Welcome back to my never-ending series on my enormous CD collection. I like writing these posts on my CD collection because it gives me an opportunity to go back and not only listen to my CDs, but to give them some serious thought.
I am a bit short on time this week, so I will only be talking about six CDs instead of my usual eight hundred or so (maybe I should start shortening these CD posts, no?). The CDs I chose this week contain some properly rare material. Like Super Sentai and Kamen Rider, Metal Hero got the insane CD treatment in the mid 90s. Here is a list of some of the releases from the specialty CD series...
Toei Metal Hero Karaoke Collection (2 CDs)
Toei Metal Hero Battle Music Collection (4 CDs)
Toei Metal Hero BGM Collection (2 2-Disc Sets)
Toei Metal Hero Song Collection (4? ?-Disc Sets)
I don't very much care for the last two sets of releases since BGM and Song Collections are pretty common for Metal Hero shows (and something that I plan of covering extensively in the future). My main focus today are the Karaoke and Battle Music Collections, which are very rare.
Before I get into the meat of the content of these discs, I recommend reading my previous entries on Sentai Music Collections and Song Collections to get some of the lingo down. I really don't want to devote two extra paragraphs on the matter especially when I have to explain one quick thing before I get started...
I am a crazy person...but I have my limits. Normally I stay the hell away from former rental CDs and only buy CDs that were always in private hands. I was able to get all four of the Battle Music Collection CDs for a very low price (¥3200 for the four, not bad when each disc cost ¥2427 each when new) and a guarantee that all discs were in like-new condition from the seller.
Yes, CD rentals were a big thing in Japan. Typically the give-away is an unremoveable seal on the cover along with the obi (paper spine cover) being permanently attached to the CD case. Fortunitely in the case of my Battle Music Collection CDs, there are no seals attached to the covers--only the obi are attached to the cases. I own very, very few former rental CDs...but when I do it's usually because the deals were too good to pass up on lightly used discs.
Now on to the main event...
Toei Metal Hero Shudaika Karaoke Collection Vol. 1
I don't know what it is with these Karaoke CDs. Columbia put only a few of them out and didn't print many. The Sentai set that I talked about in my earlier post goes for ten times more than it's vocal counterpart and in the case of these Metal Hero discs...well they're even more rare.
As the cover would suggest, this CD contains Karaoke from Metal Hero shows spanning from Gavan to Jiraiya. The tracklist is divided in such a way that most of the series have three tracks a piece--the three tracks being the OP, ED and one IN song. Gavan gets two IN songs, while
Besides the lack of a Juspion IN song (hey, I like that Ginga no Tarzan song) my only real beef is with the second Spielban ED song Kesho da!. This track isn't Karaoke, rather it is the instrumental version of the song. I already had this issue with the Dynaman and Changeman Song Collections if you want to read further into why this is a problem.
Other than that...this is a great CD. Of the three main Toei franchises, Metal Hero Karaoke is very, very, VERY hard to come by. The series on this disc are particularly difficult since these are all shows that came out before they popularity of CDs and the CD Single.
Toei Metal Hero Shudaika Karaoke Collection Vol.2
The continuation of the Metal Hero Karaoke series begins with Jiban and ends with B-Fighter.
As I mentioned previously the advent of the CD Single made way for some Karaoke to be given some standard releases. The earliest CD Single to be given Karaoke was Exceedraft with Janperson and Blue SWAT also including Karaoke on their singles. Annoyingly the B-Fighter Shudaika single didn't have any Karaoke
So even though some shows had some Karaoke released, this CD is essential for any collector.
The layout is even more straight-forward than it was on the previous disc. There are three songs per show--OP, IN, and ED songs. There are some really good choices here like Gekisou! Rescue Machine from Winspector and Shutsugeki! Beet Machine from B-Fighter. I like Fighting Solmachine from Solbrain, but would have much rather preferred Rescue Action Kokoro wo sukue. I really, really wish they could have spread this into two discs to include even more gems, but it is what it is.
Toei Metal Hero Battle Music Collection Vol.1
I have a hard time explaining to some people what these "Battle Music Collection" CDs are. Basically they are comprised of leftover music that was left off of the Music Collections for whatever reason. A few times I have run into duplicate tracks (on this particular disc there are some tracks from Janperson and Blue SWAT that also appear on the regular music collections). I guess "Battle Music" sounds better that "Misplaced" or "Forgotten" or "Stuff We Didn't Find Very Interesting". Either way, these CDs are a nice companion piece to the regular Music Collections from each series.
With this CD, I am very familiar with the content from the original CDs. The Janperson, Blue SWAT, and B-Fighter music collections get regular play for me so I can say that this disc is an amazingly important addition to my collection. Seeing as the music collections for all three of these shows were done by Forte, it's no surprise that there is a lot of missing content. The Janperson and Blue SWAT CDs in particular lack instrumental versions of the vocal songs. This CD makes up for it by including short versions of a lot of instrumental songs from all three shows.
Of the four discs in this set, this one is hands down my favorite. It really ties the loose ends for all three shows.
Toei Metal Hero Battle Music Collection Vol.2
This CD covers Winspector, Solbrain and Excreedraft. When this CD was released...it was up there in importance with Vol. 1 in terms of unreleased goods. However, in 2007 all three shows were given very thorough and complete versions of their Music Collections. I will cover these CDs in the future along with the awful early 90s counterparts.
So in the late 90s, this was all very new and exclusive material...but today the only exclusive tracks are the short versions of the song instrumentals. The full size versions were all released in 2007.
Toei Metal Hero Battle Music Collection Vol.3
The same thing happened here that happened with Vol.2. All of the music here was new when this CD came out, but all of the Uchuu Keiji shows got the complete music collection treatment between 2003 and 2006. Again, there isn't a whole heap of unique content here anymore.
Toei Metal Hero Battle Music Collection Vol.4
OK, now Columbia is just trolling us. It's pretty clear that they planned on ending the series with this disc...but Juspion, Spielban, and Jiban? Right...
This CD is as important as the first volume in terms of exclusive content. None of the shows represented here got the complete music collection treatment in the '00s. My biggest issue has to do with the bizarre tracklist. Juspion has only six tracks with one of which being the episode preview music. Spielban has eight with most of them being instrumental short versions of songs. Jiban has a whopping thirteen, again the majority being short instrumentals plus TV size versions of the theme songs.
Yeah, there is NO consistency in the tracklist. This CD is truly made up of scraps...but also has a whiff of licensing issues or some other kind of problem. They really couldn't fit in some more Juspion content?
This is a pretty decent CD, though. It is a bit sloppy, but with modern software these tracks can be seemlessly blended into the music collections from which they came if you so desire.
So where does that leave Metalder and Jiraiya? Well, Metalder did get one of those awesome 2-Disc Music Collections in 2007 (again, I will be talking about all of these in the future) as well as an ANIMEX1200 version of the original 1987 CD in 2004. Jiraiya...poor Jiraiya. The only Jiraiya music we have ever gotten was released on the original 1988 soundtrack which was also given the ANIMEX1200 treatment in 2004. So it has a remaster, but hasn't had any new content in twenty six years.
So those are the special Metal Hero CDs from the 90s. Each of these CDs is proof that at times Toei and Columbia can work together to make sure that fans can get the full experience for the shows that they love. When I get around to talking to those 2-Disc sets that I alluded to, you'll see that even as recently as a few years ago they continue to give love to old shows.
Thanks for taking another peek into my world of CDs. I will be back soon with more!