Steamboy O.S.T.
International Title
Music By: Steve Jablonsky
Record Label: K-O Records [Unlicensed]
Running Time: 60:56 Discs: 1
Release: 2005 CD Number: KO-88393
Anthony Romero
Mmm... hmm... bootlegs. Although fans of live action Japanese cinema, and their soundtracks, are probably less familiar with this aspect, boots are common occurrences for many Anime soundtracks. As a general rule of thumb: if the price seems too good to be true, chances are it's not legit. Appearances alone are often not a tell tale sign, which leads us to the subject of this review: K-O Records. Based in Taiwan, this company has distributed a ton of CDs into the market, all based on Anime or Video Game material. The firm does a good job of making their titles look authentic, even reproducing the obi. I have seen a number of the firm's titles, and many at a quick glance appear that they could be the real deal. Fortunately, the company itself is fairly proud of their work. All of their titles remove the original copyright on the back and replace it with a plug for their own "trading company", not to mention they all have unique CD numbers given to them as well. Outside of this, though, many of these might pass for their legal twins, even if one is very familiar with what the original looks like. This is not the case, however, for the Steamboy O.S.T..

For whatever reason, K-O Records decided to deviate from the original release in their creation of this CD. While the original by Victor (VICL-61445) features a full body shot of the main character framed horizontally across the cover, K-O Records decided to crop the image at the knees and flip it vertically. The original transparent cover to the CD booklet, which contains the title on the front, is also absent (likely because the bootlegger could not mass reproduce this easily from their current resources). The ending result looks more like someone slapped a stray high quality production still on the cover of a CD case and called it a day.

Okay, so this release is a bootleg, but I will deviate a little bit just to provide a review of the content for those who might be reading it for that element. Composed by Steve Jablonsky, the score here is a rousing and sometimes elegant one. I love Jablonsky's work on the 2007 Transformers movie, and was hopeful for this soundtrack. As a whole package, its a pleasant release, and boasts a real amazing theme in "The Chase" which steals the show. It's a great enough cue that one could point to it saying that this was the reason to own the CD. Aside from that show stopper, it's an enjoyable soundtrack, especially cues like "Ray's Theme". That said, given what the composer is capable of, I was a little disappointed to not see a few more cues with an adrenaline pumping quality to them. That said, misplaced expectations are probably the fault here, and what is presented is a solid stand alone experience.

In the end, the music itself is recommendable. The soundtrack is available in the States too, from Domo Records (73045-2), so people interested can pick it up fairly inexpensively. The fact that K-O Records even bothered to boot it at all is an odd choice, since a legal copy will generally only run a few more dollars than what this illegitimate copy runs for, even on the auction sites. It should be noted that my bootleg also skips on the last track, but possible that was a defect and others are fine.

[for reference, the numeric score below is in relation to the actual music found on the CD mostly]
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Manchester 1866
  2. The Chase
  3. Unexpected Meeting
  4. Scarlet
  5. Raid by the Airship
  6. London World Exposition
  7. The Atelier of Ray
  8. Crystal Palace Waltz
  9. Ray's Dilemma
  10. The Sortie of Scotland Yard
  11. Fight in the Exposition Ground
  12. Launch!
  13. Temptation
  14. Fly in the Sky
  15. Two Delusions
  16. Collapse and Rescue
  17. Ray's Theme