The CD Collection--Kikaider The Animation & Zebraman

Welcome back to a lighter entry into my CD Collection. This time around I talk about four CDs from two completely random franchises. I will be covering the soundtracks from both Kikaider The Animation and Kikaider 01 The Animation as well as the soundtrack from the 2004 film Zebraman plus it's theme song single. I guess the theme of this post is "things I have on DVD but haven't seen in like a decade".

Sorry in advance for the lighter post. I have been absurdly busy lately with a few 16hr+ pulls at work. Things should slow back down again in October, which should allow for me to get back to reviewing like a dozen CDs in a sitting. If you want some more, please check out my previous post on the Ultraman Great/USA and Ultraman Powered sets.


Kikaider The Animation Original Soundtrack

Kikaider The Animation is one of those things that actually managed to get a foothold for a minute in the US. I remember it airing quite a bit on Cartoon Network in the early-mid 2000s. Hell, Bandai even released it's own Region 1 DVD set. The more I think about it, the more I feel I should go back and watch it. The series was beautifully animated and did a wonderful job of bringing Shotaro Ishinomori's unique style to life right before the genre turned to crap. As one of the handful of posthumous works based on Ishinomori's creations, I always admired this one for really making an effort to bring his vision to life.

So the music. As this was only a twelve-episode series, there really wasn't a whole lot of music created for it. Composing the music for the series is Akira Mitake, who I guarantee I will never be writing about again as this is as close to Tokusatsu as he gets with his few credits as a composer. That said, I feel the need to draw attention to this. You know...for funsies.

The soundtrack is kinda minimalist. There isn't a whole lot of depth, and it reminds me a lot of the game music soundtracks (Kamen Rider Agito, Ryuki, and 555 all had them) of the era. In fact, after looking at the liner notes it appears that this entire soundtrack was a solo effort by Mitake (with an assist on electric guitar by Kazuo Osato). That would explain it. It would have been cool to hear some more action tracks, but this CD is actually a pretty good listen. I enjoy the music from the series.

Oh yes, I suppose I should talk theme songs. Good news--they're both here. The instrumental opening theme song Theme of Gemini and the ending song Destiny by Yui Horie both have their places at their respective ends of the disc. Destiny is actually is very catchy tune. Given that I don't have the greatest recollection of the series, the fact that it's ending song is as clear as a bell in my memory is a little confusing.

Yeah, I need to review the DVD set one of these days. Or at the very minimum just throw it on just to rewatch it.


Kikaider 01 The Animation Original Soundtrack

I don't remember watching the Kikaider 01 The Animation OVA, but it was included in the aforementioned DVD set. Released in 2001, the four part OVA actually ended up getting it's own soundtrack. While Akira Mitake's music from the previous series was used (for example, Theme of Gemini was used as the ending track for 01) a new score by Kaoru Wada was created.

Much like Mitake, I don't anticipate ever having to write about Wada in the future. His credits include several anime series, but nothing of the Tokusatsu persuasion. Upon further examination, yes, this man does seem to be legit into his classical tunes.

This is probably the most serious soundtrack I've ever heard. Not a wink or even hint of a smile throughout. While the soundtrack to the previous series wasn't all that chipper, it at least had some range. This one is all business. However, it sounds fantastic and makes use of a decent-sized orchestra. It's just a little bit strange to listen to this on it's own.

I also have to give this CD a shout out for having one of the craziest booklets I've ever seen. It's like a booklet is an animation cel with a transparent overlay.

You see, folks...THIS is why CD Collecting is a thing. What an awesome extra...


Zebraman Original Soundtrack

Yeah, so this is another one I have to watch again. Zebraman was the bizarre Takashi Miike film that Toei released in 2004. The film centers around a middle-aged man whose escape from his disfunctional family basically involves cosplaying as his favorite childhood hero--Zebraman. Things become complicated, however, and he ends up getting powers and a more intimidating version of the Zebraman suit to go with it. One of the more notable scenes in the movie involves the faux-70s Zebraman opening credits being shown with Hiroshi Watari (Sharivan, Spielban) as Zebraman and a theme song sung by Ichiro Mizuki.

Hmmm...maybe the real theme of this post is "One-Off Composers". The music from this movie was composed by Koji Endo. Looking at his resume I can only assume that Koji Endo isn't a person, but rather a music-producing program on a laptop somewhere. In 2004 alone he had fourteen credits to his name. Fourteen! How is that remotely possible?

As this was a legit film, it featured an appropriate soundtrack. All points are covered and there is even an awesome Henshin track. I will say, however, that it does suffer a little bit from a lack of musicians working on it. It relies a little too heavily on the synthesizers.

To answer the question you're probably asking if you've seen the film, yes, Ichiro Mizuki's Zebraman no uta is included in it's entirety. Also included is the song Z sung by Hiroaki Takeuchi. On the flipside of that, no, the ending song Nichiyobi yori no shisha by The High-Lows is not included.

Ze-Bu-Ra! Ze-Bu-Ra!


The High-Lows Nichiyobi yori no shisha c/w Shippaiman

This single is a little bit unusual...

The band, The High-Lows, is more or less the reincarnation of The Blue Hearts. Their big hit was the 1987 song Linda Linda. There is a very good chance you've heard the song before. Hell, I definitely remember playing it in Taiko no Tatsujin. The Blue Hearts broke up in 1995 and The High-Lows immediately took shape.

The band's self-titled debut album was released in 1995 and contained the song Nichiyobi yori no shisha. It's an infinitely catchy tune that managed to at the very least capture the attention of someone at Honda as they used the song for their ad campaign featuring ASIMO (and a certain CCLemon99 for using it in the 2009 version of his since-deleted ASIMO video). Nine years later, it would get new life as the ending song for Zebraman. It's kinda funny how that worked out, isn't it? I have to say, it's the perfect fit. It isn't as fast as Linda Linda, but it sure is structured similarly...and did I mention how catchy it was??

The coupling song from this single is also non-original. Shippaiman was originally released on their 2001 album HOTEL TIKI-POTO. This one I'm not too keen on. It isn't all that slick compared to it's partner track. It is an important addition, however, as the song was featured in the movie as well. It wasn't a theme or anything, it was just kinda there. Yeah...I don't like this one all that much. It's a little too herky-jerky and features a kazoo of all things. I don't care what kind of comedic effect you're going for, a kazoo has no place in recorded music.

Sadly this single is just the two tracks--no Karaoke versions. Basically the High-Lows got a payday and didn't have to lift a finger. Nice...


Recommended Pick: It's a tough call since these CDs are all very different from each other. I'm going to have to give it to Kikaider The Animation Original Soundtrack. It is easily the most well-rounded of the bunch and Destiny is a good song. As good as Nichiyobi yori no shisha? No, but still a memorable track.


There you have it. This has been a CCLemon99 quickie CD post of some unusual CDs. Where are the CDs from the second Zebraman movie? They'll probably be bundled in with CD reviews from Kamen Rider The First and Kamen Rider The Next whenever that happens. Do I really want to talk about Platinum Smile? Ehhh, at least it isn't as bad as that song that ISSA did. That one doesn't sound dated at all.............................

Catch you later.


BONUS: Photos of the sweet Kikaider 01 The Animation cover.

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