2020/09/29

REVISED--Song Collection: Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop


You aren't going crazy. I did in fact make this post all the way back in the June 2020. Man...it seems like a lifetime ago.

I may have been a tad premature in posting this synopsis considering I was still missing a CD Single and I didn't even bother reviewing Mika Chiba's BRAND NEW TOMORROW single even though I mentioned it. Yeah, I don't know what I was doing. So this is the real...legit...FINAL version of my look at the Cybercop Song Collection.

Here is the post as it was written in June...I'll jump in at the very end with a new section dedicated to the four CD Singles from this series. Enjoy! -CC 2020.09.29

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Welcome to my review of the song collection from Toho's 1988 Tokusatsu series Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop. I never really got into it because...well, I didn't really like how it was shot. It's BGM and song collection are actually really decent though! 

I briefly talked about the Perfect Music Collection from this series in this post. I didn't go into great detail over the song collection on Disc 2, so here we go...


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DISC ►2

01. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Hiroshi Nishikawa]

Weak vocals aside, I actually really enjoy this theme song. Think about how crowded 1988 was with Tokusatsu series. You have the majority of Kamen Rider Black airing along with it's sequel, Black RX. There was Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya and Chojuu Sentai Liveman as well. Out of all of them, I think the only one of those theme songs I don't like belongs to Kamen Rider Black...and that's only a mild disliking thanks to Tetsuo Kurata's godawful singing.

Cybercop's theme also suffers from some questionable vocals. Hiroshi Nishikawa isn't bad, I just don't dig his dopey-sounding style. He can hold a note at least. Beyond that minor criticism, this song is a banger. Certain years have certain sounds and I think 1988 was the year of 'The Band' in Japan. One of my all-time favorite albums has a similarly bare rock sound to it...and it also came out in 1988. Minimal synthesizer input, maximum rock. 

I wouldn't say that I like this better than the majority of the Toei themes of the same year, but I really, really like this theme song. It doesn't get enough recognition!

02. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Karaoke]

03. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Mero-iri Karaoke]

04. Aku! [BGM]

05. Honoo no Messenger [Norio Sakai]

Huh... I always thought it was kinda weird to see this name in this series...

Toei/Columbia regular Norio Sakai provides a single song to the Cybercop song collection the same year that he also provided songs for Kamen Rider Black. Without looking into it, I'm sure this sort of thing never really happened after the 70s where singers would provide songs for competing studios in the same year.

Again, I love the rock sound of the songs in this series. Norio Sakai provides some excellent vocals here over a pretty basic, yet very slick track. The bass is incredibly smooth to counter out the jerky drums. I recommend sticking to the vocal version as Sakai's singing is the focal point of the entire experience.

06. Honoo no Messenger [Karaoke]

07. Kanashimi [BGM]

08. Shooting Star - Band Version [Mika Chiba]

This is a remix of the series ending song, Shooting Star. Since the regular version of the song appears a little bit later (Track 12), I guess I'll just point out the difference.

This is a remix in a literal sense. The backing vocals were removed as well as some guitar parts and lingering effects. The whole thing sounds a little more bare...and I actually prefer it this way. Mika Chiba has a really decent singing voice, so it's great to hear it uninterrupted. Even this version's Karaoke track is better than the normal version. 

09. Shooting Star - Band Version [Karaoke]

10. Tsuioku no Jupiter [Hideyuki Nagashima]

This is more of an action song, but done in the style of the other songs in this collection. The main difference is that the horns are BLARING. Like...blaring from the very beginning and rarely letting up. Regardless, this is a fun track with a ton of energy. 

Oh, and the Karaoke version of this song was included...it's just on the first disc for some reason.

11. ZAC no nijijo [BGM]

12. Shooting Star [Mika Chiba]

As you may have guessed from my take on the Band Version of this song, I like this one a lot. I do think this is the inferior version of it, however. It's just a little bit too crowded. The backing vocals are unnecessary along with a lot of the random little sounds that pop up here and there. The only thing I think this version does better is it masks the dull bassline. 

This is a great song to have as an ending theme song. It has the DNA of other songs from the series, but is a bit peppier in tone. I think Jiraiya did it similarly it's opening theme song and it's smooth ending song SHI-NO-BI '88

13. Shooting Star [Karaoke]

14. Let It Go [Hiroshi Nishikawa]

This is the B-side to the single for Ashita e no sakebi~Cyberheart.

Again, I'm not the biggest fan of Nishikawa but I can't help but like this track as well. It's funky, that's for sure. It starts pretty slow, but picks up momentum to make for a pretty great complementary track to the theme song. 

Sure, this track only makes it in on a technicality, but it's definitely worth having here. It's pretty solid.

15. Into The Night [Mika Chiba]

This is the coupling track for the single to Shooting Star. Again, this song is included as a technicality but happens to be really great. The only thing that is has against it is that it's quite different from the rest of the Cybercop songs. Maybe a lone pop track is a nice little change of pace, but it's hard to ignore how different it is.

That said, I love this song. It's very slick.

16. BRAND NEW TOMORROW [Mika Chiba]

Mika Chiba's second single and a song that was featured in the series during the thirty-fourth episode. 

While this song is a bit on the lighter side, it definitely fits in pretty well into the series. It may sound a little more professional, but the rock sound is definitely here...if a bit on the softer side. I'll admit, this is the catchiest song outside of Shooting Star.

Why the B-Side to this, Jamashinaide, isn't included is beyond me. I have the single and thought about including it, but I guess it doesn't belong here... [UPDATE: Keep Reading...]

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I think I did a pretty good job giving the CD set that these songs came from a fair analysis in my previous take, so I'll just stick to what I think about this song collection.

I feel kinda guilty about doing song collection posts about series with only a handful of songs. Tokusou Robo Janperson and Blue SWAT only have eight songs thanks to the shithouse record label they were on. Battle Fever J, which I might review with Denjiman someday, only has five songs. 

By some miracle they were able to cobble together a song collection for Cybercop. Even stranger, this is one of the most consistent sounding song collections out there. Series composer Ichiro Nitta was only truly responsible for Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter. with the other tracks being songs provided by Toshiba EMI and CBS Sony respectively. It's kinda amazing how it all kinda fit together so well.

I would give this song collection a go if you're in the mood for something else. Yeah, it can get a little boring listening to work from Columbia over and over. This song collection is a breath of fresh air.

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8cm CD Singles [Added 2020.09.29]



Hiroshi Nishikawa Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart
XT10-2232
1988.11.09



01. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart

02. Let It Go


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Mika Chiba Shooting Star
10EH-3150
1988.12.21



01. Shooting Star

02. Into The Night



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Mika Chiba BRAND NEW TOMORROW
10EH-3283
1989.05.21



01. BRAND NEW TOMORROW

02. Jamashinaide

Yeah, I figured I might as well swing back around and take a listen to this song...you know, for completion's sake.

To be perfectly honest, this is the weakest of the four songs connected to Cybercop by Mika Chiba. I genuinely like the other three. This is just...alright. It's incredibly generic, but it has some decent energy. Chiba's singing is almost masked under some weird reverb at points. She's a perfectly serviceable singer, so it's an odd choice.

Was this worth finally reviewing? Ehhh, sure. I can't imagine this is anyone's favorite song, but on the same token I really can't think of anyone saying they hate it either. 

03~15. -Hidden Track-

Something I completely forgot about until I revisited this CD just now are the hidden tracks. It's pretty basic...they're all single word tracks. What you see is what you get.




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Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop
Uta to Drama no Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop ~ Gekitotsu! Cybercop tai Lucifer
LX15-5001
1989.04.26



01. Gekitotsu! Cybercop tai Lucifer

OK, so the reason that I am making the revision to this post is because I randomly scored a copy of this CD recently. I've only ever seen extremely blurry photos of it and just assumed it was the opening theme song and the two "new" songs from the series--Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter. I was quite wrong...

As you can tell I am an avid collector of these 8cm CD singles of Tokusatsu series. There are very few that I don't own at this point. To find one AND new content is something I never would've imagined. When I received the CD and notice the title I was kinda thinking that there was going to be a short audio drama after the songs. Nope. This is a single, just-shy-of-fifteen-minute track that contains a mix of the three songs and an exclusive drama track. Yeah, I guess the Perfect Music Collection isn't so "Perfect" afterall.



The funny thing is, all of the sound effects, BGM, and songs are present on the Perfect Music Collection, just not the dialog from the cast.

I'm usually down on drama CDs. I can't get into those 40-minute Super Action Sound CDs that were released for Turboranger, Fiveman, Jetman, and Zyuranger. They just can't fill the time in any meaningful way. This Cybercop drama track isn't bad! At fifteen minutes it's very snappy and uses the songs, BGM, and sound effects in meaningful ways. It really isn't bad! The short versions of Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter are also exclusive to this disc.


I wouldn't go out on a limb and recommend tracking this down unless you're the biggest Cybercop fan, but credit where it's due--this was a fun surprise!



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That's that for that. Be sure to check out the CD Collection page for more.

-CC

Previously...

2020/09/25

Ghost Warrior - That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Fish-Out-Of-Water Samurai Action Thing

 

I may be going to work everyday, but my bubble is extremely small. How do I pass the time at home? Bad movies! It was about a month ago that I watched a strange mountain climbing movie called K2 that featured Hiroshi Fujioka in a small, but important role. This time around I pulled out the big guns...a foreign film *starring* Hiroshi Fujioka called Swordkill Ghost Warrior.

As usual I have to post some disclaimers before I get started. If you want to check out this movie, and you should, there will be some heavy spoilers. I would even go as far as to avoid the trailer. It's guaranteed that you'll dig the movie if you're into Fujioka.

Here goes...

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In 1552 Japan, Yoshimitsu attempts to save his young wife, Chidori, from captivity. He mistakenly lets his guard down and both he and Chidori are killed. Yoshimitsu, however, falls into a frozen lake. In 1984 his body was discovered by a hiking couple and is sent to Los Angeles, California for examination. Rather than completing an autopsy, Yoshimitsu is brought back to life at the California Institute of Cryosurgical Research by Dr. Alan Richards. A young researcher named Chris is brought in to help with the secret operation and generally rebuilds the humanity in the confused Yoshimitsu.


One of the doctors overhears that Yoshimitsu's weapons are priceless and attempts to steal them in the night. Yoshimitsu kills the doctor and makes an escape from the lab, leaving him to wander the streets of Los Angeles while the lab tries to explain the death of their doctor to police without divulging the truths of their secret. Yoshimitsu meanwhile encounters an elderly veteran named Willie who is being mugged by a small gang and intervenes, leaving more bodies for the police in his wake.

Rocky III and Hercules! Ehh...well...ugh. Those were pretty lame come to think of it...Keep walkin'...

The surviving thugs catch up with Yoshimitsu and lure him into Xanadu an abandoned building where they end up getting killed one by one. Willie and Chris catch up with Yoshimitsu during the fight with Willie getting shot while saving his new friend. As a token of gratitude he is given one of Yoshimitsu's swords. The scientists capture both Chris and Yoshimitsu soon after but end up losing them both en route to the lab.

There is a sound effect in my head for this...definitely not of a horse.

As nighttime approaches the police and scientists are still hot on the trail of Yoshimitsu and Chris as they head up into the hills. The police spot the duo on their stolen horse using a helicopter and give chase while a enraged Dr. Richards attempts to end things with a stolen police shotgun. Once encountered, Yoshimitsu spares Dr. Richards only to be attacked again. He kills the doctor as police arrive. Yoshimitsu is shot once and again falls off of a cliff and into a lake.


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Now that the synopsis is out of the way, I guess I can get to my thoughts...

Is it just me, or is Hiroshi Fujioka prone to botched experimental surgeries more than any other actor? 



I take that back...they're successful surgeries, he just becomes a liability to whatever organization cooked him up. Next you'll tell me that Segata Sanshiro was a Nintendo experiment gone haywire. 

Is it also weird that his character in K2, that mountain climbing movie I talked about, also died from being frozen? 

......anyway.

Hiroshi Fujioka is far, FAR too good for this movie. I would say the casting director did an amazing job, but they also hired everyone who isn't Fujioka. Let's just say that they got extremely lucky that, at the bare minimum, their lead was awesome. This movie really doesn't have much of anything going to it outside of Fujioka and some fun action set-pieces. Yet, he makes up for a lot of the flaws.


Seriously, this movie has a razor-thin plot with some just truly awful acting. It's competently shot, however, and moves at a fair pace. The other leads are bland and our first set of antagonists in Los Angeles are rejects from Deathwish 3. Even the cops are just over-the-top hams with their misplaced accents. I mean...what gives with bringing in a researcher for assistance who doesn't even speak Japanese?? Wouldn't that be a top priority? It's Los Angeles, surely there is a translator around.

Much like that other movie I watched, Hiroshi Fujioka is a master of the badass pose. Just look...

I Just Made The First Mistake of The Movie Pose

Suntory CM Pose 1

Killed Your Horse Pose

What Is This Goddamn Place Pose

About To Fuck Up Some Punks Pose

Suntory CM Pose 2

Legit Best Pose of the Movie Pose

Repeating History Pose

Uhhh Nevermind/Redemption Pose

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In all seriousness, I really can't recommend this movie if you happened to stumble on this page looking for info on this movie without giving a damn who Hiroshi Fujioka is. I feel like that really isn't the case for a lot of my visitors, though. Yes, give this movie a watch. It definitely isn't the most well-constructed movie, but it is certainly a worthy movie of your time. You won't be disappointed by Fujioka's immense talents.

So yeah, for sure check this one out!

Be back soon!

-CC

P.S. Yes, the second gang fight really did take place in Xanadu. Why do I know that? Why do you know that? Feh.

Who knew opening a roller disco in 1980 would lead to immense ruin a few short years later??

PREVIOUSLY.....

2020/08/22

K2 - That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie


Since we're still stuck at home...how 'bout we watch a movie? I have a collection of bad movies that I like to paw through, and I came across this one and felt the desire to watch it again.

Today I'm going to talk about a movie that I bought a long, long time ago for one very good reason...


Yes! Instead of partaking in the 20th anniversary of Kamen Rider, Hiroshi Fujioka was globetrotting as mountain climber Takane Shimuzu (which I feel should be Shimizu, but whatever...it's their movie) in the 100% forgotten 1991 film K2. That's it. K2. Named after, well, the K2.

Before I get into this post I should probably air a few disclaimers. The first disclaimer is that I am going to go hard on the spoilers, of course. Considering this is a fairly dramatic movie, you may want to just rent it if you have any inclination (heh) to watch a survival movie about mountain climbing. Also, Hiroshi Fujioka is featured quite a bit, but he is far from being top-billed. So...you'd better be a fan of Kyle Reese from Terminator since he's our lead.

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Taylor and his best friend Harold are two climbing hobbyists who stumble upon a team of climbers who are training for a secretive big climb lead by billionaire Phillip Claiborne. Among the team are a set of twin brothers, Jackie, Dallas, and Takane. The following morning they are awoken by an avalanche that took the lives of the twin brother while Taylor and Harold are able to save the others. Seizing the opportunity, Taylor and Harold are able to join Claiborne's expedition, which happens to be to the perilous K2 in Pakistan.

Cliche "Convince the Wife" Scene

Once the climb is underway, problems begin to mount. The hired porters begin to strike, and a freak mishap causes Harold to use to quick-thinking to save head porter Malik's life. Most of the porters abandon the climb and Claiborne begins to suffer from pulmonary edema. Jackie and Malik stay with Phillip with just Taylor, Harold, Dallas, and Takane left to attempt the climb. As Dallas is leading the climb, he nominates himself and Takane to complete the climb with Harold and Taylor remaining at the final camp. During an overnight storm, Taylor and Harold are awoken by a very badly injured Takane who informs them that their tent had been wiped out before succumbing to his injuries. Taylor and Harold inform Jackie at the other camp and say that they'll look for Dallas in the morning.


Claiborne's worsening condition means that he has chartered a helicopter to pick him up within forty eight hours giving Taylor and Harold very little time to attempt the rest of the climb themselves. They manage to reach the summit and take celebratory photos while leaving an American flag and Japanese flag to honor the fallen Takane.


During the descent Harold slips and suffers a horrific injury while simultaneously losing the only rope the duo has. After a long argument, Harold convinces Taylor to continue on the descent without him. After suffering a fall himself Taylor finds the frozen corpse of Dallas and is able to take his rope and adrenaline shots. He returns to a nearly dead Harold and manages to bring him back with a shot. The two then continue their descent as Claiborne, Jackie, and Malik are all collected by their helicopter. Malik tells the pilot that they must at least try to look for the now-stranded duo since Harold had saved his life earlier. Miraculously Harold and Taylor are found and the film closes with Taylor holding up a pick axe to signal their location.


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It's always refreshing to watch a movie where there's no real or metaphorical villain. This is just a drama based on a play of the same name. I don't even have a particular interest in mountain climbing, but I've enjoyed this movie the handful of times I've seen it. It's plot is razor thin, yet it really doesn't feel like anything is missing. It's just an hour and forty five minutes of enjoyable cinema that really isn't dated in any particular way.

On your feet, soldier.

Where this movie really, really, truly falls flat is in the cinematography and quality of releases. The thing that stops me for recommending this movie is the complete lack of wide shots and scenery. You'd think that a movie set in this type of environment would emphasize the landscape a bit more to accomplish what the play this was based on couldn't...yet it doesn't. Everything is done in a tight shot. To make matters worse, I upgraded my VHS copy to DVD for this review and was greeted by the exact same transfer. This is the official Lion's Gate release...and it's a Full Frame VHS transfer. I did some research to see if there is a better version and...nope. The DVD for sale on Amazon at the moment seems to be some weird version with hardcoded Korean subtitles based on some of the complaints.

The bottom line is that...yeah, maybe rent it on Amazon. It's an alright movie if you just like a decent drama. Maybe it goes a little too cartoony by Taylor's superhuman strength toward the end, but then you remember that he spent an entire movie being chased by robot Arnold Schwarzenegger and I guess it makes a little more sense.

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...but that's not why you're reading this review, are you? You want to know about Hiroshi Fujioka's part in this. Alright, I'll give you the goods.

I kinda laughed when Fujioka's character was first introduced in the movie. When Taylor and Harold first happen upon the team doing their training Dallas, whom Taylor is already acquainted, is giving some minor accomplishments/tidbits on each character. When he gets to Fujioka it basically goes like this...

Dallas: ...and he's Takane Shimuzu.
Takane: Hi.


Even in leaner times, Fujioka has always been a mountain of a man. Does he need to have any provenance? If you want to defeat a mountain...be a mountain.

From his introduction he is largely seen chilling in the background. Most characters that aren't Taylor or Harold are basically there for background considering this is based on a play. Fujioka does dramatic poses like nobody else in this film check this out...

Dramatic Funeral Pose
Intimidating the Porters Pose
Break time Pose
Concerned for the Boss Pose
Ummm...maybe this one isn't so badass...

You get my point. This movie is basically Michael Biehn on his own, but it's nice to have another familiar face (to us Tokusatsu dorks) along for the ride.

As for the reason why the character of Takane is part of this story...I have no idea. This play/movie is loosely based on the real-life climb of Jim Wickwire and Louis Reichardt, but there is no mention of any other climbers that may have been part of their team prior to their reaching the summit. Maybe the director just really, really liked Kamen Rider?

I get why Hiroshi Fujioka was cast. This was a physically demanding role. I just don't understand why Takane was there. Haha.

Regardless, it was very sad to see his character die off even if he did it in somewhat of a heroic way. He was able to reach Taylor and Harold's tent to try to save himself and inform them of the situation rather than dying like Dallas did in his weird zen pose. If it hadn't been for Takane, they'd have been none the wiser and woke up the next morning without knowing anything had been wrong...and leading them to never make their attempt to the summit.


Should you watch this movie just to check out Fujioka? I'll say...yeah, why not? If you're disappointed, I don't want to hear it. But yeah, it was fun to have him along for his handful of random moments. Like him gleefully sharpening an axe while Dallas slept...


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...but wait! There's more. This isn't the first time Hiroshi Fujioka hit the international film scene. He is the first Japanese actor to belong to the Screen Actor's Guild after all.

Join me next time for a more substantial entry into Fujioka's international acting career. One where he does way more than hang out in the background and isn't expected to deliver one or two-word answers in English at random.


Stay tuned...

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

The CD Collection--Ultraman 80 / Andromelos Music Collection [2020]
Running To Horizon--30 Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Eight