Toho SFX Champion Festival
International Title
 [Box Set]
Music By: Various
Record Label: VAP
Running Time: 745:40 (Total) Discs: 10
Release: September 2001 CD Number: VPCD-81382
Anthony Romero
Based on the Toho Champion Festival, VAP's expansive box set covers special effects features from 1969 through 1978. In total, the set covers 18 movies across ten discs, while a 100 page booklet is also included that gives a brief summary for each track and also displays poster and LP cover art (all in black and white).

This release is well renowned among fans for the number of exclusives contained within, as Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure (1969), Vampire Doll (1970), Lake of Dracula (1971), Evil of Dracula (1974), ESPY (1974), Conflagration (1975), The War in Space (1977) and The Blue Stigma (1978) appear here in full form for the first time. The set also has the best coverage of Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974), as not only is the full mono soundtrack included but also all of the stereo recordings. The problem with this set, though, is that more engrossed soundtrack collectors are going to get a lot of repeats. This is also made slightly worse by the fact that the Godzilla films (in terms of bonus tracks) are all presented better elsewhere while there is hardly anything to represent Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) either. However, if one is just starting out their soundtrack collection, and has an interest in the more obscure science fiction productions, then this is a great entry level set as the $175-200 price tag is very reasonable considering what's included. Regardless of repeats, more ambitious collectors will likely look to still pick this up, especially since one is roughly buying the exclusives for $24 a piece even when ignoring the repeats. The set probably would have benefited, though, had it focused more on these unavailable "classics", as soundtracks like Terror in the Streets (1970) would have made welcome additions seeing as how they still can't be acquired today in full form. Still, one can't complain about the audio quality itself, as the "repeats" are about on par with the previous releases from VAP and Toshiba under their "Futureland" label, although in the case of the latter the volume level here is higher making these releases seem "soft" in contrast, while the new stuff is pretty well done in terms of preservation.

Unfortunately, this set is kind of awkward in terms of organization and presentation. The discs themselves come without individual covers and mostly in two-disc cases, with the exceptions being 9 and 10. Movie scores will also often spill into the next disc making for some odd listening experiences, although at least it's all kept in order.

Finally, even though the set is based on the Toho Champion Festival, only the first four discs have soundtracks to films from the festival selection. Basically, all the Godzilla films plus Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure (1969) and Space Amoeba (1970) were part of the kid oriented festival, everything else, which is more adult in scope, were just special effects films that happened to be released during the 1969-1978 time frame in which the festival ran.

Overall, the Champion boxed set is an excellent value for the price, and contains both previously released content, as well as many rare soundtracks that still remain exclusive to this package, even 12 years after it's release. Not surprisingly, this so-called "limited-edition" box from 2001 is still available for sale at many online sites, but it is a highly recommended purchase for fans interested in this music.
Rating: Star Rating

Disc 1:
All Monsters Attack (1969)
Tracks 1-32

Konto 55: Grand Outer Space Adventure (1969)
Tracks 33-72


Disc 2:
Space Amoeba (1970)
Tracks 1-28

Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
Tracks 28-68


Disc 3:
Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971)
Tracks 1-14

Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972)
Tracks 15-20

Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973)
Tracks 21-58


Disc 4:
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974)
Tracks 1-35

Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
Tracks 36-59

ESPY (1974)
Track 60


Disc 5:
ESPY (1974)
Tracks 1-39

Conflagration (1975)
Tracks 40-65


Disc 6:
Vampire Doll (1970)
Tracks 1-31

Lake of Dracula (1971)
Tracks 32-75

Evil of Dracula (1974)
Tracks 76-93


Disc 7:
Evil of Dracula (1974)
Tracks 1-21

Horror of the Wolf (1973)
Tracks 22-46

Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
Tracks 47-61


Disc 8:
Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
Tracks 1-43


Disc 9:
Prophecies of Nostradamus (1974)
Tracks 1-2

Submersion of Japan (1973)
Tracks 3-34

The Blue Stigma (1978)
Tracks 35-59


Disc 10:
The War in Space (1977)
Tracks 1-39