© 2006/2011 Lawrence Tuczynski

Title: Prince Wanpaku Slays the Great Serpent
(aka The Little Prince)
CD Label: Columbia
CD Number: COCC-13504
(This is Vol. 4 of a 10-CD-Set called TOEI ANIMATION)
Music Composed by: Akira Ifukube
Number of tracks: 55
Running time: 73:59
Number of discs: 1
Year of release/manufacture: 1996

REVIEW

New updated review July 31, 2013
Review courtesy of Robert Storch

Released in 1996 by Nippon Columbia Co. in Japan, this soundtrack CD for THE LITTLE PRINCE AND THE EIGHT-HEADED DRAGON (1963) was part of their TOEI ANIMATION 10-CD boxed set. Today, this boxed set is long out of print and extremely rare, while it also commands big dollars when it does show up on auction sites. I do not own the whole set, but was fortunate enough to acquire this CD by itself.

In my opinion, the audio quality on this release offers quite an improvement over the earlier Toshiba-EMI Futureland LITTLE PRINCE soundtrack CD. While that set has always been marred by a noticeable thin sound and rather primitive mid-late 80s CD mastering, this Columbia CD offers a much better mastered listening experience. Now, this is only speculation, but perhaps Columbia might have had access to earlier generation and/or better master tapes for their release, or it could simply be due to the improved mastering techniques of the mid-90s, but whatever the reason, the audio on this Columbia CD is a bit more upfront, has more bass and is arguably the better listen. While the Toshiba-EMI CD certainly doesn't sound bad (and some might even prefer it who are used to it), I do think that this Columbia soundtrack will be an improvement for most.

Now, while this Columbia CD is missing the eighteen bonus tracks that can be found on the Toshiba release, it still contains the full soundtrack, while it also comes with color front artwork which is a reproduction of the original LITTLE PRINCE LP cover. Unfortunately, it is only an insert (not a booklet), as the boxed set came with its own big booklet. The back insert just lists the track titles and is not the original back cover found on the LP. Overall, this disc is a rare find and definitely worth adding to your Akira Ifukube music collection if you can find it. As of this writing, this 1996 boxed set version of the soundtrack, remains the last time this score was released on CD.

March 03, 2006
Review and all information for this disc courtesy of Jürgen Himmelmann

This PRINCE WANPAKU SLAYS THE GREAT SERPENT CD is Vol. 4 of a 10-CD-Set called TOEI ANIMATION. Each of the 10 TOEI ANIMATION CDs contains 1-3 scores from popular composers like Chuji Kinoshita (GAMERA VS. BARUGON, KICA-237), Isao Tomita (TALE OF GENJI, COCQ-83482 - NHK EPIC DRAMA THEMES, POCN-1123~4 - CATASTROPHE 1999; VPCD-81173) or Naozumi Yamamoto (NHK EPIC DRAMA THEMES, POCN-1123~4), but also scores from less popular composers like Taichiro Kosugi (ZATOUICHI BREAKS THROUGH THE BARRIER, KICA 3023) and Seiichiro Uno. Together with CD Vol. 1 (Music by Chuji Kinoshita and Urato Watanabe), Vol. 7 (Music by Michio Mamiya) and Vol. 10 (Music by Chuji Kinoshita and Naozumi Yamamoto), PRINCE WANPAKU SLAYS THE GREAT SERPENT is one of the best CDs from TOEI ANIMATION and the only one composed by Akira Ifukube in this CD-Set (personally Vol. 4 and Vol. 7 are my favorites).

I think COCC-13504 is very difficult to get and in most cases only available together with the other nine CDs, but there are alternate options: a concert suite of PRINCE WANPAKU SLAYS THE GREAT SERPENT is released on The Artistry of Akira Ifukube Vol. 7 - GEN (KICC 440) and also there is an out-of-print 2CD-Set from Toshiba EMI / Futureland (TYCY-5213~14 = reissue of LD25-5065~6).

To compare the Futureland DoCD and this CD, there are only small differences between them. The TOEI ANIMATION CD has less music, because the extra tracks from CD2 (LD25-5066) are missing - but LD25-5065 (CD1) and COCC-13504 are the same content: Even the Futureland CD1 has ten more tracks (65 instead of 55), this has nothing to say, because the TOEI ANIMATION CD puts single tracks together to musical suites (to make it clear here are the tracks from this CD which are suites, in brackets the tracks from the Futureland release, CD1): Track 11 (11, 12), track 12 (13, 14), track 13 (15, 16), track 15 (18, 19), track 16 (20, 21), track 21 (26, 27, 28), track 33 (40, 41), track 36 (44, 45) and track 44 (53, 54).

The music itself is absolutely great with a wide variety from monster music, marches, ritual dance music and beautiful themes for orchestra and chorus. In my opinion this score is a must-have for every Akira Ifukube fan who does not know this music. The CD (COCC-13504) can only be recommamded to Ifukube-completists (here the better choice would be the Futureland DoCD) or to people who are interested in the other nine CDs from this TOEI ANIMATION CD-set.

Prince Wanpaku Slays the Great Serpent (COCC-13504)
(aka THE NAUGHTY PRINCE SLAYS THE EIGHT-HEADED SERPENT)
(WANPAKU OUJI NO OROCHI TAIJI)
1963
Akira Ifukube

Track translations courtesy of John Cassidy

  1. Prologue ~ Main Title
  2. Ahakana And Tarou
  3. Susanoo Apears
  4. Izanami
  5. Theme Song: Lullaby Of The Motherless Son
  6. Sumo Wrestling ~ Death (Chorus)
  7. Izanagi And Susanoo
  8. Susanoo Cries
  9. Susanoo's Sadness (M9)
  10. Decision
  11. Setting Off On A Trip
  12. Strange Fish Akuru
  13. Yoru No Osukuni
  14. Tsukuyomi (M17)
  15. Susanoo's Anger
  16. Susanoo's Anger (II)
  17. The Sword Of Tsukuyomi
  18. Mirror Of Ice
  19. The Path To The Land Of Fire
  20. Taitanbou
  21. The God Of Fire And Susanoo
  22. Jewel Of Ice
  23. Taitanbou Joins As A Companion
  24. Ame No Torifune
  25. Amaterasu Oomikami
  26. Farmwork
  27. A Wild Horse
  28. Ridge In The Rice Paddy
  29. Susanoo Creates A Paddy Field
  30. Flood
  31. Hooligan Susanoo ~ Darkness On The World
  32. Discussion Outside The Rock Door
  33. Shinto Music & Dancing At The Rock Door
  34. The Music And Dancing Finishes
  35. The Rock Door Opens
  36. Amaterasu's Encouragement
  37. The Young Mouse
  38. Meeting Princess Kushinada
  39. Unusual Change Of The River Surface
  40. Amenohayakoma
  41. Susanoo And Princess Kushinada
  42. The Sake Bowls
  43. Omen
  44. The Orochi Appears
  45. The Heavy Drinker Orochi
  46. The Time To Set Out
  47. The Battle
  48. Don't Argue Amongst Yourselves!
  49. Akahana's Activity
  50. Princess Kushinada In Crisis
  51. The Persistent Orochi
  52. Mutual Destruction
  53. The Yamata No Orochi's Final Moment
  54. Amenohayakoma Leaves
  55. Ending