City Hunter 3: Original Animation Soundtrack
Epic/Sony ESCB1019
1 Dec 1989
58:09 (10 tracks)

One of the things that has always made City Hunter so appealing is its music, a fusion of pop and jazz. The soundtrack for City Hunter 3 is no exception. The disc opens with "Running to Horizon," performed by Komuro Tetsuya (who was a member of TM network before striking out on a solo career), and captures the energy of the City Hunter show, even if the vocal does seem a bit ragged.

Another trademark of City Hunter is the use of songs with English lyrics that don't sound like they were written by a random word generator. The lyrics make sense (most of the time, anyway) and are sometimes quite powerful. Such is the case with "Forever in My Heart," a slow love song that avoids being overly saccharine. A more melodramatic song is, "Midnight Rain," which is sung a capella by ANIMA; the absence of instrumentation lends an almost palpable quality to the pathos of this song.

But my favorite song on this disc is, "Just Like Magic," performed by Red Monster. I like this song not for any great artistic reason or lyric content, but because it is a really good dance tune. In fact, some of my friends refused to believe that this was performed by a Japanese group, since the English is so good and it doesn't sound like J-Pop at all.

One unusual thing about this disc is the lack of instrumentals. Most soundtracks, especially lately, seem to have more BGM and fewer vocals. "Requiem" is the only instrumental on this track, but it is, quite simply, amazing. The track is ushered in by a solo piano, but it is gradually joined by the rest of a jazz/blues ensemble.

Wrapping up this CD is the ending theme, "Atsuku Naretara" ("If it Gets Hot"), which is one of the slower songs on the album. The performer, Suzuki Kiyomi, does not have a high, soprano voice, and the tone of her voice and ability to sing a strong vocal make this song one of the better tracks.

This CD is one which offers variety in emotion, song style, and vocalists. And, since only the opening and ending themes appear on another CD (City Hunter Dramatic Master II), it is well worth the money.

-- Charles McCarter