CD: Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira - Original Soundtrack


Frankenstein's Monsters: Sanda vs. Gaira - Original Soundtrack

Japanese CD Title

フランケンシュタインの怪獣 サンダ対ガイラ オリジナル・サウンドトラック
[Furankenshutain no Kaiju: Sanda tai Gaira Orijinaru Saundotorakku]

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Akira Ifukube
August 2017

Based On:

The War of the Gargantuas



By: Anthony Romero

Ever since Toho Music re-released Latitude Zero (TSFCD-22) in 2006, I’ve been patiently waiting for the re-release of this 1966 gem. Well more than a decade later, and Toho Music having passed the torch to Cinema-kan, The War of the Gargantuas finally gets a well deserved new CD for it. In terms of the contents, this is classic Akira Ifukube, although with the repetitiveness ratched up a notch. Thankfully, Cinema-Kan has also done a good job offering additional material with this release, with the CD clocking at a little over 79 minutes.

Now to sum up this score in five words: Giara’s theme + Maser March. This isn’t because those are great themes, although they are, but because they dominate this soundtrack too much. In fact, Gaira’s theme appears here 11 times, while the maser march appears 8. “Operation L March II”, “Operation L March IV” and “Sanda vs. Gaira II” feature both motifs woven in. That means that 16 of the 31 cues for the main film feature these two themes, or roughly half the score.

Thankfully, the maser march in particular is an amazing, rousing theme. One of the all time greats in Ifukube’s career. Even after the third or fourth time listening to it straight I still find myself wanting more. Now while the best rendition of it would come almost three decades later, for Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), one has to give credit to not just the original source but also that this mono, 1966 version still holds up very well today. The Gaira theme, heard in the “Main TItle” and “Emergency at Haneda Airport”, isn’t quite as iconic, but is still a nice, sinister theme that fits the character. The motif for Sanda is similar to Gaira’s in a few ways, although does a good job connecting with Frankenstein’s theme in the previous movie. Comparing “Sanda Appears” from this score with “Frankenstein in Lake Biwa” from Frankenstein vs. Baragon (1965) will make the connection overt. For this movie, the Giant Octopus was also finally given an updated theme rather than reusing the one from King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). While both use deep, blaring horn work, this new theme is much more sinister, arguably too sinister considering it’s for the Giant Octopus. All the same, though, it’s a nice improvement over the theme from its debut movie.

Now when covering the score to this 1966 movie it seems impossible not to bring up the English song "The Words Get Stuck in My Throat". This is of the “like it” or “hate it” variety, where I have seen camps for both views. It’s somehow become one of the more famous aspects of the movie too, being covered by the music group Devo in the 1970’s and also featured prominently in a loving send up in the “Battle of the Humongonauts” episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The song itself is “sung” by Kipp Hamilton, and credited that way in the booklet. A Google search, though, turns up that it was done by Trinnie Lee Kearney and comes from her Romantic Inception album. While I’m inclined to believe that, and that Hamilton was lip syncing, it’s really odd that there is no information on Trinnie Lee Kearney other than in relation to "The Words Get Stuck in My Throat". Like what other songs did she do? When was she active?

In terms of how this release compares to the earlier one, this one is packed with more content. This should be immediately apparent in the number of tracks, with 51 for this release versus 44 tracks from the Futureland The War of the Gargantuas (TYCY-5505) release. In all, it has everything from the earlier release, except the trailer, and adds some. In terms of spotting this additional material, the first is track 23, “Self Defense Force to the Coastline”. This cue is a 30 second edit of “Operation L March I”, so it’s not new music but its inclusion makes the representation here more film accurate. The other new material comes from the bonus section, which includes new edits for the “Main Title” and “Sanda vs. Gaira I”. The “Main Title” edit is pretty lame, the only difference is it fades out a little quicker, although the “Sanda vs. Gaira I” edit is much more creative, totally changing the intro. Other bonus material includes two unreleased versions of “Hometown” and one for “10,000 Feet Up in the Alps”. While I have always been puzzled on why “10,000 Feet Up in the Alps”, a popular version of the Yankee Doodle song in Japan, was on this release when it didn’t appear in the movie this bonus material makes it more clear. Basically, at one point in time the melody was considered to be used at the start of “Hometown” before being dropped.

The really noteworthy aspect of this release, though, is actually the content around “The Word Gets Stuck in My Throat”. This song was, oddly, under represented on the earlier release as it only showed up in the main score and a karaoke version. Here we get an outtake and a reference version as well. I’m not sure on the history of the reference version and it sounds super dated, but deliciously so to the point it’s quite enjoyable. In fact, it’s a lot more enjoyable than the version that made it into the movie.

Overall, this is a very repetitive score. One’s enjoyment of it is really gonna hinge on how much someone likes the Maser March and Gaira’s theme, as they are so prolific here. I count the film among one of my favorite from Toho, though, and even with the repetitiveness of the score I was frantic to buy this when it was finally re-released.

On a translation note, the song “Hometown” is quite famous and known as “Furusato” (故郷). Another common English translation for it is “Old Home”. On a more minor note, cue M4 is noted as the “Maritime Safety Agency” (海上保安部 - Kaijo Hoan Bu). This is actually the Japanese Coast Guard, who changed their name in 2000. Given the film takes place in the 1960’s, the “Maritime Safety Agency” translation is appropriate but some might elect for the more modern name.

Rating: Star Rating


  1. Main Title (M1)
  2. Giant Octopus: The Devil of the Sea (M2)
  3. The Terror of the Stormy Seas (M3)
  4. Maritime Safety Agency (M4)
  5. Tragedy of the Daisan Kaijin-maru (M5)
  6. Akemi Reminiscences (M6)
  7. Disaster in the Uraga Channel (M7)
  8. Panic at Miura Peninsula (M8)
  9. Frankenstein's Cells I (M9)
  10. Footprints in the Snowy Valley (M10)
  11. Emergency at Haneda Airport (M11)
  12. The Word Gets Stuck in My Throat (PS-Sanda T3)
    By: Trinnie Lee Kearney
  13. Operation L March I (M12-T2 Edit)
  14. Operation L March II (M13)
  15. Operation L March III (New M14)
  16. Operation L March IV (M15)
  17. Operation L March V (M16)
  18. Sanda Appears (M17)
  19. Sanda and Gaira (M18)
  20. Frankenstein's Cells II (M19)
  21. Sanda and Akemi (M21)
  22. Sanda's Rage (M22)
  23. Self Defense Force to the Coastline (M12-T2 Edit)
  24. Gaira Escapes (M23)
  25. Gaira Comes Ashore (M24)
  26. Sanda Heads to Tokyo (M25)
  27. Sanda vs. Gaira I (M26)
  28. Attack Gaira (M27)
  29. Sanda vs. Gaira II (M28)
  30. The Underwater Volcano Death Battle (M29)
  31. Ending (M30)

    Bonus Material
  32. Main Title (M1 Edit)
  33. Operation L March I (M12-T1)
  34. Operation L March I (M12-T2)
  35. Wiring Completed (M14)
  36. Frankenstein's Cells II (New M19)
  37. Sanda vs. Gaira I (M26 PR Edit)
  38. Hometown (M20-T1 PS182 Chorus T3)
  39. Hometown (PS182 Solo T2)
  40. Hometown (M20-T2)
  41. Hometown (PS182 Solo T1)
  42. Hometown (PS183-T1)
  43. Hometown (PS183-T2)
  44. 10,000 Feet Up in the Alps (PS181-T1)
  45. 10,000 Feet Up in the Alps (PS181-T2)
  46. The Word Gets Stuck in My Throat (PS-Sanda T1)
    By: Trinnie Lee Kearney
  47. The Word Gets Stuck in My Throat (PS-Sanda Karaoke)
  48. The Word Gets Stuck in My Throat (Reference Music)
    By: Trinnie Lee Kearney

    Sound Effects
  49. Gaira's Roar
  50. Sound of the Maser Cannon Firing
  51. Sanda's Roar