Brave Hearts: Umizaru - Soundtrack
International Title
 Umizaru 4: Brave Hearts
Music By: Naoki Sato
Record Label: EMI Music
Running Time: 68:49 Discs: 1
Release: July 2012 CD Number: TOCT-29010
Anthony Romero
First, thanks goes to Jessica Stan for sending this in for review!

Ever since his phenomenal scores for Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 (2007) and Space Battleship Yamato (2010), Naoki Sato has been one of those composers to look out for. In fact, even the most tepid of scores for the composer in recent years have been some of the better soundtracks to come out of the country. On a roll of late, and having composed three theatrical soundtracks already for the successful Umizaru series, this fourth entry in the franchise is right in Sato's wheelhouse and the composer doesn't disappoint. The CD is packed with exciting themes, soothing motifs and a lot of variety in cues making for another solid score under Sato's belt.

The disc starts off strong with "Brave Hearts", which isn't quite a main title but works to encompass both angles that the soundtrack excels at with a soothing start before becoming more of an upbeat cue thanks to some drum work. This transitions nicely into "Tanker Explosion", which plays right into Sato's natural talent for high octane action music. Those who have a certain affection for Sato's more heart pumping themes should be satisfied with this release as well, as the composer taps into this for other tracks such as "Emergency", "Forced Landing" and "Ignition". The rest of the score ranges from soothing, such as the excellent "Crossing Paths" that features great piano and violin work for a very pleasant track to listen to, to march-like cues such as the very long but great track "Make it Back Alive" which is also a CD highlight.

While the CD is consistently high in terms of quality, there is one track that slightly misses the mark which is "Ranger Training". It's an over-the-top guitar track which almost faintly hints at the main theme for Saved By the Bell... almost. It's not bad, but certainly stands out as the weakest theme on the disc without any question and feels a little out of place. Oddly enough, though, the theme is the most similar to the type of music that Sato was composing for the original Umizaru (2004) movie, showing how far the composer has come in eight years.

The disc also comes with one bonus track, which is an instrumental, piano and strings version of the song "Believe" that was sung by Che'Nelle on the Believe album (TOCP-71400). The track feels more classical in style than the Sato cues, but is a gorgeous, sweeping melody that is very enjoyable.

Overall, Sato delivers another very strong soundtrack, to which the greatest criticism one can level at it is simply that it's not a career high for a composer that is quickly building an impressive resume of scores to his portfolio.
Rating: Star Rating
  1. Brave Hearts
  2. Tanker Explosion
  3. Back on Site
  4. Last Stand
  5. Ranger Training
  6. Crossing Paths
  7. Emergency
  8. Flight 206
  9. Forced Landing
  10. Choice
  11. Ray of Hope
  12. Pray for the 346 People
  13. Rescue Situation
  14. Family
  15. Splashdown
  16. Ignition
  17. Make it Back Alive
  18. Special Rescue Team
  19. Meeting
  20. Surfacing
  21. To Believe

    Bonus Track
  22. Believe (Piano & Strings Version) (Instrumental)
    By: Sweep, EIGO, Arrangement by: Megumi Kawasaki