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Spirited Away Soundtrack

4.7 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, September 10, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Despite an enthusiastic cult following, the talents of master Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki have yet to gain the sort of mainstream acceptance regularly afforded American feature animation in the artist's own country. But Hollywood sponsorship of Princess Mononoke and this new Miyazaki anime masterpiece is an encouraging sign. To create the musical soundscape for his phantasmagorical adventure, the director has again tapped Mononoke composer and longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi, and the results are another distinctive triumph. Effortlessly blending ancient Japanese modalities and percussion with Westernized influences (pastoral string and piano flourishes, snarling brass, and gentle woodwinds), the composer evokes the gentle lyricism of Sakamoto in one movement, the pulse-quickening action and suspense of Williams the next. The collection ends on the warm note of Youmi Kimura's gentle, neo-baroque song "Always with Me." While American feature animation scores have frequently been preoccupied with pop star career burnishing, Hisaishi has again reinvented and refined an instrumental language that powerfully evokes all the magic of Miyazaki's fantastic images. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. One Summer's Day
  2. A Road To Somewhere
  3. The Empty Restaurant
  4. Nightime Coming
  5. The Dragon Boy
  6. Sootballs
  7. Procession Of The Spirits
  8. Yubaba
  9. Bathhouse Morning
  10. Day Of The River
  11. It's Hard Work
  12. The Stink Spirit
  13. Sen's Courage
  14. The Bottomless Pit
  15. Kaonashi (No Face)
  16. The Sixth Station
  17. Yubaba's Panic
  18. The House At Swamp Bottom
  19. Reprise
  20. The Return
  21. Always With Me

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 10, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Milan Records
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • ASIN: B00006HCT7
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Spirited Away isn't the current #1 highest-grossing movie in Japan for no reason. It's exciting, gorgeous, and enchanting. It has beautiful animation, an imaginitive story... and a wonderful soundtrack. The intruige, danger, and love of the pieces breathes as much life into the film as the visuals do.

"One Summer's Day" starts it all, as Chihiro rides in the back of the car to her family's new home. It's a sweet melody, and it does sound like the theme for a lost child. It also introduces the beautiful theme of Spirited Away, with a soft piano and seldom string instruments. It ends with the fast-paced ride to the abandoned amusement park.

"Nighttime Coming" is very dramatic, and sympathetic as well. It's also awe-inspiring, as you feel the changes going on around Chihiro as the music plays and the scenery alters to that of the spirit world. This can't be told through the music, but similar themes seem woven into the piece.

"Dragon Boy" is simply magnificent, though I wonder if it should have been placed later in the soundtrack. Nonetheless, it is exciting and is exactly the type of music that truly represents Spirited Away.

"Sootballs" is a charming piece, if a bit long, but you can tell the struggle occuring in it, despite how happy and cute it sounds. "Procession of the Gods" is probably one of my favorite tracks, though perhaps only for its grandeur, as it sweeps with the serving of the spirits in the bathhouse, as well as remaining a type of simple Japanese rythm at the same time.

"Yubaba" is eerie and tense, and is easily distinguished as the villain's theme for the track, even if you haven't seen the movie. The slow, isolated piano plinks really establish the setting of the piece.
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Format: Audio CD
There is a common saying in Asia that goes like this: "The older the ginger, the spicier it gets." Basically it means that as people age, their output becomes more specialized.
That is the case with Hayao Miyazaki, and his longtime collaborator Joe Hisaishi. The movie "Spirited Away" has been considered Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece, an epic film that will be remembered as the centerpiece of Miyazaki's long and prosperous career. The same can be said about the film's score. It is too a masterpiece.
The purpose of a film score is to convey the mood of the particular sequence in the film. Nobody does this better than Hisaishi, and his score of "Spirited Away" is no exception. The music blends in so perfectly with the action that you hardly notice it, but you know that once it's gone, or replaced with punk rock, then the entire scene becomes completely different.
However, good scores don't just convey mood perfectly, but they must also be good enough to stand alone. This is where Hisaishi's score comes alive. Its opening song, "One Summer Day" (Ano Natsu He) begins with a tune that is slow and soft, yet powerful enough to coax tears from the emotional. Within two minutes, it has become almost a completely different tune. It is now fast and loud, yet still retains its harmony.
The remaining 20 pieces are all a pleasure to listen to. Even the most discordant pieces in the score (such as "The Bottomless Pit" [Sokonashi ana]) are wonderful to listen to. This is definitely one of the most underrated soundtracks of all time.
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Format: Audio CD
Joe Hisaishi has written the soundtracks to many of Miyazaki's films, but of them all, this is the best. It may have something to do with the fact that this movie is the best of them all, but something about it all makes this simply the best soundtrack and score I have ever encountered, not only of Miyazaki's film scores.

The movie starts out with "One Summer's Day", a soft, beautiful little opening, gentle and sweet. Afterwards comes "A Road to Somewhere", and it is with this piece that the slight creepiness of the movie sets in. "The Empty Restaurant" is even creepier and spookier. In it you can imagine everything that is going on in t he movie. It gives off a feeling of urgency and fear, which is fits the movie perfectly.

"Nighttime Coming" continues the creepy theme with the consistent beat at the beginning and then a tumble of notes that begin to show fear and panic. "The Dragon Boy" is a dramatic little piece that is quick and proud at the same time, lovely at times, loud at other times, and even slightly scary at some moments. "Sootballs" is a cute little thing, amusing and adorable. It fits the cute image of the sootballs perfectly with their slightly strange personalities but their overall adorable aspects. "Procession of the Spirits" is very dramatic, but a little boring at the beginning, though it fits the movie wonderfully. "Yubaba" is commanding and tough. "Bathhouse Morning" is a short transition piece, taking on aspects from other parts of the score.

"Day of the River" contains a recurring theme in the score. It is a lovely, gentle piece full of emotion, piano, and a soft orchestra. This is one of the best parts of the score, and is simply wonderful.
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