The "English" Version


Get used to it. I'm going to be using that word often in this entry.


Despite having a list of very good topics to write about this week, I had a very hard time getting the wheels spinning on any of them. I was reluctantly heading into what would have been a half-assed conversation about a certain Tokusatsu series that I have been quietly watching (I'll get around to it...and don't worry, I'll be ready next time) when my Tokusatsu CD rip library dropped a diamond in my lap.

How have I not gone over this yet? For those who are a bit language challenged, the song my playlist selected for me is an English version of the theme song from Shotaro Ishinomori's final (living) television series Yugenjikko Sisters Shushutorian. Every single time I happen upon one of these English Versions of Tokusatsu theme songs a flurry of confusion washes over me. Why do they exist? Who are they for? Why is the music sometimes different or even re-recorded in some cases?

I don't have anything against the occasional English lyric thrown into a song. Hell, sometimes a masterfully placed English lyric is what makes the song memorable. The theme song from Macross was good enough as-is, but the addition of "Will you love me tomorrow?" makes it immortally badass to me. It was a single sentence that was sung clearly and made perfect sense. It didn't test the limits of, in this case, Makoto Fujiwara's English by keeping it short and sweet.

There have been many instances of English phrases being thrown randomly into Tokusatsu songs, but they were never smooth. Remember the song Sexual Lady from Bioman? "You are rhythmical dancer"? Right... Or how about Dairanger's ai no soldier? "I love you! (You!) On the fire!". Or how about "Gaomuscle do the hustle!"? I take that back...that lyric is actually brilliant. I really don't think anyone at Toei or Columbia really cared about the random nonsense lyric--and they really shouldn't have. The problems only occur when you pack an entire song full of near-gibberish lyrics.

Let's take a look at English versions of songs that were perfectly fine in their original Japanese language versions. I'm not going to cover Ultraman since...well, all of the versions of that abysmal song Take Me Higher alone would be enough for their own entry.

Oh yes, I should also note that I'm really not trying to be mean spirited here. I am just genuinely baffled why this trend happened and why it went on for so long.

Kyojuu Tokusou Juspion (1985)

The rest of this entry will be about songs that really have no reason to exist--but I have a theory about why this one might make atleast a little bit of sense. The mid-80s were a glorious time for Toei branching out into international markets. While Sentai didn't quite make it's full international debut (Yes, yes. Goranger and Battle Fever J in Hawaii), Metal Hero had recently hit it big in France. It is entirely possible that some English version theme songs were put together to court potential US distributors. I mean, Juspion itself was the first truly new Metal Hero show since Gavan...so why wouldn't Toei try? In the end Juspion didn't land in any English speaking markets and the English theme songs were dumped onto the Music Collection LP and later the Song Collections once CDs were popularized.

I'm Juspion -- This is a cover of the opening theme song to Juspion. I will give whoever "Henry" is credit for atleast being forceful in his struggle through the lyrics. I won't give Columbia credit for the title. I'm Juspion? The original title to the song was Ore ga seigi da! Juspion which should really make the title I am justice! Juspion. That would have been much cooler. If they wanted to be original, how about Justice+Champion=Juspion!?

Choice Lyrics: "You know you are boy. I know you are tough"

A Wolf In Space Juspion -- They got the title right, but this one is just as bad as the opening theme.

Choice Lyrics: "Hey! Here we go I'm just a wolf in space!"

Yugenjikko Sisters Shushutorian (1993)

The only connection this series has to the English language and Western pop culture is episode 40, which centered around Ultraman and Tsuburaya in general (Booska!). That particular episode has become very popular among Tokusatsu fans thanks to all of the Toei-Tsuburaya cross pollenation, but that is where the similarities end. Besides, this song was recorded and released way before that episode even aired.

Today Is The Day (niconico, skip to 18:54)-- When I first got my hands on a Shushutorian CD I never bothered to read the fine print on the title to this song. The rather generically titled song actually held an incredibly strange English version. This one managed to atleast somewhat incorporate the existing English lyrics "I don't know it. What do you do." (They changed "I" to "We" for some reason). They also left in some Japanese, which is pretty rare for these English versions. "Yugenjikko Three Sisters Shushutorian!" was left unchanged.

Annoyingly this song isn't on Youtube. Here is the Japanese version. Here are the English lyrics...if you're crafty enough, you can probably find the English song.

I really can't wait to talk about the Shushutorian songs someday. I have so much to say.

Choice Lyrics: "1-2-3 Yeah! Are you ready now?"

Gekisou Sentai Carranger (1996)

This is where Toei went off the rails for no reason at all. The theory I had with Juspion really doesn't apply here since Power Rangers was already a thing and in it's fourth season. Out of the blue someone decided to tack English versions of the Carranger theme songs onto the 87 other Carranger songs they released.

Carranger The Unstoppable -- This is the English version of the second Carranger opening theme song. Right off the bat you'll notice that the music is ever so slightly slowed down. Oh, and you'll definitely hear the numbingly awful rambling over the usually silent intro to the song. The funny thing is...the lyrics aren't *that* bad on paper. Everything that makes this song horrible lies on the singer "Mickey". The painfully shrill voice and lazily pronounced lyrics turn what could've been a somewhat passable song into a terrible, terrible nightmare.

Get used to Mickey...she'll be around for awhile....

Choice Lyrics: "Energy loaded, power stand by. Save the world for eternal peace. Defeat the evil that terminate. Now you're ready for Accel Changer."

Samba Paradiso (niconico)-- OK, even the title of this one is weird. The original title of the ending song is Paradise Samba, which is more of an English title than the title of...the English version... My brain really hurts. The lyrics make NO sense. At all. None. The singer is still Mickey, but she is doing a this weird grunty-style singing voice. Better than that high-pitched dog whistle that we heard in the English opening theme.

Choice Lyrics: "I wanna win and show it to my mom and kids."

Denji Sentai Megaranger (1997)

Megaranger had a light fixation with the English language. That's all I got. Again, no real reason for this song to exist, but it does. Since I wasn't yet a CD collection in the late 90s, I was utterly shocked when I watched the excellent Megaranger vs Carranger when it first came out in 1998 and heard the English version of the theme used during the big fight scene. Yeah, two years in a row of having English theme songs officially makes this a trend.

Megaranger The Cyberdelix -- You'll first notice that the music is once again slowed down a little bit. This one also managed to incorporate plenty of elements from the original theme song in the lyrics. Once again, this song's major failing is Mickey. She's back and even more grating than before. Between the way she says "Denji SentaaiiiIII" and how she holds that note for waaay too long at the very end...ugh. She makes my teeth hurt.

Choice Lyrics: "It's alright I just feel so high"

Seijuu Sentai Gingaman (1998)

This one makes a little more sense than the previous two from a logistical stand point. The singer of these songs and their original Japanese versions is, Ryo Kisami, who is secretly legendary singer Masato Shimon. Shimon has had plenty of English language songs in his career, so how bad can it be?

The Galactic Warriors Gingaman -- It took them three tries, but they finally got it right. They finally managed to have a singer who can handle singing in both Japanese and English. Shimon is pretty particular in the way he pronounces "Gingaman" versus how he says it in the Japanese version of the song. The only Japanese word to be found in the entirely of the song is the "Ginga" in "Gingaman" No mention of Sentai this time. Honestly, this one isn't terrible. The lyrics are kinda disjointed in places, but it all kinda works.

Choice Lyrics: "Astro energy filling up power to space"

Naked Mind -- This is the English version of the ending theme song. There are some oddities, such as the random changes to the backing vocals at the very beginning and middle of the song. Plus the title could have been modified a little bit better... Shimon hides his less than perfect English in his singing style, which is very similar to how it is sung in Japanese. Again, this one isn't all that bad. I even had a hard time finding a choice lyric from this one.

Choice Lyrics: "Your Naked Mind, I need you so I want you to stay..."

Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Five (1999)

Mickey's back... *sigh*

Rescue! GoGo Five -- This is by far the worst of trio of Mickey-helmed English version Sentai theme songs. The lyrics are not only unintelligible, but when you can make them out they make ZERO sense. She even changes the name of the show with "We're the Kyuukyuu Sentai GoGo Rescue Five". She doesn't even manage to hit those high notes as well as she used to but is just as irritating as ever. Good God.

Shinichi Ishihara sang the original Japanese theme song and has done plenty of English singing prior to this. Why wasn't he called in? That would've, at the very least, been entertaining. Is Mickey the go to when the original artist can't be bothered?

Choice Lyrics: All of them. Holy shit.

Mirai Sentai Timeranger (2000)

Finally. I've finally made it to the bitter end of the English Sentai theme run.

Beyond All Space & Time -- The English version of the Timeranger theme song stealthily snuck it's way into the second song collection by not mentioning Timeranger at all in it's title. With a title like that, it could've been just an average image song.

The only nice thing I can say about this song is that atleast the vocals are consistent. Kumi Sasaki returns to sing the English version and her style is very similar to how she sang the original version. The results are pretty bad. She hits the same notes in the same places, but I'm having a hard time placing the lyrics. The lyrics aren't very good to begin with, so

Choice Lyrics: "More than a thousand, more than a million. Beyond the count of, Billions and Trillions."

Kamen Rider Kuuga (2000)

The biggest blessing of Kamen Rider being an absentee of the 90s is that it missed out on the English Version trend. Well, maybe Rider didn't quite make it out of the woods in time. Both of Kamen Rider Kuuga's theme songs got the English treatment...something that, in my naked mind, ultimately caused Rider to defect to avex from Columbia.

The Masked Rider Kuuga! -- The nicest thing I can say about this cover is that it reminds me of the early 80s mini trend in Anime of having English theme songs. This is mostly because Masayuki Tanaka is singing...and he's from Crystal King.

Beyond nostalgia, this is garbage. The now unkillable Mickey is here doing the backing vocals, adding all kinds of weird and unnecessary lyrics. The biggest problem this song has is easily how badly Tanaka pronounces the word "Masked". He says "Mas-ked". Really?

One other little oddity is that they used the TV style intro version of the song rather than the album version. This is something I'm sure I'll discuss more once I get around to writing about my Kuuga CDs.

Choice Lyrics: "Jumping over that cliff. Now is the time.".

Into The Blue Sky -- Like Masayuki Tanaka, Jin Hashimoto is an 80s singer. Hashimoto nearly matches the energy that he had singing the Japanese version of Kuuga's ending song here, but he doesn't quite bend the lyrics to his will. Mickey once again adds backing vocals that nobody asked for.

You may now wave goodbye to Mickey...

Choice Lyrics: "I'll take you to the future, where no sadness is ever making sense."


There has to be some kind of story behind these English versions of these Tokusatsu theme songs. To question their existence is to question my own, really. I'll never know the answer...

If you want to see what happens when someone uses their English skills for good in a Tokusatsu song, stick with Disco Ultraseven.

-Meta-Morphing! CC-Lemon-99!


The CD Collection -- Kamen Rider BLACK & BLACK RX 2015 3-Disc Sets

Welcome to yet another entry into the never ending series on my vast CD Collection. For the second CD Collection entry in a row I am covering a new release--two of them, actually!

A little over a week ago Columbia released 3-Disc CD Sets from Kamen Rider BLACK and Kamen Rider BLACK RX. I was kinda hesistant on whether I was going to order these sets or not...but decided to put in a last minute pre-order to ensure I had them on release date. Was it worth it? Let's find out!

Oh! Stay tuned for a little bonus at the end!


Kamen Rider BLACK Song & Music Collection

The hype for Kamen Rider's return in 1987 was immense. It might appear that it was a true attempt to modernize Kamen Rider, but it wasn't too much more than a very loose reboot. The biggest change, atleast in my eyes, to the Rider franchise was the hiring of the great Eiji Kawamura to compose the music for BLACK. I do enjoy Shunsuke Kikuchi's work as composer for all of the Riders up to ZX, but it was really time for a change. He seemed to be making the same music for a very long time and, let's face it, continued to make the same music post Kamen Rider. He did manage to land on his feet getting the job as composer for a little show called Dr. Slump...which in turn lead to a forgotten underground favorite called Dragonball. I sure am getting off topic...

Eiji Kawamura was chosen to compose the music for the new Kamen Rider show. This also happens to be his first big credit. The song collection would be entirely devoid of any artists previously heard on Kamen Rider song collections as well.

Toei was taking a jump in a new direction here when it came to aesthetics. There was a new Rider with no scarf, no connection at all to the previous ten Riders, no returning music, no returning singers, and a somewhat familiar sounding plot. Since I am not talking about the show (yet), let's talk about the Songs and Music.


We are given the song collection to start this set. There isn't too much to the Kamen Rider BLACK song collection. There are ten songs, plus a slightly different version of the opening theme song called the "Album Version". All of the songs are sung by Tetsuo Kurata (who played Kotaro in the series), Toshiya Igarashi, and Norio Sakai singing the ending song Long Long Ago 20th Century.

I will get things started by saying that Tetsuo Kurata is a terrible singer. Just because you can get the star of your show to sing the theme song, it doesn't mean you should. This is one of the old Rider traditions that should have been left on the shelf next to the muffler. This isn't to say that the theme song would've been stellar in anyone else's hands...but no amount of reverb could've saved his awful singing. I mentioned the Album Version of the theme song before, and I should probably explain what that is. They removed some of the sin-shielding effects from Kurata's voice and, for some blisteringly stupid idea, left off the heavy effect on the "BLACK!" lyric of the song. It basically sounds like this...

Kaaameen RAI--DAA blackblackblackblack

It just kinda sputters out. Eh. Oh yeah, and they were confident enough with his singing abilities that they also gave him a song called Ore no Seishun to sing. It was an alright song--and it made an appearance in one of the movies. The singing is still pretty terrible.

The rest of the song collection is pretty solid. Pretty much every song stands out as a classic Rider song outside of the lullaby. Long Long Ago 20th Century is a wonderful ending song. The standout IN song, to me, is Blackhole Message. People seem to like Henshin! Rider BLACK or BLACK ACTION better.

The rest of the disc is fleshed out with previously released Karaoke versions of all songs. 21 tracks in total.


Here we get the music collection for Kamen Rider BLACK. Nothing on this disc is new, either. The tracklist is verbatim to the original release of the music collection with the lone addition of the Single Version of the opening theme song at the end of the disc.

Like I was saying before, the music collection was one of the biggest changes for the big reboot in 1987. When you have the person who laid down the musical footprint for a franchise suddenly replaced, it can have a pretty big impact on the show. In this case of Eiji Kawamura's seven-year takeover of the Rider franchise, it was a much needed change.

I suppose the best way to describe the background music from Kamen Rider BLACK...I guess I could say that it borders of creepy/spooky while having an almost anti-heroic sound to it--even on the heroic pieces. There are no definitive here's-the-good-guy-blaring-horns-and-triumphant-orchestra pieces. The entire music collection is very straight-foward in it's theme and barely leaves any wiggle room for straying. This lent itself nicely to the series. Even on a day when he had defeated whatever high-pitched failure Golgom dispatched, he was still a man on a tortured search for his brother.

Listening to the Kamen Rider BLACK music collection is a fantastic experience. Few Tokusatsu albums really get in my head the way this one does. It's disturbingly basic most of the time, but has this creepiness and sadness that make it quite memorable in a sea of generic hero music.

Why Road Sector?


This is the important disc...all of the new content lives here.

Disc three starts off with some leftover BGM from the 1994 daizenshuu music collection release that was not included on the original music collection from 1988. Once that music is out of the way, there are several unreleased little gems included. Some of the unreleased music are very short little pieces or even variations of longer existing BGM. Nothing is particularly groundbreaking or had me going "Aha! I've been waiting for this piece to be released forever!!", but it's great to finally have it all.

To close this disc out there are several new variations of a lot of vocal songs. These range from Off-Chorus Karaoke to Instrumentals to short edits used in the show. I could list all of what versions of which songs are included, but I really don't have the patience to list a bunch of tracks that you probably don't even care about.

As I mentioned, I am a big fan of listening to the BLACK music collection a few times a year. The more, the merrier I say! It's nice to be able to add some new tunes to my Kamen Rider BLACK library after decades of having the same old music.

Set Overall

This set isn't entirely for a person like me. I'm a rabid fan of Tokusatsu song and music collections, so there isn't a whole lot in the way of new material to justify this purchase. I will say, however, that it is nice to finally have all of the songs and music completely remastered and presented all in one place for the first time ever. Something about consistency just really gets me going. All of this music was recorded at the same time by the same people and had various types of remastering over time. Here it is--all in one packed box set for an efficient price.

I will give this set bonus points for efficiency. While the second disc may have the same tracklist as the original music collection from 1988, the tracks are broken down individually. Instead of being eighteen tracks, it is broken down into fifty-three individual tracks. Very convenient if you're looking for a specific track.

The only misses I have are the somewhat boring and uninspired packaging and the questionable photo they selected for the booklet. Really? You want Road Sector to be the bike to represent this show? I think Battle Hopper would have been a lot more appropriate in this situation...


Kamen Rider BLACK RX Song & Music Collection

Naturally Kamen Rider BLACK was a huge hit for Toei and Tokusatsu in general. It was at this point that I think Toei kinda panicked and took the absolute safest route imaginable...and boy did it blow up in their faces...

BLACK was followed up with BLACK RX. Once again, Tetsuo Kurata played the lead role of Kotaro Minami. Once again he faces a band of criminals bent on taking Earth. Once again he faces off with Shadow Moon. For the staggering amount of stuff that was used again in the sequel, it was a very different show.

Case-in-point, they even brought Eiji Kawamura back to compose the music for this series. While there was a bit of reused music from the previous series, the new stuff was pretty different.

The song collection was also playing it safe. Gone were the rockin' vocals of Igarashi and Sakai. They were replaced with rising legend Takayuki Miyauchi and existing legend Ichiro Mizuki, who had been singing Rider songs since 1972.

Everything about BLACK RX was cautious. RX failed to keep the Kamen Rider name broadcast over televisions through the 1990s, but the series wasn't a total loss...


While the song collection from BLACK is well-remembered and enjoyed, the song collection from BLACK RX is probably the most iconic of the "Showa" Rider era (I use quotes because BLACK RX is both Showa and Heisei--in fact, I came up with a better classification for Riders--"Columbia" and "avex". Rider was given a major shake-up in 2002 with one of the major changes being a record label switch.). The RX song collection has some of the best action songs of the franchise, and they're all represented on this disc.

What we get is the ten vocal songs from the show along with Karaoke tracks of all ten songs. The last track is a bizarre sounding instrumental version of Hikari no senshi.

As you might guess, I looooove the songs from RX. The very first Tokusatsu album I bought back in the 90s was the RX complete song collection (I might get around to these some day). There isn't a song on here I don't like...even the Tetsuo Kurata song isn't half bad (the Karaoke version is even better--his singing definitely didn't improve, but thankfully they gave the theme song to a pro). Of the ten songs Takayuki Miyauchi sang eight (including both theme songs), Ichiro Mizuki sang the legendary song towa no tame ni kimi no tame ni, and Tetsuo Kurata sang kuroi yuusha.

As late as 1996 Columbia considered two additional Ichiro Mizuki songs, 11 Rider dai sanka and Kamen Rider 99 no uta, as being part of the BLACK RX song collection. In the early 2000s Columbia removed these songs from the RX song collection and have considered them separate songs ever since. I have covered these songs in the past--and stay tuned to the end of this blog, because I'm going to cover them again.


I really like the music collection of Kamen Rider BLACK. I like the music collection of BLACK RX even more. Not only were some key tracks reused in the sequel, but the newly recorded music collection is fantastic.

When describing the BLACK music collection I used words like "creepy" and "sad". The best words to use to describe the RX music collection is "bleak" and "dystopian". Eiji Kawamura, to the surprise of no one, is my favorite Tokusatsu composer. He took possibly the moodiest music collection to date and made it even moodier. The basic-sounding production of the previous soundtrack is gone--this is a more fleshed out and rich sounding production. I doubt that any more/different people were involved in the recording...maybe new equipment was used?

I've reviewed practically all of Eiji Kawamura's Tokusatsu music collections at this point (BLACK, RX, ZO, J, Dairanger, Kakuranger, B-Fighter, and some of BF Kabuto) but feel the need to compliment the man further. Maybe I'll write a tribute someday...but in the meantime I can say that even though the BLACK music collection is wonderful and revolutionary, this one is more of an evolution to the previous one than RX himself was to BLACK.

Like the previous set, this disc is a verbatim copy of the 1989 (and eventual ANIMEX1200) release of the music collection. It is all remastered in it's 2015 glory and sounds amazing. Also. like the previous set, the tracks are chopped up into individual tracks for easy searching. I can't stress this enough...very, VERY convenient.


Here is the reason us super fans bought this set...

The first few tracks are leftover tracks from the 1994 daizenshuu release of the music collection that weren't included on the 1989 CD. It's nice to have these tracks newly remastered since they haven't been put to CD in 20 years. After that, there are some new variations and little incidental music that I guess wasn't good enough for release in the past. To close out the CD, there are several variations of vocal songs (Off-Vocal Karaoke, Instrumental, etc). It is structured the same as the third disc of the BLACK set, but it has quite a bit more variety to the songs selected. It is also nice to finally have Karaoke versions of the songs without the backing vocals. I was never a fan of Karaoke with the backing vocals included.

There isn't too much more I can say about this disc than what I said about the third disc of the previous set. It's nice to have more music to add to my collection--and it's from a composer I love! Top that off with the newly released variations of the vocal tracks and this is a good thing to own.

Set Overall

Pretty much the same thing can be said about this set that I said about the previous set. This is a wonderful set that is packed full of fantastic songs and music in consistent quality. If you own all of the previous RX CDs, as I do, there isn't too much in the way of new material for your collection. BUT, this set isn't all that expensive versus the prices of the individual CDs. At ¥4500 that breaks down to ¥1500 a disc. Not bad considering the individual discs were upwards of ¥3000 a piece new. This is almost ANIMEX1200 territory!

It should be noted that there are some issues that nitpicky idiots like me will probably notice. The lack of the two Ichiro Mizuki songs that I mentioned is kinda silly (atleast the 11 Rider song should be part of the RX collection, 99 no uta not so much...but it did come out in '89). Also, and this is a big one to me, they really should have included the vocal variation version of the Kamen Rider BLACK RX theme song that played in the middle of the first episode. If you listen closely when Kotaro is first transformed into RX, you can hear that the lyrics are sung noticeably different in the version of the song they used. Yeah, I know we're getting into super nerd territory...but this would have been the perfect place to finally release this version. Oh, yeah, and the packaging is still boring.


Kamen Rider 99 no uta / Mahou Tsukai Sally 99 no uta

This is the first of the disputed RX CD singles. It only contains two tracks, both of which contain lyrics that mostly consist of the multiplication tables.


While the Kamen Rider version has been released many times over the years, the Mahou Tsukai Sally version remains a pretty rare song. It's much slower than the Rider version--which Ichiro Mizuki sounds funny trying to sing.

This CD is extremely uncommon. It took me years of searching and waiting to finally get this one, but I was really happy to have this small piece of Rider history in my collection. Oh yeah, it was also nice to finally hear the sweet Mahou Tsukai Sally version too!


11 Rider Dai Sanka / towa no tame ni kimi no tame ni

There are many, many reasons why the 11 Rider song belongs in the  BLACK RX song collection. One--it WAS in the RX song collection for quite some time. Two--it covers Rider 1 up to RX. Three--the coupling song on this single is a genuine song from the RX song collection. So what gives? Why was this song not included?

My theory is that, well, since it covers eleven Riders it is quite a long song. They just didn't want to sacrifice the disc space for this song and it's Karaoke version. Like 99 no uta, this one did end up being released several times over. The most recent release was on the 2011 "EXTRA" CD, which I covered awhile back. That disc even includes the very rare Karaoke version (along with 99 no uta).

Basically...this CD Single is pointless to own today, but it's nice to have when you're an insane completist like me. It's cheap enough and has some cool artwork. Heh.


There it is, the newly released BLACK and BLACK RX 3-Disc Sets. I highly recommend purchasing them if you're new to the game and want to get into collecting some excellent music. If you are a fan with an established music collection, you might want to think long and hard if you really want to get this set when you probably already own 80% of the music.

If you want to get them, Amazon Japan and CDJapan are probably the best places to get them quickly and safely. I would go even further to recommend Amazon Japan since they have recently upped their game in a big way by introducing points. 10% back on ¥9000 worth of Rider CDs gave me ¥900 to play with on my next purchase. CDJapan also has a points system, but it's structured a little bit differently and less conveniently.

Sets like this really should be purchased since it is letting Toei and Columbia know that people want them to dive into the vault and re-release classics with new material. Save the downloading for crap like Ninninger. : p

Oh! Be sure to check out my CD Collection page on my blog. It is badly in need of some updating, but atleast I am still churning out the articles! Please let me know either in the comments below or on Twitter is there is anything special you would like me to talk about--CD related or otherwise...

Thanks for swinging by this week!