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.


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.


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.


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




  1. I mostly agree with you about this soundtrack! The biggest thing is that I love the OP, Kurata's flat (and buried in echo effects) vocals and all. Of the Riders to sing their themes, I think he's probably second to Fujioka. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, since Fujioka's not the best singer (though he puts energy into it), but Kurata's miles ahead of Hiroshi Miyauchi -- who reverts to being a 7 year old at a recital when singing -- or (especially) Shunsuke Takasugi, who slept his way through recording.

    You're so right about Hoshi no Lullaby, though. I feel like that's played in every other episode, especially in the show's second half.

    I also agree that Igarashi would have been a good contender for the OP. Black's soundtrack obviously wanted to be hip and up-to-date, and I think Igarashi just has that kind of '80s rock voice that suits so many of the soundtrack's songs and he would have given it some energy. Like...I don't mean to bring it up again, but I still love (and regularly listen to) ROLLY's cover of the Black OP. ROLLY's not the greatest singer, but he has a lot of personality and energy and he just really livened the song up and made it kick ass. I imagine Igarashi being similar.

    I've always loved Long Ago 20th Century and I've always wondered...why is it the only song Norio Sakai actually tries to sing? He's soooooooo good on this track, but every other toku song he does he's putting on this very weird, very forced "rockin' rasp," like some bad cross between Kushida and Yukio Yamagata. Agito's "Stranger in the Dark" is the worst example of this. I'm almost convinced that it's not even Sakai singing the Black ED, he sounds so different from everything else.

    1. Yeah, Hiroshi Miyauchi isn't that great on the V3 songs. Fujimi no otoko is a lot of fun thanks to it's catchiness, but the theme is just grating.

      Sakai isn't very melodic, is he? He kinda brings it with the VRV theme in Carranger, but otherwise his singing is all the same, BabyDanDan I can't think of a song of his that I don't like, though. Even the Gridman ending song isn't bad.