Welcome to the latest installment of my ongoing series of blogs about my absurdly large Tokusatsu CD collection. This time I will be talking about, for the first time I believe, some CDs from the Superhero Chronicle series of CDs. In short, Columbia released all of the songs they could find from Sentai, Ultraman, Kamen Rider, and Metal Hero 3-discs at a time. Those ones didn't really interest me since I have all of those songs from various other CDs. These 70s and 80s Hero sets that they put out, however, had some genuine gems.
Since there are NINE CDs to talk about covering several shows...I might as well get into this as quickly as possible. Just remember, each show is represented by the full sized theme songs as well as any insert/image songs that were created.
COCX-32788-90 Superhero Chronicle Tokusatsu Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu I 1970s
Uchuenjin Gori [1~2] We kick things off with one of the most lyrically barebones opening themes ever. It really sets the framework for future theme songs from Godman and Greenman. Heh. Atleast the ending song is a little more absurd and memorable.
Spectreman [3~4] The Spectreman theme song proper is better than the opening from Uchuenjin Gori. The ending song also contains a fair bit of sound effects and weirdness, but kinda feels like the first of many ripoffs of the Ultraman theme song.
Suki! Suki! Majo Sensei [5~6] I'm all about the theme song to this show. It's incredbly sweet and done by a very young Mitsuko Horie in her first of many Tokusatsu theme song appearances. She also sings the ending song...which is a bit sleepy to be honest.
Mirrorman [7~10] Here comes the Ultraman sound alikes. Not entirely surprising, though, since Tsuburaya also produced Mirrorman. The SGM song is shockingly similar to many Ultraman songs. Yeah...kinda worn out here since this show is from 1971...and Ultraman and his music had been around for five years at this point.
Kaiketsu Lionmaru [11~16] This show has the first solid song collection on this set. The theme songs are very tight with some excellent instrumentals. In addition to Mitsuko Horie singing a song, Masato Shimon makes his first of many appearances in this collection.
Chojin Barom 1 [17~19] Ichiro Mizuki's first appearance in this collection and one of his finest. When it comes to classic 70s Tokusatsu themes this one is way up there. The ending song is almost as good, but a little more on the generic side with some similarities with the Kamen Rider V3 theme of all things (Barom 1 was first, BTW). Oh yeah, there is also a Christmas song. Why not?
Redman [20~21] The opening theme is a little dull. The ending theme is a lot dull. Have I ever mentioned that I'm not much of a fan of Masato Shimon?
Henshin Ninja Arashi [22~23] Another excellent and memorable theme song by Ichiro Mizuki. The ending song is a bit more generic.
Triple Fighter [1~3] Disc two begins with three very bland songs headed up by a bland theme song by the bland Masato Shimon.
Kinkyu Shirei 10-4 10-10 [4~5] These songs are pretty good. There isn't much to say about them outside of them being a little bit on the generic side. Atleast they're kinda upbeat-mellow.
Jinzoningen Kikaider [6~19] Not a fan. I don't really like Kikaider or the songs from it...and there are a lot of them. Now, because I DO have a soul...I have to admit that Hakaider's theme is pretty awesome.
Ike! Godman [20~21] As I mentioned before on the theme song from Uchuenjin Gori, this theme song is incredibly repetative. It is 85% "Oi! Godman!" and "S.O.S.!". Seriously...it's woefully bad. Atleast Ichiro Mizuki sings these themes. He does his best to save both of them, but they're both pretty bad. How did Toho let this happen?
Totsugeki Hyuman [22~23] I've always been a fan of the theme song. The ending song is pretty weak, though.
Iron King [1~2] The themes are pretty decent. Masato Shimon sings both.
Fireman [3~6] Now we're talking. The opening theme is definitely one of my favorites from the 70s. The horns are amazing and Masato Shimon does a great job. The rest of the songs are kinda forgettable...but the opening theme built up enough goodwill for the series.
Majin Hunter Mitsurugi [7~8] I dig these songs, but they're more on the forgettable side.
Jumborg Ace [9~12] Another Tsuburaya show with more rejected Ultraman songs. They were really getting desperate with the PAT theme.
Ryusei Ningen Zone [13~16] Or as it is more commonly known...Zone Fighter. Zone Fighter is Toho throwing their hat into the ring in this whole Henshin Hero business. In order to ensure it would be memorable they threw Godzilla into the mix. Anyway...the songs. They're pretty good. Toho definitely put some money into the production of these songs. They could have gotten some better singers, though.
Shirojishi Kamen [17~18] Not even Ichiro Mizuki could save the opening. The ending song is borderline irritating.
Robot Keiji [19~22] Again, not even Ichiro Mizuki could save the songs from this series. They aren't bad or anything, just bland.
SET SUMMARY: Well, there are quite a few memorable songs from some big name series on this set. When half of the content can be called "forgettable", that can be a problem. One could argue that everything sounds the same on this set, and I wouldn't hold it against them. Believe it or not but all of the shows represented on these three CDs aired between 1971 and 1973. All of these in two years. Should you give it a listen? Yes. It is essential listening if you think you'll enjoy travelling through the formative decade of Tokusatsu on television.
COCX-32854-56 Superhero Chronicle Tokusatsu Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu II 1970s
Fuun Lionmaru [1~4] More like Feeh Lionmaru. The Kaiketsu Lionmaru songs are much better. That said, there is a decent IN song by Mitsuko Horie and the ending song is pretty catchy.
Kikaider 01 [5~6] Again, not a fan of Kikaider or it's sequel...or reboot...(I liked the anime series from 2000 though. Being animated really lent to the story IMO). Yeah, two lame theme songs by Masato Shimon is all we got this time instead of the 823 songs the original series had.
Super Robot Red Baron [7~12] I've always liked the Red Baron theme which, unfortunitely, ended up completely overshadowed by the theme from it's sequel. More on that later. Anyway, the rest of the songs are pretty good and upbeat.
Inazuman [13~14] Masato Shimon sings the opening theme. As I mentioned on the previous set, I'm not really a fan of him...though he did put out a good song every once in awhile. This isn't one of them. For having such an cool suit AND name, you should have a killer theme song too. The ending song by Ichiro Mizuki is decent atleast.
Tetsujin Tiger Seven [15~16] Boring...and similar.
Ike! Greenman [17~19] On the last set I mentioned that there were some songs with some alarming repetativeness. This is the pinnacle. "Green Green Green Green Green Green Green Green Greenman! (Yeah!)". Actual lyrics. There are two other songs...but who cares about them when you have a so-bad-its-good opening theme song like that.
Denjin Zaborger [20~21] A rather generic set of theme songs by Masato Shimon.
Inazuman Flash [1~11] The sequel to Inazuman certainly got a much more memorable theme song than the original. The rest of the songs are pretty much done by Ichiro Mizuki and Koorogi '73. It's a pretty decent song collection which I would say has a similar sound to the Goranger song collection. Also worth noting that this is probably the closest release to '73 as Koorogi '73 got as these songs were done in early/mid 1974.
Inazuman  Another version of the original Inazuman theme song. This version is definitely better.
Saru no Gundan [13~14] I like the opening because it manages to be groovy and creepy. The ending is just sleepy, though.
Super Robot Mach Baron [15~16] The Mach Baron theme is up there as one of my all time favorite Tokusatsu theme songs. The guitar is nonstop and the beat is just catchy as hell. Even the ending song is great in all it's mellowness.
Ike! Ushiwaka Kotaro [17~18] Not bad. I prefer the groovy ending song, though.
Bouken Rockbat [19~20] Ehhh, these songs are a mix of goofy and bland.
Seigi no Symbol Condorman [21~22] Great way to end this disc. The Condorman theme song is excellent and incredibly catchy while managing to stand out quite well for it's time. The ending song is just...weird, though.
Shonen Tanteidan [1~4] These songs don't really leave much of an impression on my ears. They're all by Ichiro Mizuki.
Akumaizer 3 [5~11] You've probably heard the opening song to this one so I'll skip the part where I talk about how great it is. This is a short song collection featuring mostly songs by Ichiro Mizuki. It fits in well with the mid 70s.
Uchuu Tetsujin Kyodain [12~18] Finally...Finally! At long last we have Isao Sasaki on this collection! He sings all but two of the songs in this short song collection. Mitsuko Horie also sings a song here. All of the songs are pretty good.
The Kagestar [19~22] Three songs by Ichiro Mizuki. The opening theme, ending theme and first IN song are pretty upbeat while the second IN song is nice and mellow.
SET SUMMARY: I would say that this set is where things get a little better for Tokusatsu songs. There are less shows and more mini song collections. There are also a lot more memorable themes and songs in general. The timespan for these series goes from 1973-1976 and there is noticeable growth throughout the set.
COCX-32887-89 Superhero Chronicle Tokusatsu Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu III 1970s & 1980s
-Ninja Captor [1~6] I hate Ninja Captor. It is not the forgotten Sentai. It never was a Sentai series. It never will be a Sentai series. Just stop. I hate the OP. I don't like any of the other songs. I didn't care for the two episodes I saw. Let it go.
-Chojin Bibyun [7~8] Pretty solid theme songs. Isao Sasaki has the rare distinction of never really phoning it in.
-Kyoryu Tankentai Born Free [9~10] Nothing much to say about these. If you like name-checking dinosaurs, you might like these. *shrug*
-Enban Senso Bankid [11~16] Now we're talking! I love the songs from this series. The OP is pretty awesome. I would say that the songs from this show match the costumes pretty accurately.
-ProWrestle Hoshi Astekaiser [17~18] Don't let the.....awesome name fool you, these songs are pretty average compared to a lot of upbeat theme songs of the era. Actually, I take that back. Masato Shimon wasn't really the right choice for this one. It would've been alright in pretty much anyone else's hands. I do like that the theme song is called "C'mon! Astekaiser".
-Battle Hawk [19~20] Alright I guess. Meh. More average. I will say that the folksy-vibed ending song is definitely the better of the two.
-Kaiketsu Zubat [21~23] Just when you think this disc was going to end without any memorable shows...bam! Zubat! I love the Zubat theme songs. I can kinda do without the IN song, but I know this is a favorite of a lot of people. I've never been a huge fan of Hiroshi Miyauchi's singing...oh well. Atleast we got that rockin' Zubat theme one more time! Really, I would even say that the Zubat OP song is a strong contender for the best Tokusatsu theme song of the 70s. Future Top 7...?
-Kyoryu Daisenso Aizenborg [1~2] More Dinosaurs. More dinosaur name-checking...this time a little more obvious. Eh, nothing great here.
-Daitetsujin 17 [3~12] Remember how I said the Zubat theme was a strong contender for the top 70s theme song? Daitetsujin 17 is another strong contender. Right from the beginning, this song wins. The rest of the songs are pretty decent, it has a structure similar to Sentai and Rider song collections from the 70s. It's entirely Ichiro Mizuki and Koorogi '73 back when '73 wasn't that long ago.
Expect more on Daitetsujin 17 later when I review the 2-Disc Music Collection.
-Star Wolf [13~14] I looooove the Star Wolf OP. It's like a bigger sounding versions of "Let's Go!! Rider Kick!". The Ending song is also pretty damn cool, but the OP is where it's at.
-UFO Daisenso Tatakae! Red Tiger [15~17] I have to say, once this CD got over those damn Dinosaur songs that it started off with, it really got rolling. These songs are done by Isao Sasaki, so ofcourse they're tight.
-Spider-Man [18~19] I reaaaaaally don't like the theme song from this show. In terms of memorable theme songs from the 70s, this one IS, but for all the wrong reasons. It's as sloppy as the awful Ninja Captor OP, but has the stink of being the theme for your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Why couldn't they give Spider-Man the Zubat theme and let Hiroshi Miyauchi just belt out a V3 soundalike? Maybe it wouldn't scare off the average nerd who is curious about the one time the hottest Marvel property landed in Toei's lap. Oh well. I know some people actually like the songs from this adaptation, so I better can it.
Like with Daitetsujin 17 I have the seperate Music CD for Spider-man...so expect me to talk about this some more.
-Kyoryu Sentai Koseidon [20~21] Koseidon! Koseidon! Densetsu no senshi-tachi yo! Alright alright, that didn't happen... Despite these two songs being by Ichiro Mizuki, they aren't all that great. The ending is average and the OP is decent.
-Uchuu kara no Message [1~2] Ah yes, the glorious Ishinomori Star Wars ripoff. These songs are alright. Isao Sasaki on the first, so it isn't much of a surprise. The instrumental song is a nice groove.
-Gunbaron [3~4] "Gunbaron '77" is one of the funkiest theme songs ever. I love it. It was a very brave choice going with it when a lot of the other songs were all kinda similar. The ending is a bit more down to Earth, but makes good use of the "Gunbaron!" chants.
-Megaloman [5~6] Again, another friggin awesome opening song here with Megaloman. It starts off like it's going to be a knockoff of the Spider-Man OP, but it's so much more. That crazy guitar, the frantic bass...I love this OP. The ending song is a bit of a funk ballad, but not bad. Ichiro Mizuki on both songs.
-Bokura Yakyuu Tanteidan [7~8] Of the two songs the ending song, "I'm DANDY", is a little bit stronger but they're both pretty damn awesome. They're both pretty catchy. If you walk around saying "I am DANDY!" with the same conviction as the singer of Novela...you might find yourself under a giant net being dragged away by two guys dressed in white.
-Seiun Kamen Machineman [9~17] I've long been a fan of MoJo and the Machineman songs...and it was a long time in the making for us to finally get them all in good quality. In fact, this is the first CD release of ALL of the Machineman songs. A handful of them were released on a 4-Disc Compilation (more on that later), but for several years all we had was vinyl. Oh yes, there is even a song from Machiko Soga as Ballboy on here. I like the actress, but her songs tend to be...ugh. I almost prefer these songs over the Bioman songs. They're just a tad more slick...think of this really as the second Dynaman song collection.
One of the big reasons I decided to write this blog as my first blog of February is that, well, my pleading has finally been acknowledged! After years of wondering aloud why Columbia skipped Machineman in their ANIMEX1200 series of digitally remastered reissues, they did us one better. We are getting a 2-Disc Song & Music Collection for Machineman! They even got MoJo back to record a new version of the OP! I preordered it immediately. Expect a review soon!
-Kyodai Ken Bycrosser [18~21] Similar to the Machineman songs, the Bycrosser songs are truly forgotten gems of the 80s. I love all four songs, but the theme songs are definitely the more memorable of the four. My pleading for a CD of Machineman music usually included a plea for Bycrosser...hopefully that's next on the list after the Machineman set comes out.
SET SUMMARY: Of the three sets...hands down this is my favorite. It has the most variety. It has a longer timeframe with shows from 1976-1985. It has the widest range of musical styles. Most importantly it has the most amount of memorable songs. You have Ninja Captor, Bankid, Zubat, Spider-man, Daitetsujin 17, Megaloman, Machineman, and Bycrosser all on one set. This is when Tokusatsu songs started ditching those lousy march anthem songs and legit started getting good.
My only complaint about this set is that it is kinda missing some stuff. A year before this set came out, there was a four disc set of songs from various Tokusatsu shows. That set was a little more liberal in it's content since it didn't stick with just the 70s and 80s and didn't limit itself to Henshin/Giant Heroes as the sets I've reviewed here have. The previous set included songs from shows such as X Bomber, Tanzer 5, and the Japanese dub of Terrahawks. Those shows haven't had their themes released on CD since and this set was very limited. Not only that...all of those songs are excellent (I especially like the Terrahawks themes)! It sucks that they didn't fit the guidelines for the Superhero Chronicle sets, but atleast a friend of mine was able to supply these songs to me since there was no way I was tracking down that set. Yes, I have limits.
Well, there you have it. Nine CDs...reviewed. I plan on doing a review of the Heroine & Fantasy Superhero Chronicle along with the Robot Comedy set in the near future (took pictures already, so I guess it's next-ish if I don't review that Machineman set). Be sure to check out my CD/Music Page for more reading on other CDs that I've written about.