Pocket Monsters: Victini and the Black Hero Zekrom / Victini and the White Hero Reshiram - Music Collection
International Title
 Pokémon the Movie White: Victini and Zekrom / Black: Victini and Reshiram
Music By: Shinji Miyazaki
Record Label: Media Factory
Running Time: 58:10/48:21 Discs: 2
Release: July 2011 CD Number: ZMCP-7318
Anthony Romero
I will make it no secret that I'm a fan of Shinji Miyazaki's work. There are greater composers working in Japan today, but he is always reliable for delivering at least a couple of great themes for each soundtrack. So hearing that there would be two Pokémon films in 2011 with similar plots but different Pokémon, similar to the way the games have been broken up since their inception, it was hard not to become excited when it became clear that there would be two soundtracks in the cinematic franchise this year. Naturally, Media Factory delivered around the time of the movie's release with a two disc set containing both scores. Without researching, I tore into the contents and was met at first with disappointment, confusion, enjoyment and finally understanding.

To begin, one must start with the first disc in this set, which is dedicated to Pokémon the Movie White: Victini and Zekrom. This was the first experience with this set, and one that was rooted in disappointment as it got closer and closer to its finish and I just didn't hear that winning cue or two that I was expecting. It was missing the Miyazaki magic. The reason for this is simple as, outside of a single track, Miyazaki didn't compose this score. Victini and Zekrom actually marks the first time a theatrical Pokémon feature hasn't been scored by its trademark composer, as it was instead handed over to Akifumi Tada, best known as doing the musical work on a lot of the older Pokémon shorts before they stopped making them. Tada is joined here by Kazuhiko Sawaguchi and the two created the cues for this disc. To Tada's credit, this is his best work and a real step up from the shorts he composed for back in the day. On the downside, he still sounds like a poor man's Miyazaki. Sawaguchi, while having a different style than either, doesn't stand out much himself sadly.

In all, the downfall of the score is that nothing really stands out, be it negatively or positively. The style sounds similar at points to Kaoru Wada, who did the theatrical Inuyasha scores, but really lacks an identity of its own. About the only tracks that triggered any emotion from me was "Beach" that is done through piano and violin work, making one wonder why Tada didn't play to this strength, and "Title Theme 2011 (Zekrom Ver)", which is energetic and lively but tragically short at around 30 seconds.

One score's short comings is another's blessing, though, as onto the second film in this set, Pokémon the Movie Black: Victini and Reshiram, which has its cover on the back. By most accounts, Miyazaki's score for the Victini and Reshiram is average for his resume of work, but after the score for the previous film it will seem like a much needed breath of fresh air. By track two ("Zekrom: A Pokémon Known as a Legend"), which greets the listener with a very uplifting and march-like trumpet sequence, one already feels like they are back in good hands. Track three continues its reassurance with the inclusion of the theatrical Pokémon title music, highlighting that the earlier score is so far the only one without it. Miyazaki also delivers a very regal, elegant sounding cue on this disc in the form of "The Legend of the Village of the Earth", which is a pleasant piece for the sense of grandeur it conveys. "The Village of the Earth" is another enjoyable theme off the disc, although is similar in concept to track three with the same basic motif. To show his range, the disc also features a very soothing track toward the end with "The Sea and the Macarons", which makes great use of harps and violins.

One should note that the second score has several cues denoted as "(Reshiram Ver)", but rest assured they are very different from their Zekrom counterparts and generally sound nothing alike.

In terms of the vocal songs, the disc has three overall. The first is "Best Wishes!" by Rica Matsumoto, which actually appears in both films but is only included with the first disc here. The track is a movie edit of the TV theme song, so nothing new, but still as lively as ever. The other two songs are by Every Little Thing with "The Sky" for Victini and Zekrom and "The Voice" for Victini and Reshiram. Of the two, "The Voice" tends to work better at the start with its soothing melody, but the vocal work tend to weaken as the track progresses. Neither was particularly memorable, though.

Overall, it was interesting to see the series handled by someone other than Miyazaki, although the result was lacking. It breaks new ground for the franchise, but ultimately squanders doing so. In the end, its a forgettable score packaged with a decent one that feels similar to other soundtracks already established in the now long running franchise. For the level of content the buyer gets this might seem like a bargain, compared to the general pricing of soundtracks in Japan, but the Pokémon series has much better scores already under its belt compared to this offering.
Rating: Star Rating
    Pokémon the Movie White: Victini and Zekrom
    By: Akifumi Tada
  1. Reshiram: A Pokémon Known as a Legend
  2. Title Theme 2011 (Zekrom Ver)
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  3. Arrival
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  4. Opening! Harvest Festival Commemoration Battle
    By: Shinji Miyazaki
  5. Best Wishes! (Movie Edit)
    By: Rica Matsumoto
  6. Tepig, Ember!
  7. Could that have been Victini?
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  8. Lure it with a Macaron
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  9. Together with Victini
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  10. The Barrier
  11. Satoshi and Victini
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  12. The Legend of the Village of the Earth
  13. The Great Dragon Stone
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  14. The King's Decision
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  15. Victini and the King
  16. The Village of the Earth
  17. A Journey of Conviction
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  18. The Truth of Reshiram
  19. The Protective Pillars Activate
  20. The Sword Castle Rises!
  21. Idealism and Truth
  22. Find Zekrom
  23. The Trial of Satoshi
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  24. Satoshi's Ideals
  25. Golurk vs. Reshiram
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  26. Zekrom vs. Reshiram
  27. Rescue Victini
  28. The Wrath of the Earth
  29. The Dragon's Pulse Changes Course
  30. The Sword Castle is Out of Control!
  31. V-Create
  32. Bringing the Dragon's Pulse Under Control
  33. Beach
  34. Victini's Wish
    By: Kazuhiko Sawaguchi
  35. The Sky
    By: Every Little Thing
    Pokémon the Movie Black: Victini and Reshiram
    By: Shinji Miyazaki
  1. Zekrom's Ideals
  2. Zekrom: A Pokémon Known as a Legend
  3. Title Theme 2011 (Reshiram Ver)
  4. To Aint Oak
  5. Ash Flew!
  6. The Castle of the Sword of the Earth
  7. Dred, the Castle's Preserver
  8. The Aint Oak Harvest Festival
  9. The Legend of the Victorious Pokémon
  10. Opening! Harvest Festival Commemoration Battle (Reshiram Ver)
  11. Tepig, Ember! (Reshiram Ver)
  12. Could that have been Victini? (Reshiram Ver)
  13. Victini Appears
  14. The Legend of the Village of the Earth (Reshiram Ver)
  15. Victini and the King (Reshiram Ver)
  16. The People of the Earth
  17. The Friends of the Orchard
  18. A Journey of Conviction (Reshiram Ver)
  19. The Village of the Earth (Reshiram Ver)
  20. The Millennial Dream
  21. Satoshi's Promise
  22. The Protective Pillars Activate (Reshiram Ver)
  23. The Sword Castle Rises! (Reshiram Ver)
  24. Idealism and Truth
  25. The Trial of Satoshi (Reshiram Ver)
  26. Satoshi's Truth
  27. The Sword Castle is Out of Control! (Reshiram Ver)
  28. Bringing the Dragon's Pulse Under Control (Reshiram Ver)
  29. The Sea and the Macarons
  30. Toward the Rainbow
  31. The Voice
    By: Every Little Thing