© 2018 Lawrence Tuczynski

All pictures and info courtesy of Evan Sizemore

Title Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (Gojira: Kaijū Wakusei)
CD Label TOHO Animation Records
CD Number THCA-60173
Music by: Takayuki Hattori
Number of tracks 34
Running time 75:18
Number of discs 1
Year of release/manufacture November 15, 2017


January 8, 2018
Review by Evan Sizemore

For Godzilla's first feature length anime, GODZILLA: PLANET OF THE MONSTERS, Toho recruited Godzilla series veteran Takayuki Hattori ("SpaceGodzilla", "Godzilla 2000"). From the opening notes to the final eerie trilling of strings, the score strongly bears the fingerprint of Hattori's style, lending both an air of nostalgic familiarity for some fans of the genre and a sigh of frustration from others as his music can infamously sound hallow, weak and small, as if he wasn't sure how compensate for the small size of a studio orchestra as Ifukube masterfully did. Whether this is an issue of orchestrating technique or a personal preference of style by the composer is not known, but it has become characteristic of his scores.

In fact, some musical phrases are lifted wholesale from his "Godzilla 2000" score (not the better ones, unfortunately), though they are treated better round this time. In fact, though the score ranges from being boringly mediocre to surprisingly fresh, it may well stand as Hattori's best Godzilla score. You might even say it bears an almost [James Horner] Avatar-esque quality to its sensibilities. Yes, it has its faults, but do not be turned away by them, for when his music shines on this album, it goes supernova. Three main themes that deserve special mention are his motif for Godzilla, military anthem, and protagonist's theme.

Godzilla's new theme is heard in stunning glory in the last track, "GODZILLA", a nigh 8-minute tour de force that immediately recommends itself as one of the finest musical identities for the king of the monsters; it's loud, bombastic, eerie, scary, and energetic to a panic. References to this theme are strung throughout the score in dozens of tracks; one may almost wish to first listen to the final track (track 34) and then go back and listen to the whole album through so as to better appreciate all of Hattori's subtle usages of the motif.

The second noteworthy addition to the Godzilla music library is the rousing swashbuckling anthem heard in full glory in "Subspace Navigation" and "Special Features of Leland," with notable references in "Speech" and "Rush".

The other desirable melody, which I take to be the identity for the character Haruo, is first heard in "Haruo's Memory" and in passionate splendor with "Leader", handled often in a melancholy yet noble fashion, while subtle references abound throughout the album.

Overall, Hattori's new score not only brings back calls to previous Godzilla works but also takes kaiju music in directions isn't yet ventured into ("Induction", anyone?). Though the end result is uneven (in typical Hattori-fashion), the outcome still manages to be refreshingly stirring in several key moments, begging for many, many repeat listens. If Hattori should return for the two upcoming sequels in this anime trilogy his return would be welcome if only to see how he matures the themes he has nurtured here with so much potential (and because if his new Godzilla theme is any indication, we should all eagerly anticipate what he might do for this year's return of Mechagodzilla!).

Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (Gojira: Kaijū Wakusei)

  1. Monster Planet
  2. The Beginning
  3. Haruo's Memory
  4. Metphies
  5. The Central Committee Shakes
  6. Research Paper Files
  7. Analysis Results
  8. Subspace Flight
  9. The Earth
  10. A Sign
  11. Decision of The Central Committee
  12. Godzilla Annihilation Strategy
  13. Speech
  14. Rush
  15. Mission Accomplished
  16. After 20,000 Years
  17. Yuko's Idea
  18. Earth's Civilization
  19. Raid
  20. Withdrawal Behavior
  21. Legend of the EXIF
  22. Evacuate
  23. Leland's Suicide Attack
  24. Commander
  25. Operation instructions
  26. Induction
  27. In Order To Win
  28. Landing Boat Assault
  29. Thermobaric Bomb
  30. Yuko's Battle
  31. Great Barrier Rush
  32. Total War
  33. Relief