Anime Soundtrack Review: Princess Mononoke

The soundtrack for the Princess Mononoke anime film was released in North America by Milan Records in 1999. There are 32 tracks on the disc, and the soundtrack has a runtime for 59 minutes. Most of the tracks on this disc seem to run between one and three minutes in length; however, there are some pieces that are under a minute, and a couple of the tracks are four or five minutes in length.

Princess Mononoke
Publisher: Milan Records
Release Date: October 12, 1999

The majority of the songs that appear on this soundtrack album are pieces of score for the film that were composed by Joe Hisaishi. Two of the songs have vocals on them: “The Tatara Women Work Song” which is sung by the women as they work, and “Princess Mononoke Theme Song (Mononoke-Hime),” which is sung by Sasha Lazard. “Princess Mononoke Theme Song (Mononoke-Hime)” is sung in English, and I have to say that Sasha Lazard has quite a beautiful voice.

The tracks appear to be arranged in the order that they appear the film, and this type of arrangement makes sense. Personally when I listen to a soundtrack, I like hearing the songs in the order that they appeared in the film because it helps to recapture the experience of watching the film.

After being able to listen to these score pieces on their own without hearing the dialogue and sound effects from the film, it really hit me just how powerful and well-done these pieces are, and I especially like how some of the songs have such a sweeping feel to them. Musically, there’s also quite a variety of sounds spread throughout the disc, which helps to make this CD an enjoyable listening experience. Not only that, but many of the tracks are enjoyable to listen to in their own right. The pieces on this CD also work for being played in the background as you do other things. For this review, I focused on what was playing, and I could hear just how talented of a composer that Joe Hisaishi is. It’s no wonder that Hayao Miyazaki kept wanting to work with him on his films.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of liner notes, and there’s no credits for the musicians that played on the soundtrack or what instruments were utilized for creating the music that brought Princess Mononoke to life. There’s a few screenshots of scenes from the film, along with the lyrics for “Princess Mononoke Theme Song (Mononoke-Hime)” and a poem that was translated from Japanese into English.

Even with the minimal liner notes, I still think that the Princess Mononoke soundtrack was very well done. If you’re a fan of the Princess Mononoke film and its music, then this soundtrack is worth tracking down. Unfortunately, this CD is now out of print; however, the soundtrack is available for purchase at the iTunes store if you’re willing to buy music digitally.

I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the Princess Mononoke soundtrack CD that my older daughter owns.

Additional posts about Princess Mononoke:

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