The CD Collection -- Super Sentai Music Collections (1996-1997)
If you were a fan of music from Toei Tokusatsu shows in the mid-90s, you were having the best, or worst, time of your life. On one hand, Columbia went absolutely crazy with the amount of musical treasure they were releasing. On the other hand...these CDs were not cheap and were hitting stores fast and furious. This isn't like how they're putting out DVDs these day, it was an absolute flood. For perspective, here is a list of CD series that began in 1996 and ran into 1998...
-Toei Sentai Battle Music Collections (4 CDs)
-Toei Sentai Robo Battle Music Collections (4 CDs)
-Toei Sentai Heroine Music Collection (1 CD)
-Super Sentai Music Collection Series (19 CDs)
-Super Sentai Complete Song Collections (18 CDs)
...and there were also similar CD series for Kamen Rider, Metal Hero, and other hero shows! On top of these nostalgic releases, Carranger had a whopping 21 CDs released--Megaranger and Gingaman each had 10 CDs. Whatever fire was lit under the asses of the people at Columbia was being fueled by large piles of our money.
Today I am going to talk about probably the most sought after series of the Columbia releases listed above. I will be talking about the Sentai Music Collections! This series of CDs packaged together background music from every show whose music was either out of print or never released on CD. As you will see below, many of these CDs also featured unreleased music--a lot of which hasn't been released since.
Now...before I get into it, I just want to note how much of an investment these CDs are for the wise individuals who bought them new. The 2-Disc sets regularly sell for ¥10,000-¥25,000 depending on the series. That is a pretty decent turn-around considering they were ¥4,800 new. The earlier single-disc sets ran at a more reasonable ¥2,500 and can be found for about that price today...or less when it comes to shows like Goranger, JAKQ, Denjiman, Sunvulcan, or Goggle Five.
OH! Don't be fooled by the 2005-2007 ANIMEX 1200 releases of some of these CDs. I checked after some suspicions, and some of the priced-down re-releases are missing a lot of content on the CDs (notably Battle Fever J). If you're a crazy bastard like me, only the originals are worth getting. The misleading part is that they use similar covers to the 90s Music Collections. Be careful...
Some key terms: A "Bridge" is small piece of music that runs anywhere from 4-15 seconds. It's typically played during a reaction or revelation of some kind. Example: Burai is trapped in a cave an looks up to see a small opening where light is coming in, a short horn note is played. An "Eyecatch" is short piece of music that transitions the show to and from commercials. Eyecatch A plays the show into a commercial and Eyecatch B returns the show from the commercials. Instrumental versions of songs remove the vocals and replace them with an instrument of some kind--usually a horn, synthesizer, piano or guitar. TV size versions are short versions of theme songs that are usually what open and close the shows as you watch them on TV. Music collections typically open and close with TV Size versions while song collections open and close with the full sized versions. Oh, and a Song is a reference to a vocal song. I know that seems obvious, but some people can't tell the difference between music and songs.
One more...absolutely critical point. NO, I WILL NOT SEND YOU MP3s. The point of this article is to shed some light on these CDs since I can't imagine Columbia or Toei having these collections re-released or doing modern versions. It just seems impossible at this point. If you want the music, do what I did and buy the CDs.
After that long winded intro, let's get to it!
Himitsu Sentai Goranger Music Collection
Being the third CD released in this series (skip down to Battle Fever J for the first-Heh) it kept the tradition going of giving a lot of content and providing some previously unreleased gems. My favorite track on this disc has to be the S.E. Mix of the TV size opening theme song. The song itself is in stereo, but it has all of the awesome sound effects (MONO) mixed it. It isn't very distracting, either. I kinda wish they could've done this on every release in this series of CDs. Imagine the TV Size version of the Dairanger theme with the opening and closing sound effects? Awesome.
This CD is essential listening when it comes to Sentai or even Tokusatsu music. Joy of joys! This is the release that they reissued in 2005 for the ANIMEX1200 series of priced-down reissues. Very easy to find and definitely worth a grab.
JAKQ Dengekitai Music Collection
Lots of instrumental versions of vocal songs on this one. It's a good CD, but a little bit on the repetitive side. Fortunately the ANIMEX1200 re-release appears to have a similar tracklist...
Battle Fever J Music Collection
Weirdly this was the first CD released in this series. Maybe they put this out and then backtracked to accept Goranger and JAKQ as Super Sentai the same way Toei did a couple years earlier. Either way, they got off to a strange start. The cover art is the disco cartoon picture that was featured on the original (and incomplete) music vinyl from the 70s. This lead to confusion later on when the ANIMEX1200 CD was released in 2005 and used the same cover art.
This is the version to get. It features TV size versions and instrumentals that are featured on no other disc. As a starter for this series of CDs, it was a good one in giving a complete package. Just make sure you buy the one with the catalog code COCC-13211.
Denshi Sentai Denjiman Music Collection
This CD is heaps better than the original music collection. It features far more content than the original (and it's ANIMEX1200 re-issue).
That glorious Denjitiger theme.....it's just glorious.
Taiyo Sentai Sunvulcan Music Collection
A good CD. I...uhh...am not very familiar with the original release of the Music Collection in 1981, so I can't say if anything is missing or not. It seems complete!
Dai Sentai Goggle Five Music Collection
I was never a huge fan of Goggle Five or it's music. It's basically like listening to any soundtrack from the 70s, except in 1982. Dated, but decent I suppose.
Goggle Five does have my favorite Eyecatch of the 80s atleast. It's featured here.
Kagaku Sentai Dynaman Music Collection
I like the Dynaman music, but never realized just how little of it there seems to be. A good portion of this disc is instrumental versions of vocal songs. That isn't a horrible thing, but on a single disc it sure does take up a lot of real estate. I already have these songs with the lyrics they're meant to have on the Song Collection.
Good CD, but surprisingly rare.
Chodenshi Bioman Music Collection
This is one of the first major turning points for this series of CDs. Beginning with Bioman, and continuing on to most CDs after, there is a "prologue" track to capture your attention and ramp up the excitement to hearing the TV size opening theme song. The Bioman CD features the crazy drum rollcall music. I love that track so much. Setting the tone is what made these CDs appealing to me. Just diving right into the opening theme song doesn't really do anything to excite. It's just lame and expected.
The Bioman music, naturally, is awesome. I especially love the Biorobo music. There isn't too much in the way of Instrumental versions of songs if that's what you're into.
Great disc--right down to their choice of picture for the cover art.
Dengeki Sentai Changeman Music Collection
I love Changeman. I especially love the Changeman music. Naturally I should love this CD, but I just don't. They shoved 31 tracks on to one disc. The selections are very thorough, but the execution is woeful. There is no breathing room between tracks--everything just plays into the next piece. It's not Zyuranger Symphonic Fantasy bad, but it's pretty ugly.
I appreciate how packed this CD is, but I really feel as though they should have given it some more space to stretch it's legs on to another disc. I'm sure there was a little more content laying around that they could have used to fill up the space.
Oh, and they skipped the Prologue this time for some reason. Probably space. It starts off right with the TV size OP.
Choshinsei Flashman Music Collection (2-Disc)
Mercifully they switched this series of CDs to a 2-Disc format beginning with Flashman. On top of giving ample space for these tracks not to run over each other and have more content, there is a certain coolness about owning a brick of CDs over a single disc. Owning a tactile thing is way cooler than any download will ever be, but owning one of these sets goes beyond even that.
Flashman has some excellent music, so naturally this is an excellent set. Given how much space this set has, it is waaay more thorough than the vinyl from 1986 was. The prologue prior to the TV size OP is probably one of the best put together in this series. Jetman also has a great "prologue" track with "Aozora 360". Highly recommended set.
Hikari Sentai Maskman Music Collection Vol.1
For whatever reason the Maskman Music Collection was released after the Kakuranger Music Collection. Annoyingly it was also released in two volumes. No sexy brick of CDs!? Ugh! Why they were broken up AND released after Kakuranger leaves me very confused. Rights issue? Forgotten? What was going on?
Maskman was the first series to get the CD treatment in the 80s. Those discs were actually pretty decent in terms of content...but were missing a lot of bridges and alternate versions.
To add to the weirdness, the Maskman Music Collections can command absolutely astronomical prices. I've seen them go on auction for as much as $200 a volume. Some searching and waiting will bring you to a much more reasonable-ish price.
Hikari Sentai Maskman Music Collection Vol.2
Not much else to say about the rest of the Maskman music. The disc I own is actually a sample pressing that wasn't meant to be sold. The only differences are that a "Not For Sale" sticker covers the barcode and the disc has "SAMPLE" printed along the inner rim. Normally this would bother me, but I found this CD a while back for a pretty low price. Considering how rare the Maskman discs are, I just let it slide and welcomed it into my collection.
Chojuu Sentai Liveman Music Collection (2-Disc)
Contains a lot of bridge pieces that were missing from the original releases. You're going to see a lot of this going forward since all series after Flashman were given atleast two music collection releases during the run of the series.
Also, it's worth noting that the obi (or spine, or belt--the little paper thing that covers the CD case spine under the plastic wrapping when they're new) from the Turboranger set onward lists this show as "超獣戦士ライブマン" or "Chojuu Senshi Liveman". They sure were committed to this typo!
Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Music Collection (2-Disc)
Some good stuff here. A lot of the music missing from the original releases made it here. As I will mention later on, this set is worth a purchase if you're a Zyuranger fan as it borrows some music from this series.
Chikyu Sentai Fiveman Music Collection (2-Disc)
Nothing too exciting. There is a lot of nice bridge music here. I'm pretty bummed about a lot of missing music. The only Fiveman BGM I ever wanted was the wacky synth/bass tune that plays when they make their first appearance in the first episode. That was a pretty badass moment. The "Henshin" music from the second episode is also missing. I really liked that one too.
Good release in general, but a disappointment for CC. : [
Chojin Sentai Jetman Music Collection (2-Disc)
Jetman had *three* music collections released during it's run. There isn't much new on this set. It's also kind of a given that this is the easiest set to find. It's Jetman...yeah.
As I mentioned earlier, it opens with a great prologue.
Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger Music Collection (2-Disc)
This set is E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A-L if you are a Zyuranger fan. Prior to this, all we had were Symphonic Fantasy 1 and 2 and those CDs are AWFUL. I'm not sure what the thinking was behind those releases, but they were all we had before this set came along.
If I had to guess, the basic idea of the Symphonic Fantasy CDs was to release none of the music you wanted...mashed together in the sloppiest way imaginable. It would be like typing a sentence without being able to fini--ddenly you're on the next sentence. Fuck the Symphonic Fantasy CDs. Buy this set.
Missing tracks? Some instrumental tracks like Dragon Caesar no uta (we heard a little bit of it on the Zyuranger Super Action Sound CD) are missing. Any missing BGM can most likely be found on the Turboranger and Fiveman Music Collections since all three series were composed by Akihiko Yoshida.
Gosei Sentai Dairanger Music Collection (2-Disc)
These last two releases are a little weird.
Eiji Kawamura is my favorite Tokusatsu composer, so this set is right up my alley. There are plenty of little bridge pieces that never made it on to the previous releases along with bizarre alternate versions of some tracks. The subtitle music that plays in the first few episodes is also on here (it's sliiiiightly different--a little more upbeat from the common subtitle that was used for most of the series.).
The Daijinryu music isn't here, sadly. I'm not as well versed in classical music as I'd like to be...but is it possible that Daijinryu's music was sourced from outside of Eiji Kawamura's realm? It doesn't sound like his style...so maybe it's just licensed/stolen? Any help would be appreciated possibly identifying the music.
All-in-all a very important set--lots of little oddities.
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Music Collection (2-Disc)
Oh boy. I could write an entire article on this set. First I'll talk about the good...
This set is incredible. It is absolutely packed with previously unreleased music. It has a TON of bridge music (four tracks worth!). It has the full sized instrumental version of the ending song (which is probably my all-time favorite instrumental of any Sentai song) along with several other good instrumental versions ('Into Danger Kakuranger' is a great instrumental). There are some great unused and alternate versions of tracks. This set makes me all giddy when I hear it.
Missing stuff: The Nekomaru BGM track from the first music collection is completely missing. Instrumental versions of Junior's song and 'Kiai haku hatsu! Kakuranger' would've been nice since we heard them in the show. The correct version of the outgoing eyecatch would've been nice (the version on this set is missing percussion, the version on the Toei Sentai Heroine set is MONO/recorded off a TV but has the percussion). Some of Junior's guitar abuse would've been excellent. The horn version of the Tsubasamaru theme is also missing.
Bottom line: I love this set...but it really should've been three discs. So much incredible stuff included, but it could've been umm...incredibler! I'm just super picky because I know and love Kakuranger in unreasonable quantities.
That does it for that second chapter in my CD vault. I will be back next month with a blog about a topic of some sort. Probably a Top 7...who knows!