For today’s jukebox installment we feature the theme from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger.
This is the opening theme song to the show which formed the basis for the original Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. The show features five warriors from the ancient past engaging in battle with Bandora the Witch using the mighty Guardian Beasts who combine to form Daizyuzin – the physical embodiment of the God of their ancient tribes.
The theme itself is a real delight. The early rhythm is low and and steady, building in intensity before strings come to aid the crescendo. Then blaring trumpets reset the pace just before the real theme starts in with lyrics, which takes on a joyous feel with a hint of melancholy as the lyrics weave over a subtle layering of strings and keyboard. Much like the show itself, it is clearly for a childrens’s show(it repeats the show’s name dozens of times) but shows the kind of texture and complexity you would not normally have in this sort of programming (the bridge section has haunting polyphonic chants followed by violins). Like the show itself, this theme really stands out as one of the greats. After two listens you will be humming it to yourself for the rest of the day – you have been warned.
For this installment of anime jukebox we feature Nujabes’/Fat Jon’s Just Forget, from the Samurai Champloo Impression soundtrack.
Samurai Champloo is the story of Mugen, Jin, and Fuu as they travel the Japanese countryside in the Edo period. While they are nominally pursuing the “samurai who smells of sunflowers,” the majority of the show is spent with the three protagonists wandering around and getting into various shenanigans. Created by Shinichiro Watanabe of Cowboy Bebop fame, it bears a striking resemblance to that work but with some interesting differences. Where Bebop was a space-western with a jazz soundtrack that was very much about running from the past, Champloo is an action-samurai piece with a hip hop soundtrack that is more about traveling towards a present goal.
Fat Jon and Nujabes produced nearly all of the Samurai Champloo soundtrack. Just Forget is a great piece specifically because it mirrors the sort of overland wandering that the main characters go through in the story. Steady percussion with softer tones and a reliance on cymbals to provide a bit of texture. Just Forget is a somewhat somber instrumental, and echoes the work of other great producers like J Dilla and 9th Wonder. The steady repetition and general low-key feel of Just Forget makes it as great for “wandering samurai” as it is for getting homework done, chores around the house, or writing blog posts late into the night.
Give it a few listens and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Hi, friends! Did you know that the 90’s X-Men animated series had two alternate Japanese animated intros that were on par with its already equally awesome American intro? Because, well, it did.
Yeah yeah, this isn’t technically an intro for an anime show, but I figured I’d bend the theme just a little bit to show off this absolutely fantastic animation work.
These impressive intros were created for the show’s transition to Japanese audiences under the station TV Tokyo. The initial intro lasted for 41 episodes, with yet another brand new anime style intro starting with episode 42.
This is the best quality video I could find for this. If you sit through the whole thing you’ll see both intros:
Both intros featured songs by the hard rock group Ambience, the first titled Rising and the latter was Dakishimetai Dare Yori Mo. While I’m personally not a huge fan of the second track, the first one definitely rivals Ron Wasserman’s now iconic instrumental theme featured in the American intro. If I had a gun to my head I’d probably go with the American version, but there would be a lot of tears and anguish in that decision.
For today’s Anime Jukebox we have the theme for the anime Rose of Versailles, Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru.
Based on the sweeping 1972 shojo manga by Riyoko Ikeda, Rose of Versailles is an anime released in 1979 that charts the pseudo-historical tale of Oscar de Jarjayes in pre-revolutionary France. Rarely do we find anime that is a mixture of historical fiction, search for gender identity, and melodramatic pairing of romance and action. Filled with engrossing characters that have interesting developmental arcs, Rose of Versailles has been a giant in the shojo field for decades.
The theme song by Hiroko Suzuki is a potent combination of moving, subtle, and catchy. The harpsicord gives a steady tempo as an undercurrent to the verses, and the stirring string accompaniment adds a layer of excitement to the moments just before each chorus arrives. Perhaps the song’s most memorable element is the chorus, which opens with a quick repetition of the phrase bara wa bara wa – something which is incredibly easy to find stuck in one’s head long after hearing it. Paired with some fittingly overdramatic imagery in the title credits, this theme is a perfect fit for an excellent show.
Alright Rogues, is it worth your quarter, or a pass on this one?
The first in a new line of blog posts, Anime Jukebox will be a collection of songs that stand out to the Blade Licking Thieves for any number of reasons. Today’s track – How Far to Paradise, from the Area 88 OVA.
Sung by Derek Jackson, this track served as the first opening theme for the Area 88 OVA. Adapted from Kaoru Shintani’s legendary manga series, this OVA is a favorite for a lot of old heads in the fandom. This track firmly plants the show in the glorious cheese of the 1980’s – a story of seemingly endless war with a reluctant pilot and a distant love interest. While the manga and OVA certainly exceed the seemingly “ho-hum/been there done that” of the initial premise, this track is so drenched in 80s absurdity it is hard not to love. The heavy bass line, rhythmic guitar, and over the top brass accompaniment are a perfect pairing with the iconic logo – the unicorn with a burning mane of fire. The highlight of the track is definitely whenever Derek’s voice drops in pitch as he asks, “How far back to my hoo-ooome?” at the end of each chorus.
What’s your take on this classic anime track – is it worth you quarter, or do you skip it? Tell us in the comments below.