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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Revelation Lugia
The soundtrack to the second Pocket Monsters movie, Revelation Lugia, is a very unique beast. While the soundtrack for every other movie in this franchise has been a collection of the background music and theme songs used in the movies themselves, a large portion of the CD release of Revelation Lugia is made up of brand new songs created exclusively for the soundtrack.
Let’s take a look at the track list to see what I’m talking about.
We have eleven track totaling at about 33 minutes on a single CD. The soundtrack to the first movie, on the other hand, had 25 tracks and had a runtime of about 42 minutes. This is not including the hour-long Birth of Mewtwo radio drama.
So let's take a close look at what's on the CD. There's the opening theme, The Rivals, sung by Satoshi’s voice actor Matsumoto Rika and the ending theme, toi et moi, performed by Amuro Namie. So far, so good.
Next up we get background music…all six tracks of them. Some of the movie’s most memorable themes are in there – Gelardan’s Theme, Fleura’s Flute, etc. – but the overwhelming majority of the movie’s music score is missing. A lot of it will end up being used during pivotal moments in the TV series from Jouto all the way up into the Diamond & Pearl era and so it’s weird that it wouldn’t be included here. According to this excellent page over on the fansite PocketMonsters.net there's about 22 pieces of unreleased background music from the second movie alone. Twenty-two! Add to that all the unreleased music from the accompanying Pikachu short and you've this huge bank of music that, for one reason or another, never got any sort of official release.
But we do get three image songs so...yay? An image song, for those of you not familiar with the term, is basically the Japanese equivalent of when movie soundtracks in the West have those “songs inspired by the hit motion picture” banner plastered across the front cover. It's music that isn’t featured in the movie itself but is included on the soundtrack anyway to help fill out the CD and give record labels something to brag about. If you look at the North American soundtrack to Pokémon the First Movie you’ll see what I’m talking about: sure, songs like “Soda Pop” and “Somewhere, Someday” weren’t actually used in the movie but being able to say that you have pop megastars Britney Spears and N’SYNC on your movie’s soundtrack is a great way to drum up interest in your product.
In Revelation Lugia’s case, the image songs used are, at the very least, sung by the characters in the movie. The image songs included in this soundtrack are I Am a Collector by Gelardan (Kaga Takeshi), The Endless World by Fleura (Hiramatsu Akiko), and Because Everyone Was There by Satoshi (Matsumoto Rika).
…And that’s it.
So to sum it all up: we have an eleven track, 33 minute CD that’s missing a ton of background music but also has space taken up by random image songs. This had never been done before with this franchise and hasn’t been done in the nearly 20 years since. So what in the world is going on here?
Seriously, what the hell? Why did the people behind the soundtrack to Revelation Lugia fill it up with vocal songs that, while nice, seem to have taken the place of music that was actually used in the movie? Why wasn’t the rest of the background music ever released? Will we ever get a complete Revelation Lugia soundtrack?
There are a number of possible explanations. Maybe Japan was trying to imitate what the U.S. did with its soundtrack to Pokémon The First Movie by filling it with songs “inspired by the hit motion picture?” It is possible. Having Amuro Namie – who has often been described as “the Japanese Madonna” - perform the movie’s ending theme certainly seems like an attempt to give the soundtrack the same kind of pop appeal that the American soundtrack for the first movie had. “This is what the soundtracks to American movies are like,” I’m imagining Media Factory saying. “Let:s get the most pop-y person we can think of.”
It’s also possible that the movie producers saw that they had Kaga Takeshi at their disposal and decided to make use of him while they could. Mr. Kaga is known to most Westerners as Chairman Kaga on the TV series The Iron Chef but back in Japan he’s more well-known for his work with the Shiki Theater Company (劇団四季) which is in many ways the Japanese equivalent of Broadway. By 1999 he had starred in the Japanese versions of Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus Christ), West Side Story (Tony), and Les Miserables (Jean Valjean), among many others. And, well, if you have a musical theater superstar on your cast then why not use him?
I mean, they had Ichimura Masachika at their disposal the previous year but didn’t create any Mewtwo image songs for him to sing despite him being an even bigger name in the musical theater scene than Mr. Kaga was. Ichimura Masachika was King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar, Bernardo in West Side Story, Rum Tum Tugger in Cats, Erik in The Phantom of the Opera, the Engineer in Miss Saigon, and many, many more. But maybe that's the point? Maybe the producers of the movie saw Mr. Ichimura as a missed opportunity and didn’t want to squander Mr. Kaga the same way and so they made up a character image song to serve as an excuse to get Mr. Kaga back in front of a mic?
Hiramatsu Akiko, on the other hand, isn’t a musical theater star but I guess they figured if they’re going to do an image song for the movie’s antagonist then they might as well do one for the movie’s other major character.
The Matsumoto Rika song is interesting because we actually do know a little bit about what went on behind the scenes there. In 2011 Media Factory released The Best of Pokemon Songs Performed by Matsumoto Rika, a CD collecting all of the songs Matsumoto Rika had done for the franchise up to that point. The booklet that came along with the CD includes a section where Ms. Matsumoto reflects on each song and talks a little bit about their production. Here’s what she said about Because Everyone Was There, the image song from the second movie’s soundtrack.
So a conversation with the movie’s music producers resulted in the song being written specifically for the movie’ soundtrack? Sure, why not?
Meanwhile, over on the CD single for The Flying Pokemon Kids, there are two other songs not used in the actual movie itself: Mama’s Dear Pokemon and The Great Tree and Its Friends. That first one’s performed by Becky, the celebrity who also sings the Pikachu short’s ending theme, and is probably another case of “well, she’s already here, might as well get one more song out of her.” The CD also, predictably, has zero background music from the Pikachu short Pikachu’s Exploration Team.
Both Mama’s Dear Pokemon and Because Everyone Was There and would eventually be dusted off and used years later – the former in the late Jouto Pocket Monsters episode “The Twin Pupurin vs. Purin! The Singing Pokemon Concert!” and the latter in the Advanced Generation episode “The Forest of Kimori! Protect the Colossal Tree!” I Am a Collector and The Endless World have yet to appear in the TV series but I think it’s fairly obvious why they haven’t.
The soundtrack to Revelation Lugia is unique. The soundtrack to the next year’s movie won’t have any image songs on it and the rest of the movies’ soundtracks will focus mainly on the background music composed by Miyazaki Shinji. It's weird and I don't know why they made the decisions they did but let's all hope that one day they release a real, full soundtrack to the second Pocket Monsters movie.
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