2015/11/01

The CD Collection -- Ultraman Complete Songs Box + 2 Bonus CDs



I am back to finish out a double-header of CD Collection Posts! This time I am finally breaking into a small portion of the 8,749 largely uninteresting Ultraman CDs that I own. In this post I will be talking about a massive box set, a novelty Christmas-themed album, and a brand new release. So here we go~!

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Ultraman Complete Song Collection
COCX-30717-21
1999.12.18

DISC 1

Ultra Q [1~7] What better place to start than the beginning? The first seven tracks are made up of all versions of the three songs from Ultra Q. The three Ultra Q songs that do exist are quite good actually. I especially love the instrumental theme song. There is a certain charm here that I know will wear out as the years and Ultra series wear on. Regardless, the Ultra Q section on this disc is probably my favorite and an easy one to revisit.

I should note that the first track of each TV series begins with the brief "Main Title" music that plays before the theme song starts.

Ultraman [8~16] You've all heard the Ultraman theme song. Have you heard all three versions included on this disc? Other tracks include two versions of Tokusou tai no uta, and three versions of the song Susume! Ultraman. Couple those eight songs with the "Main Title" and you have all nine original Ultraman songs.

I like the Ultraman theme song...who doesn't? Could I live a full life without ever hearing it again? Sure, but it doesn't mean I don't like it. The other songs are pretty bland, however. Naturally the only two tracks that get regular play from me are the Main Title and the theme song.

Ultraseven [17~24] Ultraseven has a similarly limited song collection as Ultraman. Of the eight tracks, half of them are different versions of the theme song. One is the Main Title, and the other three songs are ULTRA SEVEN, Ultra keibitai no uta, and Ultra shonen no uta.

Of all of the songs here I would have to say that ULTRA SEVEN is my favorite. It has some excellent horn work on display rather than being shoved in the background as it is on most of these songs. The jazzier/reworked version of the theme song isn't bad either.

Kaettekita Ultraman [25~33] Ultraman may have moved on to the 1970s, but the sound really didn't change much. Ultraman Jack is probably the first to receive a proper song collection. It isn't bad, either. After Ultra Q, this series probably gets the most play for me.

Stand out tracks to me are the Main Title, which is one of my top three favorite Ultraman Main Titles, the theme song, and Tatakae! Ultraman (which is probably the first legit action song in an Ultraman series).



DISC 2

Ultraman Ace [1~8] I really don't have much to say about the Ultraman A song collection. Like previous song collections, there are some duplicate tracks. This is probably one of the most boring Ultraman song collections, though. It's one of the lousier theme songs of the series. The rest are just incredibly bland.

Ultraman Taro [9~15] I wrote a Top 7 of Ultraman theme songs quite some time ago. If it were a Top 8 list, the theme for Ultraman Taro would be on it. Great song, but I stand by my list (pretty damn solid...even three years later). The covers are also pretty good. One of which is sung by Gentaro Takahashi, who would go on to sing the Bycrosser theme songs...and expertly belt this out on TV.

The rest of the Taro songs are...alright I suppose.

Ultraman Leo [16~22] Back to my Top 7 of Ultraman themes...the first Leo theme song was present and very much deserves to be there. The Leo theme song is so, SO good. I love it. The second theme song is also decent, but not nearly as good as the original. There are also covers of both theme songs by Masato Shimon.

I'm sorry if I'm kinda breezing through all of these 70s Ultraman song collections, but there really isn't much to say about such bland songs with little variety (so many duplicates). The MAC theme is good, but the rest don't have much to offer.

Ultraseven (Hawaii) [23~24] English covers of the Ultraseven theme song and the song ULTRA SEVEN (called ULTRA-7 here). Holy crap... Masato Shimon's English is awful. Mercifully his English is much improved by the time Gingaman happened.

Jissouji Akio Kantoku Sakuhin Ultraman [25~26] Two songs for this feature. The first is a very good cover of the original Ultraman theme song by Isao Sasaki. The second is Disco Ultraman, which is fun...but nowhere near as good as...

Disco Ultraseven [27] I love Disco Ultraseven. I love it so much. Shake your booty now. (I wrote about it previously)

Ultra6 Kyodai tai Kaiju Gundan [28] Theme song to the film. It's not very good...but not as bad as the resulting mess by a bunch of goons known as Chaiyo...

DISC 3

Ultraman Kaiju Daikessen [1~2] Two songs from Ichiro Mizuki as themes for this feature. Ultra ai no kane is my favorite of the two. Ultraman Monogatari is the second and slower song. It has some lashings of nostalgia, but is a bit on the dull side.

TheUltraman [3~13] Amazingly this is the first legitimate song collection for an Ultraman series...and it belongs to the anime. I watched a handful of episodes from this series some time ago. It's pretty good, especially if you dig that late 70s anime style.

Anyway...the songs. Referring back to my Top 7 of themes, I stand by my decision to include this one. A fantastic theme song by Isao Sasaki (who largely dominates this song collection). The song collection itself is great. I wouldn't say it's as strong as the Skyrider song collection of the same year, but it's certainly better than the nothing we got from the disappointing Battle Fever J song collection. There are a couple of snoozers, but the good songs on here are very good. And hey, there is even a song by Mitsuko Horie.

Ultraman 80 [14~19] 80! I love everything about the small section of space the Ultraman 80 songs take up in this box set. First off, the first opening theme song is one of my favorite Tokusatsu theme songs ever (it topped my Ultraman Top 7...spoilers). The second theme is also excellent...as are both ending songs. The IN song is just...alright, but a bit on the bland side. The Main Title is easily my favorite of the bunch. I love everything about the Ultraman 80 song collection.

Ahhhhhh! He came to us from a star~!

It should be noted...all but the IN song are by TALIZMAN, whose singer Harley Kimura later did songs for Uchuu Keiji Gavan.

Ultraman Zoffy: Ultra no Senshi VS Daikaiju Gundan [20] Just the theme song for this feature. ZZZ

Ultraman Kids M.78 hoshi no yu kaina nakama [21~22] Two songs from the 1984 Ultraman Kids feature. I will talk about these a bit more below in my review of the Ultraman Kids Music Collection.

DISC 4

Ultraman Monogatari [1~2] The theme songs from Ultraman Story. Both of them are by Ichiro Mizuki...and aren't all that great. They both feature this pretty weak drumbeat. These aren't very good, I would just move along.

Ultraman Kids no kotozawa monogatari [3] TV version of the theme Kids no chachacha. I explain more in the Ultraman Kids CD review below.

Ultraman USA [4~5] Making his Tokusatsu debut--it's Shinichi Ishihara. Well...it's kinda Tokusatsu. I'm counting it (!). Ultraman USA was an animated feature (by Hanna-Barbera no less!) that kinda came in went for good reason. It was pretty lame. The only saving grace were the two awesome songs we got from Ishihara. I didn't realize it until much later, but Koorogi '73 are also on these songs. Kinda surprising since they're usually pretty distinct when they show up.

Ultraman Great [6~11] Oh man. Everything about the Ultraman Great song collection is delightfully cheesy. The theme song literally features duh-duh-duh-dah-da-dah! Charge! (minus the "charge!"). The other songs are just as weird...but two in particular stick out...

The tracks THE EARTH IT'S HURTIN' and ULTRAMAN are both English versions of two other IM songs found on the Ultraman Great song collection. They're both sung by Jay Hackett. The song ULTRAMAN is exceedingly awesome in it's terribleness. Have a look for yourself. The best part about that song is that it was apparently used as the opening song in some versions of the series. I know I previously wrote about English-version songs in Tokusatsu...and I intentionally left this one out. Since Great/G/Toward The Future is an Australian production, there is valid reason for there to be English songs included.


Ultraman Kids haha o tazunete 3000-man konen [12~19] I talk about the themes to this show below in my Ultraman Kids CD Set review. What I don't talk about below are the five image songs that the set didn't bother including. Honestly, it's five pretty boring songs. One of which, however, is a duet called Day by Day~otonaninattara featuring Shinichi Ishihara, which is nice.



DISC 5

ULTRAMAN -LOVE FOR CHILDREN [1] *ahem*

TSUBURAYA PRODUCTION HISTORY OF MUSIC [2-5] A group of songs that are exclusive to the MASSIVE 15-Disc CD set that was released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Tsuburaya Pro.

All songs are by Ichiro Mizuki with Satsuki Tsuburaya joining him on the final track. The only weak song is Zoffy no Ballad. Rule of thumb...if any song has anything to do with Zoffy, it's going to suck.

Ultraman VS Kamen Rider [6~7] Hell yeah! These are the two songs from the 1993 TV special with Ultraman and Kamen Rider. Both songs are by Hironobu Kageyama. Both are fantastic songs, but I kinda prefer the low-key IN song over the crazy ending song. Hironobu Kageyama used to be a crazy talented singer...

Image Song [8] I love how this is just given the title "Image Song" in the track list. It is a song called Bokutachi wa minna Ultraman datta by Akihiko Sawaki. It is a bit of a forgotten ballad from the 90s. It really isn't too bad to be perfectly honest.

Ultraman Powered [9~10] Now... These aren't THE Ultraman Powered theme songs. These are the Columbia covers. This basically means that Columbia didn't want to spend the cash on licensing the real versions of the theme songs, so they commissioned one of their artists to do cover versions. In this case we got Shinichi Ishihara!

To be honest...he might not have been the best fit for these covers. He is more at home singing the B-Fighter, Gogo Five, or Kamen Rider Agito theme songs. They're perfectly fine covers, but I really prefer the originals by Tatsuya Maeda.

Ultraman Neos [11~12] Same as before. These are also Columbia Cover Versions of the Ultraman Neos songs. Once again, these are by Shinichi Ishihara. These songs are a little more form-fitting to his style than the Powered songs.

Ultraman Tiga [13~14] Once again, Columbia Cover Versions. This time around we have Tatsuya Maeda (!) and Naoto Fuuga (!) joining Shinichi Ishihara on the cover of TAKE ME HIGHER (which is easily the best version of the song out there) and a duet of Ichiro Mizuki (!) and Takayuki Miyauchi (!) singing Brave Love, TIGA. Off the top of my head, these tracks are the only time any of these gents worked together. They really went all out to make these versions memorable.

In all seriousness, these are the definitive versions of both songs. There are seemingly endless covers of TAKE ME HIGHER...and this is the easiest on the ears by far. Boy band...or established singers...? You decide. The cover of Brave Love, TIGA is just an all around better production.

Both original versions of the Tiga themes are related to TM Network...and yet...I hate them so much...

Ultraman Dyna [15] Columbia cover of the Dyna OP by Masaaki Endo. It's great...but I have to prefer the original by Tatsuya Maeda.

Ultraman Gaia [16] Columbia cover by Masaaki Endo & Takayuki Miyauchi. Man, they really got all of my favorites together for these covers, which were exclusive to this box set when it was released. I'm a little divided on this one. I think I prefer the production on the original by Masayuki Tanaka (Kamen Rider Kuuga), but this is still an excellent cover of a great theme song.

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SET SUMMARY: I can finally talk about this set as a package!


This set contains five individually cased CDs, a large booklet containing lyrics and other information, and a small battery-operated Ultraman timer that can be linked to a Nokia cellphone of the era. All of this is packaged up in a very sturdy cardboard box.



Naturally the timer has very little use to me or my iPhone, so why don't I just move on to the CDs (it's a neat concept at least!).


None of the discs come with booklets or covers of any kind. They're just jewel cases with back covers to provide tracklists. They probably could have been a little more efficient in their packaging by, perhaps, using a larger hinged jewel case (I have CD sets like this that contain six discs in a very compact package). In the end, though, this is a hefty set with a lot of content.

Speaking of content...uhhh...this set isn't anything new. In 1996 Columbia released pretty much all of the content of this set over six discs. Why six discs instead of five? Well, they included Karaoke tracks of all of the theme songs at the end of each volume! Now, I'm not rushing to get all of these volumes since they're quite rare and don't strike me as being essential to my collection. I do have half of them, however. Mainly, these are the ones I wanted due to their coverage.



I will probably end up with the rest over time (holding out for good deals)...but don't expect me to write anything about them. They literally have the exact same track list as the 5-CD Box minus all of the Columbia Covers on Disc 5



Overall...a good set. Things really don't pick up for me until Disco Ultraseven, but you might enjoy classic Ultraman songs a bit more than I do. Every once in awhile I see this set go for a reasonable price. Or you could go the Superhero Chronicle route, which does have even more content...


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Ultraman Christmas Song & Story
COCX-35863
2009.11.04



I was about halfway through the seventh (of eight) tracks and I damn near wrote this entire disc off in a spectacularly profane fashion. Then.......I got to track 8. All was forgiven.

As one would expect, this is a Christmas flavored disc made up mostly of cover theme songs (Mebius, Ultraseven, Ultraman) as well as traditional Christmas standards (Santa Claus is coming to town, Jingle Bells, Rudolph). Track seven is a fifteen-minute story in which Ultraman (they got Susumu Kurobe to come in and lend his iconic voice, which was nice) saves Christmas from Baltan. Basically, this is like Merry Xmas! from Carranger.....but not great. Terrible, in fact.


Track 8, though. Holy cow. It is basically a medley made up of manipulated soundbites of Baltan, Ultraman, Ultraseven, and Ultraman 80. I really wish I could put this one on Youtube to share...because it has to be heard to believed. Here is a not-great taste of what it's like. The full version of the song is absolutely bonkers... Really, it turned this dud of a purchase around into...just breaking even (I only spent like $6 total on this disc...heh).


Oh yeah, and I have to admit that the artwork is pretty cool.

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Ultraman Kids Music Collection
COCX-39298-99
2015.10.21



DISC 1

Ultraman Kids M7.8 hoshi no yu kaina nakama [1~9] The first nine tracks from this disc are made up with music from the 1984 debut Ultraman Kids theatrical film. Composing the score to this film is recently fired Kamen Rider composer Shunsuke Kikuchi. Tracks 2 and 9 are the Movie Size and Movie Full Version (respectively) of the Ultraman Kids theme song Kids no chachacha sung by Kyoko Yamada. Track 6 is the Movie Size version of the song Nakayoshi Piguko to Midorichan by Kumiko Osugi. There isn't a whole lot to say about this honestly. Since it's the score of a feature--there isn't a whole lot to it.

Ultraman Kids no kotowaza monogatari [10~34] The same players are back for the 26-episode (24 aired) 1986 TV anime series for Ultraman Kids. A new version of Kids no chachacha (Track 10-TV Size, 28-TV Version Full, 30-Karaoke With Chorus, 31-Karaoke No Chorus) by Kyoko Yamada and Full and Karaoke versions of Nakayoshi Piguko to Midorichan (tracks 29 and 32 respectively). Both songs are pretty nice, but not especially memorable. As always, it is very nice to have all versions of them in one place. Oh, and I suppose it's worth mentioning that the only difference between TV and Movie versions of the theme song is that the vocals were re-recorded. That's it.

Shunsuke Kikuchi's score has pretty much been expanded to cover the entire series. Well... I really enjoy all of his 1970s Kamen Rider background music. The 80s just weren't a good time for him. I don't dislike his work, but it's just so...blah. There is no other way to describe it. This soundtrack in particular is extremely forgettable. Combine this with Kamen Rider Super 1, Dr. Slump, and Dragonball and you have a massive storm of just bland score. Enjoyable in a sort of nostalgic and nebular way I suppose.

Here is where a little confusion sets in for me. Tracks 33 and 34 are full-sized versions of the theme songs (Cosmos Adventure and Twinkle Twinkle Wink~onegai Shooting Star~) from the 1991 Ultraman Kids series. Disc 2 is entirely made up of music from the 1991 series...and I suppose it is a little tight on space. For whatever reason they're at the end of the first disc and marked as being from the 1986 series. Again...I'm really not sure why it isn't at least listed as being from the newer series.


DISC 2

Ultraman Kids haha o tazunete 3000-man konen [ALL] This time the background music is composed by Shinsuke Kazato. I don't know too much about Shinsuke Kazato, but the name did ring a bell when I first read his name on the credits for this disc. I looked him up and realized that he arranged the two unused Kyoko Sound Laboratory songs for the 1995 Jinzoningen Hakaider movie. That's right... DAMN YOU, FORTE!!!!!!!! Right, anyway... I don't know much else about the composer, but he put together a nice score for this series. It's mellow, but has some upbeat moment (which the 1986 series has NONE). I dig this. It's good, not great.

There are two versions of both theme songs by Satoko Yamano. The opening theme (Tracks 01 and 14) and ending theme (29 and 11) are represented in TV size and Instrumental versions respectively. I've liked Cosmos Adventure a bit over the year, so it's nice to hear it once again. It is kinda strange that they didn't include the Karaoke versions of these songs, which I do have from another disc. It also would've been nice to have some instrumental love for some of the IN songs. Oh well.

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SET SUMMARY: I wasn't sure what to expect with this set. As I said earlier in my Machineman CD Set review, I am in love with Columbia for their recently vault diving for rare and unreleased music from Tokusatsu shows. Maybe I was hoping this would be as awesome of the Kamen Rider SD soundtrack...and maybe I am a tad bit disappointed. Eh, not really. I enjoy the music from the 1991 series, so it isn't a loss.

If you are a fan of Shunsuke Kikuchi...check out all of his Kamen Rider, Dragonball, and Dr. Slump work. THEN, check this out. His work here is the kind of nondescript music that Ned Flanders would snap his fingers to.

In all seriousness, I really wish they would have expanded this to three discs to include all of the songs from the 1991 series as well as the Karaoke and Instrumental versions. You know, for completionist's sake. I still need to refer to another CD for Karaoke versions of the themes...and even then, no Karaoke versions of the IN songs exist anywhere. I'd be happier with this set if it were the full package.


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Thank you once again for taking another trip into my CD collection. You can always check out my CD Collection/Music page for more articles as well as a partial list of what I own.

I will be back soon with something new!

-CC

4 comments:

  1. Nice CD collection.
    I think I’ve mentioned several times that I was Ultraman fans before I got into Toei tokusatsu (Sentai, Rider, and Metal Hero). I got into Ultraman first, because I was fan of giant monster movies (Godzilla, Mothra, Gamera, etc.) at the time and I really like giant battle.
    I really liked Ultraman series of this era (60s~90s; Ultraman~Gaia) and I really enjoyed music as well.
    Definitely a music collection I want to gets hand on.
    Ultraman series pretty much went downward in 00’s and beyond, much like most of Toei tokusatsu (Sentai and Rider); it gotten worse, ever since it changed channel from TBS to TV Tokyo.
    While I did like some of the series of that era (Nexus), it just didn’t felt the same and music is nowhere near as memorable.

    Zoffy = ZZZ
    lol

    Regarding Ultraman vs. Kamen Rider song, it’s probably the one of the best tokusatsu crossover theme ever made IMO. Even though the actual TV special was short and didn’t have plot, as an Ultraman fan, it was nice and bizarre to see a team-up with completely different hero (Kamen Rider) under different company (Tsuburaya).
    This is one of the reason why I think ’93 was the best year for tokusatsu!

    Speaking of Kageyama, it’s such a shame he never sang theme song for Ultraman TV series.
    Had the franchise didn’t took break during majority of 80s and 90s, we could have gotten a pretty decent/good one.

    I find it interesting that there’s Columbia cover for Ultraman Powered ~ Ultraman Gaia.
    It’s nice that they were sung by veteran artists.
    While I like original Ultraman Tiga theme by V6 (even though I’m not huge Johnny fan), cover version is definitely a huge improvement.

    I didn’t know guy who sang Gaia theme song was same as Kuuga, until many years later.

    Regarding Christmas CD, I watched the video of Track 8.
    It was very ….interesting and bizarre. lol
    Probably the weirdest and most awkward Christmas song I’ve ever heard.

    It’s nice that Ultraman Kids got a music collection release.
    I remember watching that show from VHS I borrowed from my friend’s house and it still blows my mind that it was aired by NHK instead of TBS.
    I really like OP&ED song as well, sang by Satoko Yamano, who did such a great job.
    Hopefully, the show would get DVD release in near future; after all, Kamen Rider SD is finally getting DVD/BD release as bonus for Kamen Rider movie trilogy (Shin, ZO, and J).

    Take care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny you say that. Ultraman Kids IS getting a DVD release. Columbia released the CD set in conjunction with the DVD release. Hahaa

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    2. You're right!
      Didn't noticed til now. lol
      That only leaves foreign produced Ultraman series (USA, Great, and Powered) yet have DVD release; though it seems very unlikely at this point, due to many problems (rights issue, etc.). Oh well.
      I guess I just have to hunt down VHS or LD (if I'm lucky enough).

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    3. You would think I would've mentioned that in the article. Heh. Oh well, at least you got it out of me eventually.

      I'd like to think Tsuburaya would have some interest in releasing USA and Great on DVD at some point. Powered seems to be the series they'd like to forget the most...but who knows, maybe that'll end up getting a release too.

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