2020/03/31

Song Collection: Kosoku Sentai Turboranger


I've been meaning to get to this one for awhile.

To round out this double-header with the song collection from Uchuu Keiji Shaider, I'm now going to take a listen to the final Super Sentai theme song of the 1980s...or rather the first Sentai song collection of the Heisei era. Hmmm... Which one does it fit in better with?

For this post I'll be listening to my copy of the Kosoku Sentai Turboranger Complete Song Collection from 1997. I briefly talked about that disc here in the past.


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01. Kosoku Sentai Turboranger / Kenta Sato

I know I say this often, but this is what you want for your series theme song. Fast-paced, full of action, and something that will sound great all year at the Korakuen Yuenchi show. I wonder if any nannies ever got PTSD from a Tokusatsu theme song after years of working at Korakuen Yuenchi...

...anyway. 

Enough great things can't be said about this theme song. Series lead Kenta Sato did such a dynamite job on this song and several other tracks from the series that he was later invited back to sing the theme song for Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger--a series that he isn't even in.

This song doesn't win on his vocals alone, however. The forceful track contrasts nicely to the somewhat bleak tone of the Liveman theme song. This is a great, great, great example of a tokusatsu theme song.

02. Kokoro yo shinayaka ni mae! / Kenta Sato

One of those songs that got a bump in popularity from Gaoranger vs Super Sentai. Heh.

Much like the opening theme song, this is a superb example of what to do for a series action IN song. Really, I love this song to bits. It was a perfect montage choice for Gao vs SS, but even as a song there is a lot to appreciate. The production is dense and loud.

03. Yosei Monogatari (Fairytale) / Kyoko Obikawa

OK, this one I usually skip over. It's just cutesy and boring. The name kinda implies that this isn't going to be a belter, so yeah.

04. Uraa no urami / Koorogi '73

I love the frantic, fun-house feel that this song has.

I know I don't have many nice things to say about Koorogi '73, but I think they're in their weird element with this one. It's a shame that this song is one of the two that they neglected to include a Karaoke version of.

05. DANCE tokimeki kokoro / Kenta Sato

This song served as the ending theme song in the final episode of the series. It's a bit more chill, but I really enjoy the perfect coupling of music and Sato's singing. It's a fun song!

06. Cutie Turbo Lady / HANNAH

It's pretty early on, but I can say from experience that this is the final deadspot in the song collection.

The heroine song is a genre itself much like the mecha theme song. While it may have subsided a bit with the rise of the character song in the past fifteen-ish years, I like to revisit these songs on occasion. I could never get into this one. The music doesn't really do much for me. 

It's alright, but when you remember that it's sandwiched between Liveman's Spark! umi e and Fiveman's Kung Fu Dance, it's a hard sell.

07. Turbo Victory / Kenta Sato, SHINES

Another great action song. Maybe spelling out T-U-R-B-O P-O-W-E-R is a bit much, but I can't complain too much.

The only thing I don't really care for in this song is the dopey chime-ins from time to time.

08. Yuuki wa mantan! Turboranger / Kenta Sato, SHINES

This one is in the same frantic style as Kokoro yo shinayaka no mae!, but just a little bit less good. Really, it is a pretty good facsimile of the earlier song, but just a bit less involved and somewhat shorter.

09. Ashita ni Accel! Turborobo / Koji Kaya

Koji Kaya returns just to sing the Turborobo theme song. While Kenta Sato has done a great job thus far, it's great to have an expert in the driver's seat. Ugh...sorry.

As it shares a singer, this song is incredibly similar to the mecha songs of the previous year. It would have been nice if they splashed in some engine noises or something though to give it a little flavor with the mecha theme.

10. Zig Zag Seishun Road / Kenta Sato

The series ending song. I love how dense the music track is. There is a ton of little nuance that you'd never really notice without listening to the Karaoke version. 

I like the attitude here. Fun and a great send-off to the weekly adventure.

11. Tackle! Turbo Rugger / Shinichi Ishihara

Shinichi Ishihara was around prior to 1989, but I really feel like the year was his official debut. Not only did he provide a song for Ultraman USA in the same year, but he also provided songs for Kyoshoko Soko Guyver AND backed Akina Nakamori on stage. This guy really came out of nowhere!

This is his Tokusatsu debut right here, and I have to say it's one of the best debuts out there. I really hope I don't get any hate, but I loooove this song. More so than the Turborobo theme even. Sure the mecha it's based on is a dud, but damn...what a theme song.

It's always great to go back an see the start of a legend. Guys like Masato Shimon and Ichiro Mizuki had been there from the start, but it's the start of the middle generation that really interests me.

12. Kosoku Sentai Turboranger [Original Karaoke]

13. Kokoro yo shinayaka ni mae! [Original Karaoke]

14. Yosei Monogatari (Fairytale) [Original Karaoke]

15. DANCE tokimeki kokoro [Original Karaoke]

16. Cutie Turbo Lady [Original Karaoke]

17. Turbo Victory [Original Karaoke]

18. Yuuki wa mantan! Turboranger [Original Karaoke]

19. Ashita ni Accel! Turborobo [Original Karaoke]

20. Zig Zag Seishun Road [Original Karaoke]

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It should really come as no surprise that I think that this is a damn fine song collection. Perfect? Nah, but it's up there. The high-energy feel and complete lack of ballads really makes for a great listen. Need to do some cardio? Pop this on. You won't need to skip around too much to keep the blood pumping.

To answer my original question, is this an 80s album or a Heisei album?

100% 80s. This is the most 80s song collection of them all, in fact. I really recommend listening to this one, for sure!

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I hope you enjoyed this and my post on the Shaider song collection. For more of these song collection posts, check out my CD Collection page.

That's all for now. Stay safe and keep in touch!

-CC

Previously...

Song Collection: Uchuu Keiji Shaider


Do I really need a theme for these posts?

I'm here once again to review a duo of Tokusatsu song collections. This time I'm getting around to a series that I've pretty much beaten around for awhile. First there was Machineman, then there was Bioman, and now we have Shaider.

So to answer the question I originally posed...what does Turboranger have to do with Shaider? Ummm...they were both popular overseas? Yeah...let's go with that!

For this review I'll be listening via my trusty Super Hero Chronicle Metal Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu I. I previously took a look at the entire CD series in this woefully incomplete post.


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01. Uchuu Keiji Shaider / Akira Kushida

I'm not sure how I would rank this song among other Uchuu Keiji theme songs, but I've always enjoyed it's attempts to be different from it's predecessors. While it isn't as catchy or peppy as the others, it makes up for it in personalty. That weird motorcycle interlude? Sure. Random reverb? Uncommon for a Tokusatsu theme song, but it works.

It's a great song, but it's definitely on the softer side for me.

02. Fushigi Song / Koorogi '73

If there was ever a song to live up to it's title.

This is the type of song that I think Koorogi' 73 is made for.

The chanting and unusual tone really make this a creepy affair. If you ever listen to the Shaider music collection, you'll no doubt notice the lashings of this theme throughout.

It's a fairly sparse and basic tune, but it works in it's creepiness.

03. Seigi no Hunter / Akira Kushida

This song was never really in my rotation. I can't really pinpoint my reservation. It's blandness? I don't think this one really warranted a fast-paced Kushida track. The guitar work is nice, but the Billie Jean-esque beat is pretty forgettable.

04. Annie ni Omakase / Naomi Morinaga

I alluded to this song in my review of Naomi Morinaga's song in the Spielban song collection. The short of it was that Morinaga's singing skills improved immensely between Shaider and Spielban.

Upon revisit, I feel confident in reinforcing my opinion. Crackly vocals aside, this song is pretty fun if not a little sparse.

05. Shaider Blue / Takayuki Miyauchi

Takayuki Miyauchi's lone contribution to this song collection. He was a busy dude in 1984 with Bioman and all that. I imagine he was walking through the halls and caught a sample of this intoxicating and whispy jam and couldn't help himself but to join in.

Unlike a lot of the Bioman songs, I think Miyauchi is perfect here. The song itself is very dreamy and cool. Bioman had Blue Togetherness, Shaider has Shaider Blue. I definitely appreciate this song more and more over time.

06. Shoketsu seyo! Shaider / Akira Kushida

I never really cared too much for this one. I like the frantic synth moments, but there is some severe lag for the majority of the song where it feels like we're just stuck alone with Kushida. It's not quite an action song, either. It's just kinda there.

07. Aoi Inazuma / Akira Kushida

This song is also kinda bland. It has some highlights like the "Shaider...Blue FLASH" but that's about it. It just needs a little bit more to make it memorable.

08. Babylos-go no uta / Akira Kushida

Ahh...the series Mecha theme song. It definitely has the feel of a mecha theme song, but isn't as epic as something like the Biorobo theme song.

Again, the bulk of Chumei Watanabe music is very samey. Good, but waaaaay too safe.

I don't dislike this song, but I wish it were just a little more special.

09. Ginga no hate made / Koorogi '73, Columbia Yurikago-kai, Japan Echo Singers

Now here is one that I *do* really like.

I normally can't stand brat-choir songs, but this one has always impressed me for it's tightness. The smooth and dreamy music track flows through nicely and is a perfect use of the oft maligned Koorogi '73. I especially love the outro for this song.

The tracklist for this song collection has morphed over time, but this song has always closed out the IN songs. It's perfect placement, really. I feel like saying "all sins forgiven" but it really isn't *that* great.

10. Hello! Shaider / Akira Kushida

The kinda janky series ending song. It's alright. The irony of the ending song being called Hello! Shaider isn't lost on me.

It does kinda fit in nicely with the opening theme song, but that's about all I can say.

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In this series of reviews I think I've been nothing but polarized on my feelings toward song collections. Shaider falls into the nebulous bland zone. I don't think I've reviewed anything this shockingly average yet. Maybe THE⭐ULTRAMAN?

This is worth a listen for Shaider Blue and Ginga no hate made, but little else. The Bioman song collection was bad, this is boring, and the Machineman song collection is fantastic. That's 1984 in a nutshell.

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Ever notice that I've been doing a lot of Metal Hero series in my Song Collection series? What's up with that. Check out my look at the Turboranger songs while you're here.

Thanks for dropping in. See ya.

-CC

Previously...

2020/02/26

Kakauranger Ball!!!


Just as out-of-nowhere as it appeared in the series, the Kakuranger Ball has FINALLY appeared in my collection!

While I am in the midst of a deeeeeeep toy hibernation from Youtube, rest assured! The toy collection is still going strong despite the fact that the additions are becoming few and far between. Really, this can be chalked up to the fact that...well...I've owned pretty much everything I've ever dreamed of owning (and much more). There are a handful of toys out there that have eluded me for one reason or another, and the Kakuranger Ball is the big one...for some reason.


I've owned pretty much the entire Kakuranger toy collection for quite some time but could never track down a complete Kakuranger Ball for an even close to reasonable price. Now that I own one I kinda understand it's rarity, but I still had my reservations about dropping some serious dime on what's essentially a football with a sticker versus the myriad of other great Kakuranger toys in the line.

So what's the story with this damn thing?


The Kakuranger Ball first appeared in episode ten of the series in an already bizarre episode featuring Yokai Konakijiji. Sasuke being assaulted/kidnapped by a jogging gaggle of soccer players may have been the pinnacle of weirdness, but it certainly didn't end there. Konakijiji was defeated by a random and entirely new finisher called the Kakuranger Ball, which was an American-style football that changed color every time it was passed along. Fortunately this wasn't a one-time thing like many other Super Sentai weapons as it was something of a main plot-device in episode twenty-one (which was a solid episode that makes great work of dumping on tropes) and again in episode forty-nine...though the appearance had changed quite a bit.

I've never really experienced the toy version in real life, so I really didn't know what to expect. Was it a hollow hunk of plastic? A solid chunk of foam? The latter, as it turns out. Yeah, this is the type of foam ball that you would submerge in murky water and then throw to your friend to ruin their day. The KAKURANGER sticker that belts across the body of the ball has held tight after all of these years, though I can't picture it being entirely durable.


Also included in the box is a small blue ring that serves as a kickstand, which I guess allows you to perform a solo Kakure Shoot.


This toy is something that can really only be called complete when it's with it's box. Kakuranger has some excellent box art, and this one might be one of my new favorites in the line. It definitely makes the toy seem infinitely cooler than it really is.

Do I like it? Well, yeah...it's a neat little toy that is refreshingly devoid of gimmicks and crappy add-ons. The fact that it's entirely disposable makes it's rarity more understandable since these foam footballs never lasted more than a few weeks when I was a kid. The fact that I'd never encountered this toy for sale when it was new also leads me to believe that maybe Bandai wasn't too confident in it either.

Overall, I'm just thrilled to finally have this damn thing in my collection. Be sure to check out my new review of the Jikuu Senshi Spielban Song Collection here.

See ya!

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Jikuu Senshi Spielban Song Collection
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

Song Collection: Jikuu Senshi Spielban



Hello! I'm back again with another random Song Collection review. This time around I'll be listening to the song collection from the 1986 Toei Metal Hero Series Jikuu Senshi Spielban (or Spielvan or Jaspion 2 if you're in South America or Europe). I honestly picked this one because it's a road less traveled by me. Yeah, I don't really listen to this one very often outside of the awesome theme songs (well, two out of three of them). I figure...why not?

Normally I listen to two random song collections and really strain to find some kind of connection. This month is a little bit different... Right now you can also check out a little review of a Kakuranger purchase I recently made. That's right...I *finally* bought a Kakuranger Ball! Check it out here.

For this review I'll be listening via my trusty Super Hero Chronicle Metal Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu I. I previously took a look at the entire CD series in this woefully incomplete post.


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01. Jikuu Senshi Spielban / Ichiro Mizuki

Ahhhh...what a fine song.

Legendary singer (and cast member when it comes to this series) Ichiro Mizuki belts out this amazing example of a theme song. It's an epic with a tinge of tragedy and action. Perfect. I feel like they tried to replicate this the following year with the theme song to Metalder, but it doesn't quite gel as nicely.

The bassline ties the whole thing together to make a tight start to our weekly adventure. It may not be my absolute favorite Metal Hero theme of the 80s, but it's up there.

02. Waller no Theme / Dr. JOE

Heh. This one is alright.

I like the droning music, but the vocals by...umm...Dr. Joe... are a bit messy. Intentionally, sure, but I can't really say it's my favorite part of the song. Naturally I like the guitar bits that are dropped in since they break up the droning for a minute.

It's not Fushigi Song from Shaider weird, but it's still a weird song.

I should cover Shaider someday...

03. Kanashimi no Helen / Naomi Morinaga

The first of the trio of character songs by our main cast. It's a ballad song by Naomi Morinaga. You know what...I never really put much thought into this song, but it really isn't bad. Morinaga isn't a brilliant singer, but this is WORLDS better than Annie ni omakase from Shaider. Someone spent 1985 taking singing lessons.

Yeah, you know...I officially dig this song. It's a good one. Also, I realize I just made another Shaider reference.

04. Kimi no nakama da Spielban / Ichiro Mizuki

The first series ending song. It's...OK.

Mizuki sounds drunk more than anything during the slow parts. He has some decent ballads, but he can't seem to nail sincerity/softness.

Maybe an infinitely cooler song will replace it about eleven episodes in...

05. Diana Action / Makoto Sumikawa

Another character song--this one by Diana actress Makoto Sumikawa. There is a great reason why Sumikawa never did a song for Kamen Rider BLACK RX. Then again, Tetsuo Kurata had a few songs and a flippin' OP despite being awful.

Yeah, this song isn't great. This sounds like a second-tier Sentai song. It's a random mess of jerky lyrics and a bland bassline. This one is really far too chirpy and fluffy for this song collection.

Can I go back to admiring Kanashimi no Helen?

06. Hikari no Hoshi Mizu no Hoshi / Hiroshi Watari

The third of the character songs...and this one is by Spielban himself, Hiroshi Watari.

Awesome...awesome stuntman and actor. Good lord is he not a singer. Oof. Yeah, this is really, really bad. Especially when he tries to hold a note. Honestly, Diana Action is better despite the thrashing I just gave it. The only thing I can give this song credit for is that it sounds like it belongs here.

Thank god he didn't sing a song for Sharivan.

07. Ore no ikari ni te wo dasu na! / Ichiro Mizuki

A surf-ish sounding song by Mizuki. I like this one even if it kinda reminds me of the Grand Birth theme from Sharivan (Hmmm...two in a row for Sharivan now...). I like the vibe, though. It's very 1986 in a verrrry specific way. Flashman also had a song similar to this.

08. Chase! Spielban / Ichiro Mizuki

The only legit action song here that isn't a theme song. I really enjoy this one even if it's a bit basic. In a lesser world this could really pass as the theme song for the series.

Really, this is the type of jam that Ichiro Mizuki was made for.

09. Muteki no ooja / Ichiro Mizuki

The Grand Nasca / Gaios theme. It's another big sounding song that songs very much like a mash-up of recycled Watanabe music. That said, it's a fantastic and strange song. The first verse covers Grand Nasca and the second covers Gaios. The third...just never happens. The remainder of the song is basically Karaoke.

Huh...weird... I've heard this song several times, but never really noticed that. Kinda like how the Blue Brothers snuck out of the door during Sweet Home Chicago. I guess that would make me John Candy "Where's Jake??".

10. Kesho da! Spielban / Ichiro Mizuki

Yessss! The wildly improved second ending song for the series. Kesho da! is a legit jam and second only to Time Limit for awesome 80s Metal Hero ending songs. Not only does this song kick supreme ass, it complements the opening theme song perfectly. No drunk singing...just full-force Mizuki.


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This song collection has it's ups and downs, but it's largely consistent. It's mostly ups, though. I'm not sure why this one never really made it into my regular rotation, but it's a pretty solid set of ten songs. The positives really outweigh the negatives. Even if that Watari song is dreadful...

Give this one a spin. It may not have the most variety, but it's a solid listen.

The only thing I'm left with is...do I listen to Shaider next...or Sharivan?

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That's all for now. Be sure to read my mini review of the Kakuranger Ball. It took me twenty-six years, but I finally have it!

Have a good one!

-CC


Previously...

Kakuranger Ball!!!
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Jukou B-Fighter Song Collection
Choriki Sentai Ohranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

2020/01/30

Song Collection: Choriki Sentai Ohranger


Welcome to the other half of my 1995 double-feature. In addition to looking at the song collection from Jukou B-Fighter, I am here to talk about the song collection from Choriki Sentai Ohranger.

I've kinda talked *around* this song collection quite a bit in the past, but this is my first time talking about it proper. There is the first time that I took a look at the abandoned ending theme song. Then the other time I talked about it. There is a ton of weird history behind Ohranger songs...and yet I've never talked about the CD known as Choriki Sentai Ohranger Hit Songs.

So here it is. I'll be using my copy of Ohranger Hit Songs for this review...which I had to dig up for photos since I didn't have any in the archive.

Choriki Sentai Ohranger Hit Songs
COCC-12884
1995.09.21

Ohpink being layered in front of Ohred has ALWAYS bugged me...

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01. Ohre! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

The series theme song...and a fantastic theme song it is. While it's always been speculated that Niji iro Crystal Sky was the intended theme song of the series, there is no denying that this is great way to start every episode of Ohranger. Those early episode with the narration that lead into the theme song were really the best.

Over on my B-Fighter review I mentioned that that series had a textbook Tokusatsu theme song. So does Ohranger...

It may not be as sterile as the B-Fighter OP, but it certainly makes up for it in sheer force. When these series theme songs are created, these are the songs that everyone at Toei and Bandai have to put up with for an entire year. They can't suck... This is the type of song they need to make.

I might not think this is the best, but it's damn fine.

02. Niji iro Crystal Sky / Kentaro Hayami

Legendary song.

Not only was it used as the ending song in the final episode, but it was also used as the episode preview music fairly often. It (allegedly) was meant to be the opening theme song, and it shows. It also had KYOKO (again, check out the previous post about this song) all over it. The structure of the lyrics is 100% her style.

While it never made it as a regular theme song, it certainly left a lasting impression on fans.

03. Choriki Gattai! Ohrangerrobo / Kentaro Hayami, Mori no kijido gassho-dan

As mecha-heavy as Ohranger is, it only managed to have two mecha theme songs. This is one of the two themes...and something of a dud.

The thing is, I actually like Ohrangerrobo when they weren't doing those fever-dream training montages with Red Puncher. This song is the epitome of generic filler songs. It's peppy, but never really goes anywhere. Wasted potential, for sure.

04. Kagayaki no mai / Mari Sasaki

I've previously talked about my love of this song in the past. This is the theme song for Juri and Momo.

The slick music track complements the great vocal track by Mari Sasaki. Sasaki previously performed Tsuruhime's theme song on the Kakuranger Song Collection. I definitely prefer this track as it is a much more solid production all the way around. The vocal effects are used sparingly and with expert timing. Plus there is that great music track.

05. Action! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

As the name would suggest, this is an action song for the series. I dig it, but can't get over uber-generic lyrics like "Action Action! Go Go Go!" sometimes. Haha.

The rest of the lyrics contain roll calls of all of the toys you can buy the Ohranger weapon arsenal, etc. Generic, but perfectly serviceable and decent.

06. Acha Kocha ChaChaCha / Kaneta Kimotsuki, Shinobu Adachi

I really don't like this type of song, but it certainly has it's fans. This is the character song for Acha & Kocha. Much like the Bandora song from Zyuranger, this track managed to make it into the series.

I will give it credit where it's due...these two aren't bad singers. This song is tolerable as a result, but I generally skip over it.

One of the strangest single pages I've ever come across in any Columbia CD booklet.

07. Makka na toukon! Red Puncher!! / Hironobu Kageyama

One of my all-time favorite mecha theme songs. This is the version to get, by the way. The Super Hero Chronicle version cuts out the "In the Red corner..." intro that makes this song so magical.

Not only is this one of my favorite mecha songs, I think it may be my favorite Kageyama tokusatsu song. Yeah, even better than any of his series theme songs. This is when he was at his finest.

Kageyama isn't the sole thing great about this song, either. The music is wonderfully upbeat with it's horns and frantic energy. Nevermind the fact that this is the theme song for a robot that killed it's test pilot and later played hopscotch with Ohrangerrobo.

CHAMPION DA ZEEEeeee!

08. Ohranger Spirit / Kentaro Hayami

I think this song is an understated gem. It really isn't a full-on action song or anything, but it is a nice little motivational track. OK, it may be a little bit cheesy, but I like it. Especially the little change-up for the outro.

It's just a sweet little 90s song.

09. VICTORY FIGHT ~Shori wo tsukame! Ohranger~

The second of two Kageyema tracks on this song collection. While it's not as sharp as the Red Puncher theme, and let's face it...nothing is..., I still dig the action song-ness of this one. It's pretty catchy.

10. Kinkyuu Hasshin!! Ohranger / Kentaro Hayami

While the series ending song we got is much different from the one we didn't, the one we did get was excellent. Do you follow??

I've always had a soft spot for this ending song. This decade gave us a lot of variety when it came to closing out Sentai series, but there wasn't a single stinker. Yeah, even the Fiveman ending song isn't bad.

The measure of a great ending song is the imagery that comes along with it. I can't not think of the montage-y ending of the series when I hear this.


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While I don't think this song collection is for everyone, I've always been a big fan of it. It's fairly consistent, which is something that seems to be elusive when it comes to these song collections. It also has juuust the right amount of variety. There are only a handful of singers, a single character song, and the super-popular song with Niji iro Crystal Sky.

I definitely recommend this song collection. The behind-the-scenes weirdness somehow lead to one of the most decently normal song collection. It's very good though, even if it's a bit scant at only ten tracks.



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Don't forget to check out the B-Fighter Song Collection while you're here.

See ya!

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Blue SWAT Song Collection
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

Song Collection: Jukou B-Fighter


Welcome to my review of the song collection from the 1995 Toei Metal Hero Series Jukou B-Fighter! What better time than the 25th anniversary to review the song collection from this series and Choriki Sentai Ohranger?

The B-Fighter song collection is something of an odd duck. Not only was it released under two different labels, but the entire song collection has just one singer--Shinichi Ishihara.

For what essentially Shinichi Ishihara's fourth and final (to date) album...just how is it?

For this review I'll be listening via my trusty Super Hero Chronicle Metal Hero Shudaika Sonyuuka Daizenshuu III. I previously took a look at the entire CD series in this woefully incomplete post.



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01. Jukou B-Fighter / Shinichi Ishihara

Textbook definition of a great Tokusatsu theme song. It's action-packed, incredibly catchy, and really is a song that works as a fight song as well. It may not be my all-time favorite Metal Hero theme song, but there is no denying that this is really a perfect example of getting it right.

The only critique I think I have about this song is that it's just a little too sterile. Shinichi Ishihara is wonderful and as lively as you would expect him to be, but something is missing in the overall emotion of the song.

That said...awesome theme song. It's definitely the last of the Metal Hero greats.

02. Shutsugeki! Beet Machine / Shinichi Ishihara

The series mecha theme song...and it's a great little song. If Shinichi Ishihara is great at two things, it's theme songs and mecha theme songs. So far we're two for two!

I genuinely prefer this song over the Ohrangerrobo song of the same year. The only thing that sucks is probably the Beet Machines themselves. Don't get me wrong, they're cool...but I feel like they almost exclusively lived in stock footage.

Great song. It's the song that was chosen to represent the series in Toei Metal Hero Karaoke Collection Vol.2.

03. Kono hoshi no tame naraba / Shinichi Ishihara

Technically this is an ending song as it was used to close out the B-Fighter movie.

Of all of the songs here, I probably enjoy this one the most. While this isn't an action song, it certainly is lively. Shinichi Ishihara himself is closer to the sound that he would later have in his GoGo Five songs and less of the soulful schtick that he put on for his solo albums. I'll have to cover those albums of his someday...

The fact that this was used as the movie ending song and not the series ending song definitely plays to it's strengths.

04. Imakoso shouri o / Shinichi Ishihara

Here's where we hit a big slowdown.

This song is so weird. Ishihara's singing is incredibly out of place here. The music itself sounds like a slower, bizarro version of the previous track. I could never get into this one, but I never really skip it when I listen to this song collection. Possibly because it sounds like it could be a scratch take from his album Positive Groover.

05. Susume! Konchu senshi / Shinichi Ishihara

This song is an alright fight song. I think the thing that I don't like about it is that it sounds a little bit like something out of the largely awful BF Kabuto song collection. Yeah...I dread the day that I get to that one...

Again, this song is alright. I hate the spazzy percussion.

06. Shiawase wa itsumo okurete kurukara / Shinichi Ishihara

A ballad! A not-great ballad.

Ishihara has proven that he can handle this type of song with ease, but something is just off with his voice here. Everything is just a little bit off, to be honest. Let's listen to this Ishihara song instead...

07. Senshi tachi yo / Shinichi Ishihara

I really, really don't understand this song.

This is like a weird samba fever dream with upbeat singing. I almost want to say that this song is inappropriate for Ishihara, but I don't think this song is appropriate -fullstop-. What is this?

Yeah, I usually skip this one. It's just so weird...and bland...and it goes on for far too long.

08. Chikyuu Koukou / Shinichi Ishihara

The series ending song. While this is probably the slowest of slow ending songs out there, I actually enjoy it greatly. It's a great contrast to the fast-faced opening theme song.

Ishihara really nails this one. He is singing against the wispiest melody and really does a perfect job.

From experience I have heard some complaints that this song is a real snoozer, but I don't hear it. When you have a great singer coupled with a wonderful composition, it really can bring even the slowest tune to life.

09. Kurokishi BLACK BEET / Shinichi Ishihara

Ehhh. This song is alright.

Again, this song sounds like a proto-BF Kabuto song. It's about a bad guy, so let's make it a little spooky sounding. Feh. It doesn't even do sinister all that well.

Since Black Beet was the antithesis of the B-Fighters, why not do like they did in Carranger and play off the series theme song in some way? This is just bland.

10. Tatakae!! Mega Hercules / Shinichi Ishihara

I like 92% of this song.

It may not be as good as the Beet Machine theme, but it's definitely a solid, upbeat mecha theme. The only thing that absolutely sucks about this song is when it randomly breaks into carnival music toward the end. It's INCREDIBLY jarring and really screws up an otherwise competent mecha theme song.

So close...and yet so far...

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Before I get into my final judgement on this song collection, I want to talk about the original release of these songs. The song collection proper was released by Forte Music Entertainment and only contained the first eight tracks listed above. The final two tracks were released as a CD single by Columbia once the Forte name folded and the rights reverted back to Columbia. I hope this clears up why there are two tracks after the series ending song. I was more interested in listing them in chronological order.

Do I recommend this song collection? Meh. It's high points are definitely great, but a lot of it is just Forte being awful. Though the two Columbia songs aren't great either. The opening, ending, Beet Machine and movie ending themes are all spectacular, but the rest is just a waste of a great singer.

For the Ishihara completionist, this is a must. Otherwise just stick to the well-known tracks and you can't go wrong.

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Be sure to check out my look at the Ohranger Song Collection as well!

Bye now!

-CC

Previously...

The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
Blue SWAT Song Collection
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger Song Collection
The CD Collection

2019/12/22

Toy Story: Dragon Ball Z Super Battle Collection Movie 7 3-Pack


It's time for another toy story. This time around I am going to do something a little bit different. I will be taking a closer look at the legendary Dragonball Z Movie 7 Super Battle Collection set. 

I really want to examine what gives this particular toy it's everlasting popularity. Something compelled me to buy this toy back after selling it about a decade ago...and I really want to know what made me do it. What made this toy so special? Is it a good toy on it's own, or is it's legacy the result of the circumstance? I suppose the best way to go about this is to talk about all of the factors around this toy before digging into the toy itself.

Super Battle Collection - Chosenshi Daizen


Dragonball Z began it's anime run in 1989 but didn't see it's first line of articulated plastic action figures until 1991 with the Super Battle Collection. These figures began life as high-quality, hand-painted figures that were released in "Volumes" and manufactured in Japan. These Japanese-made figures are largely referred to as the "1992" versions despite the first two volumes being released in 1991 and the final two volumes (Super Saiyan Gohan & Super Saiyan Broly) being released in 1993. Naturally this line began with Son Gokou and haphazardly progressed from there. Here is a snap of what figures were released by the end of 1992...


Kinda disappointing seeing as the series has a fairly diverse cast of heroes and villains. 

After the 1993 additions of SS Gohan and SS Broly, the series was shifted from Bandai Japan to Bandai Asia. The Bandai Japan figures were re-released with all-new bland artwork and a somewhat dull finish. New volumes were also produced and...well, they were awful. Volumes 11-18 are very poorly sculpted figures. Things pick up starting with Super Saiyan Vegetto as Volume 19. The series transitions over to Dragonball GT starting with Volume 28 and concluded with Volume 42 -- Super Saiyan 4 Gogeta. 

The Super Battle Collection was a staple of any Dragonball fan of the 90s' collection. The line never really shook it's problem of focusing on Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Trunks, but it was pretty expansive at the end of the day. These figures saw re-release upon re-release through various divisions of Bandai and the likes of Canadian brand Irwin. 

The lone exception? The Movie 7 Super Saiyan 3-Pack.

Dragonball Z Movie 7: Kyokugen Battle! San Dai Super Saiyajin 


The seventh entry in the Dragonball Z film series was released on July 11, 1992 during the '92 Summer Toei Anime Fair. Like many Dragonball Z movies it followed a plot that somewhat mirrored what was going on in the TV series with disposable alternate bad guys. This movie in particular follows the arrival and defeat of the forgotten Jinzoningen 13, 14, and 15 (the series was featuring Jinzoningen 16-20 at this point). 

The thing that made this movie special is that it was the first appearance of all three Super Saiyan in a movie. The previous, and personal favorite DBZ Movie, Gekitotsu!! Hyaku-oku Power no senshi-tachi!, featured Super Saiyan Goku and Vegeta...but didn't quite have a reason for Trunks to be involved since it took place on the New Planet Namek.

Honestly, I didn't really dig the seventh movie all that much, but it was an alright entry. The three new Jinzoningen were all table-scrap designs and the plot was genuinely non-existent. I don't even recall the animation being all that spectacular either. Even the Hironobu Kageyama ending song Giri-Giri - Sekai Kyokugen is a weak ripoff of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song

Trunks' movie debut is what made this movie special. 

Super Battle Collection - Keshuu San Dai Super Saiyajin


In conjunction with the release of Movie 7, Bandai Japan released a set of the three Super Saiyans from the film -- Goku, Vegeta, and Trunks. Even though these are re-issues of three existing figures, there are varying differences to each figure to make them entirely unique to this set.

Super Saiyan Son Gokou


Previously released as Volume 2 in the Super Battle Collection, this figure actually has some substantial changes to more closely emulate Goku's look in the movie. For one, his belt is no longer a belt, rather a...sash? Band? In addition to this, his top is no longer a tank-top style, but rather a full shirt. This kinda hinders articulation, but who really cares?


The biggest change, however, has to be his hair. Not even taking into account the new, smooth gold look of his hair...it's an entirely new sculpt. The hair for Vol. 2 SS Goku was totally fine even if the bangs were a little weird. I'm kinda perplexed on why they felt the need to redo his hair for this set. Even more perplexing is that they didn't bother to make tweaks to his face sculpt since there are some dead spots where his hair previously covered. The outer edges of his eyebrows are missing on both sides.


Again...weird.

Super Saiyan Vegeta


The two biggest changes here are the corrected name (Vol. 7 erroneous calls him just "Super Vegeta" rather than Super Saiyan Vegeta--this mistake was even carried over to the Bandai Asia releases) and the smooth gold tone to his hair. Otherwise, this is the same terrible Super Saiyan Vegeta figure that Vol. 7 is. Of the Bandai Japan Super Battle Collection figures, Vol.7 is easily the weakest...which also kinda makes it the easiest to obtain. 


I'm not a big Vegeta fan, but even I feel like Bandai screwed his figures up most of the time.


Super Saiyan Trunks


This is the figure that makes the set in most collector's eyes. 

Trunks was previously released as Vol. 5 in the regular SBC line. Despite only really being a cool character as a Super Saiyan, this set is really the only place you can get the Super Battle Collection Super Saiyan Future Trunks in his Capsule Corp gear. 


The hair sculpt is spot on. Really, this should have also seen an individual release when you look at how much effort went into nailing the hair. 


One thing that will either make or break the value of this set is the accessory bag that comes with Trunks. Fortunately the Goku figure in this set ditched his sticker sheet, but Trunks still has his along with a belt, sword, and sheath.


The funny thing is...some intrepid bootleggers solved the problem that Bandai created. Honestly, I wouldn't mind adding that one to my collection some day.

The set overall...


If you've been reading this far you probably think this is the most mediocre set based on the most mediocre movie of the most mediocre anime ever created. When you break it down that way, this set certainly doesn't seem like something I would collect. Dragonball has some incredible moments, but I could never sit through the TV anime. The manga is great beginning to end, and the movies are almost always entertaining despite the fact that Broly is overrated (Movie 10 was fun at least...before he became a poop monster). 

The thing that draws the collectors, myself included, back to the SBC 3-pack is...


Look at it. It is a masterclass of artwork and toy packaging. There isn't a single bit of wasted space. There are no offensive colors or graphics. I own tons of toys, and I firmly believe that the Movie 7 3-pack has the best packaging of them all. The only caveat is that it has to be perfect or pretty damn close to it.

I've owned this set in the past. Back in 2000 I managed to get my first set. It was complete with an unused Trunks accessory bag, but the box was pretty well beat to hell. I ended up selling it circa 2010 and always had a tinge of regret despite making a pretty healthy profit. 


Something compelled me to start searching for a replacement a couple of months ago when I almost immediately stumbled upon a minter that was not only a legit auction (more on that later), but from a seller in my State. After making some offers, I procured my second set at a price that I would consider extremely fair for both of us. We arranged for a local pick-up and I'm glad we did, because the seller was a great dude to chat with -- he's even a Sentai fan. 

The set I have now is just as complete as my previous set, but in a far cleaner box. The ears on the flaps are a little warped due to age, but really I couldn't be happier to have a super-clean Super Battle Collection Movie 7 3-Pack in the family once again. This is a set worthy of the incredible artwork that a nameless designer at Bandai totally aced.

Should you decide to proceed on your own...

This is a set that is highly susceptible to scams. I'm not going to lie when I say there really is no perfect way to buy one of these. Unfortunately this is what lead me to watermark all of the images with my web address. Hopefully it isn't too intrusive, but I also didn't want anyone to get scammed by someone lifting my images. 

The usual precautions apply. Try to stick to ebay even if it means paying more...you'll at least have that safety net. Be sure to do your research on the seller...and don't be afraid to ask questions. A lot of sellers based in Japan are middlemen who might not even have the item on-hand. They might be listing the item based on a listing on either Yahoo Japan Auctions or Mercari with a substantial mark-up. While there isn't anything inherently wrong with that, they won't be able to provide additional details on an item if something isn't clear.

The biggest thing to keep an eye out for is that Trunks accessory bag. Honestly, I can't stand what this set looks like with a used or missing accessory bag. For there to be this big, blank white space on the front of an otherwise gorgeous box is a damn shame. Even a used accessory bag is better than no accessory bag. Some less honest sellers might include an accessory bag from a Hong Kong Trunks figure, which features a much duller sword and different sticker sheet.

Fortunately the figures themselves are harder to fake and outside of that bootleg Trunks, I've never encountered a bootleg version of this set.


So what makes this set so special? It's a perfect storm of rarity, history, and a dash of nostalgia. It's a bit of my history as well. It's good to let things go, but it's also worth exploring regret when you find that item that you shouldn't have let go.

More than anything...it's just a rad thing to have on a shelf.

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It may not be a Tokusatsu toy, but I wanted to share something that truly brings me some joy and was a legit score for me in this godawful year. 2019 wasn't a great year for me, so I'll take what I can get.

Anyway...I'll be seeing you in 2020! I have some great things lined up for the new year. In the meantime you can check out my previous Toy Stories or maybe even my takedown of that lousy Netflix doc.

See ya!

-CC

Previously...

Running To Horizon: 30 Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
Chodenshi Bioman Song Collection
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers



Extra Images...







P.S. Movie 6 really was a thousand times better than Movie 7. The ending song was awesome and even Metal Coola was fun. How great would it have been if they did a Movie 6 3-pack with Super Saiyan Goku, Super Saiyan Vegeta, and an all new Metal Coola figure?