Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 July 07 • Monday

Soundtrack of the Week #326 is Takayuki Hattori's music for the Japanese TV show Hero.

I loved this show! Like two of my other favorites, Bayside Shakedown and Gokusen, it's about a corrupt or ineffective institution that's infiltrated by a noble rebel. The rebel doesn't fit in, tries to reform the system, succeeds and is exiled.

In Bayside Shakedown the hero was a disillusioned white-collar worker who joins the police force out of a desire to help others. He's easy to spot because of his green army jacket. In Gokusen the rebel was an idealistic young woman who realizes her dream of being a teacher only to get handed the worst class in the school, filled with violent delinquents, She's easy to spot because of her red track suit.

Hero is about an idealistic young man who joins a law firm. He sticks out because of his hair and his clothes but wins cases through a combination of intelligence, legal acumen and, of course, hard work, honesty and sincerity. He's easy to spot too.

It was a really great drama, well written and expertly photographed. They should be showing this kind of stuff in film schools as an example of what you can do with a low budget, unforgiving lighting and a decent digital camera.

Like other Japanese dramas, each episode has a handful of cues, for certain characters and situations. The theme music is very peppy and cheerful, with a 1980s sort of feel to it. The rest of the music borrows from jazz, classical, dance music, whatever. They're great miniatures. Often pieces of surpisingly intense rhythms, such as the "Emergency" cue. And of course there are many very sweet pieces because it's a very sweet show (though very satisfying).