Udon - Original Soundtrack
International Title
Music By: Toshiyuki Watanabe
Record Label: Universal EMI
Running Time: 67:25 Discs: 1
Release: September 2013 CD Number: TOCT-11617
Anthony Romero
This is one of many reissues released by Universal and EMI in September of 2013, each being a limited run and given a budget price of around ¥999 (~$10). While some of these titles being reissued are long out of print, like Bye-Bye Jupiter (TOCT-11610), Udon is a relatively recent title and can still be purchased new online from a lot of locations. What this release does bring to the table, though, is the same good soundtrack coupled with a new rock bottom price.

I've always felt that composer Toshiyuki Watanabe's efforts on the Rebirth of Mothra series have been unfairly overlooked. In contrast to Takayuki Hattori's Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla (1994), Watanabe crafted much more enjoyable scores for the 1990's Mothra series. The composer has long been on my radar, but I haven't managed to track down another score by him until now. While I wasn't expecting any great action motifs, since this was a comedy, I was hoping that the sense of adventure he captured so magnificently in scores like Rebirth of Mothra II (1997) would be here. Oddly enough, the score really sounds nothing like any of his Mothra work... not even a single theme aside from the start of "A.D. 21XX Sanuki", and his style here is more parallel to Hattori's which is why I brought him up earlier.

So the score has its ups and downs. Its starts off on a high note with the soothing piano and flute theme "I Love NY", one of the better tracks from the disc, before hitting a snag with "Udon Main Title". The problem with this theme, and a few others, is that its actually based on French composer Georges Bizet's opera "Carmen". Don't get me wrong, the original pieces are enjoyable, but it creates a major identity crisis when some of the main themes from this score are recycled from classical compositions.

The original cues from the disc are a mixed lot. The piano themes, such as the first track and "Eating Outside on a Fine Day", tend to be highlights along with a nice, march-like "Noodle Power! - Captain Noodle Visits" and the majestic violin cue "What My Father Left Behind". In general, while the only outright bad track is the vocal supported "Banzai ~ Pleasant Fondness", a lot of the cues just aren't very memorable and don't really leave a mark on the listener. Or at least most of them don't, one brazen exception is the restaurant theme "Mentsu-dan", which is an upbeat big band style piece done in a fashion similar to Hattori's work. Its a bit repetitious, but even though its far from the best or even among the great themes from the disc it probably stands out most of anything on the original side of things.

Bottom line, the disc wasn't quite what I was hoping for, but was enjoyable all the same. Expectations should definitely be tapered, though, if one goes in hoping for something like his late 1990's work as the composer is paving a much different path with this score.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. I Love NY
  2. Udon Main Title
    By: Georges Bizet
  3. Dreadful Sanuki Udon
  4. Irresponsible Man of the Heisei Era
    By: Georges Bizet
  5. Older Sister's Gentleness
  6. Goddess of No Direction
  7. Infestation Warning!
  8. Eating Outside on a Fine Day
  9. Mentsu-dan
  10. Son and Father: Memory
  11. Udon Adventure
    By: Georges Bizet
  12. Boom Coming
  13. A.D. 21XX Sanuki
  14. Noodle Power! - Captain Noodle Visits
  15. Elder Sister's Desire
  16. A Full Greeting
  17. Our Dreams
  18. Banzai ~ Pleasant Fondness
  19. The End of the Festival
  20. What My Father Left Behind
  21. Symphonic Poem for Noodles and Dashi
  22. Fate of Food Sampling
  23. Son and Father: Conversation
  24. An Udon Induced Smile
  25. That Miracles Exist
  26. Ending
    By: Georges Bizet