The Two Different Versions of Blue SWAT's Theme Song

You thought it was over, huh? WRONG. Anniversary month continues with one last burst of energy! This time I will be talking about something I eluded to briefly in the past. I am going to get my gloves, grab my shovel, dig up Forte's rotting corpse and shake it violently until it becomes dust. That's right--I'm going to talk about yet another mystery from their short reign of terror...

Why are there two versions of Blue SWAT's opening theme song TRUE DREAM?

Let's start at the beginning...

The first time TRUE DREAM was released on CD was the 20th of March in 1994. The CD Single itself was as bog-standard as most Forte releases were. It featured the opening and ending theme songs and that's it--no Karaoke versions. TRUE DREAM sounded just as it did in the series. The version released later on for the Blue SWAT Music Collection was just a shortened TV size version of the same song from the CD Single.

Here's where things get a little bit murky for me as I do not own a copy of the 1994 Blue SWAT Song Collection.

On the 17th of May in 2004 the third volume of the Metal Hero Super Hero Chronicle was released. On it was a version of TRUE DREAM that was completely different from both the CD Single and TV Size version. Not only was there a heavy use of reverb throughout the entire song, but the lyrics were completely re-sung by Tatsuya Maeda. There are a couple of clear differences in inflection of certain lyrics.

Was this an outtake that somehow survived and managed to get a release years later? I'm not so sure about that. If it was a case of just the lyrics being sung a little bit differently, I would probably write this off as an outtake. The music being somewhat more polished in the Super Hero Chronicle version just throws everything for a loop.

To demonstrate the differences between the two, I created a video that dissects both versions. First, you'll hear the full versions of each song. After that, there are snippets of the differences laid back to back. Finally, there is a version I cut together that has both versions laid on top of each other. You can clearly hear the differences in singing on that. I recommend putting on the headphones for full effect. This is just another one of those mysteries that has kept Forte relevant two decades after it's demise...

Intro: There is much more build-up in the SHC version over the single version.
Lyrics: Sung differently in a few parts, use of reverb in the SHC version.
Guitar section: Stronger use of percussion.

So I guess the real way to differentiate the two is that previous versions are the Forte Version with the latter being the Columbia Version. Technically incorrect (since the Karaoke version on Toei Metal Hero Karaoke Vol.2 features the Forte version despite being a Columbia release), but I'm all for simplicity.

I hope you enjoy the video I put together. Thanks once again for supporting my blog for the past five years. This extra blog came about because I realized that I posted five blogs in January 2011 plus, well, it's five years. So why not go the extra mile and make it five? Regularly scheduled programming resumes in February. I have a doozy of a CD Collection post coming up mid-Feb.--one I actually get requests for.

See ya!


5 Year Anniversary Month

The Complete Guide To Collecting Japanese CDs
Top 7 BEST Mecha Designs
CD Collection--Carranger 8cm CD Singles
Star Virgin (Movie + CD Soundtrack Review)


Star Virgin... [w/Bonus Soundtrack review]

Welcome to the fourth post of 2016! January of 2016 happens to be the fifth anniversary of my blog. To celebrate, I will be posting four blogs this month instead of the usual two. Be sure to check out my previous three celebratory posts. Thank you for reading my blog over the years...


I've been teasing this one for awhile. The clues that I gave out were that it was a Tokusatsu movie with the word "Star" in the title (specifically "Star ______") and that it was two words. I also gave out little clues that the soundtrack featured a song by a legendary singer. There were a few more clues that I could have given such as the same legendary singer also had a role in the movie...or that the film had it's own video game adaptation for the MSX2. I really wanted to keep this one a secret until it posted.

So here it is.....Star Virgin. Where the hell do I begin on this one?

Star Virgin is a 1988 direct-to-video Tokusatsu film produced by Pony Canyon of all companies. It largely capitalizes on the Bikini Armor genre, which I'm really not familiar with.....nor do I intend to become familiar with. Clocking in at just under an hour it features a fairly basic plot wrapped around special effects of varying skill. It's most notable achievement is casting anisong megastar Isao Sasaki. Yes, THAT Isao Sasaki. He was in this film!

The film begins with our heroine, Eiko, having been tied to a cross (classic Tokusatsu). The monster who trapped her begins acting somewhat inappropriate with her while she is trapped. This causes her bracelet to activate which transforms her into Star Virgin. She makes short work of the monster and turns back to normal.

It is then explained that she is embarking on a vacation to Earth and that it was her father who fit her with the transformation bracelet that would activate whenever a man would act lecherous toward her directly (or in her vicinity). On Earth, she runs into a young man named Ko who is the sudden target of a tank following a dental implant surgery. In order to transform and fight the tank, she tricks a foreign tourist into being inappropriate with her. She manages to transform, destroy the tank, and escape with Ko.

You'll see that statue alright...

Ko is kidnapped by Colonel Arashiyama, who has been after Ko's mysterious tooth implant to restart the nuclear reactor on his island and dominate the world. Eiko manages to break into Arashiyama's layer and free Ko. Arashiyama deploys his robot, Tsutenkaku 1, to follow the pair.


Tsutenkaku 1

As Tsutenkaku 1 is too powerful for Eiko, he is defeated several times purely by accident. Ultimately he manages to recapture the two. When Ko awakens, he is trapped inside a lightening rod. Eiko awakens in a wedding dress in Arashiyama's office. As he intends to wed her, he drinks a revitalizing potion which gives him a much more youthful appearance. He then attempts to make a move on Eiko...

Does your youth shine?

Naturally Eiko becomes Star Virgin thanks to Arashiyama's advances. Arashiyama deploys Tanegashima shi-shiki Robot, which is a giant robot formed from a large white copy of the Statue of Liberty. The robot shoots flames at Ko and then manages to get Star Virgin in it's grasp. After shocking Star Virgin for some time, Ko manages to get into Arashiyama's fighter jet and blast the robot until it frees it's grip on Star Virgin. Meanwhile, Arashiyama is successful in restarting his reactor with Ko's tooth implant.

Star Virgin uses her grappling hook to join Ko in the jet. They then fly into the entrance to the core of the island. They launch an all-out attack using the plane's machine guns as well as a handheld bazooka. Ko's tooth is freed from the reactor which then begins to explode.

They manage to escape the island as it explodes. En route back to land, the fighter jet begins to fail, which forces them to abandon the plane and jump into the water. Somehow they managed to find a canoe, which they use to make their way back to land. Tsutenkaku 1 reaches up from underwater and knocks both of them out of the boat, forcing both of them to swim to land. Tsutenkaku 1 also swims to land, but is greeted by a group of children playing on the beach. He starts to malfunction and becomes friendly with the children and their families.

Arashiyama, his henchmen, and Tanegashima shi-shiki are all shown to have survived the blast. As the credits roll, Eiko and Ko enjoy the rest of the day at the beach.

Just as the credits end and "The End" splashes on screen we hear Eiko and Ko getting attacked once again after hearing some metallic footsteps.


Wow. OK, so if I'm going to start somewhere, it's going to be the Star Virgin powers. We have a woman (yes, you can feel less skeevy--actress Eiko Kuroki was 18 at the time) whose powers come from men being outwardly perverted toward her. I...wish I was making this up. She had to trick a white dude into making a move on her so that she could transform. Her father probably owes that dude an apology. Like, It's one of the more bizarre superhero premises ever...but at the same time it makes sense. Her father didn't intend for her to be a heroine of any kind. He just fitted her with the bracelet (which is kinda like an inverted Ultraman timer) to protect her from creeps while she was on her trip to Earth. She kinda fell backwards into this whole situation as much as Ko did.

Star Virgin's unwitting victim

Isao Sasaki being cast as the villain of the movie was a solid casting choice. He wore the heavy make-up they plastered on him well. It was a pretty rediculous get-up, but it just kinda worked BECAUSE it was Sasaki. His voice sealed the deal on the whole thing. From there, the acting kinda went downward. To their credit, everyone looked like they were having fun--and they likely knew this was going to be a video release. Sasaki is just acting his heart out, though.

The effects of the movie were, like the acting, all over the place. Some of the effects were borderline impressive, while others were pretty silly. I enjoy model work, and this film is full of it, but they could have either lowered their aspirations or tried a little bit harder to get some effect shots peppered into the shots using models. BUT.....if I had a Statue of Liberty mecha I would probably put it in my movie as much as possible as well.

If you'll excuse me, I'm late for Ghostbusters II

I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy this film. I might be a sucker for the bizarre, but I'm sure anyone will enjoy watching this one. It's entertaining and short enough that you won't feel robbed if you're not totally sold on it. I should say that even with the perverted source of Star Virgin's powers, the movie itself is very tame. Once you get past that and the fact that she spends a good portion of the movie in a bikini'd chastity belt, it's a fairly vanilla movie.

Give it a shot. It might be a little bit all over the place and not have much of a plot or character development, but it's definitely entertaining.


Star Virgin Ongakushuu

The Star Virgin original soundtrack is probably how I first learned about this movie. In my normal rounds I managed to find this CD for sale some time ago. Just from the photos I knew that this movie was probably worth checking out. I mean Isao Sasaki was dressed up as an old clownish looking dude! How could I go wrong? Well, I ended up buying the CD for my collection and checking out the movie not too long afterward.

This soundtrack, while short, is probably too good for this movie. As I mentioned before, there is a song by Isao Sasaki as well as two songs by Reiko Iwama and a lone song by Star Virgin herself Eiko Kuroki. The music was composed by Kenji Kawai who is an insanely prolific composer. I know him primarily for his work on Ranma 1/2 and Kyatto Ninden Teyandee (I'll probably get to this one someday). My readers will probably know his work from Ultraman Nexus and both series of Akibaranger. I recommend taking a look at the list of work he's done over the years--it's staggering.

I suppose the best way to break this CD down is by songs and then by music collection.

Of the fourteen total tracks, four are vocal songs. The theme song, Star Virgin is by Reiko Iwama as well as an image song called Namida no kokoro. I loooooooove the theme song. It's insanely catchy--easily my favorite of the four. It has a nice energy and features some really good singing. Namida no kokoro doesn't get used in the film. It's not a bad song, I just don't think there was any room for it. Isao Sasaki's song, NONSTOP DREAMER, does make it into the film toward the end. It has the sound of an 80s anime bad guy's theme song. While a little on the cartoonish side, it is a great song as you would imagine. Has Isao Sasaki ever disappointed? Ever? The last vocal song, and I saved this one for last for one reason, is the character song by Eiko Kuroki. The title? H ga watashi no Energy or H is my energy. Now THAT is a song title right there. I'm sure you can figure out what the "H" stands for. The song itself is kinda upbeat and cheesy. Not bad, but certainly not great.

The music collection is quite solid. I meant it when I said it was too good for this movie. It sounds like it could be from the mid 90s most of the time. I'm actually quite impressed that this movie had such a great music collection and managed to under-utilize it the way it did. As this disc is only 32 minutes long, it only contains about 17 minutes of music. It's all great, though. There was a full band involved when it could have easily just been a guy with a synthesizer.

As this is an early CD it comes in a very thick plastic case. It's hard to describe unless you've dealt with an old CD case, but they have quite a bit of heft to them...and don't crack nearly as easy. To save costs, the booklet wasn't printed into the jacket. Since this was getting a simultaneous LP release it just has the fold-out wedged inside the jacket. The upside is that I now have a bitchin' Star Virgin poster. The downside.....there is none! Did you hear me? I have a Star Virgin poster!

I should also mention that there were also 8cm CD and 45 singles released containing the theme song as well as Namida no kokoro. I don't own the CD single...but I'm keeping my eyes peeled! I need to complete my Tokusatsu 8cm collection!


As this film nears it's 30th anniversary it's hard to say if it left any kind of lasting impression on Tokusatsu fans. I've been giving my hints on Twitter for some time, but nobody managed to guess it correctly. It's kind of a shame that nobody seems to know this one...but at the same time it can only be appreciated by a goofball like me. I can't imagine someone finishing an episode of Kamen Motorist Drive and being like "Hmmm Star Virgin? Let's give it a watch!". It's certainly worth a viewing if you happen to have a copy on VHS, Beta, or Laserdisc (no DVD......surprised????). It's also on Youtube, but you'll have a good time trying to cobble together the entire movie over a couple of accounts. Hahaa.

An interesting movie with a very good soundtrack. It certainly has a lot of room for improvement, but who knows! Maybe they'll get it right for the sequel...


Thank you for reading my blog on this forgotten movie and for supporting my blog for the past five years. This is the final post for my five-year anniversary month. While it was a ton of work for me to double my output, it was all worth it. I mean it. Thank you for reading. Thank you for spreading the word. Thank you thank you!


5 Year Anniversary Month

The Complete Guide To Collecting Japanese CDs
Top 7 BEST Mecha Designs
CD Collection--Carranger 8cm CD Singles


The CD Collection--Carranger 8cm CD Singles

Welcome to the third post of 2016! January of 2016 happens to be the fifth anniversary of my blog. To celebrate, I will be posting four blogs this month instead of the usual two. Be sure to check back on the 19th for the final celebratory post. Thank you for reading my blog over the years...


We made it to 2016! Sure it might be the 50th anniversary of Ultraman...and, OK, that IS a bigger deal than these goofballs...but the 20th anniversary of Carranger is something to celebrate! I've been holding off on doing this post for quite some time. Don't worry, I will circle back to cover all of the 8cm Sentai CDs before and after this series. Carranger by itself is worthy of it's own post.

Carranger is absolutely absurd with the amount of CDs it has. Three Song Collections, three Music Collections, a Christmas Album AND fourteen 8cm CD Singles. I can understand the numerous music collection CDs...but what in the world was going on with the songs? The three song collections were divided up into a whopping fourteen CD singles.

Things started off normal with your standard singles, but as the year went on the artwork became more elaborate and some CDs even included instructions on how to dance to certain songs. The evolution is something to behold. So here there are, all in one post. All fourteen Carranger singles!


Gekisou Sentai Carranger c/w Gekisou Gattai!! RV Robo

Ahhh yes, the Carranger opening theme song. Well, at least the version that was used in the first thirteen episodes anyway. This version of the song was perfect...I don't know why they had to monkey with it. The second track is RV Robo's theme song. I can't say I'm entirely in love with this one. When it comes to primary mecha themes in the 90s it feels like the better the show is, the lamer the song. This one is just a little too cheesy...and short.

Both songs are by Naritaka Takayama. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Tengoku Samba c/w Oretachi wa Carranger

Carranger is the first series to break up it's theme songs for the singles release (this was done for Carranger-Gogo Five). Again, this is a fantastic theme song that has a great video to go along with it. The other track on this single is Oretachi wa Carranger, which is a halfway decent action song. Definitely not the best of the series, but it works well enough.

Both songs are by Naritaka Takayama. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Gekisou Sentai Carranger~Full Accelerate Version c/w CATCH THE WIND

The second Carranger opening theme song is a remix of the first. Beginning in episode fourteen they used the Full Accelerate Version of the theme song...which I'm not entirely keen on. It's definitely a bigger song than the previous version, but it's just...off. I prefer the original version. If I could describe this version in one word, it would be "blaring". Blaring horns, blaring guitars, blaring drums (if such a thing could exist). Actually... I posed this question to twitter as a poll. Here are the results...

Son, I am disappoint.

The other song on this single is called CATCH THE WIND. I really like this one. It's a really nice song that I could see being the ending song in an alternate universe. It has some nice guitar work coupled with some of those blaring horns. Very chill.

The first track is sung by Naritaka Takayama with Tatsuya Maeda making a rare Sentai appearance on the second. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Shirobai yarou Signalman c/w Seishun Circuit

Signalman's theme song is a bit of a wait for it cop out sorry. Not only did they make this a dual purpose Singalman/Sirender theme ala Ryuseioh/Dairenoh, but the drum machine setting they chose is terrible. I won't say this is a bad song, but Singnalman certainly deserves better. The second track is a far different story. I loooove Seishun Circuit. I spoke about it previously on my list of Top 7 Sentai Heroine Songs, and it charted pretty high. It is one of my favorites of the Carranger song collection.

The first track is sung by Naoki Takao with the excellent Hiroko Asakawa on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Yumemiru Zonette c/w Kokoro no mama ni

You know that band song that plays as Zonette's theme music in the series? Well, this is the song version of that. It is...uh...not good. The singing really fails this one. I prefer just listening the the BGM versions of this one. Or the Karaoke version--which is handy since it's on this disc. To offset the badness of the first track, the second track Kokoro no mama ni is one of the best Carranger songs. Maybe not so much the vocal version, which is quite good on it's own, but again...the Karaoke version included is amazing. It's a bit on the jazzier side, so if that isn't your thing you might disagree.

The first track is sung by Rika Nanase as Zonette with Yoshito Fuchigami on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Dappu no uta Dappu! c/w Kuru! Kuru Magic Power!

This is another case of the BGM version being better than the vocal version. As much as I love Dappu...I didn't need a full song. Hahaa. The lyrics are pretty funny, but this one doesn't get a whole lot of play from me. I do like how the music goes overboard when he mentions Carranger. The second track, fittingly, is the Kurumagic song. It's a pretty good action song that some would consider the unofficial theme song to Giga Formula since all of the parts get a shout out in two different verses.

The first track is sung by Mari Maruta as Dappu with Kentaro Hiyami on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Carranger Ondo c/w Pegasus Thunder GO!GO!GO!

This is the first single to cover songs from the second song collection. It's kind of the turning point as not only did the songs get a little more substantial, but the artwork on the singles really got more elaborate.

Carranger Ondo is probably the song I listen to with the most frequency. It is infectiously catchy and really one of the most well-made Tokusatsu songs of the 90s. Like any working song, it has it's own special dance. More on that later... The second track is the theme song for Pegasus Thunder (and kinda Dragon Cruiser). It's definitely my favorite action song of the series. I think one of the keys to a good action song is to use organs. This one nails it. It's worlds better than any of the action songs from the previous batch of songs.

This single comes with a folded slip of paper with instructions on how to dance along to Carranger Ondo. This is the first Sentai CD Single to do so, and certainly not the last. It certainly is helpful of Red Racer to show me how to dance to this song...

I should also note that there are actually two versions of Pegasus Thunder GO!GO!GO!. The version here is Type A, which includes the thunder sound effect at the beginning as well as the backing vocals. Type B was a toned-down version that was included on the third song collection.

The first track is sung by Hiroko Asakawa with Norio Sakai on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


My favorite cover...

Utaou! Kotsu anzen~Carranger ni nare c/w Dakara tatakau Carranger

This one... OK, I'm not a fan of this first song. It is just a little too cheery for me. Somehow it was coupled with Dakara tatakau Carranger, which is a little bit on the bleak-sounding side. It's not exactly a fight song, but it definitely is at the same time. I happen to like this one, but I wouldn't put it among my favorites.

The first track is sung by Satoko Yamano (Dochinko! Nemurin, Ultraman Kids 1991) with Yoshito Fuchigami on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Gekisou Taisou Carranger c/w Shoot! Carranger

Another dance song with another helpful instruction sheet. This one definitely isn't as fun as Carranger Ondo. I would actually say it's a bit more on the militaristic side...which automatically makes it retro. Someone was watching a little too much Ultraman when they dreamed this one up. Naturally it's coupled with a song that is completely opposite. Shoot! Carranger is an awesome battle song that is on par with the Pegasus Thunder song in intensity. It covers the Carranger side arms (Auto Blaster, Navic Shot) as well as the Giga Booster.

The first track is sung by Kentaro Hiyami with Norio Sakai on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Kumori sora no yoru dakara c/w Carranger Kagayaku

Oh wow. This is the first character song on that I actually genuinely like from this series. The previous two were pretty much novelty songs. This one is just plain genuine. I'm glad they limited Yuji Kishi to one solo song...because it's a really good one. The second track is another darkish action song. I like this one quite a bit as well--especially how it pumps up before the ending.

The first track is sung by Yuji Kishi as Kyosuke/Red Racer with Naoki Takao on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Zettai shori da! VRV c/w Dokomademo, Itsumademo

Just because the RV Robo theme was lame doesn't mean that all Carranger mecha themes are. The VRV theme is up there as one of my favorites. It might not have made my Top 7, but if it were a Top 10 you could expect this one along with Gao Muscle and Live Boxer. Maybe it wouldn't have fit well as the RV Robo song, but I'm glad it exists to redeem this series' mecha theme cred. The second track is a slow jam that I can't really get behind. There are so many better songs that are like this one in the Carranger song collection. It's alright, but it isn't one that I go out of the way to listen to.

The first track is sung by Norio Sakai with Yoshito Fuchigami on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Victrailer Kyodai naru Machine c/w Kazoete Battle da! Carranger!!

Another great mecha theme? Sweet! I will admit, though, I prefer the Karaoke/Instrumental/BGM versions of the Victrailer theme over the vocal one. It's still a grand song for a grand machine. It's definitely the most well-made mecha song of the show--and possibly the decade. The second track is kind of a jazz/fight song hybrid. I have to say, they did a nice job combining two types of song into one. It turned out pretty good. Again, it's a very well-made song.

The first track is sung by VRV Meistersingers with Naritaka Takayama on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Yumemiru Love Love Rajietta c/w Red Zone Battle BIN BIN BIN!

Another one that I'm not in love with at all. Like the other song with "Yumemiru" in the title, this is a pretty bad character song that is let down by it's singing. Honestly, the music isn't great either. I guess they felt that this was a good song to be the theme for White Racer. Oh well. The second track is another jazz/fight song hybrid. This one isn't as good as Kazoete Battle da!, but it's still fun. It doesn't really take off at any point, but it does have these brief bursts of energy.

The first track is sung by Misaki Sudo as Rajetta/White Racer with Naoki Takao on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Merry Xmas! from Carranger c/w Gekisou Machine Daishugo!!

The final single! Even though Carranger had their own Christmas album, the title song managed to spill out into it's own single. It's not a bad song, either. It's a nice little song by the cast. The second track is definitely the weaker song of the single. It's basically a roll call of all of the mecha, weapons, and vehicles from the series. It's alright, but definitely not one I go out of my way to listen to often. In fact, listening to it for this review is probably the first time I've heard it in years. It's probably not a good sign when the Christmas song gets more play over the song that talks about all of the mecha.

The first track is sung by Carranger and Dappu with Osamu Sakata on the second track. Tracks 3 and 4 are Karaoke versions of the previous two.


Recommended Pick: Easily the Carranger Ondo/Pegasus Thunder GO!GO!GO! single. Two excellent songs and their Karaoke versions on one disc. If you decide to pick yourself up a copy just make sure that the one you are buying comes with the choreography sheet. If would be a minor disaster if it wasn't included...


Thank you for swinging by to check out my latest blog for my fifth anniversary celebration. Be sure to check out my CD Collection page. Hopefully I'll have time to get some more work done to it soon. I need to completely overhaul the CD Single section...

See you soon!


5 Year Anniversary Month

The Complete Guide To Collecting Japanese CDs
Top 7 BEST Mecha Designs

Next: Star Virgin... Movie and Soundtrack review

BONUS... The Choreography Sheets. I would scan these, but some butthead would probably steal my scans and put them on their website.