Top 10 Favorite Songs from Movie Soundtracks: NUMBER 9
9. Fire Treasure – from The Castle of Cagliostro
For those of you who don’t know, The Castle of Cagliostro was the 2nd feature film in a long line of movies about the character Lupin the 3rd. And it undoubtedly is the most popular and well-known, even though originally it was almost universally shunned by the Lupin fan-base after its 1979 release. The film was also directed by the now world-famous Hayao Miyazaki, and was his first feature film as a Director.
There are literally hundreds of pieces of trivia that I could spill about this film and dozens of links and other blogs I could turn you to to learn more about it. Eventually it will get its own blog entry complete with everything I can find. But I think for the moment, talking about this song is a good way to tease it.
“Fire Treasure,” sometimes known as “Treasure of the Flame” or “Treasures of Time;” is the opening theme to The Castle of Cagliostro, and is the main theme for the rest of the film (appearing 4 times in total under different compositions). It was written and composed by Yuji Ohno, who wrote nearly 90% of all the music that appeared in the Lupin franchise over a 35 year period; and was the first of many original themes to Lupin films that either played over the opening or ending credits.
Now my experience with this song was a strange circumstance. The first time I tracked down the film and bought a copy of Manga Entertainment’s Special Edition, the song didn’t impress me. And as I watched the rest of the film, the whole story and execution didn’t impress me either. Essentially, I had been conditioned by having watched all of Miyazaki’s other films to the point that I couldn’t enjoy his first film in the same way. The production didn’t impress me, the story didn’t impress me, the scope didn’t impress me. Nothing felt like his other works, and so I was rather underwhelmed.
But, about 4 months later, I decided to give the movie another chance. And the instant I popped the disk back into the machine and pressed play, “Fire Treasure” came on… and I was taken aback by what I heard. This song, literally lifted me up on eagle’s wings. I was mesmerized. I had never heard anything so beautiful in all my life.
HOW in the Heck could I have not understood the beauty of this song the first time around? How is it possible that I didn’t absolutely love this song until I had waited half a year to give it another go? Frankly, I don’t think I’ll ever know. But the fact remains that this song was and still is gorgeous, and in a flash of ecstasy and revelation, the entirety of the film that followed was made all the more interesting for it.
Suddenly I loved this film. I understood what was going on. I found the humor quirky, I found the atmosphere and locations desirable, I found the artistry imaginative and creatively noteworthy, and I found the characters fun and relatable. Suddenly everything that I thought wasn’t like a Miyazaki movie, I finally understood was a Miyazaki movie. And The Castle of Cagliostro has now become my absolute favorite film of all time. Just look at my Top 50 Films page to see for yourself.
[This song is not available in the US from any downloadable sources. The only way to purchase it is to track down either the Lupin the 3rd: 1980 BGM Album, or the Limited Edition Castle of Cagliostro Soundtrack. You can sometimes find copies of these on Amazon or Ebay, but for a more stable source, here are links to each from CDJapan.co.jp]
Lupin the 3rd: 1980 BGM Album: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/COCX-34168
The Castle of Cagliostro: Limited Edition Soundtrack: http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/COCX-34169