© 2006/2011 Lawrence Tuczynski
|Title:||Prince Wanpaku Slays the Great Serpent|
(aka The Little Prince)
(This is Vol. 4 of a 10-CD-Set called TOEI ANIMATION)
|Music Composed by:||Akira Ifukube|
|Number of tracks:||55|
|Number of discs:||1|
|Year of release/manufacture:||1996|
New updated review July 31, 2013
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
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)
Track translations courtesy of John Cassidy