The Seven BEST Metal Hero Theme Songs

Whenever I post something new on my blog, I usually do so in frustration. Even when none exists, I try to write a little something atleast twice a month. I've been dealing with quite a lot of shit lately, so I actually have a lot to write. So even after I finish this entry, I'll probably continue writing into the night... Yay content?!

The top seven Toei Metal Hero theme songs!

I've been wanting to write up this list for quite some time. Before I do so, I just want to get two things out of the way...

Why "Top Seven"? It's such a random number.

This originated from my Top Seven Super Sentai Theme Songs post from last year. It was easier to break it down into seven, and do it by era. 35/5=7 Seven just kinda stuck since then...

What shows do I consider Toei Metal Hero shows

Some people seem to think BF Kabuto was the final Metal Hero series. I go with Toei's official timeline, which concludes with Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack. Moero!! Robocon was a bumper series between Metal Hero and Kamen Rider. Make sense?

OK, here we go with the Top Seven...in order...!

7. Uchuu Keiji Gavan 1982

If you asked me to make this list a few years ago, this song would've been higher on it. For whatever reason, I've gotten quite tired of this theme song and Gavan himself recently... What could possibly have caused this sudden weariness...?

It's a cool tune that definitely reflects the time when it came out. 1982. Disco. I'm assuming Akira Kushida had a 'fro around the time he sang this song he's had a long history of nefarious haircuts. Definitely a leisure suit with the floppiest lapels you've ever seen...

OH, right the song!

It's definitely a well-made song that has somehow survived the sands of time...despite being totally dated. Then again, this seems to be the case with a lot of anime themes of the era. Kinnikuman, Space Cobra, Aura Battler Dunbine, Xabungle, etc. These songs all came out around the same time, and they all enjoy a cult following. Brass'n Bass. Yeahhhhh.

P.S. The French version is also magnifique.

6. Blue SWAT 1994

This song is actually quite lovely. For a show about impending doom ala alien invasion, True Dream definitely gives a false sense of security at the top of each episode. It has a nice beat and the singing is really good. It's a good song. So what if it doesn't exactly match the show that it's attached to...

5. Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya 1988

JI-RA-IYA, Jiraiya! After a few years absense from singing Metal Hero themes, Akira Kushida is back! This time, the afro is gone. This time, he's got...I'm guessing a Miami Vice motive going on. He definitely sang this song wearing loafers with no socks, a white Armani suit with a teal t-shirt on underneath. He probably also had some kind of terrifying haircut...

OH, right, the song!

I like how clean this song sounds. It was the first to adopt an almost 90s sound, without entirely ditching it's 80s-ness. Think of the two other shows airing when Jiraiya was new--the back half of Kamen Rider Black and Liveman. I guess I commend this song for sounding fresh in a sea of awesome 80s music. It does all of this while sounding great at the same time. This theme song is probably the first true action theme song in the Metal Hero show. Spielban came close, but it lacks a certain element...speaking of Spielban...

4. Jikuu Senshi Spielban 1986

Hell yes. I love Ichiro Mizuki...and who the hell doesn't?? This is his singular Metal Hero Opening theme outing, and it is FAN-BLEEDING-TASTIC. As I stated above, it isn't that great of a fight song, but it brings a new upbeat urgency element missing from the four previous Metal Hero opening theme songs. The bass sounds awesome in a completely different, yet somehow similar way to the Gavan theme song. It relies on it heavily, but uses it differently.

3. Jukou B-Fighter 1995

You knew this song would be on my list. Why wouldn't it be on my list? Why wouldn't it be on anybody's list? It's a complete 180 of Blue SWAT's theme song, and it kicks ASS. The most upbeat and fightinest song of the lot!

This is yet another case of a singer's only theme song being brilliant. In this case, it's Shinichi Ishihara. The man can do no wrong, and I've always been a big fan of his. He has such an amazing and robust voice and this song is one of the finest examples of his talent. No other singer could've pulled this one off as well as he did. Imagine Hironobu Kageyama oversinging it. Imagine Akira Kushida muddling through it. Imagine Takayuki Miyauchi undersinging it. Speaking of Takayuki Miyauchi...

2. Tokkei Winspector 1990

The first in the trio of "Rescue Police" Metal Hero shows brought in the first in a trio of theme songs by Takayuki Miyauchi. They're all great songs, but this one has always stood out as my favorite of the bunch. This song has a great mixture of good instrumentals, good singing, and the lack of kids that the Solbrain OP has. The Exceedraft theme is great, but it is also a little bland start to end.

So why does this one go all the way up to the number two spot?


Daaaaamn Catchy.

1. Kidou Keiji Jiban 1989

This... This song... It took everything I loved about the Jiraiya theme song and dragged it screaming back into the 80s. I can imagine what Akira Kushida looked like when he did it as well. He was wearing a black suit with white socks that was obscure by a long black wool trenchcoat. His face? Enormous aviators. His hair? A nightmare.

OH, right, the song!

This song rules. Back when I was only reviewing Sentai Changers, Jiban's badge was the first non-Sentai toy that I reviewed. Why? Because it plays the flippin' Jiban theme song! That was the entire reason. This song made me expand my horizons for the first time.

The song itself, start to finish, is fantastic. The long wind-up at the beginning of the song somehow made it completely intact in the TV Size version of the opening to accompany the narration. The slapbass definitely gave this song a very unique sound. I mean, it's easy to say THEME X sounds like THEME Y, but Jiban has no other sound alikes. It's completely peerless, and I love it.

I mentioned earlier that some of these slower paced theme songs don't make for great fightin' music. This theme song actually fits nicely though if you watch the show. Jiban is, for lack of a better term, Robocop. He is a robot that has a human form. So, he moves pretty slowly. It's as-if the showrunner for Jiban wrote down "Robot. 80s. Bass." and handed it to the composer. If that was the case, they succeeded.

Though this has nothing to do with my evaluation of the song, it is interesting to note that Akira Kushida's voice managed to get much more gravely in the Jiban era of songs. His voice has pretty much sounded this way since. Listen to the Jiraiya song collection, then listen to the Jiban song collection. The change might not be completely obvious...but it's definitely there!

Are you wondering what Akira Kushida looks like today? Here is a recent photo:

Take care of yourself...



Making of...

I was recently asked how my videos get made. It's actually quite a simple affair to me, but maybe some people out there thing some of the work I put into my videos is a little complex. So here is a somewhat abbreviated rundown of all of the steps I go through to get videos made every week.


Naturally, the first step in making a video is picking out what toys I will be making a video of. Usually I just pick up whatever toy strikes my fancy and go for it. Sometimes I like to put together a themed month [Action Works-Space Sheriff Month, Kakuranger Month, etc.]. Theme month or not, I usually gather three-five different toys and put them aside. I will usually open the toy at this point and map out what I need to take photos of in my head. I also like to make sure I get all of the features down so that I don't miss anything [See: Daibouken video. I forgot to flip-up the knee guardsnot that it matters. Daibouken sucks ass with or without the damn things flipped]. If it is something like Ranger Keys or model cars, I can skip this step since I pretty much shoot those videos on a template. I also like to get a vague idea about what kind of music I'll be using.


Saturday mornings is when I take all of my photos. I usually begin around 10AM and finish around 2PM or so. I generally take photos and video of a month's worth of videos in one day. I do it this way because I rely on the sun to light my videos. This allows the lighting to be more or less constant over a series of videos. I have a large window that provides the ample lighting needed. Here is where things get dicey...

During the summer months, I get plenty of light. This is a good thing, however, I have to shut all air conditioning and fans off when I'm filming actual video. It gets HOT. Since toys are getting more and more electronics-heavy, I'm left with quite a shoots of very sweaty filming. Mecha videos are ideal for the summertime since they seldom have electronics, or if they do...they're limited. The extra lighting helps, also.

Winter time shooting is a different beast, but actually quite similar. It's cold, and I have to shut off the heating for the same reason as I do in the Summer. The main issue is sunlight. During the Winter months, the sun just doesn't enter through my large window. Earlier is better, that's all that can be done about that.

Seasonal differences aside, the production is pretty straight-forward. I use the backside of a large 4' by 3' poster from a department store. I usually lay it at about an 100 degree angle [propped on a chair] for maximum lighting. Since I am working on the floor, I am usually laying down to snap pictures, but standing when I take overhead shots of the packaging and such. For added stability I sometimes lay some excess hardwood flooring underneath the posterboard.

All in all, I usually finish four toys in about four hours. Depending on what I am shooting I usually end up with 300-400 new images/video from a shoot.

Importing and Editing

After this I usually import all of the new files. Then...I take a much needed shower and possibly a nap. Later that night, I get to work on the editing. The first thing to edit is the music. Sometimes this is as simple as fading one track into my end title card. Othertimes, I have to get very creative. In videos like my Lexus LFA video I had to create a much longer mix of the song I wanted to use. The original song was about 3 minutes long, so I looped the middle of the song two more times to make it a 7 minute track. This was one of my simpler edits. Some of the more complicated ones have taken up to an hour to edit a song to seemlessly blend to be longer, shorter, or just more comfortable. One track that comes to mind was the bit of music I used at the beginning of my 250th video. It is the title music from the Kamen Rider ZO film. Even though it was originally a 30 second track, I cut out parts from the beginning, middle, and end to get the desired sound.

Aside from the hackjobs I do on little bits of music, I do assemble BGM on top of Mecha image songs for the Mecha videos. This is where my CD collection comes in to play. I own...tons of CDs. I actually buy them. Tokusatsu fans might be the most "gimme!" group of fucks on the planet, but I actually keep it real and buy shit. Consequently, I'll always have the music. Long after it goes out of print, I have it. So finding tracks is as simple as going into my music library, listening, taking notes, and numbering the tracks I like. Then I edit everything together into a single mp3.

The actual editing is typically a breeze. Since most of what I do is in the prep work, I have a rough cut of the video in my head before I even open my software. I lay the music down first, then I start with the opening title cards. From there it's drag'n drop. No matter what software you use, it shouldn't be any harder than this to make a toy review. From there, it's just trimming and shortening to make the pictures and video fit within the music. This involves some maths, usually, especially on Mecha video. Once I have the video edited and timed correctly, I add my subtitles and end title card. Then, I export my rough cut.


From Here I usually test the video. I'll upload it to Youtube on one of my dozens of accounts just to see how it looks where it'll be hosted for all of enternity until they shut me down. At this point I like to see what three thumbnails Youtube selects. If I'm happy, this is the end of the editing. If not, I usually fiddle until I get a decent and eyecatching thumbnail.

Writing and Uploading

Once all of the video editing is done, I usually shelve the videos until they are ready to be uploaded. The written part is usually done immediately before I upload the video to my channel. I write everything I want to say in a document, write out all of my tags, and then I copy/paste everything as the video is being uploaded. Once it is uploaded, I throw up a link on my Twitter account. JOB DONE!

I hope this was a little bit interesting. I have been asked a few times about my process in creating videos. Well, here it is. There aren't any secrets...just heaps of work.

Well, I hope this was a little informative. It's crazy to see what I put myself through. Hahaa.