2019/07/31

Song Collection: Ninja Sentai Kakuranger


Welcome to the second in two new song collections for the day/month. The theme of the month is 1994...for better or for worse. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the month the song collections from the Blue SWAT and Kakuranger were released...let's take a look at them!

For this review I'll be using my copy of the Kakuranger Complete Song Collection from 1998. Normally the CDs in this CD series feature one half vocal and one half Karaoke songs. This one is very unusual, hence the longer review.



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01. Secret Kakuranger / Tou Chi Chen

Does anybody else hear a little bit of Motown Philly in this one?

Ah yes, the glorious theme to my beloved Kakuranger. It's easily my favorite theme song from a Ninja-themed Super Sentai (by default, honestly, since I can't remember how the Ninninger theme goes...or Shinkenger for that matter...and listening to the Hurricaneger theme song is a fate worse than reconstructive dental surgery). 

I rarely talk about lyrics, but this one always gets me as one of the more amusing Super Sentai theme songs. It is totally on the same level with the accompanying music track and the series itself. You want your theme song to represent the series...this song does it just a little bit better than most. 

02. Kiai hyakuhatsu! Kakuranger!! / Nobuhiko Kashihara

A catchy action song that I think was criminally underutilized in the series. The intro is incredibly memorable from the first time it blasted on screen in episode sixteen (everything Kakuranger is seared into my memory--no regrets). The weird thing is, this version of the song never made it on air. Skip down to track fifteen for more on that.

The slick instrumentals on top of Nobuhiko Kashihara's janky vocals make for a surprisingly good pairing. The "Super Henge! Doron Changer!" is incredibly well-placed too. Love this one!

03. Into Danger Kakuranger / Takayuki Miyauchi

...but not as much as this one! The very next episode (seventeen) we got another great taste of the Kakuranger song collection in the series. Saizo launches his attack on Yokai Amikiri and this awesome fight song bursts in. The combination of fast-paced music and smooooth Takayuki Miyauchi vocals make for one of the best action song in years, truthfully.

04. Tsuruhime! Tsuyosawa me ni mo utsukushii / Mari Sasaki

You know, I never really got into this one. I really like Tsuruhime, and she tended to get some of the better plotlines/episodes, but her theme is kind of a snorer. Mari Sasaki does a great job on the singing end, but I prefer her Ohranger song over this. The music here is just generic. It's probably the first good Sentai Heroine song since Fiveman's Kung Fu Dance, but that's hardly an accomplishment.

05. Hisatsu Fighter Crash!! / Nobuhiko Kashihara

The title may be a little coy on the subject matter, but this is one of the forgotten Mecha theme songs. Yeah, for some reason the first set of mecha in the series to have a song released are the Jusho Fighters. This one swings from lame to great quite a bit. It's a tad on the jazzier side with the focus being the bass of all things. Of the three mecha themes (sorry Tsubasamaru, none for you) I would probably peg this as the weakest...but it's still decent!

06. Hashire! Nekomaru / Goji Tsuno, Pythagoras

The only song on this song collection that is legit bad. I don't know which is worse, the vocals or the shrill music. How could they do this to poor Nekomaru? When I did my video on the Pladera Nekomaru toy, I steered clear (ha!) of this song entirely and went with BGM instead. 

The only merciful thing about this song is how it appeared in the series. It briefly showed up only being sung by the Kakuranger cast without music. It's easily the best version of the song...ugh.

07. Hoshi yo, nijimu na! / Takayuki Miyauchi

Another great Takayuki Miyauchi jam--and one that got primo airtime, essentially closing out the first half of the series, to ensure it's memorability. It's a smooth song that I suppose serves as the series' ballad. It's an incredibly upbeat ballad, but it serves the same purpose. 

It's worth noting once again that this specific version of the song wasn't used in the series... The version used appears later on the disc.

08. Kuro no kikoshi / X10

The infamous Junior/Gasha Dokuro theme song. It showed up a couple of times in the series including a Bandora-song-style extended performance in episode twenty-three. I definitely prefer the time Junior was once playing a suspiciously flawless rendition of 1999 SECRET OBJECT in episode fifteen, but if Columbia was going to create an in-house knock-off of Seikima-II through this song, they did a fine job.

Ohh...and if the singer, X10, sounds a little familiar in this track, just imagine him singing "TENSHIN DAAAA! KIRYOKU DAAAA!" and he may sound just a little more familiar.

09. Ninja de iko!! De-Den no Den / Takayuki Miyauchi

Another great Takayuki Miyauchi action song. Like a lot of insert songs from this series it appeared only once, left a decent impression and scuttled off into the black hole. Like a ninja...

10. Ninja! Matenro Kids / Tou Chi Chen

The series ending song. For a decade of absolutely awesome ending songs, this one has it's own little thing to make it memorable. It's rap...or rappish at least. Besides the ending video (which is how an ending song dance SHOULD be done, assholes) it actually made some really appropriate appearances in the show proper.

The full-sized version of the song is a treat. While it's great in it's TV Size form (and accompanying video) the full-sized version really goes in some weird places and still manages to sound coherent. Even better, the super-rare instrumental is extra delightful.

11. Detazo! Kakure Daishogun!! / Hironobu Kageyama

After the song collection was released, a single containing the theme songs of the two main mecha were released. I talked about it previously on this page.

The theme song for Kakure Daishogun by Hironobu Kageyama is clearly the highlighted mecha theme of the series. I may have been kinda hard on it in the past, but I do enjoy it's overall energy and hype. It's a tad out of place here for Kakuranger, though. This could be the theme song to Ohrangerrobo if you reworked the lyrics.

Generic sound aside, having a mecha theme song by Hironobu Kageyama is like getting an anison stamp of approval in the 90s. 

12. Muteki Shogun, tadaima sanjo! / Takayuki Miyauchi

This one has kinda grown on me a little bit. It's still a really strange mecha theme song, but at least it has the kind of majestic stoicism that Muteki Shogun embodies. Honestly, I can't think of a better theme song for Muteki Shogun. The two theme songs on this single definitely fit the mecha that they represent perfectly...right down to the singers.

13. Secret Kakuranger  -Original Karaoke-

14. Ninja! Matenro Kids  -Original Karaoke-

15. Kiai hyakuhatsu! Kakuranger!! -Serifunashi Version- / Nobuhiko Kashihara

This version is actually what was heard in episode sixteen. The biggest difference is that the "Super Henge! Doron Changer!" vocals were removed from this version. It sounds a little weird without them since there is a slight pause to fit those little chants in. Ah well.

16. Tsuruhime! Tsuyosawa me ni mo utsukushii -Karaoke Short Version-

Just like the title says. They were super-stingy here...why not give us the Karaoke version of the FULL song? Why a short version??

17. Hoshi yo, nijimu na! -Vocal Betsu Version / Takayuki Miyauchi

This is the version that ended up on the air. Like the alternate version of Kiai hyakuhatsu! Kakuranger!!, the differences are verrrrrry subtle. There are some additional backing vocals added in over select lyrics. 

18. Detazo! Kakure Daishogun!! -One Chorus- / Hironobu Kageyama

A rather pointless inclusion to this disc. Instead of giving us the Karaoke version of the song, which was previously released elsewhere, we are given this truncated version of a song that is already on this disc. .....K.....

19. Muteki Shogun, tadaima sanjo! -One Chorus- / Takayuki Miyauchi

Same as the previous track. Why??

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After a string of somewhat lackluster Super Sentai song collections, Kakuranger was a return to form that really continued on through the rest of the decade. Subsequent song collections like Carranger though GoGo Five were good due to the sheer number of songs, but series like Kakuranger and Ohranger were concise--ten or so solid songs with a single dud dropped in. Kakuranger's song collection is almost a secret, though. You have a dude you've never heard of singing the theme songs with the fluff in the middle done by some well-established singers.

Massive thumbs up to this song collection, even if the CD itself is kinda questionable. Is it nice to have the slightly different versions of the two songs that had variants on-air? Yes, definitely. Should we be denied the Karaoke versions in exchange? No. What's up with the useless One Chorus versions? The shorter Tsuruhime theme Karaoke? Ugh. Poor treatment of a gem of a song collection.

Overall I have to give this song collection a massive big thumbs up.

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Thanks for dropping in for this post. It's been awhile, but I'm enjoying building up this new series I started. You can check out some of the others on my CD Collection page.

See ya!

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