CD: King Kong’s Counterattack Original Soundtrack


King Kong's Counterattack Original Soundtrack

Japanese CD Title

キングコングの逆襲 オリジナル・サウンドトラック
[Kingu Kongu no Gyakushu Orijinaru Saundotorakku]

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Akira Ifukube

Based On:

King Kong Escapes



By: Anthony Romero

Cinema-Kan has been on a roll releasing both new soundtracks to CD while also re-releasing soundtracks that have been out of print for over a decade. Today’s subject is the latter, as the company offers an expanded CD soundtrack for King Kong Escapes. The company does a nice job with this release too, mixing in the main score with a lot of outtakes, new bonus material and a collection of sound effects. In terms of composer Akira Ifukube’s work on the material, it’s a nice if not repetitive collection of music. 

The score starts off on the right foot with a slightly exotic theme with drum work, capturing the concept of Mondo Island that would be introduced shortly afterwards. The best work from this disc, and a highlight of Ifukube’s career, is his motif for Susan. It’s a very soothing theme that’s able to stand strong despite being used several times here. Many will also likely associate the tune for its later adaptation into Baby Godzilla and Godzilla Junior’s theme in the Heisei series. 

Sadly other repeated themes don’t fare quite as well. The Mechani-Kong theme, heard in any track with Mechani-Kong in the title along with the Tokyo Tower showdown, is nice but not enough to maintain interest when played back to back across themes. Kong’s theme is a bit more engaging for the long haul, but is the worst offender for being reused. It’s featured in tracks like for his battle with Gorosaurus, “Kong in Tokyo”, “Kong Showdown” and “The End of Doctor Who”. It’s also used in “Element X”, although this is the best version of that theme and was wisely selected for reuse for Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) amongst the score.

In the end, repetition is the problem with this soundtrack. The score basically falls into five motif buckets: Kong’s theme, Susan’s theme, Mechani-Kong’s theme, the Explorer theme and the Mondo Island theme. The main title is even a mashup of the latter two. Even short but solid themes like “Ending” are derived from this pool, in this case from the Explorer motif.

To defend the score, there is some very enjoyable music here. However, due to the repetition, tracks meld together for the listener. This gives something that tends to work better in compilations rather than the full score experience.

As for those curious how this disc differs from the earlier one from Toshiba (TYCY-5507), this one contains over 10 minutes of additional music. It’s missing the full audio trailer, but otherwise contains all the music from the Toshiba one and then some. As for those additional tracks, from the main score the new ones are “Kong Awakens” and “Mechani-Kong Arrives”. Listening to these, one can notice they are movie accurate edits of existing themes. So nothing actually new, but nice to have to represent the score as heard in the film. That same statement extends to the outtakes, where we find a new track with an edit for “King Kong vs. Gorosaurus”. This more accurately depicts the use of the music from the film, which I guess was included as a bonus unlike the others since it replaced cues.

Moving on to other new music we get two stock tracks used in the trailer. The first of these is from Different Sons (1961) and is done by Ifukube. It’s noted here as M4-T2, although M4 was included on a two disc compilation by Toho Music as a track called “Family Discord”. Hearing the two, I’m fairly sure they are the same track and Toho just didn’t note in the prior release that it was a second take. This is followed by another trailer track, this time by composer Kan Ishii from the movie Tatsu (1962). The theme has a nice subtle start to it, though, before getting a bit more energetic and is actually quite enjoyable.

Next, we have four demo tracks, all listed in English. These are slightly mysterious, as the booklet doesn’t give much detail other than they were sent from the United States to provide inspiration for the score. One can assume that means Rankin Bass sent them, but it doesn’t go into that level or detail or note who composed them. Anyway, these demos are very dated and don’t fit Kong or Doctor Who very well. The latter is especially true as his tune sounds very similar to a song from Disney’s The Aristocats, although this predates the Disney film. That said, while not fitting the material, the King Kong demo theme is quite enjoyable for how dated it is.

Finally, and to my surprise, this disc does have two new sound effects as well. The first is Mechani-Kong’s electric sound. Sadly, while new, this is sourced from the film as noted in the booklet and it shows as it doesn’t quite have the same clarity as the other sound effects. Finally the disc also has King Kong’s roar, which was oddly missing from Toshiba’s release.

For those curious on audio quality between the two, I did a few blind listens and would often waver back and forth in terms of which had the better sound. I tended to lean more toward Cinema-Kan, but honestly from the results I would say they are very similar.

As a side note, the booklet on this release is quite nice. It features not just a lot of posters inside, both for the original release and the Toho Champion Festival release, but also some schematic style concept art for the mechs and vehicles from the production.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Main Title (M1-T3)
  2. The Base at the North Pole (M2-T2)
  3. Activating Mechani-Kong I (M3)
  4. Activating Mechani-Kong II (M4)
  5. Mondo Island (M5-T1)
  6. King Kong Appears (M6 + M7)
  7. King Kong vs. Gorosaurus I (M8)
  8. King Kong vs. Gorosaurus II (M9)
  9. Kong and Susan I (M10)
  10. The Explorer Returns (M11-T2)
  11. Operation Capture King Kong I (M12)
  12. Operation Capture King Kong II (M13)
  13. Kong at the North Pole (M14)
  14. Kong's Chance Encounter (M15)
  15. Hypnosis Machine (M16)
  16. Element X (M17)
  17. Kong Awakens (M17A/M14 Edit)
  18. King Kong Escapes I (M19)
  19. King Kong Escapes II (M20)
  20. Kong in Tokyo (M22)
  21. Kong and Susan II (M23)
  22. Mechani-Kong Arrives (M3 + M23)
  23. Kong Showdown (M24)
  24. Confrontation at Tokyo Tower I (M25A)
  25. Confrontation at Tokyo Tower II (M25B)
  26. King Kong's Triumph (M26)
  27. King Kong Goes to Tokyo Bay (M27)
  28. The End of Dr. Who (M28)
  29. Ending (M29)

    Bonus Material
  30. Madame Piranha I (M18)
    By: Frederic Chopin
  31. Madame Piranha II (Frankenstein vs. Baragon M18A-T1)
  32. Main Title (M16 + M1-T3)
  33. Main Title (M1-T1)
  34. Main Title (M1-T2)
  35. The Base at the North Pole (M2-T1)
  36. Mondo Island (M5-T2)
  37. King Kong vs. Gorosaurus (M25A Edit)
  38. The Explorer Returns (M11-T1)
  39. Trailer Music 1 (Different Sons M4-T2)
  40. Trailer Music 2 (Tatsu M9)
    By: Kan Ishii
  41. King Kong (Demo)
  42. Doctor Who (Demo)
  43. Madame P (Demo)
  44. For Susan (Demo)

    Sound Effects
  45. Mechani-Kong's Roar
  46. Mechani-Kong's Electric Sound
  47. Mechani-Kong's Eye Lights
  48. Gorosaurus' Roar
  49. King Kong's Roar