Ever get really annoyed when you hear a tune in a show or movie only to find that it is nowhere to be found on the soundtrack? I feel your pain. Since I am a bit of a super sleuth by nature I enjoy scouring the corners of the internet for information about music. Imagine if I used my powers for good, eh? The internet has turned my childhood curiosities into cheap CD realities. Between friends I've made in the second-hand music trade and brilliant used sites like Amazon.jp and Yahoo! Japan Auctions I've been able to score several CDs for next to nothing.
Today I will be talking about some CDs I purchased because they contain songs that were featured in Tokusatsu shows, but not on their respective soundtracks.
Oh yeah, I recommend getting a niconico.jp account. I had to go there for a song. Might as well anyway...
Akiko Yanno "LOVE IS HERE"
Featured: Anata ni wa ienai (Can't Tell You) -- Shushutorian Ending Song
It's easy to say that a decade has a sound...but I think 1993 has a very unique sound on it's own...
Between 1989 and 1995 is was incredibly fashionable for a lot of Japanese artists to record in the United States, especially New York City. I can't tell you how many CDs I have that were recorded in the 'States from that era (I'm sure it'll come up again--possibly even in this entry). The CD in question this time is LOVE IS HERE by Akiko Yano which features the ending song from Shushutorian. I'm not exactly sure why it was chosen for Shushutorian, but the fact that it was released by Sony is probably what kept it off of the show's song collection.
This CD was probably the biggest shock of my non-soundtrack CD purchasing rampage. I got what I was expecting from a lot of the names you'll be seeing later on in this list, but I knew of Akiko Yano in name only. As it turns out, this CD is AMAZING. I bought it some time ago and I have listened to it practically every week since. I would be very cautious to avoid doing what I was doing for many years by judging this CD by the Shushutorian ending song. That track is easily the second weakest song on the disc (the weakest is an English track called SHENANDOAH).
Of all of the New York recorded Japanese albums I've heard this one makes the most sense. Akiko Yano is very much a talented jazz singer. Some very talented musicians were assembled to put this CD together. The result is an incredibly smooth album that I feel bad for not knowing about sooner.
Highly highly HIGHLY recommended. If you're a download doofus, good luck--you probably won't find it. I got a sealed copy for like 300yen and wish I paid more. I know I recommend things a lot, but I really REALLY mean it on this one.
Fumie Hosokawa "Nikonikonyannyan"
Featured: Kakuranger Episode 08
Whoever decided to put this song in Kakuranger is my comedic hero...and also probably a raging pervert.
A brief snip of this song showed up in Kakuranger after they were drugged and forced to dance by Yokai Bakeneko. The full song, as you can see on Youtube, is hilarious. Honestly it isn't bad as a song, either--quite catchy even. It's coupled with a song called Ubu Ubu Ubu which isn't very good. It is rounded out by the Karaoke version of the title track.
Featured: U.W.F. Puroresu Main Theme in Kakuranger Episode 09
With great annoyance I wasn't able to track down the CD likely used as the source for the music used in Episode 09 of Kakuranger. There are two versions of the U.W.F. theme song and this is the only disc I could find with the correct version. I'm quite glad I did find this one...and I'll get into why in a bit. The ninth episode of Kakuranger is a classic. The TV obsessed Jiraiya squares off with an equally TV obsessed Yokai Dorotabo. During their cage match, the two fight in various fighting styles. Ultimately they end up boxing each other, which is where this music can be heard.
The U.W.F. theme is pretty damn awesome (again, props to whoever was picking these songs) and this CD features that and a few other gems. There are eleven tracks, of which most of them are pretty good. I especially like the one called CHINA JUNK. Eagle eyed readers might notice two quintessential 80s soundtrack songs listed on the tracklist--both TRAINING MONTAGE and NO EASY WAY OUT are both from Rocky IV! Except...they aren't. There is something...different about the version of TRAINING MONTAGE on this disc. The main synth sounds like it may have been re-recorded. NO EASY WAY OUT is an instrumental version using the original music with new guitars laid over top. Wasn't part of the charm of that song the amazingly cheesy vocals? I can't drive the wheels off my car without the lyrics. NOTHING IS OVER! NOTHING! YOU JUST DON'T TURN IT OFF!... Ehh...uhhh.....sorry. I didn't even have a psychotic break to the right Stallone movie there.
I can't picture anyone running out to get this one. The U.W.F. theme is all over Youtube already. The only song I truly enjoy outside of that is CHINA JUNK. The rest sounds like lame looped video game menu music, but are still entertaining.
Seikima-II "Big Time Changes"
Featured: 1999 Secret Object in Kakuranger 16, Fiveman 41
>>>SONG VIDEO<<< >>>MUSIC VIDEO<<<
Seikima-II is one of those bands that you REALLY need to familiarize yourself with if you're a Tokusatsu fan. His Excellency Demon Kogure (former) / Demon Kakka (current) is a bona fide Tokusatsu fan and all around fantastic entertainer. While he has crossed paths with Tokusatsu a couple of times (the most recent being the song Forest of Rocks from one of those shitty Kamen Rider crossover turds that they keep pumping out) in his solo career, his band never officially did anything Tokusatsu-related outside of having a song featured in two series. 1999 Secret Object is the song, and it was featured in both Fiveman and Kakuranger.
In Fiveman, this song was featured in Episode 41. I really can't recommend watching all of Fiveman, but this episode was worth seeing only for it's use of this song. I won't give away too much, but I truly wonder if they had this song in mind when they wrote and filmed this episode. It truly saved the episode from being a complete filler waste.
Kakuranger 16 is the episode where Junior creates the Hana no Kunoichi gumi. In the process of doing this, his killer guitar abuse sounds VERY much like the killer guitar solo from the middle of 1999 Secret Object. If Toei somehow managed to get Demon Kogure to play Junior he would've lasted the entire series and it would've gone from being my favorite Sentai ever to my favorite thing ever. I take that back...since Kenichi Endo was pretty awesome as Junior. OH...even better... Demon Kogure as Daimaoh. Oh my god. WHY DIDN'T THIS HAPPEN??? If I may, I would like to rewrite the final scene of Kakuranger...
Demon Kogure (as he's being sealed): "You'll never escape...the end of the century!!"
Beats whatever the hell actually Daimaoh said...
Anyway, Big Time Changes is a great album. 1999 Secret Object and Earth Eater are my two favorites, but all of the songs excellent. All of the songs can be easily found on Youtube if you want to give them a little. Since it's a little more popular than a lot of the CDs I'm talking about in this entry, expect to pay a little more if you want to purchase the disc.
BTW, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Featured: GIMME YOUR LOVE -fukutsu no LOVE DRIVER- in Kakuranger 17
>>>SONG VIDEO<<< (The best I can find, sorry)
Episode 17, which is one of my favorites of the series, opens with Saizo driving his new-used car with this song blasting on the radio. It's brief, but worth noting since it's a pretty prominent song.
I really like GIMME YOUR LOVE, but the rest of the album is hit or miss. Kind of a bummer since I like B'z, but this is a case of that New York sound that I mentioned previously not working out too well. The songs aren't bad, but they certainly don't do enough to stick out from each other outside of GIMME YOUR LOVE.
trf "Hyper Mix III"
Featured: SAMUI YORU DAKARA (EURO-HOUSE MIX) in Kakuranger 17
>>>SONG VIDEO<<< (Sorry, could only find the Japanese version)
By the time their third remix album came out I think trf had been around for a bit over a year. Naturally they were quite popular, but they had their fair share of haters who thought they were pretty damn cheesy. I was one of them, but in the past few years I came around on them because my love of super-producer Tetsuya Komuro is too strong. Their smash single, Samui yoru dakara, was given an English-language house mix that ended up getting featured in Kakuranger.
Original Japanese-Language Single
If I may talk about the original song first...it's excellent. I think it's a song that even their haters can begrudgingly accept as a solid tune. It lacks the cheesiness of a lot of their other hits and just exists as everything you can want out of a pop song. I'm not sure why they decided to record an English version for their remix album, but they did. It's pretty enjoyable as well, but it doesn't top the original version.
So yeah, the remix version ended up in Kakuranger. Yokai Amikiri was dancing it up to this song in the Yokai layer before Junior rudely interrupted with the brat that he kidnapped. I take it Junior isn't a trf fan. Heh.
The rest of the album is pretty good. I prefer the remix of World Groove on this album over the tacky original version. This is very much a 90s dance album...so check it out if that's your thing.
Takako Okamura "Kokoro no Sogen"
Featured: Kokoro no Sogen in Kakuranger 18
I honestly don't know too much about the singer, but she has a pretty voice. Her song Kokoro no Sogen was featured during the montage of Jiraiya and some children having a fun day with Yokai Zashiki-warashi. It's a very fitting song for the charming moment before all hell breaks loose that resulted in Jiraiya's empty grudge against Junior.
This song is coupled with another song called Kiss on the CD Single. It's another nice mellow song. Seriously, these have to be two of the least offensive songs I've ever heard on one CD. It's still rather enjoyable. It's kinda funny that only a few episodes earlier Junior was summoning his new minions using the rock of Seikima-II.
KYOKO Sound Laboratory "See You Again"
Featured: See You Again, The Unused Ohranger Ending Theme Song
>>>SONG VIDEO<<< (Both versions, uploaded by me)
I have gone through the tragic story of this song before...but maybe it was a little incomplete at the time. I have since found all of the KYOKO Sound Laboratory CDs that I had in storage...and I even managed to find that Hakaider CD Single that I was missing for sale at a decent price. Anyway, so yeah...there is a little bit more to the story. I recommend checking out my previous entry about it before continuing, though, if you want this to make sense.
1993 Single Version
The song See You Again originated in 1993 as Kyoko's debut single with a slightly more rockish/bizarre version. The original was featured on atleast four CDs, so it is actually a little more common. The song was re-recorded with a much cleaner and, frankly, better music track for the 1995 album of the same name. I genuinely think the only reason this song was re-recorded was so that it could be featured as the Ohranger ending song. It sounds like an ending song much more than the original version did.
Again, there is a lot of speculation on what in the world happened to prevent See You Again from being the Ohranger Ending Song, but atleast we did get this album before Forte rightfully imploded in on itself.
Kyoko might not be for everyone, but I enjoy her offbeat style and skillful use of harmonizing. This album is kind of an jazzy evolution of that "1993 Sound" that I mentioned earlier in this entry. It is a pretty good reflection of how music in the mid 90s was starting to become light-hearted once again. I know this doesn't mean too much to anyone who doesn't follow old JPOP, but holy damn the music didn't have much of a pulse as if they were ashamed of how bubbly and fun 80s JPOP was.
Stand out tracks on this album are both versions of See You Again along with minor hit ASKA and Electric Love. This is a very enjoyable album, though. A lot of the CDs on this list are for the hardcore collector, but I think this one deserves to be in a smaller collection given it's strange place in Tokusatsu history.
As a special treat for this song...I made a little video featuring both versions since they're very hard to come by. So click on the video link to check out both the 1993 and 1995 versions of See You Again.
trf "Overnight Sensation~jidai wa anata ni yudane teru~"
Featured: Overnight Sensation in Ohranger 21
I kinda took the piss out of trf when I talked about their song that was used in Kakuranger 17. I kinda stand by that...I mean, if you have a group of five and three of those five members are primarily dancers... Yeah, cheesy. On the otherhand, they did sell a lot of records for two very good reasons. Yu-ki is a great singer (She did the Kamen Rider Kabuto OP NEXT LEVEL if you're into that) and Tetsuya Komuro is a genius producer. Hell, trf stands for "TK Rave Factory"...which is fantastic job security for TK if you name another group after yourself.
This song is probably my go to trf track. It's a lot of fun and is probably one of the finest produced songs of Tetsuya Komuro's career. The single also features an extended mix of the song as well as the Karaoke version. It is also featured on the album dAnce to positive, which I have...but don't feel like talking about (I realize this post is getting long...)
As for it's placement in Ohranger... This song is so groovy that Ohrangerrobo and Red Puncher were dancing to it. Enough Said.
Namie Amuro "Body Feels EXIT"
Featured: Body Feels EXIT in Ohranger 45
Another Tetsuya Komuro produced megahit made it's way into Ohranger. This one I'm less of a fan of, but it's certainly memorable. I never got into Namie Amuro much, so that explains that. Actually I do like this song alright, and probably would like it better if it weren't for that herky-jerky drumbeat. The extended mix that is included on this single kinda remedies that, but that sounds a little bare for some reason. Also included on the single is the Karaoke version and the FKB Mix (which you can actually make out Komuro's backing vocals pretty clearly).
It was in Ohranger...episode 45 apparently. I legit don't remember the end of Ohranger very well, but I remember hearing this tune somewhere near the end.
Well there we have it. This ended up being an enormous post, so I thank you kindly for reading it. I hope I was able to solve a few mysteries in case you've seen these shows and wondered what the songs were. I still have plenty more CDs of this variety and I'm still looking to solve a few mysteries of my own. Do you know the songs featured in Kakuranger 37? I'm looking for those...and have hit nothing but dead ends.
If you know of any more songs that were featured in a Tokusatsu show, let me know. I have a bunch more...but you may have discovered something I didn't to yet. Leave a comment or shoot me a tweet.
Be sure to check out my Music/CD Page for more articles like this.
See ya next time!