The CD Collection--Dragonball 8cm CD Singles + Bonus!
So I have hundreds of Tokusatsu CDs that I am desperately trying to catalog for the internet. Hundreds of Tokusatsu CDs that are begging to be listened to and lightly reviewed on my little website... So why am I switching gears and giving Dragonball CDs a coveted CD Collection post? I feel that Dragonball, as a franchise, is criminally under appreciated and could use some exposure. When was the last time you ever heard the words "Dragon" or "Ball" let alone catch an episode of it on TV? Feh!
Yeah, yeah. Dragonball has been in a bit of a resurgence period lately. I'm not really a fan of the anime, and I haven't seen any of Dragonball Super, but I dig that it seems to be entirely off the wall. So what kind of Dragonball fan am I if I don't like the anime all that much? Well, I love the manga...and I enjoy the hell out of the Dragonball Z movies.
Toward the end of the run of DBZ movies, a smattering of 8cm CD singles were released for the movie ending songs. On top of that, there were the theme song singles...and that's it really. Man, for a franchise with 568,000 songs it's surprising there are so few CD singles. Over the years I have collected them all. So why not go ahead and present them here on my site?
If you're a regular to my site, you might recognize a couple of familiar names here (Janperson's Susumu Ooya and overall legend Hironobu Kageyama)...but you will also notice that this is the latest chapter in the Forte saga. The last time I brought up Forte, there wasn't a whole lot to say about the label itself seeing as they somehow managed to not screw up releasing the three Metal Hero Music Collections they were in charge of. Well, the curse is back in full swing as you'll see here...
So here goes...my first jump into Anime CDs...and probably not my last...
Makafushigi Adventure! c/w Romantic ageru yo
I guess I'm starting this post off with the most recent CD of the bunch. I'm not entirely sure why Columbia released this CD in 1998, I'm sure glad they did!
This single is a retro release featuring both theme songs from the original 1986 Dragonball anime. The Opening, Makafushigi Adventure! by Hiroki Takahashi, and Ending, Romantic ageru yo by Ushio Hashimoto, were used in all 153 episodes of the series. This single features the two themes as well as their very rare Karaoke versions.
It goes without saying that these two songs are classics. Both songs have been covered many times over the years and still remain popular. If I had to be a little critical, I'd say they suffer from the same minor problem--percussion. It just sounds off in both...and a little too herky-jerky in Makafushigi Adventure! Regardless, I love these two songs and am delighted that this single exists. I've had it since it was first released...
CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA c/w Detekoi tobikiri ZENKAI Power!
SPARKING! This is the practically pointless single for the first two Dragonball Z theme songs. Both songs were used between 1989-1993 for the first 199 episodes. As such, both songs were pretty much on every Hit Song CD in that time span, which covers Hit Songs 1-15.
CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA is one of the most perfect television theme songs ever. Hironobu Kageyama was absolutely on-point the day that he recorded this song for starters. If this song had been recorded the day before or after it was, I don't think it would have been as good. It's a very rare instance of an anime theme song being absolutely timeless. It could be the theme song to any show in any time.
The opposite could be said about Detekoi tobikiri ZENKAI Power! by MANNA, which is the ending song. I like it, but man is this one dated. It fit the show well for a little while, but it really should have been replaced once everyone headed to Namek. When it comes to ending songs, I usually listen to ending songs from the movies and specials to get my fix.
No Karaoke on this one. The Karaoke revolution didn't take hold until 1992, which left early CD Singles such as this one a little lacking.
WE GOTTA POWER c/w Bokutachi wa tenshi datta
This single contains the second theme songs from the anime covering episodes 200-291 and spanning 1993-1996. Both songs here are sung by Hironobu Kageyama.
In general I would say that Hironobu Kageyama was having a pretty stellar year in 1993. We got some really cool theme songs out of him for DBZ, he did some great work with Broadway on songs for the Casshern OVA, and he knocked out four really good songs for Tokusou Robo Janperson.
OK, maybe I was exaggerating a little bit about the new DBZ themes he did in 1993. WE GOTTA POWER is really good, but it was dated the second the calendar rolled over to 1994. Great song, but SUPER dated. Bokutachi wa tenshi datta is a decent enough song. Again, I would rather seek out pretty much any of the movie ending theme songs over this one. It is let down a little bit by the singing, but mostly for the overall blandness of the song. I just don't find it very catchy.
Karaoke versions of both songs here. Obviously this CD is awesome for that very reason.
Kiseki no Big Fight c/w Dragonball no Densetsu
In my never ending battle with the Forte record label, we now arrive at this turd of a CD single. Two songs I love so much, no Karaoke, and sold for full price. If you're a regular reader of my site, you know the countless misery that Forte has brought me as a collector during the prolific mid-90s era of anison. Trust me...you will the know the full scope of their dipshittery by the end of this post.
Anyway, this single was released in conjunction with Kiken na futari! Super Senshi wa nemurenai!, which was the tenth Dragonball Z movie. Kiseki no Big Fight is the ending song by Hironobu Kageyama with Susumu Ooya (of Janperson fame) singing the image song Dragonball no Densetsu.
Kiseki no Big Fight is easily one of my favorite movie themes. There is some excellent guitar work to back up some Grade-A Kageyama. In another universe I think Dragonball no Densetsu is the bizarro version of WE GOTTA POWER that actually ended up getting used as the series theme song. Who knows...Forte is behind stranger things...
As I was saying, there is no Karaoke thanks to the joykills at Forte...
Dragon Power Mugendai c/w Chiisa na Senshi~Goten to Trunks no theme
The bi-annual DBZ movie series brought us Super Senshi gekiha!! Katsu no wa ore da as the eleventh movie. Dragon Power Mugendai (stylized as Dragon Power ∞) was the movie's ending song by Hironobu Kageyama with Susumu Ooya returning once again for the image song Chiisa na Senshi.
Another really good ending song that is FAR too good for the godawful movie it hails from (seriously...Goten, Trunks, and Klilyn fight off the cloned Bio Broly...which looks like a poop monster with Hulk Hogan's hair). Kageyama was seriously on it until JAM Project came along and he basically gave up. Chiisa na Senshi is alright, I actually probably like it more than I should. It's a strange little song that...is a little difficult to describe. I'm just happy to get a little more Susumu Ooya before he basically vanished.
Still Forte, still no Karaoke.
Saikyo no Fusion c/w Ai wa Ballad no yo ni~Vegeta no theme~
The movie theme from Fukkatsu no Fusion! Goku to Vegeta, the twelfth movie, is here on this disc. The ending theme, Saikyo no Fusion is once again by Hironobu Kageyama with Susumu Ooya singing the image song Ai wa Ballad no yo ni.
Saikyo no Fusion is the third great Kageyama movie theme in a row. It's a little bit less rock than the others, but the horns and energy totally make up for the lack of rock. This one is super-catchy. Susumu Ooya's offering this time around is basically as-described by the title...a ballad. It's cool to see a lot of variety in the image songs on these singles. Thumbs up on this ballad. I'm usually not a huge fan of them, but this one is great.
As usual, no Karaoke from Forte.
Ore ga Yaranakya Dare ga yaru c/w Yuusha no Fue~Tapion no theme~
We've made it to the final Dragonball Z movie. Movie 13, Ryu-ken Bakuhatsu!! Goku ga yaraneba dare ga yaru, features Ore ga Yaranakya Dare ga yaru by Hironobu Kageyama as the ending song with Susumu Ooya singing the image song Yuusha no Fue.
While I may not be a total fan of this ending song, it's a good send-off to Dragonball Z films. There is a nice build-up leading into a good rock song. The vocals are a tad subdued on this one. It might not sound like it to everyone, but I've listened to enough Kageyama to know otherwise.
Susumu Ooya's Yuusha no fue is another ballad that actually incorporates Tapion's flute into the song. This one is a little more on the darker side, but I totally enjoy it.
...and because this is Forte, of course there is no KaraoWAIT! There IS Karaoke on this one! What the hell??? Why now???? UGH! It took them four tries to finally get it right. Hard to believe these clowns went out of business weeks after this CD was released, right?
Field Of View DAN DAN kokoro hikareteku c/w Dear Old Days
Let's move back into Dragonball on TV...but hang on...this one is also a movie theme. Argh. Well, I think I found myself in a rare situation where this difficult-to-categorize song was used as a movie ending theme AND a series opening theme song. DAN DAN kokoro hikareteku was used as the theme song for all 64 episodes as well as the 10th anniversary Dragonball film Saikyo he no michi.
There is a little bit of weirdness behind this song. It was written by Izumi Sakai of ZARD, but performed and released by the group Field Of View. Soon after, ZARD recorded their own self-cover version. There is a somewhat common misconception that the Field Of View version is the cover, but that one is actually the original by a few months.
I'm not particularly fond of this song. The guitars are nice, but the vocals aren't all that good. It has some good production value, but...the vocals...eh. But then you give Dear Old Days a listen...and you wish you were listening to DAN DAN kokoro hikareteku again. Still decent production values...but holy cow is the singing bad. Ouch.
The Karaoke version of the titular track is included, but not Dear Old Days. I recommend checking out the ZARD version of the song. It's very good.
DEEN Hitorijanai c/w Nichiyoubi
It was clear early on that Toei had no intentions of limiting Dragonball GT to Columbia artists. They had jumped onto the then-new bandwagon of using disposable ending theme songs from of-the-moment musicians. I'm not totally against this idea since, like I mentioned previously, the DBZ TV ending themes overstayed their welcome. Hitorijanai by DEEN was the first of four of the ending songs for Dragonball GT, which covered the first 26 episodes.
I actually enjoy Hitorijanai quite a bit. It has that 1996 sound. I know I've talked about it in the past, but '96 was the year of 'summer songs' in Japan. Lots of light rock songs centered around the acoustic guitar. It isn't a remarkable song by any means, but it's still very enjoyable. Nichiyoubi is the second track. This one is a bit slower, but also enjoyable. Not a bad single.
This single contains Karaoke versions of both songs.
ZARD Don't You See! c/w Kaeranu toki no naka de
The second ending song for Dragonball GT brings us ZARD for real this time. Izumi Sakai wrote the theme song DAN DAN kokoro hikareteku for Field Of View. This time around, her band's 19th single was used as the ending song for episodes 27-41.
I think it's safe saying that of all of the Dragonball GT songs, this one is done by far and away the biggest act of the bunch. ZARD's popularity lives on today despite their untimely end in 2007 when Izumi Sakai passed away from a fall during her hospital stay for cervical cancer treatment.
It may not be a fan favorite, but it certainly is one of mine. Don't You See! is a wonderful little song that is easily my favorite of the GT songs. Everything is on-point start to finish. The other song, Kaeranu toki no naka de, is a nice companion to Don't You See!, but I don't think it's very strong on it's own. It ended up on the right single.
Karaoke tracks for both songs round out this fine CD Single.
Shizuka Kudo Blue Velvet c/w Break
Now we're at the third ending song for Dragonball GT. This song, Blue Velvet by Shizuka Kudo, was used for episodes 42-50.
I was never crazy for Shizuka Kudo, but I actualy enjoy the jazzy coupling song Break on this single. This is one of those rare occasions where I don't really care for the singer or titular song from a single but go straight for the B track. Blue Velvet is an OK song I suppose. It's certainly the liveliest of the four ending songs. I think it's the singing is kinda detrimental to this one since the Karaoke track is pretty solid.
Speaking of Karaoke, this single only has the Karaoke track for the titular song. Bummer. I like Break. : [
WANDS Sabitsuita Machine Gun de ima wo uchinukou c/w Try Again
Finally we're here at the CD Single for the final Dragonball GT ending song. This song, Sabitsuita Machine Gun de ima wo uchinukou by WANDS was used from episode 51 until 63, the penultimate episode of the series.
I've heard many people claim that this is their favorite of the Dragonball GT ending songs. I'm not entirely sure why, however. It's OK, but I find it to be fairly boring. I can't say that this one gets regular play from me. All the same things can be said about Try Again, the coupling song. It's just kinda there. I will give it credit, though...it is pretty different sounding.
Only three tracks on this single. No Karaoke track for Try Again.
Dragon Power Mugendai [Single +1 Series Version]
Remember back when I said you would understand what kind of lunatics the people at Forte were? Here it is...in the form of a Bonus disc for this article. It might not be an 8cm CD Single, but it might as well be one. You see, this CD is the exact same content as the 8cm version of the Dragon Power Mugendai single with one song added. One song! One song that EASILY would have fit onto the 8cm CD single (reminder: 8cm discs can hold 24 minutes of content as an audio CD). So let's take a look at that one song...
Kung Fu Taiso is the only new content on this disc. It is this killer disco song by Hironobu Kageyama that features quite a few sampled kung fu movie sound effects along with this crazy upbeat groove.
It turns out that this is a pretty rare song. As far as I can work out it has only appeared on this disc and Forte's miserable collection of DBZ songs that was released under their reign. There are other songs like Mondai nai sa! and Nihao Daiksuki that barely got a release either. It's pretty disappointing that Forte mishandled so much content in their very short lifespan. I know I say this every time I review one of their CDs, but it's the friggin truth...
It would have made this purchase totally worthwhile if Karaoke versions were included...but no, there are none. Three tracks...that's all...
Recommended Pick: Honestly, the Makafushigi Adventure! single would be the clear victor, but that is really only recommended for a Karaoke completionist such as myself. Any, and I mean ANY, of the Dragonball GT singles can be had for virtually free if you shop from Japan. In which case, you should totally pick up a copy of ZARD's Don't You See! for a couple of dollars. You could probably even just ask me nicely...I probably have seven copies of it. Hahaa.
That concludes my first look into anime 8cm CDs. I plan to do more in the future where I just pick random singles and batch them all together. You can always check out my unfinished list of Tokusatsu CDs on my CD Collection page. Hit me up on Twitter if you feel the need.
Thanks for checking in. Be back soon!