Forte Music Entertainment...*sigh*

As you most likely noticed through this blog and my videos on Youtube, I am a Tokusatsu music savant. To be fair, I *was* a Tokusatsu music savant. I kind of stopped when Kamen Rider music and songs migrated over to avex from Nippon Columbia and became all kinds of awful. I will say this before I continue...avex ruins *everything*. Digitalian is eating breakfast, a Sony release by Tetsuya Komuro, was my favorite album of the 1980s. It's sequels were put out by avex and sounds like avex schlock.

Anyway... Point established, I am a Tokusatsu Music Man until about 2003.

The way it worked was, for the most part, simple. Super Sentai was, and still is, 100% Nippon Columbia with all official music. Metal Hero was on Columbia between 1982-1992, 1995.5-1998. Kamen Rider was Nippon Columbia 1971-1992, 1996 (Showa Song Collection Reissues)-2001 with a couple other labels sprinkled in for the movie Rider Singles (ZO, J). Ultraman...was all over the place, let's just say Nippon Columbia handled the important stuff until the late '90s and scores of other labels jumped in for the dozens of EPs and Singles that get put out constantly.

Eagle-eyed readers might have picked up on something a little strange with the Kamen Rider and Metal Hero licenses. If Nippon Columbia wasn't handling the music releases between 1993-1995...who was? Forte Music Entertainment!

Very little is known why the new label was formed, but the jist of it goes like this. Forte Music Entertainment was formed by Nippon Columbia in 1992 as a sub-label which specialized in Toei Tokusatsu and Anime licenses. The earliest releases under Forte were from the beginning of 1993 with Janperson's Theme single followed by several releases for Dragonball Z (DBZ releases 1993-1995 were Forte EXCEPT Hit Songs 14-17--they were still with Columbia), Sailormoon (which I believe was exclusive to Forte during it's lifespan), and the final Toei Fushigi Comedy Series Shushutorian. The releases kept going until mid-1995 when all franchises abruptly switched back to Columbia. By 1996, Forte was completely dissolved.

The bulk of Forte's releases seem to be Sailor Moon Song and Music CDs as well as some truly strange Dragonball Z Concept Discs, Movie Singles, and EPs. For good measure, they also handled the Super Famicom music CDs for both licenses and music from some smaller anime titles.

So how does this cause bother for a Tokusatsu guy like myself?

Forte releases were inferior in almost every possible aspect. The artwork was always awful (and sparse past the covers), the discs were/are very uncommon compared to their Columbia counterparts, and the content was always very light. To illustrate just how lacking the Forte discs were compared to their Columbia counterparts, here is a list of the number of vocal songs (including theme songs) from each Metal Hero show of the 1990s with the Forte releases in bold.

Winspector (1990) 16
Solbrain (1991) 14
Exceedraft (1992) 15
Janperson (1993) 8
Blue SWAT (1994) 8
B-Fighter (1995) 8 (+2 from Nippon Columbia)
B-Fighter Kabuto (1996) 19
B-Robo Kabutack (1997) 10
Robotack (1998) 10

Eight songs each...including the theme songs... Terrible. These weren't discount releases, either. These were priced as if they were normal Columbia releases.

B-Fighter started on Forte...
If you take a look at B-Fighter again, you'll notice that midway through 1995 Forte had ceased releasing new titles and relinquished the licenses back to the parent label. Columbia released a final single for B-Fighter with the Black Beet and Mega Herakles theme songs (as well as the glorious Karaoke versions of the songs, something that Forte only sometimes put on their singles).

...and ended on Columbia...
Once the licenses for all of the franchises were reverted back to Columbia, it was business as usual. Since some time has passed, you think reissues would be made to finally give people a chance to add this rare music to their collections. Well...no. Columbia started the wonderful ANIMEX 1200 line of 1200 yen reissues of rare and out of print albums. During the span of these reissues from 2005-2007 not a single Forte release was touched. The Metal Hero music collections reissues went up to Exceedraft and stopped.

Time has been kind to vocal song collections, however. These have been reissued in multiple compilations since the mid-90s. Basically as soon as Columbia got the Metal Hero franchise back, they lumped the Forte songs together into a set and put them out.

Due to the fact that it was released under Forte, my favorite Tokusatsu music collection had it's first and last release in 1994...
Still...tons of music from Sailormoon, Dragonball Z, and Metal Hero have not been heard from since their flopped experiment label dribbled them into stores in the mid 90s.

The weirdness doesn't end there... I haven't even talked about Hakaider yet...

...continued in Part 2...


P.S. Here is a list of a majority of Forte Music Entertainment's releases. Missing are all of the Tokusatsu releases.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting story.
    Even though I'm not a music aficionado/collectors and know almost nothing about producer, composer, or distributor, it's nice to know about "behind-the-scene" info.

    I agree that 8 songs per CD is lame...
    That's twice as sentai singles goes (2 songs (OP&ED) and karaoke versions for each; 4 total).
    How pathetic.
    What's worse is that those series (especially for B-Fighter) is one I grew up with, so it makes me really frustrating why there couldn't be more songs for those (it would have been nice to have more Ishihara songs on B-Fighter).
    Most CDs I own (non-tokusatsu BTW) consists at least 12~14 songs.
    In fact, I have yet to own or seen CD (non-single) that has less than 10 tracks (unless it's a demo or promo CD).
    To think that Forte priced them same as Columbia is just baffling. Ugh. Big Fail.

    As for artwork, they do suck compare to Columbia.
    The picture (B-Fighters, Blue SWAT) tells how awful they are.
    It looks like something they made from Microsoft paint or something.
    Even top-level High School student can make something better.

    It's such a shame that those series didn't have a re-release on ANIMEX 1200 line.
    It's no wonder why CDs from those series are rare and goes up for pretty high price.

    All these problem and issues makes me want to scream "Onore FORTE!".

    Looking forward to Part 2 in December... which is coming in few days. LOL