The top seven Toei Metal Hero theme songs!
I've been wanting to write up this list for quite some time. Before I do so, I just want to get two things out of the way...
Why "Top Seven"? It's such a random number.
This originated from my Top Seven Super Sentai Theme Songs post from last year. It was easier to break it down into seven, and do it by era. 35/5=7 Seven just kinda stuck since then...
What shows do I consider Toei Metal Hero shows
Some people seem to think BF Kabuto was the final Metal Hero series. I go with Toei's official timeline, which concludes with Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack. Moero!! Robocon was a bumper series between Metal Hero and Kamen Rider. Make sense?
OK, here we go with the Top Seven...in order...!
7. Uchuu Keiji Gavan 1982
If you asked me to make this list a few years ago, this song would've been higher on it. For whatever reason, I've gotten quite tired of this theme song and Gavan himself recently... What could possibly have caused this sudden weariness...?
It's a cool tune that definitely reflects the time when it came out. 1982. Disco. I'm assuming Akira Kushida had a 'fro around the time he sang this song
OH, right the song!
It's definitely a well-made song that has somehow survived the sands of time...despite being totally dated. Then again, this seems to be the case with a lot of anime themes of the era. Kinnikuman, Space Cobra, Aura Battler Dunbine, Xabungle, etc. These songs all came out around the same time, and they all enjoy a cult following. Brass'n Bass. Yeahhhhh.
P.S. The French version is also magnifique.
6. Blue SWAT 1994
This song is actually quite lovely. For a show about impending doom ala alien invasion, True Dream definitely gives a false sense of security at the top of each episode. It has a nice beat and the singing is really good. It's a good song. So what if it doesn't exactly match the show that it's attached to...
5. Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya 1988
JI-RA-IYA, Jiraiya! After a few years absense from singing Metal Hero themes, Akira Kushida is back! This time, the afro is gone. This time, he's got...I'm guessing a Miami Vice motive going on. He definitely sang this song wearing loafers with no socks, a white Armani suit with a teal t-shirt on underneath. He probably also had some kind of terrifying haircut...
OH, right, the song!
I like how clean this song sounds. It was the first to adopt an almost 90s sound, without entirely ditching it's 80s-ness. Think of the two other shows airing when Jiraiya was new--the back half of Kamen Rider Black and Liveman. I guess I commend this song for sounding fresh in a sea of awesome 80s music. It does all of this while sounding great at the same time. This theme song is probably the first true action theme song in the Metal Hero show. Spielban came close, but it lacks a certain element...speaking of Spielban...
4. Jikuu Senshi Spielban 1986
Hell yes. I love Ichiro Mizuki...and who the hell doesn't?? This is his singular Metal Hero Opening theme outing, and it is FAN-BLEEDING-TASTIC. As I stated above, it isn't that great of a fight song, but it brings a new upbeat urgency element missing from the four previous Metal Hero opening theme songs. The bass sounds awesome in a completely different, yet somehow similar way to the Gavan theme song. It relies on it heavily, but uses it differently.
3. Jukou B-Fighter 1995
You knew this song would be on my list. Why wouldn't it be on my list? Why wouldn't it be on anybody's list? It's a complete 180 of Blue SWAT's theme song, and it kicks ASS. The most upbeat and fightinest song of the lot!
This is yet another case of a singer's only theme song being brilliant. In this case, it's Shinichi Ishihara. The man can do no wrong, and I've always been a big fan of his. He has such an amazing and robust voice and this song is one of the finest examples of his talent. No other singer could've pulled this one off as well as he did. Imagine Hironobu Kageyama oversinging it. Imagine Akira Kushida muddling through it. Imagine Takayuki Miyauchi undersinging it. Speaking of Takayuki Miyauchi...
2. Tokkei Winspector 1990
The first in the trio of "Rescue Police" Metal Hero shows brought in the first in a trio of theme songs by Takayuki Miyauchi. They're all great songs, but this one has always stood out as my favorite of the bunch. This song has a great mixture of good instrumentals, good singing, and the lack of kids that the Solbrain OP has. The Exceedraft theme is great, but it is also a little bland start to end.
So why does this one go all the way up to the number two spot?
MAYDAY MAYDAY S.O.S.! MAYDAY MAYDAY S.O.S.!
1. Kidou Keiji Jiban 1989
This... This song... It took everything I loved about the Jiraiya theme song and dragged it screaming back into the 80s. I can imagine what Akira Kushida looked like when he did it as well. He was wearing a black suit with white socks that was obscure by a long black wool trenchcoat. His face? Enormous aviators. His hair? A nightmare.
OH, right, the song!
This song rules. Back when I was only reviewing Sentai Changers, Jiban's badge was the first non-Sentai toy that I reviewed. Why? Because it plays the flippin' Jiban theme song! That was the entire reason. This song made me expand my horizons for the first time.
The song itself, start to finish, is fantastic. The long wind-up at the beginning of the song somehow made it completely intact in the TV Size version of the opening to accompany the narration. The slapbass definitely gave this song a very unique sound. I mean, it's easy to say THEME X sounds like THEME Y, but Jiban has no other sound alikes. It's completely peerless, and I love it.
I mentioned earlier that some of these slower paced theme songs don't make for great fightin' music. This theme song actually fits nicely though if you watch the show. Jiban is, for lack of a better term, Robocop. He is a robot that has a human form. So, he moves pretty slowly. It's as-if the showrunner for Jiban wrote down "Robot. 80s. Bass." and handed it to the composer. If that was the case, they succeeded.
Though this has nothing to do with my evaluation of the song, it is interesting to note that Akira Kushida's voice managed to get much more gravely in the Jiban era of songs. His voice has pretty much sounded this way since. Listen to the Jiraiya song collection, then listen to the Jiban song collection. The change might not be completely obvious...but it's definitely there!
Are you wondering what Akira Kushida looks like today? Here is a recent photo:
Take care of yourself...