2021/05/31

Can you still find a deal in 2021?

I'm known for a few things in our little corner of the internet. Sure I love uncovering little-known facts, complaining about fluff, and gushing about soundtracks to shows with rubber monsters. My bread and butter is toy collecting. I first introduced myself to Youtube as CCLemon99 with a series of videos on Super Sentai Changers and continue to bring new toys into the house to this day (SSSHF Kamen Rider Black...prepare to be inspected...soon...).

With the extended hiatus on making new videos for my Youtube Channel, I don't really have a ton of say about the current state of affairs for toy collecting. For toys with years on them I would always mention if they were a good buy or if there were still deals to be had. I kinda miss doing that so...here is an entire post on the subject.

I'm done collecting toys since if I don't have something in my collection, I likely did and sold it off at some point. I'm not joking. I own every Super Sentai Changer, every 1990s Sentai Mecha, and tons and tons of weapons and figures from franchises of all types. There is legit nothing for me to collect other than better boxes or continuing to build my army of Doron Changers. That doesn't mean I don't still sweep the sites daily for deals or the three things I have left on my list. Checking these sites over breakfast has had the side effect of giving me a solid gauge on the current state of collecting.

...

Yeah, everything sucks.

The sheer expense of some toys that are labeled "junk" or those that seemingly skate over broken or missing pieces by feigning ignorance (ugh! This is the internet! Research what you're selling!) is astounding. A lot of sellers in Japan have adopted this American "I know what I have" attitude based on...I don't know what. These auctions/sites rarely have completed sales for the skyhigh prices that are being asked. What gives? The only thing it does is artificially inflate the price.

Then there is ebay. Unless you have a seller outside of Japan, you can almost guarantee that the item you see if for sale on one of a number of Japanese sites for half the price--some of these sites don't even require a proxy/friend to buy it on your behalf. Avoid Japanese sellers of Tokusatsu toys on ebay...or at the very least use ebay as a launch pad and try to figure out where the scammer seller is middle-manning the item from. There is a good chance it's still available for half the price from the person who *actually* has the item.

I know that so far I've kinda dismissed the market as an overpriced junk market with a Russian nesting doll buying process. That's only a segment of the market. There is also legitimate demand for a lot of toys out there...specifically any Gaoranger mecha. The once $10 accessory Power Animals are now $80 and complete mecha have soared into the hundreds of dollars. You know what? Good. Power Animals are the last great Super Sentai Mecha toy series. They deserve the the hype. Am I bummed that I never got a Gaohunter to finish my set? Kinda...but I don't like the series enough to go back and drop that kinda money on one. I can't see the badly made toys since then going into crazy price territory, but you may want to snap up the quality ones like Engine-oh and Go-Buster Oh if you're on the fence. They're good and could be recognized as such at any moment.

The classics that have always been expensive have remained expensive ever since. That may sound like they are losing steam in popularity, but it's more that they hit a high ceiling about a decade ago and have maintained it.

Are there any deals?

If you exercise some extreme patience you will find the deals that you are looking for. Here are three recent examples of deals that I stumbled upon.

DX Doron Changer - $59

Like I said...I want a lot of these. I may attach five of them to a blue board for...reasons.

This one was 100% complete and in really solid shape. Prices on these have stagnated in general since the Super Sentai Artisan version was released and has so much more to offer while being essentially the same toy. I like the 1994 original, though. The "THWANG!" sound when it springs open along with the endless beep. Ahhh. The only issues this one has is the rot on the medals (they're all like that...throw a silica desiccant pack in there when it arrives) and a price tag for 2900 yen from 1994. The tag gives it charm, though.

DX GoGo Brace - $40

I'm not in the market for these at all, but I can't pass up a deal on a cheap 90s Sentai Changer.

From the photos the box looked very straight...which is my top priority since my main copy is ever-so-slightly less than perfect. Oh, and it was also classified as non-working and the nebulous "Junk" label.

What arrived was an opened but brand new toy. Not only did the box replace my current toy's box...but so did the changer. Yeah. I pulled the tab out of the battery slot and got nothing when I pressed the buttons the first time. After a little persuasion the toy roared to life with it's ear-piercing sounds. I was playing both games in no time.

I'm not sure what happened with the seller of this one...but they let go of the nice GoGo Brace I've probably ever seen for sale at a rock bottom price.

DX Chogokin Liverobo - $77

I can see how some people might not be so warm on this one, but hear me out.

For only a little bit of money I got a used, but completely intact DX Liverobo. Sure I already have a boxed one and sure this one has zero accessories, but it also has no broken parts and a manageable amount of wear. It looks great as something I can just have on my desk...and it definitely looks great on a desk. The beauty of it is that there is a repro decal/part market out there for basically anything I can want to correct on it. The decals are definitely wonky...that can be fixed. I can get a sword and shield. Missiles...you name it. For what it is, I think it's a great deal. I took some photos of this one to show you exactly what I mean.

At least it had *some* packaging.


I've seen way, way worse for much, much more.

Yeah, I think I did good on this one for it's intended use. The one I have never leaves it's box...so it's nice to have one that gets dust and COVID and whatever and it doesn't matter.

-----

There are deals out there but WOW you really have to work for them now. Have a list of items that you think you'd buy on impulse and keep a budget ready so that you can move on it. Or if you need to move on something quickly, just make sure that it's something that won't leave you with buyer's remorse if you pay extra.

The bottom line is this: Getting what you want is everything. Getting it at a good price is just a bonus.

This has been a special report from CCLemon99. Good Night.

PREVIOUSLY.....

The Toei Situation
I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
The CD Collection--Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

2021/05/15

The Toei Situation


On Thursday, May 13 it was revealed that fansub group TV-Nihon had received a Cease & Desist notice from the Intellectual Property Rights Department at Toei the night prior. Later on that day New-ZECT and KRDL also reported receiving the same complaint over their Super Sentai and Kamen Rider releases with Over-Time proactively disabling their releases as a precaution. The situation has obviously caused a lot of frustration, but has left two burning questions--"Is this legit?" and "Why now?".

I kinda have a take on each one of those questions.

"Is this legit?

Having been on the receiving end of complaints for over a decade on Youtube, yes, that seems legit. The more serious strikes I got on my channel were structured the same way. Back when Youtube included the complainant's contact info it was usually sent from an email like *family.*given@*company.co.jp, but this seems to have come from a shorter email address. The time that Toei filed a complaint against me it was very similar to this...right down to the department name and it being the only part of the complaint in Japanese.

"Why now?"

This one is a little complicated no matter what angle you look at it. Toei has been expanding the availability of their catalog to reach international viewers lately, which I think is an amazing thing. The history of Toei properties outside of Japan is a fascinating story on it's own that largely seems to be driven by whatever mood their in that particular year. The feeling I'm sure a lot of people have right now is one of having their head's lured outside of the window by Toei's International Youtube channel only to be guillotined.

Tsuburaya has been doing wonderful things with the Ultraman franchise that has revitalized it's appeal globally. Official Bluray releases are still coming out, the latest series is being simulcast on Youtube, and there are more projects on the way...all being developed with the world in mind. Toei is watching it's star live-action properties tank in popularity while also trying to cultivate it's history overseas. The Toei International Youtube Channel (which was temporarily obliterated by a copyright claim in it's first day from...Toei!) is a treasure trove of series from the past. The recent addition of uploading Kamen Rider movies (some temporarily, some permanently) and the first two episodes of every series have shown that they very much have intentions to expand their most popular franchise to the world whether it be through Shout Factory or on their own. 

This leaves the fansub community in a tight spot. The walls have been closing in for some time. Super Sentai DVD releases were burning very hot until Hasbro won the Power Rangers franchise in a contest or whatever. A piece of every Kamen Rider series being released on the official Worldwide channel still counts as a release. 

It feels like something is just around the corner. Will Toei copy the Tsuburaya formula for Kamen Rider? I hope so! Going at it on their own terms would be incredibly lucrative and something that they seem to be interested in doing. Even if Super Sentai is put out of it's misery, they have nearly half a century's worth of shows to (re)introduce to the world once they get back their rights to exhibit their programs.

I'm a little more optimistic because I've been documenting this whole thing along the way--and it goes back further than a lot of you can imagine. I'm going to tiptoe on a lot of the details since the other party involved is long removed from the scene, but here is what went down back in 2004 (and why everyone needs to give the person who tweeted at Shirakura a break--I did something potentially far, far worse).

I was a contributor for a website at the time and was sometimes given things to review. One was an OV-Tokusatsu series that was produced with a teeny-tiny bit of help from Toei (I don't remember if they received any official credit--but their DNA is obviously laced in if you were to watch it). Just enough help for there to be communication established even in post-production. My contact at this company was a rad dude who was able to get me Akira Kushida's autograph without me even asking for it. We chatted quite a bit and he was kinda curious about the then-boom in popularity of Kamen Rider. I kinda mused that Rider was "something that people downloaded out of boredom while waiting for their Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon subtitles". He asked me to elaborate and I showed him TV-Nihon's page. 

Now...I'm not really into downloading anything. You all know I have my CDs and DVDs. If it's legit, I'm in. I kinda forgot that I was talking to someone in a production who was already worried about piracy before their product was even released. Of course he was going to report it back to Toei. In a later conversation he followed up with "Toei is looking into shutting down that service you sent me". 

Obviously nothing ever came of that initial nudge, but it does make the timing of this legal document suspect. Toei didn't need some hapless dope tweeting at one of their assclown producers to uncover a public fansub group when I was the OG hapless dope seventeen years ago. 

Hopefully something cool is born out of this. If not, then Toei is possibly staying true to form and nothing will come of this. Either way, you have to remember that they're within their rights to do this. Even if they were letting it slide as a gesture of goodwill all these years, they don't need a reason to pull the plug.

...but let's hope that they do have one...

-CC

PREVIOUSLY.....

I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
The CD Collection--Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1
The Toys That Made Us: Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

2021/04/30

The CD Collection--Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1

For as many Tokusatsu-related CDs as I buy each and every year, there are dozens that I skip over. On top of repetitive EPs, there is usually some kind of annual Kamen Rider or Super Sentai theme song collection slipped out onto store shelves. They sell well enough...so I guess that is grounds to keep releasing them. 

Every once in awhile there is something done to make these compilations worthwhile. The CD that I'm going to talk about today is something of an oddity...enough so that I pre-ordered it based on the title alone. What's a "Non-Stop Best Mix"? Who is DJ Caesar? Is this CD any good??

Let's find out!

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

Super Sentai Series 45th Anniversary Non-Stop Best Mix Vol.1 by DJ Caesar
COCX-41416
2021.03.24

I guess I can start this review by answering the first two of my questions. DJ Caesar has worked previously with Columbia to create not one, but two volumes of mixes from the Gundam series in 2019. It's only natural that the next step would be for DJ Caesar to recreate the magic for another long-running Columbia music property...Super Sentai. I mean, it's fertile ground for mixes, right? Given that this is an anniversary year for Super Sentai it only makes sense that we are getting something special instead of (or, more accurately, in addition to) the same old theme song collection.

This is the part where I usually do a track by track breakdown of the album. I *could* do that...but the reality is that this is literally the opening and ending theme songs from Goranger to Gingaman. This album's party trick is that the tracks are arranged seemingly at random and are stitched together in a non-stop presentation. Some of the transitions are done with cross fades of various lengths, some are a little more abrupt, and then there are the puzzling ones with extra effort like the transition into Kakuranger's opening theme song. 

The really, REALLY strange thing is that this album was announced like the day after I released my album, which is a similar premise made up of deeper cuts from different franchises. [Shameless self-promotion--check out my album "Live Action Sounds" for some good fun...I totally handled "Ashita ni ikiru ze!" better...]. Based on how I did my album, you can tell that I'm more of a fan of the abrupt transitions on Non-Stop Best Mix.

Some of the better transitions are the aforementioned skip into the Kakuranger opening, the hard cut from Gingaman's opening into the Sunvulcan theme, Turboranger's ending into Liveman's opening is really slick, Dynaman's ending song transitioning into the Dynaman opening song is possibly the most seamless of them all, and I think the weird jump from Liveman's ending into the Goggle Five opening is kinda funny.

The ones that I don't really like are the long cross-fades. They just kinda take me out of it. Sunvulcan's theme song transitions into the Ohranger ending theme song in a very strange way. Not only is the fade really long...but it fades into the already long full intro of Ohranger's Ending. Yeah, we get the whole "Ohrangers, Stand By" bit. Earlier on the disc we had a long fade into the Zyuranger OP, but it cut past the whole Total Recall knock-off bit.

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

OVERALL: I think this CD is really neat. I'm not just saying that because it pretty much covers the only theme songs that I like (it would've been rad if it ran through GoGo Five...oh well) but it's certainly a new way to listen to songs I already love. Would I ever think to blend the Fiveman opening theme song into the Maskman ending theme song? Never. I kinda gained a new perspective for some of these theme songs as well. I never really cared for Never Stop! Changeman (sorry!) for some reason, but I kinda came around on it during my listen here. Meanwhile, the usually invincible Tengoku Samba from Carranger becomes somewhat anonymous when sandwiched between the Kakuranger and Denjiman ending songs.

I get that this is meant to reach as many ears as possible, but I definitely would've been more interested in an album of more obscure songs. Yes, I know that I'm pretty much describing what I did, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that. I also wouldn't mind a strictly Super Sentai version of what Michiaki Watanabe did with his Eurobeat Metal Hero album back in 2001. 

I will close with two things...

1. I do enjoy this album and am curious to hear what a Vol.2 would sound like. Though I may have to punch out if it's only a continuation. How about mecha theme songs??

2. I feel like DJ Caesar is a man after my heart with his extra effort on the Kakuranger theme song. It's so weird that it's one of the few songs that has some extra arrangement (Zyuranger Ending song does as well) and the unique transition...but the Kakuranger Superfan in me makes me think that we may be cut from the same cloth,..


Preordered CDs came with a sticker of the front cover as a bonus

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

So there is my review of this fun new release. Definitely check it out if you're looking for something a little different. You can also check out some other. Or if you just like reading about Tokusatsu music (you weirdo) I have a page for my CD Collection.

I'll see you soon with a post that 100% going to make you roll your eyes and completely dismiss me. Just wait...it's another CCLemon99 unpopular opinion incoming.

See ya!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY.....

CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
The CD Collection--
Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Shudaika ["Zenryoku Zenkai!" Ban Limited Edition]
Kakuranger Ball!!!

2021/04/11

The CD Collection--Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Shudaika ["Zenryoku Zenkai!" Ban Limited Edition]


It's a new(ish) year. A new year brings a new Super Sentai. A new Super Sentai brings a new Super Sentai CD Single. A new Super Sentai CD Single brings a new post to CCLemon99.com. I'm taking a listen to the Limited Edition Theme Song Single from Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger. (Sorry...not doing the whole "Kikaisentai" thing).

No big deal, but this is the 45th Anniversary of Super Sentai. You know... 2021-1975=45! Or is it 45 teams? Does Lupinranger vs Patranger count as two teams? I tried to decipher the truth in the past to no avail...but whatever the case we have 45ish theme songs out there, and this is the latest!

As usual, there are two versions of the annual Sentai CD Single--Regular and Limited. The Limited Edition usually has a fair amount of goodies sprinkled in to entice you to spend a little extra and consider it over the barebones regular edition.  

So let's check it out!

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


Kikai Sentai Zenkaiger Shudaika ["Zenryoku Zenkai!" Ban Limited Edition]
COCC-17864
2021.04.05



DISC ONE


01. Zenryoku Zenkai! Zenkaiger / Takeshi Tsuruno

I like the bassline and the Zen-Zen-Zen bit. That's about it.

This is just as anonymous as every theme song since Goseiger. I've defended these theme songs every year as being safe for the sake of being safe. The song equivalency of shelf-stable food... A Sentai Twinkie if you will. No substance, just unhealthy filler with a candy appeal. This is what everyone involved with the production will have to listen to for the next year...so it can't be offensive at all. I really admire the opening theme songs from Timeranger and Gaoranger in hindsight for their weirdness.

Ehhh, yeah...this is just alright.

I should probably say something about singer Takeshi Tsuruno.

Does someone at Bandai owe him a favor?

I should back up. Tsuruno is famously known as Shin Asuka/Ultraman Dyna--a role he has continued with until present day whenever they call him. He also has a singing career that kicked off in earnest in 2003. Perfect credentials to sing the latest Ultraman theme song!

So WTF is he doing here? It's not like he has some supreme singing skills...and wasn't he in some hot water lately for some remarksblahblahtabloids. This song literally could've been done by anybody. It isn't a special song, and he isn't a special "get" of a singer. I guess I should just be grateful it isn't Yoffy...

This isn't terrible, but it isn't anniversary worthy. I also think the Gokaiger theme is pure Barley Gruel, so take that as you will...

02. Zenkai Gattai! Juran Gaon / Issao Sasaki, Mitsuko Horie

Now this makes more sense! Bring back the two singers that brought Super Sentai into the world for a new duet. This is also very much a song with composer Michiaki Watanabe's fingerprints all over it. I know I wasn't sold on him coming back, but these three back together is a relief.

Even as generic as this is, it's still a great mecha song. I probably haven't really liked a mecha theme since Shinichi Ishihara's Engine-Oh song in Go-Onger, so it's a warm feeling of nostalgia to have something like this to listen to.

03. Zenryoku Zenkai! Zenkaiger [Original Karaoke]

04. Zenkai Gattai! Juran Gaon [Original Karaoke]


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

BONUS DISC


There isn't too much to say about the Bonus Disc other than it's a collection of all of the TV Size opening theme songs from 1975-2020. Honestly...this is a pretty smart addition to an anniversary theme song single. Sure, why not?

If you *really* want to get serious about collecting TV Size theme songs, however, you really need to check out the TV Size collection from 2016. This one. I don't think I ever talked about it, but it is pretty damn thorough and even includes some previously unreleased tracks. Maybe I'll come back to that one someday...I think it had some omissions... 

The bonus disc included with the Zenkaiger single is a nice sampler!


Back Cover

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

BONUS ITEM


I have some Zenkaiger toys, but they're just in the collection. The gimmick this year is the Sentai Gear. They're like less charismatic Ranger Keys, but OK. This set has an exclusive Sentai Gear--The Super Red Version of the Goranger Gear. 

It's Red. That's pretty much it. Neat...


Oh yeah, and if you preordered your set, you would've gotten this neat card. Nice...


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

Booklet

Set Overall: The annual limited edition single usually has some fun tricks up it's sleeve to keep everybody happy. This year is no exception. I do take issue with the packaging, however. I feel like the only reason this is in oversized DVD case packaging is because a 2-Disc CD Case was probably a smidge more expensive. Ugh. That cost-saving measure means that this won't fit in my CD shelf... 

Don't get me wrong, I do like the fact that the TV Size collection is included...but the sacrifice to the collector (who likely already has TV Size CDs many times over) is kinda perplexing. I'm not quite sure who they were hoping to reach with this set. 

Yeah, I think this set is OK...but I just wish it could've been executed in a way that it fits in with the collection better physically.


Booklet Back

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

That's is for my annual Super Sentai CD Single review. I posted links to previous year's reviews below. If you want more music content, hit up my CD Collection page for days and days of reading.

Anyway...I'll be back very soon for a review of this guy:


I have thoughts...

See ya!

-CC


PREVIOUSLY.....

I modified my car and really went too far this time [Tokusatsu License Plate]
CCLemon99 - Live Action Sounds [Full Tokusatsu Medley Album]
The CD Collection--Mashin Sentai Kiramager Shudaika Limited Edition [Amazon Japan]
The CD Collection--Kishiryu Sentai Ryusoulger Shudaika Limited Edition
The CD Collection--Kaito Sentai Lupinranger vs Keisatsu Sentai Patranger Shudaika Limited Edition

2021/03/31

I modified my car and really went too far this time...


It's pretty rare for me to let my interest in Tokusatsu seep out into the real-world. It's not that I'm ashamed or anything, I just hate having to answer questions. When I wear a shirt, I just want it to register as a shirt to someone...not start up a conversation. 

An example of this madness involves one of my favorite baseball caps. I've been shaving my head for awhile so I've accumulated many hats to ward off the skin cancer. My go-to is just a random baseball team. Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Padres, you name it, I probably have it. Outside the random "Did you catch the game?" nobody really bothers me. 

Except for, unfortunately, my favorite hat... Montreal Expos. First off, everyone assumes I'm Canadian. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the notion, but that always leads to "Well......why the Expos hat??" when I make the correction. OR...when I was in Las Vegas I wore it for two days and the scammers were aggressively trying to get me to their strip clubs/timeshare meetings/cruise giveaways. I switched up to my Dodgers hat the next day and...not a damn soul bothered me.

So I did something totally wild that goes against everything I just said...

In my decades of driving I've never felt the need to swap out my government issued license plates for anything special. No special interest plates...no personalized plates... I don't know what possessed me, but I ended up looking into doing both. Thus began the long process of selecting my new plates.

A blank personalized plate has a seven-character limit. My top two choices that sadly weren't available were "YOKAI" and "PEGASUS", but I did actually have a bunch of options to skim through. Among which were...

"DRCLAW" 
"P440CPJ" (Plate from the legendary lost Mexican McLaren F1...it's resurgeance in popularity scared me away recently)
"SUBRZ"

There was one that stuck with me for about a month...and joy of joys, it was under five characters...which means I could choose from one of my State's special interest plates! Since I happen to be a big fan of the beach, my selection was a no-brainer.

So I was going with a "Shore to Please" (emphasis theirs) plate with personalization. What does it say...?


*nijiiro Crystal Sky intensifies*

I told you...I've gone too far with this!


I ordered this in January and almost three months later it finally arrived! I honestly almost forgot about it since I didn't get any kind of shipping notice from the State or anything. Heh.

If someone ever decides to recreate this card...please, please, please let me know. I will absolute take one!

Better than an F.O.P. card...!

I guess I can sum it up like this...

Ohres to Please


-CC

PREVIOUSLY.....

From Ultraman to Adman

I'm not going to lie. The thing that drew me to Youtube early on was not the copious amount of copyright infringing materials posted to the site, rather the car videos. Before anyone bothered to edit anything together for original content I was mostly watching old car commercials and whatnot. There was one brand that did it better than any other... Nissan in the 1960s-1980s.

Just check out some of these ads...

There was the series R30 Nissan Skyline ads featuring a very awkward Paul Newman. Then in the 90s we had the R33 Skyline ads featuring Tatsuro Yamashita before the internet invented whatever Citypop is. There are also the infamous hippy-dippy Kenmeri Skyline ads of the 1970s. You've probably watched something at some point that reference that series in some capacity.

Before Nissan dominated the Japanese car ad market in the 70s with their slick lifestyle campaigns, there was one final push of sheer force behind their product.

The Nissan Bluebird 510 Sedan...

It's a car which is the sheer definition of car. Three boxes, four doors, four seats, and a steering wheel. I challenge you to find a more basic looking car. There are certainly similar cars from the era, but this is peak generic car. So how do you sell something like that? A comically macho ad of course

They enlisted the help of a gaggle of men, but one of those men was more than a man...he was an Ultraman! There is no mistaking the face of Susumu Kurobe being the lead Gent of the squad of...engineers? Doctors? Ehhh...it's easy to get hung up on details since newer ads give so much plot. This one doesn't! It's just five dudes (conveniently it's a five-seat vehicle) posing over the earwormiest song you'll ever hear in your entire life. 

Style up! Safety up! Accel your heart!!


When it came time for a coupe version of the Bluebird, the band got back together to celebrate it. Beyond that...there isn't much. It's unfortunate that we haven't gotten a better quality version of the ads in all of the years since it's been online, but we'll take what we can get, right?

Beyond the TV ads, there were some print ads featuring Hayate...er...Kurobe.


I just thought it'd be fun to bring up this little blip in the man's career since I never really see it mentioned anywhere. I mean...it's even unconfirmed that it's actually him, but c'mon. He has a pretty unique look and hairline with that widow's peak. He has had such a packed career in the fifty-five years since Ultraman that little footnotes like this really get lost in the shuffle. 

Accel your heeeeaaaaarrrtttt~!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY.....

2021/02/20

CCLemon99 - Live Action Sound


Hello!

Back in the late 90s I spent a lot of long nights battling insomnia. I would regularly tune into a local radio station on weekends that would play hours-long blocks of Latin-Freestyle music that was woven together in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Regardless of how smooth it was, it was music designed to never let up and to keep the drinks flowing. This particular station simulcast it's broadcast from a local club. Every once in awhile they'd flip on the mics for a station ID and some crowd-cheering. 

Fast forward to the early 2000s and life was a lot different. Those blocks of music were gone and going to Youtube for a 10-hours mix was impossible given the service was like -3 years old. So...I did my own tracks. Granted, they were much shorter and only contained snippets of songs. The main reason I had to make them short was bandwidth being terrible and I did sometimes want to send them to friends. So my medleys were how I spent my time for awhile. I never had ideas ahead of time...I would pick a series on the fly and then let the creativity guide me to the end.

Late last year I revisited some of these tracks after not thinking about them for years. You know what? They weren't so bad. Easy to say since I made these for myself. After re-ripping a large swath of my CD Collection to FLAC during lockdown I now had the materials to make some really high-quality recreations of my old tunes. I started with Liveman, got some really good feedback on Twitter and took off from there...

The last thing I did was to create an album cover. Conveniently I wrote an article this month that featured some weirdness with the Kamen Rider Black suit. Why did they use him for an early ZO trailer? Why do rock bands like using scuffed images of him on their albums? I guess this is my contribution...


Yeah...does it look familiar?


The end result gave me some Pretty Hate Machine vibes as well. 

So here is my album--Live Action Sound. I recommend listening to it with headphones since if you're a laptop user like me you were likely cursed with awful speakers. Soundcloud also seems to clip into tracks a little abruptly. This could be on my end, but I don't think so since my files seem to start a bit smoother.

I hope you enjoy it...and let me know what you think.

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

CCLemon99
Live Action Sound
20.February.2021

01. V•Hero Cinema Fair '9X <Jinzoningen Hakaider • Kamen Rider J • Kamen Rider ZO • Shin Kamen Rider: Prologue>

I always got a little annoyed that Hakaider never got lumped in with the 90s Kamen Rider films. I know it isn't great...but I dug it! 

For this mix I have two versions of MODE's Wild Side (album and Karaoke) and Karaoke versions of the ending songs from each of the three Rider movies. Transitioning from ZO to Shin's themes is a bit of a challenge, but I think it is one of the more seamless edits here. By the time you get to the end of the track, Wild Side seems like a distant memory...

-----


02. UltraSensei '80 <Ultraman 80>

This is the only track that I created for this album. I think it has a bit more maturity (even if I did make some updated edits to other tracks) than everything else. 

I'm incredibly fond of all of the theme songs from the series, but I decided to only focus on the first two. The instrumental version of the OP is sooooo goooood. The transition into the ending theme song is kinda masked by the "SHUWATCH!". Two different versions of the ending theme are used as well. The ending sound is the henshin effect. It's weirdly similar to the sound that the song ends on.

I've listened to this mix a lot lately. Not because it's new, but I actually really like it.

-----

03. Super Deformed '93 <Kamen Rider SD>

I instantly fell in love with the Kamen Rider SD soundtrack when I first heard it eons ago. I really hope more than anything it encourages others to check it out. Can you believe that it comes from the same composer of Turboranger, Fiveman, and Zyuranger?

I just used various bits of the soundtrack and the Karaoke versions of the theme songs.

-----

04. Kiryoku daaaa! '93 <Gosei Sentai Dairanger>

This one is a bit stilted, but I enjoy it enough to go through and recreate it in FLAC. The only new bit is the "KIRYOKU TENSHIN" bit from the audio drama. This is one of the very few bits of Dairanger dialogue that was released in stereo... There is a little too much of the ending theme song, but that's alright. It's a solid tune.

Oh yeah, that weird edit in the instrumental version of the OP...that wasn't me. That's legit how Columbia released it.

-----

05. Tetsuwanwanwan '98 <Tetsuwan Tantei Robotack>

This show has a love/hate thing going on. I don't really have an opinion, but the song collection has some absolute jams. As much as I tried to avoid *any* vocals in this album, I kinda had no way around it with Get High. That song is one of the great Metal Hero songs and it would've been a tragedy not to be able to keep it in thanks to some backing vocals.

All the tracks here are a mix of Instrument and Karaoke versions. For the record, Get High was sung by Kotetsu Kyodai...which was Hironobu Kageyama and Masaaki Endo's short-lived duo prior to JAM Project. Kotetsu Kyodai > JAM Project...

-----

06. Victory Flash! '82 <Dai Sentai Goggle Five>

It's really hard to make the Goggle Five song collection cool, but I pulled all my favorite bits back in the day. The early 2000s version of this had a different ending. I made it a smidge abrupt by just dropping in the eyecatch. It's one of my favorite eyecatches. I used to use it as my ringtone until I found out it was the culprit of my iphone spontaneously wiping it's memory clean at random.

-----

07. Go Ahead! True Dream '94 <Blue SWAT>

There was a time when I was absolutely obsessed with Blue SWAT's terrible song collection. This was my attempt to really make something decent out of it. Yes, there is a lot of True Dream. The Instrumental and Karaoke versions of the other songs are from some fairly obscure releases. That kinda backs up my obsession claims, eh?

-----

08. Live for Tomorrow '88 <Chojuu Sentai Liveman>

This is the first song that I redid and got this whole project rolling. I think one of my favorite transitions ever is from the Bimotion Buster theme to the ending song. I don't know what I was on when I came up with that one, but damn that is still impressive all these years later. 

I did smooth this one out quite a bit, but it was always pretty coherent.

-----

09. SHI•NO•BI '02 <Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger>

I originally first put this one together in 2003. I'm definitely not a Hurricaneger fan, but I really needed a reason to convince myself that I liked the song collection. It's all pretty linear if you break it down. Hurricaneger theme to Goraiger theme to Shurikenger theme and then both mecha themes before closing out with a surprise appearance from the ending theme song. Can I just say that the instrumental version of the Shurikenger theme is infinitely better than the vocal one?

The title to this one is something of a tribute the ending song from Sekai Ninja Sen Jiraiya

-----

10. WSP SOS! '90 <Tokkei Winspector>

I love the Winspector song collection so much. This is one of the oldest ones I ever made. I actually did some fairly extensive work to get it presentable for this album. 

If there is one thing I adore about it is closing this whole album out with Gekisou! Rescue Machine. The ending of that song is just one of the most perfect outros ever. The energy never lets up...in fact it only picks up as it fades out into the horizon.

Oh yeah, there is also a little bonus hidden track in the mix. It may or may not be the only reason I redid the Goggle Five medley for this album.

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

Album Playlist: https://soundcloud.com/loud-noises-1/sets/live-action-sound

I hope you enjoyed this album. Maybe I'll dig back into the well if anyone is interested in hearing more.

See ya!

-CC

PREVIOUSLY...

Kamen Rider is More Human Than Human
What is an Anniversary Year? [Ultraman and Kamen Rider Edition]
What is an Anniversary Year? [Super Sentai Edition]
2020
1993 Sure Was a Thing... [Dairanger Fantheory Special]
Song Collection: Kamen Rider Black

2021/02/13

Kamen Rider is More Human Than Human

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably saw that I recently discovered a ten-year old upload of a veeeeeery early promo to Kamen Rider ZO. I had to watch it several times to dissect it. Why...does this exist? It also had me thinking of some of the other weirdness, mostly unlicensed, from that era. 

I guess we can start with that promo.



It starts with some stock music with stock lightning effects. Why not? ZO was born during a drunken sketch surgery in a lightning storm...I think this may be coincidence more than anything though.

We're then given a slow teaser scroll over random action footage of...





Kamen Rider Black???


It is!

I mean...c'mon. One of those other bits of weirdness is incredibly lazy English title screen that flashes in the middle of all of that.


I don't know why that tickles me so much, but it does. It looks like it should be preceeded by "Honey I Shrunk The...". 

In addition to the random footage of an silhouetted Kamen Rider Black fighting off any identifying lighting, the only new thing this preview had to offer was the SFX Kamen Rider ZO logo (minus the ZO title).



Don't forget to check it out during Golden Week 1993!


So what's the story? Well this video was uploaded by Sho Tomas on 02.April.2010. It's always hard to say who is the source in this type of situation, but one commenter fills in some of the gaps on what the origin of this trailer is...


Basically this video was shown during the Kamen Rider World (not that one) exhibit in 1992 in Seibu Department Store. (Fun fact...and a bit of a tangent--the Seibu Department Store that was in Los Angeles, CA is currently one of my favorite places in the world since it's now the Petersen Automotive Museum). Another commenter also pointed out that the music is the same tune later heard in the B-Fighter sausage ad. Sure enough... 

So what's the point of this promo? Did Shin Kamen Rider rub some people the wrong way enough to warrant a hastily produced trailer to show that a traditional Rider with traditional sound effects would return soon? The profile of the Black suit isn't that much of a difference from the ZO suit, but they're really not giving us eagle-eyed peeps credit enough for not spotting the re-used suit right away. 

Close-ish?

That Masked Rider logo as well...how much of a fun Easter Egg would that have been if it ended up on the Sega CD game for the North American release?


The Black/ZO connection is coincidentally something that makes a lot more sense when you look to the manga world. When Kamen Rider ZO's manga adaptation was released it featured a new Kamen Rider Black adventure. Hmmmm. Again--this is a total coincidence, but one of those little weird things that have you scratching your head.

-----

For some reason this whole trailer situation brought up some weird memories of misplaced Kamen Rider in media. If you were around in the 90s, you likely remember White Zombie's More Human Than Human. It's catchy as hell and I remember it's Blade Runner-inspired title more than a lot of other songs from the period. What if...just what if Rob Zombie had Kamen Rider in mind at the time?

The evidence is, well, present...

Uhhhhhhh.....

My local music shop had a $1 bin full of CDs that were dumped off from a local radio station. Since this was the 90s, this is how you got cheap music without spending $20 on an album for one...maybe two songs. I definitely got this one for the cover and got the song as a bonus (albeit the stinky radio edit). 

That's not where the story ends, however. You see...it's established that Rob Zombie is/was a Tokusatsu fan. Rob Zombie has a brother. Meet Spider One of the band Powerman 5000. They had a big hit in 1999 with When Stars Collide. Prior to that the band had a handful of albums and a debut EP. The debut EP from 1994 was called True Force...and boy did it have some great artwork...


Yeah...that is a incredibly thinly disguised Kamen Rider Black. It didn't end there though. Their first album, The Blood-Splat Rating System, was released the following year and had some equally brilliant artwork.


There are two things to unpack here...


Kamen Rider Black appears again. This time the only disguise is that his head was pinched thanks to some lousy editing. I tried to find the source for this image, but really got nowhere.


Also this. I think they felt the need for some random Japanese and managed to stumble on a product warning that says it's for ages three and over. It definitely feels like it would've come from a Dairanger toy as I talked about in the past. So I checked my stash and noticed this...

Enhance...

Bingo!

Yeah, so the product safety warning was taken from the DX Daibuster?? 

At the end of the day what do Kamen Rider Black, Kamen Rider ZO, Kamen Rider J and Gosei Sentai Dairanger have in common??

Eiji Kawamura.

Mastermind

Leave Kamen Rider Black alone!

I promise that my album of Tokusatsu medleys will be my next post.

Take care!

-CC

P.S. I tried to work in that wonky Saban's Masked Rider logo with Kamen Rider J...here it is anyway...