2020/11/05

Song Collection: Chojinki Metalder

Hey! It's another song collection from 1987! You thought I was done with this year after my listen to Hikari Sentai Maskman and Kamen Rider Black? Well, no. In fact, I may have dropped a little fib when I mentioned that the only reason I was checking out the Black Song Collection was due to it's upcoming third SHFiguart attempt. The *real* reason I started reviewing 1987 was due to this...


When was the last time you saw a Toei label like that? 1999ish???

Yeah, this brand-spankin' new Metalder figure that was released last week! My thoughts on it? .....eh! It's alright. I would have MUCH rather have gotten the SHFiguarts Metalder that they previewed eons ago, but there are Marvel variants that are way more critical. This figure is too big to scale with SHF. It's more Ultra Act size if you remember those things. Also Springer is missing...and the eyes are too shiny...and it's pretty expensive...but the severed arm is included! Just sayin'...

Anyway...

For this post I'll be listening to the Metalder Song Collection through the Superhero Chronicle Metal Hero Vol. 1. I previously talked about this set here.

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01. Kimi no seishun wa kagayateiru ka / Isao Sasaki

The un-opening theme song-theme song to this series. The tone is a clear message that the interstellar adventures of past Metal Hero series are gone. The song and the series are the result of the realities of life. There is a lot of humanity here. The music is militaristic and grim, with Isao Sasaki performing his lone Metal Hero song. The lyrics are actually quite motivational, though. 

Despite it's dour presentation, this song has endured in popularity over the years. I can only imagine the thoughts of someone encountering this song for the first time in 2020. Would they like it? I know I've loved it over the years! It has a great start with those pounding drums similar to the (outstanding) Macross opening theme but continues on with a monotonous and retro melody. I think that Isao Sasaki was the right choice, but I don't think he delivered his best performance. Speaking of Macross, this would've been a great song for Makoto Fujiwara. I think the only Tokusatsu songs we ever got out of him were the two IN songs from Kyodai Ken Bycrosser.

Sore wa hitori no Ningen no kokorooOoooooOooo!

02. Fighting Shoot da! Metalder / Koji Kaya

The first action song by future Liveman/Turboranger songster Koji Kaya. I used to be kinda warm on this, but it's actually pretty great. The beat is a little generic, yet it serves the energy of the track well. Everything leads up to that "Ikaru! Ikaru! Ika-ru!!". 

Kaya is truly an underrated gem. This may not be my favorite song of his, but it's pretty damn good.

03. Hoshikara no Tegami / Da Capo

This weird little generic ballad is a little bit of a mystery to me. This sounds like the type of off-soundtrack song you would randomly hear in an episode (it did play in the final episode). It's even by a legitimate married Columbia folk group called Da Capo. 

Part of me thinks this was a grab for an older audience...but I also think the fifth track kinda invalidates that theory. Hmmm...

04. Isshun no Chance / Ichiro Mizuki

This is something of a rehash of the opening theme song in tone. It kinda carries on without becoming anything big. It has some grumbly guitar work and sedated horn bits, but never carries on to become an action song. It isn't a ballad either. Still...I like it. Mizuki's voice was just perfect in this era. Even Koorogi '73's uncredited backing vocals are good.

Speaking of Koorogi '73......

05. Neros Tekoku 4 Gundan / Koorogi '73

This song is utter madness. 

This is the same year that they performed the crazy Ungler song from Maskman. This time around we have another spooOooOooky villain song with a dash of 1987 thrown in for good measure. See...this is the sort of thing I enjoy Koorogi '73 for. The Fushigi Song from Uchuu Keiji Shaider is their wheelhouse, not invasive backing vocals in otherwise decent songs.

For added fun, I would try to track down the Karaoke version of this from the 2-Disc Music Collection. The music is a lot of fun on it's own.

06. Voltage Up / Koji Kaya

Another awesome action song. Once again...Koji Kaya is the man for this. Less questionable is that we say more of him in 1988 and 1989. More questionable...why didn't we hear more since then?

Regardless, this is a great song. You'll definitely not mind having this one as an earworm.

07. Never Give Up / Koji Kaya

Koji Kaya gives us a ballad this time around. He isn't really made for this type of song. This should've been a Mizuki song. He does the "Never Give Up!" well, but yeah...

OK, so maybe the man isn't a jack of all trades...but I stand by how good his action songs are.

08. Shunten! Yume no senshi / Ichiro Mizuki

Rumor has it that *this* is what the theme song to the series was meant to be. It kinda makes sense with the "Motor Heart" lyric and overall safe, peepy feel of it. It even name drops the name of the series right before an obvious cut point for the TV size version. The fact that Ichiro Mizuki sings this with an uncredited Koorogi '73 assist kinda backs this up as well since it's the same gang that did the ending theme song.

Rumors are rumors, though, no matter how real they may feel. Hahaa.

This song does rule, though. If this really was the proposed theme song, it would've worked perfectly well to carry in the show each week. Is it incredible? Nah. Should it have been the theme song over the one they went with. Nah again...but I can see it. The biggest thing that it does share with Kimi no seishun wa kagayaiteiru ka is that it scraped away the space-adventure mystique of the previous Metal Hero themes. No whimsical opening like Spielban. No funky beat. NO COW BELL. Yeah, this is Earth in 1987. Haha

09. Dash! Side Phantom / Koji Kaya

One more belter of a song from Kaya. This is the theme song for Side Phantom and Metal Charger. What series would be complete without a vehicle theme song? Even if the vehicles are a sidecar motorbike (perfect for the solo hero man) and grandma's flying Mazda Familia.

Love the song. I would say that this is my favorite Koji Kaya song of this set.

10. Time Limit / Ichiro Mizuki, Koorogi '73

We're at the series ending song. I...love this song. It's my favorite Metal Hero ending song. The urgency 100% lives up to the name of this song. I would best describe the energy as frantic... Once again we have some nice backing vocal support from Koorogi '73. Come to think of it...this song collection is probably my favorite use of them. Reviewing these songs has kinda opened my eyes to how weak they are, but they're actually pretty solid this time around.

More than an ending song...as a song in general this is awesome!

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OVERALL: Outside of a few little bumps, this is an incredibly solid song collection. 1987 in general was a great year for Tokusatsu songs and music ('cept Maskman BGM). We got the lone Isao Sasaki Metal Hero song, but more importantly we got some great songs from the rare Koji Kaya and some excellent final Showa songs from Ichiro Mizuki (he did one song for B-Robo Kabutack). Even with it's unusual theme song, this is a textbook song collection.

Yeah, I definitely recommend checking this one out. It's a very easy listen!

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Thanks for checking out the last of the 1987 Tokusatsu Song Collections! Who knows...maybe I'll take it a step further sometime and talk about Sukeban Deka III songs. Hahaa. Be sure to check out the CD Collection page for more!

Maskman, Masked Rider, and Masked YOU. Stay safe!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

Song Collection: Hikari Sentai Maskman
Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black
Song Collection: Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop REVISED
Ghost Warrior--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Fish-Out-Of-Water Action ThingK2--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie

2020/10/29

Song Collection: Hikari Sentai Maskman

Welcome back to the Song Collection. This time around I'm reviewing a song collection that I could've sworn I reviewed already. Alas, no. I wrote a scathing take on the incredibly poopy BGM, however.

Yeah, so the theme of my dual-posts this month is "Two Song Collections from 1987 that I was certain that I covered, but really haven't...yet...". Be sure to check out my 100% Hironobu Kageyama-less review on the Kamen Rider Black Song Collection!

For this review I'll be listening to my copy of Hikari Sentai Maskman Complete Song Collection from 1997. I previously talked about this disc briefly here.

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01. Hikari Sentai Maskman / Hironobu Kageyama

The series theme song. While Hironobu Kageyama still brings it with the energy, he does so while somehow matching the somewhat glum tone of the music. It's upbeat, but the emotion is driven by the horn. The little bursts of action with somewhat jazzy little riffs smattered in that have a tinge of tragedy. I know I say this a lot in these reviews, but it's really important for the theme song to be memorable and tolerable. Once it's out there, it's the song everyone at Toei is going to be living with for an entire year. It'd better be good.

It's also a great beat to run to...just FYI...

02. Moeru ze Fire / Hironobu Kageyama, SHINES

Ehhhh let's get the sole stinker out of the way.

This song is early 80s cheese in 1987. I'm hard-pressed to think of a song like this that existed after. It's a peppy little thing that really would feel more at home on the Bioman Song Collection. Sure, we've had these soft motivational songs in shows since then, but they at least sounded contemporary. I feel like the Turboranger song collection did a better job of this type of song.

03. Oretachi Ungler / The Unglers

The Unglers = Koorogi '73

If you've been following along with my series of posts here, you know that I have an odd relationship with Koorogi '73. They've been around forever, but only through writing these posts I've noticed that I really, really don't care for them.

This is one of those rare situations where I actually love the damn song.

It's a mess in all the right ways. My complaint about the previous track being out-of-date? This song is extremely OF the date. The beat is chaotic and the singing is suitable for the rare grunt theme song. This one will definitely have you wondering what the hell you listened to the first time around, but man is it a fun track to periodically revisit.

Really, the few times that I do get along with a Koorogi '73 song, I really do get along with it.

04. Lady Action Kimetara Oshare / Satoko Yamano

This is heroine track of the series. I've been kinda hit or miss on the genre, but this one gets a solid 'hit' from me. It's VERY catchy and Satoko Yamano, who had a previous Toei earworm with Pink Pink Pink! from Dokincho! Nemurin, delivers the goods.

I think the pace is the biggest strength this song has. It kinda simmers for a bit and then BAM. It really gets to the fun chorus. 

05. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

This weirdness is the opening theme song to the Maskman movie. It has a very similar feel to the OP, but it's the fairly silly theme song the the Shot Bomber weapon. The odd backgrounds provided by Koorogi '73 and SHINES really heighten the weirdness.

Even if it was a one-off, this has to be up there with one of the strangest Sentai opening theme songs...that's for sure.

06. Action Fantasy / Miracle Bombers

I think this very well be the final Super Sentai Disco song. Yeah...in 1987. Whoever said disco died in 1980 forgot about the world outside of America.

This isn't much more than a rollcall of all of the Maskman equipment and attacks performed by "Miracle Bombers", which is a super group of basically everyone who performs on this song collection. Koorogi '73 kinda pads the whole thing out with the lead male vocals by Kageyama and lead female vocals by..... I have no idea, to be perfectly honestly. If I really listen to the song like fifty more times than the hundred or so times I've heard it over the years I could probably I.D. the mystery woman from the Columbia team.

Either way, it's a fun song...and the end of an era.

07. Aura ni kagayake! Great Five / Hironobu Kageyama

From: The CD Collection-- Gattai Tamashii ~Super Sentai Robot Song Perfect Collection~:

"This is Hironobu Kageyama's second Sentai mecha theme song and probably his most forgettable. I know I said I wasn't very impressed by his Changerobo theme from Changeman, but this one is just bland. My criticisms with that one were only magnified with this one. Well, he does sound like he was just a little bit closer to the microphone, but it's still distracting how low his vocals sound versus the music."

08. Telepathize shite kure / Katsuya Miura

A pretty solid ballad. I know this song is quite popular, and I can't really argue with that. I will just say that the vocalistic stylings of Katsuya Miura are pretty lacking. The music is quite good, though. The moody bass along with the backing vocals are the main feature.

Otherwise, I remember spending nights aimlessly cruising the streets of Havana in Driver 2 with this playing. Is it a fitting song for that situation? No, but...it happened.

09. Dashitemiyo ze! Aura Power / Hironobu Kageyama

I like the dreary optimism in the music. 

On the surface it's a pretty standard rock song (with a pretty long intro for some reason) but I always dug this the most on this song collection. This is the type of song that Kageyama can do perfectly in his sleep (I almost wrote with his arm tied behind his back...). The structure is just so damn good...the whole package is just great. 

This is the closest link to Kageyama's outside work than any other anison, IMO. If you pick up any of Kageyama's solo music from the 80s, this is pretty much what it sounds like. Yes, there was a point where his career became anison, but there was that fun era where he sang corny love songs. I kinda really like that Kageyama in a weird way...

Here's a random link to his cover of Jon Parr's St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion).

10. Ten Eyes ~5nin no hitomi~ / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

Weirdly they saved the action-hype song for the end of this tracklist. This is the only real action song of the series, to be perfectly honest. 

It's alright. I used to be hotter on this one, but really it's just another rollcall song...this time hyping up each character. Koorogi '73 is sparsely featured, which is acceptable, and SHINES cover the Yellow Mask and Pink Mask segments.

11. Ai no Soldier / Hironobu Kageyama

The series ending song. I know that Kokoro wa Tamago from Jetman is the best of the four Kageyama ending themes, but this is a close second. 

Personally...it also saddens me quit a bit. I don't know why I remember this, but this is the last song I listened to before starting my day on 9/11. That has always kinda haunted me, especially since it has the same underlying bleakness of the other Maskman songs, but it hasn't stopped me from enjoying the song in the years since.

It's definitely not bouncy, but it does carry along briskly. For extra fun, be sure to check out the Karaoke version. I almost prefer it that way...it's a different experience. 

12. Hikari Sentai Maskman [Original Karaoke]

13. Oretachi Ungler [Original Karaoke]

14. Lasy Action Kimetara Oshare [Original Karaoke]

15. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu [Original Karaoke]

16. Aura ni kagayake! Great Five [Original Karaoke]

17. Dashitemiyo ze! Aura Power [Original Karaoke]

18. Ten Eyes ~5nin no hitomi~ [Original Karaoke]

19. Ai no Soldier [Original Karaoke]

20. Shot Bomber Zenryoku Shuuchuu Type B -Bonus Track- / Hironobu Kageyama, Koorogi '73, SHINES

This is an alternate version of the Shot Bomber theme that replaces "Fire~! Shot Bomber!" with "Fire~! Jet Cannon!" in the lyrics. I guess that's the easy way to double your weapon theme songs.

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OVERALL: If you've been following my site long enough, you might be wondering what I'm smoking. How can the guy who utterly trashed the music collection from Maskman two years ago sing it's praises about it's song collection?

*shrug*

I'm just as baffled as you are. Don't blame me, though. The song collection is strangely 100% competent while the BGM, you know...the fuel and lifeblood of the series, is so weak. The BGM is just...so bad. Haha. Meanwhile, we basically have a pretty solid Hironobu Kageyama album with a few guest singers for the song collection. 

This is Hironobu Kageyama's second outing as Super-Sentai-Series-Songster...Superior (?) and he definitely had a pinch of maturity snuck in since his Changeman songs in 1985. He may have started with Changeman, but I think his Maskman songs are really where his anison career kicked off. The same year he basically did the whole song collection for The Headmasters, Saint Saiya was the following year, and was CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA'ing the year after that and beyond.....

So, yeah, I can safely recommend this one. It has some minor flaws, but it's otherwise an easily enjoyable album. 

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That's it for now. Please stay safe and I'll be back soon with more posts!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black
Song Collection: Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop REVISED

Ghost Warrior--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Fish-Out-Of-Water Action ThingK2--That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie

Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black


Welcome back to another song collection review! I'm listening to two song collections from 1987 back-to-back for this double feature. So right after you read this one, you can check out my take on the Hikari Sentai Maskman song collection. There's no ranking or winner, but it's totally Maskman.

I guess the selections came about when I not only realized I never reviewed either, but also we're getting a third attempt at a Kamen Rider Black SHFiguart. Yeah, they tried (and failed) just as many times to release a decent version of the theme song from the same series, so why not??

For this review I'll be listening to the song collection via the Kamen Rider Black Song & BGM Collection from 2015. I previously talked about this here.




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01. Kamen Rider Black / Tetsuo Kurata

I may get some grief for admitting this...but I really don't like this theme song. The bulk of my dislike lies in the singer, one Tetsuo Kurata. The young actor did a perfectly good job at bringing the Kamen Rider franchise back to life, but he certainly had his limits in talent. Yeah, his singing is pretty woeful. This is probably the best of the trio of songs he performed during his two Rider series, but the notes are pretty shaky throughout. 

Given everyone at Columbia was pretty well pre-occupied in 1987 it's hard to think of who could've picked up the slack. Shinichi Ishihara really wasn't a thing until 1989. Takayuki Miyauchi...this really isn't his style of song. They clearly wanted to distance themselves from the past, so Ichiro Mizuki was out. Maybe Norio Sakai would've been the better choice? As we'll see later on, he was already there to sing the ending song...so why not both?

Why is picturing a better singer to this song a tough nut to crack? Well...it's the music. The jerky electronic beat is hard to match in vocals (and impossible to dance to...just sayin'). Yeah, I really don't like anything about this song except maybe the bass. 

02. Gekiso! Ni dai Machine / Toshiya Igarashi

The theme song to both of Kotaro's bikes in the series--Battle Hopper and Road Sector. This type of song is nothing new to the Rider franchise, so it's nice to see that the obligatory bike theme carried on. Like Kamen Rider Super 1, this series dedicates part of the song to one bike and then the other half to the other. Pretty simple.

This is a pretty rockin' theme as well. Literal explosion sound effects are peppered in for added emphasis. Just imagine the explosion effects being Road Sector breaking through a wall...or Battle Hopper defecting to Shadow Moon and attacking Kotaro. Whoops! Spoiler!

03. Goal e mukatte hashire / Toshiya Igarashi

Very similar to the previous song, but not nearly as cool. It manages to be an uptempo softy somehow. I really don't have too much else to say really.

04. Kamen Rider Black ~Hoshi no Lullaby~ / Toshiya Igarashi

I remember this one playing often in the series. *checks notes* Four times?? It felt like way more! As you can tell from the title, this is a lullaby. It's a nice song. As far as lullabies go, this one it at least contemporary and interesting. It could've been much lamer. Not too many songs like this have a serviceable beat.

05. BLACK ACTION / Toshiya Igarashi

OK, this song was playing all-the-time in the series. It's the perfect song for all hell breaking loose. That fast beat along with the hectic guitar give it some amazing energy. As with the previous track, the name pretty much says it all. This isn't the only action song of the series, but it's fair to say that it's *THE* action song. 

The only problem is that it isn't the best action song of the series...nope. It's not. That's because it's...........

06. Blackhole Message / Toshiya Igarashi

I feel like every good song collection has it's quintessential hit. This one is a slam dunk.

That intro is possibly the greatest and most memorable of any Kamen Rider song. It's twenty-two seconds of the slamminest synth/horn combo ever. It just kinda grabs and doesn't let go. Once the lyrics kick in, things settle before building back up. I love it.

On top of that intro, you'll have "Love and peace! Love and peace FOREVER!" stuck in your head. What a great flippin' track...

07. Henshin! Rider Black / Toshiya Igarashi

I think the best part of this song also lies in it's intro. It's no shock that this song accompanied a handful of Henshin sequences in the series...it just works so perfectly.

The rest of the song is decent. I think a few things could've been handled better to make it a little more memorable, but it really isn't too bad. Maybe if it were cut down to four minutes from five. The Song & BGM Collection even has a forty-six second edit that mimicks it's use in the series. That's probably the best version of it!

08. Ore no seishun / Tetsuo Kurata

Another Tetsuo Kurata song. Oooof.

The worst of his three songs lives on the Black RX song collection...so you have to wonder what keeps this one right in the middle... Well...that horn for one. The memorably bizarre appearance of it in the first Kamen Rider Black movie is another (It's like they wanted to make their own video for the Karaoke machine...just picture the lyrics blasting on the screen). You can tell a lot less coaching and care went into Kurata's singing this time around. 

It's a nice music track at least. 

09. Let's Fight Rider / Toshiya Igarashi

The weakest of the fight songs despite what the title would have you believe.

Since I really don't have too much to say about this song in particular, I guess I can use this space to sing my praises of Toshiya Igarashi. He's pretty damn good. You know what? Maybe he should've been the one to sing the theme song? Yeah! Why in the world did he get snubbed? The songs here are the only Tokusatsu songs he ever did. The next year he did the Transformers Masterforce Song Collection. It was kinda meh. 

It's a shame we didn't get more, his raspy vocals worked really well on these songs.

10. Long, Long Ago 20th Century / Norio Sakai

This is the series ending song...and one of the most memorable ones out there. It's such a dim and mysterious sounding song, but it's done in such a calm melody that it serves well as a tender tune in BGM form. The stabbing synths in the vocals are kinda the antithesis.

Norio Sakai's contribution to this song collection is this lone song. He would later go on to give us some songs from Cybercop, Gridman, and an annual song or two between Carranger-Go Go Five. He did make a brief return to Rider for some songs in Kuuga and Agito making him one of the very rare artists to do songs in both Showa and Heisei eras (Hiroshi Fujioka recorded a new Rider single in 2000 and, of course, Akira Kushida for his work on ZX and OOO). Pretty big accomplishment there...

Oh yeah...this is a great ending song.

EX1. Kamen Rider Black (Album Version) / Tetsuo Kurata

There are some variants of the Kamen Rider Black theme song. The first of which is the "Album Version". Yikes...this one is an earlier take that features some incredibly shaky vocals. This is the one that first appeared on the Hit Song Collection. 

The other difference here is that the mastering is different. It does feature the repeated "BLACK!", rather than the distorted one. The vocals are also far, FAR less processed than they are in the...umm...official version?

EX2. Kamen Rider Black (Single Version) / Tetsuo Kurata

This features HEAVY correction to the vocals in a botched attempt to make them sound somewhat usable. It also has the distortion on the "BLACK!".

If you're confused and just want to listen to the best version of this damn theme song, just look for the one that lives as the first track of the first disc on this three-disc set. All versions everywhere else are lousy...with the "Album Version" being the absolute worst of them.

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OVERALL: As solid as the majority of the songs are on this song collection, I really don't feel the need consider it a favorite. There are some VERY memorable tunes here and if you watched the series you heard them often. It's nice to see a song collection get used unlike a series like...Zyuranger or Dairanger. We never really heard from the song collection too often there...

So yes, this is a very show-friendly collection of songs. I recommend them on their enduring popularity even if I've not the biggest proponent.

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Thank you for checking in on me. Keep staying safe and wear a mask!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...



2020/09/29

REVISED--Song Collection: Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop


You aren't going crazy. I did in fact make this post all the way back in the June 2020. Man...it seems like a lifetime ago.

I may have been a tad premature in posting this synopsis considering I was still missing a CD Single and I didn't even bother reviewing Mika Chiba's BRAND NEW TOMORROW single even though I mentioned it. Yeah, I don't know what I was doing. So this is the real...legit...FINAL version of my look at the Cybercop Song Collection.

Here is the post as it was written in June...I'll jump in at the very end with a new section dedicated to the four CD Singles from this series. Enjoy! -CC 2020.09.29

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Welcome to my review of the song collection from Toho's 1988 Tokusatsu series Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop. I never really got into it because...well, I didn't really like how it was shot. It's BGM and song collection are actually really decent though! 

I briefly talked about the Perfect Music Collection from this series in this post. I didn't go into great detail over the song collection on Disc 2, so here we go...


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DISC ►2

01. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Hiroshi Nishikawa]

Weak vocals aside, I actually really enjoy this theme song. Think about how crowded 1988 was with Tokusatsu series. You have the majority of Kamen Rider Black airing along with it's sequel, Black RX. There was Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya and Chojuu Sentai Liveman as well. Out of all of them, I think the only one of those theme songs I don't like belongs to Kamen Rider Black...and that's only a mild disliking thanks to Tetsuo Kurata's godawful singing.

Cybercop's theme also suffers from some questionable vocals. Hiroshi Nishikawa isn't bad, I just don't dig his dopey-sounding style. He can hold a note at least. Beyond that minor criticism, this song is a banger. Certain years have certain sounds and I think 1988 was the year of 'The Band' in Japan. One of my all-time favorite albums has a similarly bare rock sound to it...and it also came out in 1988. Minimal synthesizer input, maximum rock. 

I wouldn't say that I like this better than the majority of the Toei themes of the same year, but I really, really like this theme song. It doesn't get enough recognition!

02. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Karaoke]

03. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart [Mero-iri Karaoke]

04. Aku! [BGM]

05. Honoo no Messenger [Norio Sakai]

Huh... I always thought it was kinda weird to see this name in this series...

Toei/Columbia regular Norio Sakai provides a single song to the Cybercop song collection the same year that he also provided songs for Kamen Rider Black. Without looking into it, I'm sure this sort of thing never really happened after the 70s where singers would provide songs for competing studios in the same year.

Again, I love the rock sound of the songs in this series. Norio Sakai provides some excellent vocals here over a pretty basic, yet very slick track. The bass is incredibly smooth to counter out the jerky drums. I recommend sticking to the vocal version as Sakai's singing is the focal point of the entire experience.

06. Honoo no Messenger [Karaoke]

07. Kanashimi [BGM]

08. Shooting Star - Band Version [Mika Chiba]

This is a remix of the series ending song, Shooting Star. Since the regular version of the song appears a little bit later (Track 12), I guess I'll just point out the difference.

This is a remix in a literal sense. The backing vocals were removed as well as some guitar parts and lingering effects. The whole thing sounds a little more bare...and I actually prefer it this way. Mika Chiba has a really decent singing voice, so it's great to hear it uninterrupted. Even this version's Karaoke track is better than the normal version. 

09. Shooting Star - Band Version [Karaoke]

10. Tsuioku no Jupiter [Hideyuki Nagashima]

This is more of an action song, but done in the style of the other songs in this collection. The main difference is that the horns are BLARING. Like...blaring from the very beginning and rarely letting up. Regardless, this is a fun track with a ton of energy. 

Oh, and the Karaoke version of this song was included...it's just on the first disc for some reason.

11. ZAC no nijijo [BGM]

12. Shooting Star [Mika Chiba]

As you may have guessed from my take on the Band Version of this song, I like this one a lot. I do think this is the inferior version of it, however. It's just a little bit too crowded. The backing vocals are unnecessary along with a lot of the random little sounds that pop up here and there. The only thing I think this version does better is it masks the dull bassline. 

This is a great song to have as an ending theme song. It has the DNA of other songs from the series, but is a bit peppier in tone. I think Jiraiya did it similarly it's opening theme song and it's smooth ending song SHI-NO-BI '88

13. Shooting Star [Karaoke]

14. Let It Go [Hiroshi Nishikawa]

This is the B-side to the single for Ashita e no sakebi~Cyberheart.

Again, I'm not the biggest fan of Nishikawa but I can't help but like this track as well. It's funky, that's for sure. It starts pretty slow, but picks up momentum to make for a pretty great complementary track to the theme song. 

Sure, this track only makes it in on a technicality, but it's definitely worth having here. It's pretty solid.

15. Into The Night [Mika Chiba]

This is the coupling track for the single to Shooting Star. Again, this song is included as a technicality but happens to be really great. The only thing that is has against it is that it's quite different from the rest of the Cybercop songs. Maybe a lone pop track is a nice little change of pace, but it's hard to ignore how different it is.

That said, I love this song. It's very slick.

16. BRAND NEW TOMORROW [Mika Chiba]

Mika Chiba's second single and a song that was featured in the series during the thirty-fourth episode. 

While this song is a bit on the lighter side, it definitely fits in pretty well into the series. It may sound a little more professional, but the rock sound is definitely here...if a bit on the softer side. I'll admit, this is the catchiest song outside of Shooting Star.

Why the B-Side to this, Jamashinaide, isn't included is beyond me. I have the single and thought about including it, but I guess it doesn't belong here... [UPDATE: Keep Reading...]

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I think I did a pretty good job giving the CD set that these songs came from a fair analysis in my previous take, so I'll just stick to what I think about this song collection.

I feel kinda guilty about doing song collection posts about series with only a handful of songs. Tokusou Robo Janperson and Blue SWAT only have eight songs thanks to the shithouse record label they were on. Battle Fever J, which I might review with Denjiman someday, only has five songs. 

By some miracle they were able to cobble together a song collection for Cybercop. Even stranger, this is one of the most consistent sounding song collections out there. Series composer Ichiro Nitta was only truly responsible for Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter. with the other tracks being songs provided by Toshiba EMI and CBS Sony respectively. It's kinda amazing how it all kinda fit together so well.

I would give this song collection a go if you're in the mood for something else. Yeah, it can get a little boring listening to work from Columbia over and over. This song collection is a breath of fresh air.

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8cm CD Singles [Added 2020.09.29]



Hiroshi Nishikawa Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart
XT10-2232
1988.11.09



01. Ashita e no sakebi~Cyber Heart

02. Let It Go


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Mika Chiba Shooting Star
10EH-3150
1988.12.21



01. Shooting Star

02. Into The Night



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Mika Chiba BRAND NEW TOMORROW
10EH-3283
1989.05.21



01. BRAND NEW TOMORROW

02. Jamashinaide

Yeah, I figured I might as well swing back around and take a listen to this song...you know, for completion's sake.

To be perfectly honest, this is the weakest of the four songs connected to Cybercop by Mika Chiba. I genuinely like the other three. This is just...alright. It's incredibly generic, but it has some decent energy. Chiba's singing is almost masked under some weird reverb at points. She's a perfectly serviceable singer, so it's an odd choice.

Was this worth finally reviewing? Ehhh, sure. I can't imagine this is anyone's favorite song, but on the same token I really can't think of anyone saying they hate it either. 

03~15. -Hidden Track-

Something I completely forgot about until I revisited this CD just now are the hidden tracks. It's pretty basic...they're all single word tracks. What you see is what you get.




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Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop
Uta to Drama no Dennou Keisatsu Cybercop ~ Gekitotsu! Cybercop tai Lucifer
LX15-5001
1989.04.26



01. Gekitotsu! Cybercop tai Lucifer

OK, so the reason that I am making the revision to this post is because I randomly scored a copy of this CD recently. I've only ever seen extremely blurry photos of it and just assumed it was the opening theme song and the two "new" songs from the series--Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter. I was quite wrong...

As you can tell I am an avid collector of these 8cm CD singles of Tokusatsu series. There are very few that I don't own at this point. To find one AND new content is something I never would've imagined. When I received the CD and notice the title I was kinda thinking that there was going to be a short audio drama after the songs. Nope. This is a single, just-shy-of-fifteen-minute track that contains a mix of the three songs and an exclusive drama track. Yeah, I guess the Perfect Music Collection isn't so "Perfect" afterall.



The funny thing is, all of the sound effects, BGM, and songs are present on the Perfect Music Collection, just not the dialog from the cast.

I'm usually down on drama CDs. I can't get into those 40-minute Super Action Sound CDs that were released for Turboranger, Fiveman, Jetman, and Zyuranger. They just can't fill the time in any meaningful way. This Cybercop drama track isn't bad! At fifteen minutes it's very snappy and uses the songs, BGM, and sound effects in meaningful ways. It really isn't bad! The short versions of Honoo no Messenger and Tsuioku no Jupiter are also exclusive to this disc.


I wouldn't go out on a limb and recommend tracking this down unless you're the biggest Cybercop fan, but credit where it's due--this was a fun surprise!



--------------------

That's that for that. Be sure to check out the CD Collection page for more.

-CC

Previously...

2020/09/25

Ghost Warrior - That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Fish-Out-Of-Water Samurai Action Thing

 

I may be going to work everyday, but my bubble is extremely small. How do I pass the time at home? Bad movies! It was about a month ago that I watched a strange mountain climbing movie called K2 that featured Hiroshi Fujioka in a small, but important role. This time around I pulled out the big guns...a foreign film *starring* Hiroshi Fujioka called Swordkill Ghost Warrior.

As usual I have to post some disclaimers before I get started. If you want to check out this movie, and you should, there will be some heavy spoilers. I would even go as far as to avoid the trailer. It's guaranteed that you'll dig the movie if you're into Fujioka.

Here goes...

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In 1552 Japan, Yoshimitsu attempts to save his young wife, Chidori, from captivity. He mistakenly lets his guard down and both he and Chidori are killed. Yoshimitsu, however, falls into a frozen lake. In 1984 his body was discovered by a hiking couple and is sent to Los Angeles, California for examination. Rather than completing an autopsy, Yoshimitsu is brought back to life at the California Institute of Cryosurgical Research by Dr. Alan Richards. A young researcher named Chris is brought in to help with the secret operation and generally rebuilds the humanity in the confused Yoshimitsu.


One of the doctors overhears that Yoshimitsu's weapons are priceless and attempts to steal them in the night. Yoshimitsu kills the doctor and makes an escape from the lab, leaving him to wander the streets of Los Angeles while the lab tries to explain the death of their doctor to police without divulging the truths of their secret. Yoshimitsu meanwhile encounters an elderly veteran named Willie who is being mugged by a small gang and intervenes, leaving more bodies for the police in his wake.

Rocky III and Hercules! Ehh...well...ugh. Those were pretty lame come to think of it...Keep walkin'...

The surviving thugs catch up with Yoshimitsu and lure him into Xanadu an abandoned building where they end up getting killed one by one. Willie and Chris catch up with Yoshimitsu during the fight with Willie getting shot while saving his new friend. As a token of gratitude he is given one of Yoshimitsu's swords. The scientists capture both Chris and Yoshimitsu soon after but end up losing them both en route to the lab.

There is a sound effect in my head for this...definitely not of a horse.

As nighttime approaches the police and scientists are still hot on the trail of Yoshimitsu and Chris as they head up into the hills. The police spot the duo on their stolen horse using a helicopter and give chase while a enraged Dr. Richards attempts to end things with a stolen police shotgun. Once encountered, Yoshimitsu spares Dr. Richards only to be attacked again. He kills the doctor as police arrive. Yoshimitsu is shot once and again falls off of a cliff and into a lake.


--------------------

Now that the synopsis is out of the way, I guess I can get to my thoughts...

Is it just me, or is Hiroshi Fujioka prone to botched experimental surgeries more than any other actor? 



I take that back...they're successful surgeries, he just becomes a liability to whatever organization cooked him up. Next you'll tell me that Segata Sanshiro was a Nintendo experiment gone haywire. 

Is it also weird that his character in K2, that mountain climbing movie I talked about, also died from being frozen? 

......anyway.

Hiroshi Fujioka is far, FAR too good for this movie. I would say the casting director did an amazing job, but they also hired everyone who isn't Fujioka. Let's just say that they got extremely lucky that, at the bare minimum, their lead was awesome. This movie really doesn't have much of anything going to it outside of Fujioka and some fun action set-pieces. Yet, he makes up for a lot of the flaws.


Seriously, this movie has a razor-thin plot with some just truly awful acting. It's competently shot, however, and moves at a fair pace. The other leads are bland and our first set of antagonists in Los Angeles are rejects from Deathwish 3. Even the cops are just over-the-top hams with their misplaced accents. I mean...what gives with bringing in a researcher for assistance who doesn't even speak Japanese?? Wouldn't that be a top priority? It's Los Angeles, surely there is a translator around.

Much like that other movie I watched, Hiroshi Fujioka is a master of the badass pose. Just look...

I Just Made The First Mistake of The Movie Pose

Suntory CM Pose 1

Killed Your Horse Pose

What Is This Goddamn Place Pose

About To Fuck Up Some Punks Pose

Suntory CM Pose 2

Legit Best Pose of the Movie Pose

Repeating History Pose

Uhhh Nevermind/Redemption Pose

--------------------


In all seriousness, I really can't recommend this movie if you happened to stumble on this page looking for info on this movie without giving a damn who Hiroshi Fujioka is. I feel like that really isn't the case for a lot of my visitors, though. Yes, give this movie a watch. It definitely isn't the most well-constructed movie, but it is certainly a worthy movie of your time. You won't be disappointed by Fujioka's immense talents.

So yeah, for sure check this one out!

Be back soon!

-CC

P.S. Yes, the second gang fight really did take place in Xanadu. Why do I know that? Why do you know that? Feh.

Who knew opening a roller disco in 1980 would lead to immense ruin a few short years later??

PREVIOUSLY.....

2020/08/22

K2 - That Time Hiroshi Fujioka Was In a Mountain Climbing Movie


Since we're still stuck at home...how 'bout we watch a movie? I have a collection of bad movies that I like to paw through, and I came across this one and felt the desire to watch it again.

Today I'm going to talk about a movie that I bought a long, long time ago for one very good reason...


Yes! Instead of partaking in the 20th anniversary of Kamen Rider, Hiroshi Fujioka was globetrotting as mountain climber Takane Shimuzu (which I feel should be Shimizu, but whatever...it's their movie) in the 100% forgotten 1991 film K2. That's it. K2. Named after, well, the K2.

Before I get into this post I should probably air a few disclaimers. The first disclaimer is that I am going to go hard on the spoilers, of course. Considering this is a fairly dramatic movie, you may want to just rent it if you have any inclination (heh) to watch a survival movie about mountain climbing. Also, Hiroshi Fujioka is featured quite a bit, but he is far from being top-billed. So...you'd better be a fan of Kyle Reese from Terminator since he's our lead.

---


Taylor and his best friend Harold are two climbing hobbyists who stumble upon a team of climbers who are training for a secretive big climb lead by billionaire Phillip Claiborne. Among the team are a set of twin brothers, Jackie, Dallas, and Takane. The following morning they are awoken by an avalanche that took the lives of the twin brother while Taylor and Harold are able to save the others. Seizing the opportunity, Taylor and Harold are able to join Claiborne's expedition, which happens to be to the perilous K2 in Pakistan.

Cliche "Convince the Wife" Scene

Once the climb is underway, problems begin to mount. The hired porters begin to strike, and a freak mishap causes Harold to use to quick-thinking to save head porter Malik's life. Most of the porters abandon the climb and Claiborne begins to suffer from pulmonary edema. Jackie and Malik stay with Phillip with just Taylor, Harold, Dallas, and Takane left to attempt the climb. As Dallas is leading the climb, he nominates himself and Takane to complete the climb with Harold and Taylor remaining at the final camp. During an overnight storm, Taylor and Harold are awoken by a very badly injured Takane who informs them that their tent had been wiped out before succumbing to his injuries. Taylor and Harold inform Jackie at the other camp and say that they'll look for Dallas in the morning.


Claiborne's worsening condition means that he has chartered a helicopter to pick him up within forty eight hours giving Taylor and Harold very little time to attempt the rest of the climb themselves. They manage to reach the summit and take celebratory photos while leaving an American flag and Japanese flag to honor the fallen Takane.


During the descent Harold slips and suffers a horrific injury while simultaneously losing the only rope the duo has. After a long argument, Harold convinces Taylor to continue on the descent without him. After suffering a fall himself Taylor finds the frozen corpse of Dallas and is able to take his rope and adrenaline shots. He returns to a nearly dead Harold and manages to bring him back with a shot. The two then continue their descent as Claiborne, Jackie, and Malik are all collected by their helicopter. Malik tells the pilot that they must at least try to look for the now-stranded duo since Harold had saved his life earlier. Miraculously Harold and Taylor are found and the film closes with Taylor holding up a pick axe to signal their location.


-----------------

It's always refreshing to watch a movie where there's no real or metaphorical villain. This is just a drama based on a play of the same name. I don't even have a particular interest in mountain climbing, but I've enjoyed this movie the handful of times I've seen it. It's plot is razor thin, yet it really doesn't feel like anything is missing. It's just an hour and forty five minutes of enjoyable cinema that really isn't dated in any particular way.

On your feet, soldier.

Where this movie really, really, truly falls flat is in the cinematography and quality of releases. The thing that stops me for recommending this movie is the complete lack of wide shots and scenery. You'd think that a movie set in this type of environment would emphasize the landscape a bit more to accomplish what the play this was based on couldn't...yet it doesn't. Everything is done in a tight shot. To make matters worse, I upgraded my VHS copy to DVD for this review and was greeted by the exact same transfer. This is the official Lion's Gate release...and it's a Full Frame VHS transfer. I did some research to see if there is a better version and...nope. The DVD for sale on Amazon at the moment seems to be some weird version with hardcoded Korean subtitles based on some of the complaints.

The bottom line is that...yeah, maybe rent it on Amazon. It's an alright movie if you just like a decent drama. Maybe it goes a little too cartoony by Taylor's superhuman strength toward the end, but then you remember that he spent an entire movie being chased by robot Arnold Schwarzenegger and I guess it makes a little more sense.

-----------------

...but that's not why you're reading this review, are you? You want to know about Hiroshi Fujioka's part in this. Alright, I'll give you the goods.

I kinda laughed when Fujioka's character was first introduced in the movie. When Taylor and Harold first happen upon the team doing their training Dallas, whom Taylor is already acquainted, is giving some minor accomplishments/tidbits on each character. When he gets to Fujioka it basically goes like this...

Dallas: ...and he's Takane Shimuzu.
Takane: Hi.


Even in leaner times, Fujioka has always been a mountain of a man. Does he need to have any provenance? If you want to defeat a mountain...be a mountain.

From his introduction he is largely seen chilling in the background. Most characters that aren't Taylor or Harold are basically there for background considering this is based on a play. Fujioka does dramatic poses like nobody else in this film check this out...

Dramatic Funeral Pose
Intimidating the Porters Pose
Break time Pose
Concerned for the Boss Pose
Ummm...maybe this one isn't so badass...

You get my point. This movie is basically Michael Biehn on his own, but it's nice to have another familiar face (to us Tokusatsu dorks) along for the ride.

As for the reason why the character of Takane is part of this story...I have no idea. This play/movie is loosely based on the real-life climb of Jim Wickwire and Louis Reichardt, but there is no mention of any other climbers that may have been part of their team prior to their reaching the summit. Maybe the director just really, really liked Kamen Rider?

I get why Hiroshi Fujioka was cast. This was a physically demanding role. I just don't understand why Takane was there. Haha.

Regardless, it was very sad to see his character die off even if he did it in somewhat of a heroic way. He was able to reach Taylor and Harold's tent to try to save himself and inform them of the situation rather than dying like Dallas did in his weird zen pose. If it hadn't been for Takane, they'd have been none the wiser and woke up the next morning without knowing anything had been wrong...and leading them to never make their attempt to the summit.


Should you watch this movie just to check out Fujioka? I'll say...yeah, why not? If you're disappointed, I don't want to hear it. But yeah, it was fun to have him along for his handful of random moments. Like him gleefully sharpening an axe while Dallas slept...


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...but wait! There's more. This isn't the first time Hiroshi Fujioka hit the international film scene. He is the first Japanese actor to belong to the Screen Actor's Guild after all.

Join me next time for a more substantial entry into Fujioka's international acting career. One where he does way more than hang out in the background and isn't expected to deliver one or two-word answers in English at random.


Stay tuned...

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

The CD Collection--Ultraman 80 / Andromelos Music Collection [2020]
Running To Horizon--30 Years of Digitalian Is Eating Breakfast
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers
CCLemon99 Magazine Issue Eight