Title
 Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Perfect Collection 3)
International Title
 Godzilla vs. Hedorah
Music By: Riichiro Manabe
Record Label: Toho Music
 
Running Time: 72:10 Discs: 1
Release: April 2005 CD Number: G-011 (Set)
Comments
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Through the "golden age" of Japanese cinema, the Godzilla franchise had only been scored by two composers: Akira Ifukube and Masaru Sato. However, as the 1970's crept up, and a need for reduced budgets went into full swing, new blood was introduced to the series' soundtracks. The first of these was Kunio Miyauchi, who scored All Monsters Attack (1969) and was a logical choice given his past experience with Ultraman (1967). In 1971, another new composer in the form of Riichiro Manabe got to take his swing at the series. With past work such as Sun Above, Death Below (1968) and Vampire Doll (1970), Manabe had a history with Toho but this marked his first foray into the giant monster genre. Unfortunately, Manabe proves to be an awkward fit for the series, while this soundtrack for Godzilla vs. Hedorah would go on to be generally considered the worst entry in the franchise.

Leading up to the 1970's, Manabe was actually more of a traditional composer and not all that unlike his peers. However, with the advent of synthesizers, Manabe suddenly became highly experimental. Nothing was off limits and a variety of odd instruments and methods found their way into his work. While one can admire his tenacity to try something new, sadly this rarely paid off. To be fair, Manabe has created several great themes through his career. However, they tend to be diamonds in the rough, surrounded by lackluster to poor cues. This ratio of good to bad is at its lowest, though, for this soundtrack for Godzilla vs. Hedorah. In fact, only two themes really stand out in a positive way. The first of these is "Seabed Investigation", which is a fantastic cue. Its moody, creepy and great as a stand alone piece. It perfectly builds an uneasy atmosphere while at the same time feeling unearthly. The other is "Godzilla and the Polluted Sea", which is a love it or hate it theme. Its actually a gross update of one of the composer's cues from The Militarists (1970), and conveys a victorious and more carefree tone. This feels completely at odds with the Godzilla character, but at the same time works due to the horrific nature of his opponent, Hedorah, and the more heroic role of the King of the Monsters.

As for the bad, they are many, due in part because of experimentation and also because of repetition. Leading the way is the grotesque "Sulfuric Acid Mist", which features a raspy noise that does a great job of conveying the tortured gasping of the victims on screen. However, this sounds more like a sound effect, and the fact that it was actually part of the score instead only adds to the oddity of Manabe's techniques. "Highway Attack" is also another example as it features a water gargling noise. This fits for the Hedorah character, but feels odd to hear it on the actual score... and seems more like a fluke that it works considering Manabe used a similar "gargling theme" for the vampire in Lake of Dracula (1971).

Still, the greatest sin of this soundtrack is its pitiful second act. Starting past M24, "Preparing the Electrode Board Experiment", the score takes a nose dive. "Our Energy", which conveys the music of the youth out by Mount Fuji, is simply horrible in every sense of the word. It sounds bad in the movie, and sounds worse removed as a stand alone experience. The rest of the themes past this point are more or less variations of the composer's Godzilla theme and one he introduces for Hedorah's final form, heard in cues such as "Hedorah Approaches". The tempo of all of these are slowed down, making the ending plodding, boring and a choir to get through. Much like the movie's climax itself, they long outstay their welcome and the repetition is painfully obvious.

Now, in terms of how this release compares to earlier versions of the score on CD, there is a ton of added content here. First off, there are many outtakes that are appearing for the first time. Some are decent, while others sound like little more than someone playing around with random instruments such as "Hedorah Separates (M12-T1 + T2 + T4 + T5 + T6 + T7 + T8)" which is trying to find a good two second cue for Hedorah falling over. The disc also contains a seemingly endless supply of karaoke versions of "Give Back the Sun!", both outtakes and all of the ones that appeared in the film. As it turns out, the real gem of this CD compared with earlier releases are the final two tracks. The earlier record versions by Keiko Mari, who also sings in the movie, have widely been available on CD before. There was, however, an entirely different set of record songs done by Kazumi Kitayama that are also included here, which were released by Union on an LP single. Overall, Keiko does the song better, but Kitayama's version is still very interesting as she takes a drastically different approach to singing. To elaborate, it's not only the vocals that are different but also the overall feeling, as Kitayama goes for a more bouncy and pop style arrangment of the songs.

As for the sound quality, its mostly on par with what is already available on CD for this score. One of the exceptions, though, is "Godzilla and the Polluted Sea", which sounds poor. Not sure if its a technical error or if whatever master they were using was damaged. The other exceptions are the vocal "Record" tracks, which lack the clarity found on previous CD releases containing them.

Overall, this is a great release of a lackluster score. It has an okay start, but the soundtrack gets lost half way through and finishes with a whimper rather than a bang. I will attest to being a huge fan of the movie itself, and enjoy the score through correlation. However, even given that, Manabe's work here tends to work better in small spurts rather than hearing the whole thing from start to finish. Regardless, Godzilla fans looking to get this soundtrack on CD won't find a better option than this release.
Rating: Star Rating
Tracks
  1. Opening (M1)
  2. Give Back the Sun! I (PS2 Mix)
    By: Keiko Mari, Honey Night
  3. Mysterious Incident at Suruga Bay (M2)
  4. Seabed Investigation (M3)
  5. Giant Tadpole (M4)
  6. Terror Underwater (M5)
  7. Ken's Cry (M6)
  8. Mysterious Monster (M7)
  9. Godzilla and the Polluted Sea (M8)
  10. Multiplication (M9)
  11. Hedorah's Landfall (M10)
  12. Give Back the Sun! II (PS25 Mix)
    By: Keiko Mari
  13. Hedorah and the Smokestacks (M10A)
  14. Godzilla's Charge (M11)
  15. Give Back the Sun! III (PS38 Mix)
    By: Keiko Mari
  16. Hedorah Separates (M12-T3)
  17. The Two Giant Monsters in the Factory District (M13)
  18. Green Removal Factory (M14)
  19. Fragments (M15)
  20. Hedorium (M16)
  21. Catalytic Action (M17)
  22. Source of Hedorah (M18-T2)
  23. Highway Attack (M19)
  24. Sulfuric Acid Mist (M20)
  25. Period of Anti-Hedorah Mask Circulation (M21)
  26. Nuclear Fission (M22)
  27. Weakness Revealed (M22A)
  28. Transforming Pollution Monster (M23)
  29. Preparing the Electrode Board Experiment (M24)
  30. Guitar in the Wilderness I (PS103 Mix)
  31. Guitar in the Wilderness II (M25-T2)
  32. Our Energy I (PS104)
  33. Floral and Aquatic Death (M26)
  34. Our Energy II (PS112)
  35. Telepathy from Godzilla (M27)
  36. Decisive Battle at the Base of Mount Fuji I (M28)
  37. Decisive Battle at the Base of Mount Fuji II (M29-T2)
  38. The Young Die (M30)
  39. Godzilla's Bitter Struggle (M31)
  40. Decisive Battle at the Base of Mount Fuji III (M32)
  41. Guidance Strategy (M33)
  42. Hedorah Approaches (M33A)
  43. Hedorah Approaches (M34)
  44. Stillness (M35)
  45. Radioactive Fury (M36)
  46. Godzilla Flies (M37-T2)
  47. Give Back the Sun! IV (Male Chorus PS156A Mix)
  48. Victory (M38)
  49. Godzilla Departs (M39)
  50. Give Back the Sun! V (Male Chorus PS155 Mix)
  51. Give Back the Sun! VI (Male Chorus PS156 Mix)
  52. Ending (M40)

    Bonus Tracks
  53. Source of Hedorah (M18-T1)
  54. Decisive Battle at the Base of Mount Fuji II (M29-T1)
  55. Godzilla Flies (M37-T1)
  56. Hedorah Separates (M12-T1 + T2 + T4 + T5 + T6 + T7 + T8)
  57. Guitar in the Wilderness II (M25-T1 + T3 + T4 + T6)
  58. Our Energy I (PS104 Mix)
  59. Give Back the Sun! I (PS2 Mix Karaoke)
  60. Give Back the Sun! III (PS38 Mix Karaoke)
  61. Give Back the Sun! I (PS2 Karaoke)
  62. Give Back the Sun! II (PS25 Karaoke)
  63. Give Back the Sun! III (PS38 Karaoke)
  64. Give Back the Sun! V (Male Chorus PS155 Karaoke)
  65. Give Back the Sun! V (Male Chorus PS155-T2 Karaoke)
  66. Give Back the Sun! VI (Male Chorus PS156)
  67. Give Back the Sun! IV (Male Chorus PS156A-T1)
  68. Give Back the Sun! IV (Male Chorus PS156A-T2)
  69. Give Back the Sun! IV (Male Chorus PS156A-T3)

    Victor Record Volume
  70. Defeat Hedorah
    By: Keiko Mari
  71. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Give Back the Sun! Record Version)
    By: Keiko Mari

    Union Record Volume
  72. Godzilla vs. Hedorah (Give Back the Sun! Record Version)
    By: Kazumi Kitayama
  73. Defeat Hedorah
    By: Kazumi Kitayama