in a very over the top fashion along with a cheesy guitar solo, feeling like it would be better suited for a TV show than a bigger budget theatrical endeavor. Still, despite the many short comings, it does have at least one catchy track in the form of "Intense Dead Heat"... just a real shame that car engines are overplayed on this.

The CD has one vocal song among its tracks, which is "Second Hero" by the movie's lead actor Kiichi Nakai, who would much later be cast as the main villain in Onmyoji 2 (2003). I like Nakai as an actor, but as a musician he doesn't quite click. Not a horrible song, but ultimately forgettable.

Bottom line, even at the budget price this one is hard to recommend and would advise people to check out the other reissues in this line first, unless someone is a big Haneda fan.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. F2 Grand Prix - Main Theme
  2. Opening Race
  3. Intense Dead Heat
  4. The Death of Usami
  5. Unnecessary Arrival
  6. Loving Hospital Room
  7. Summer Vacation is Over
  8. Shinobu's Wish
  9. Human Death Machine Count
  10. Second Hero
    By: Kiichi Nakai
  11. Machines to Drive
  12. Platanus Night
  13. A Man Comes of Age
  14. Starting Grid
  15. Dead Heat
  16. White Smoke Spin
  17. The Champion Machine Returns
  18. Shinobu's Tears