Archive for the ‘Anime’ Category

Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd Remixes, Part 2!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

More Lupin remixes! I hope someone likes these. I feel like I’m going super specific here.

These are all taken from Punch That Monkey 2! The second of a three-part series that came out in 1999 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Lupin The 3rd, the popular anime/manga series. I wrote about the series already, so I’m just going to cut to the chase this time.

And in case anyone was wondering, the albums are called Punch The Monkey because the creator of Lupin goes by the pen name of Monkey Punch.

I have no idea why.

Yuji Ohno
Lupin The 3rd ’78 (Afro Rock Theme~Douchatta No Lupin Mix)
Yuji Ohno was the composer for the second Lupin series, which first aired on Japanese television in 1977. He also did the music for the Miyazaki-directed Lupin film The Castle of Cagliostro, an excellent animated flick if there ever was one. This remix is by Yoshihiro Sawasaki, who has been releasing music in Japan since 1994, either under his own name or under various others, my favorite being Doctor YS & The Cosmic Drunkards. His music seems to run the gamut from acid breaks to minimal to straight-up dance, and everything I’ve heard I’ve dug. I really have to start getting into more Japanese electronic music…

Kazuya Senka/Yuji Ohno
Theme From Lupin The 3rd~Theme From Lupin “E” (Vocal Version)
A full vocal mix of the original theme music, with some light jazzy instrumental instrumentation thrown in for good measure. Nearly all the guitars are removed, and replaced with some incredibly laid-back keyboard work. I have no idea who Kazuya Senka is, so if anyone wants to fill me in, please do.

This remix is by ECD, a hip-hop act who I believe is Yoshinori Ishida, or Ishida with another person. Judging from the quantity of stuff he has on YouTube, it would appear he’s still going strong, and has quite the following. also Japanese hip-hop is crazy.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
Lupin The 3rd ’78
Great name for a band, and very accurate, as they are massive ska group with over 10 members. These guys have been around for over 20 years now, and continue to release new music. If their Wikipedia is any indication, they also tend to go through members like Def Leppard and Lynyrd skynyrd combined, unfortunately.

Takeo Yamashita
Theme From Lupin The 3rd II (Readymade All That Jazz Mix)
Theme From Lupin The 3rd 3
Theme From Lupin The 3rd (Akakage’s Happy Set)
Takeo Yamashita was a composer of various live-action and anime shows throughout the 1960s and 1970s. He composed the original Lupin The 3rd theme song for the original series, and he also wrote the music for Giant Robo, the live-action version of the series that Americans know as Gigangtor. (He didn’t, however, write the awesome Gigantor song.)

All three of these remixes are by different people. The first is by Yasuharu Konishi of Pizzacato Five fame (he contributed a mix to the other Lupin compilation I put up). It’s crazy, and I love every minute of it, even if it barely resembles the original song.

The second track has no remix name, but it is indeed a remix, and was done by someone from the Japanese group Polysics. They’ve been described by others a Japanese Devo, and that’s pretty accurate. So, imagine the Lupin theme remixed by Devo, that’s what this sounds like. In other words, it sounds pretty rad. It actually sounds strikingly similar to Devo’s cover of “Working In A Coal Mine” in some parts, I don’t know if that was intentional or not. I hope it was.

The last mix is by an act called Akakage. According to Discogs, it used to be a duo, but most of their later stuff was credited only to a single person; Yoichiro Ito. From what I’ve heard of him, he really really likes Fatboy Slim. But hey, I really really like Fatboy Slim, so I’m not going to knock him for it.

Yoshihiko Katori Jazz Orchestra
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme (Melting Version)
I have no idea who these people are. Sorry.

Kanaho Maki/Yuji Ohno
Love Squall (Pansasa Love Anthem Mix)
Love Squall -M&M Bossa Bass Space
I know nothing about Kanaho Maki, tried my best, couldn’t find anything. Ditto for Pandart Sasanooha,  who is credited  for the “Pansasa Love Anthem Mix.”

The second mix is by Monday Michiru, an artist I had actually heard of before buying this compilation. Her music goes all over the place, from jazz and electronic to R&B and pop. Apparently she’s a big deal in Japan. As you might have been able to guess from the remix title, this mix has a strong bassa nova vibe to it.

The Ventures
Lupin The 3rd ’78
Yes, The Ventures. Yes, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, best-selling instrumental rock group of all time Ventures. How did this happen?

Well, apparently The Ventures are HUGE in Japan. Seriously, at their peak popularity in Japan they allegedly outsold The Beatles. I honestly think the phrase “big in Japan” was created in part because of their massive success there. Shit, they should totally cover that Alphaville song. This is a straight-up cover of the original theme, no remixing, no electronic add-ons, and no vocals (it is The Ventures after all). It’s really, really good. They should have totally rocked this at the Rock And Roll Hallf Of Fame induction concert and blown everyone’s mind.


Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd Remixes, Part 1

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Now for some real Japanese stuff.


It seems to me that most anime/manga is fleeting. Many shows and books have intentionally short runs and are more like mini-series than full-fledged shows. But when a show or book takes off in Japan, it really takes off. Titles like Gundam, Macross, Dragonball, those aren’t just TV shows or comic books in Japan, they’re freaking institutions, multi-generational cultural milestones that seem to go on forever and ever.

While I find the enduring popularity of those series to be utterly fascinating, I can never seem to get into them myself.  Gundam and Macross are too complicated and self-serious for me to enjoy, while series like Naruto, Dragonball and One-Piece are about as aesthetically and thematically pleasing to me as an 18th century Russian novel or an British soap opera. There’s nothing wrong with them, they’re just not my thing.

The only long-running Japanese series that I have ever been able to get into at all is Lupin The 3rd, which started as a comic in 1967 before branching out into a TV series in 1971 and even a film series starting in 1978. That’s a lot of Lupin, and while my overall exposure to the the various forms of Lupin-related media have been relatively slim in comparison, I’ve loved just about everything I’ve been able to get my hands on.

I think the main reason that I like Lupin more than those other series is that it’s relatively self-contained. You can pop in any Lupin movie or TV series and figure out the basic gist within minutes, and as a whole it’s pretty light entertainment. While I’m sure Lupin has had his serious moments of the years, most of what I’ve seen has been incredibly easy-going and wacky, just the kind of thing I want to watch when I feel the need to escape for a bit. I also love the style of the series, and how its managed to maintain its 1960s aesthetic in one way or another to this day. (Of course, given my limited exposure to Lupin as a whole, I could just be talking out of my ass, but this is what I’ve noticed from the stuff I’ve seen.)

And it’s music is really dope. In the pantheon of anime soundtracks, the Lupin The 3rd main theme takes my second place spot as greatest of all time, right behind the jazzy perfection of Cowboy Bebop. Just like the series itself, I love its retro style, and how it’s managed to evolve over time to incorporate more modern musical movements. It’s a blast to listen to, and apparently I’m not the only person who thinks so, because holy shit there are a ton of remix compilations of the Lupin The 3rd theme music in Japan. I bought a couple of them (as well as some other Lupin-related vinyl) and I’ll be sharing them over the course of the next few days.

Up tonight are the tracks from the 1998 2LP set Punch The Monkey! Lupin The 3rd; The 30th Anniversary Remixes. I was going to do an artist by artist breakdown of the compilation, but I can hardly find anything about any of the people who worked on this record. When I do, it’s typically in Japanese, so that’s not much of a help. The record does have one name I recognize though, and that’s Yasuharu Konishi; the founder of Readymade Records and original member of Pizzicato Five, one of the only Japanese acts ever to make any kind of headway in the American music scene. His remix is pretty great, but then again, nearly all of these remixes are great. But if I had to pick a favorite, I would probably choose Escalator Team’s “Club Escape Mix” of the ’78 Theme, if for only its completely random sample from Mortal Kombat. How the hell did that happen?

Toshio Matsuura
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme From Lupin III (Walther P99 Mix)

Masanori Ikeda
Lupin The 3rd ’80 Theme From Lupin III (Latin Calcutta Mix)

Comoesta Yaegashi
Afro Rock Theme (Afro Rock Mix)

Escalator Team
Lupin The 3rd ’78 Theme From Lupin III (Club Escape Mix)

Fuzita Blender
Funny Walk In Old Fashion (Mori No Blend Mix)

Fantastic Plastic Machine
Theme From Lupin The 3rd (F.P.M.’s Reconstruction Mix)

Yasuharu Konishi
Theme From Lupin The 3rd 3 (The Readymade Yangu Oh! Oh! Mix)

Fantastic Explosion
Toward The Patrol Line (You & Fantastic Explosion Mix)

Sunaga T Experience
Lupin The 3rd ’80 (Sunaga T Experience 9849 Mix)

Jun Sasaki
Love Squall (Fujiko’s Love Mix)

Izuru Utsumi
Theme From Lupin The 3rd II (Bossa ’98 Mix)


Happy Anime Soundtrack Funtime

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

This album is so weird and obscure that I don’t even know what’s on it.











Do You Remember…? TV Animation Hero
This is a Japanese LP from 1983 featuring 16 classic cartoon theme songs from shows like Astro Boy and Tetsujin-28 (AKA Gigantor). It’s a pretty awesome record, and not just for the music, it also came with a bunch of sweet swag.

There are these great stickers, which I bet ended up on many a Japanese child’s lunchbox in the early 80s.












Then there’s this neat book. The cover looks like it should be in 3D, but it’s not. If you use red/blue 3D glasses on it you see a different image for each color. It’s a pretty cute little trick.












Inside is mostly text, I assume its about the cartoons in question.











Whomever had this record first kept it in amazing shape. I also have an order form that came with it









As well as the OBI strip. These are paper strips that are usually on the covers of LPs in Japan, they have the price and other information on them.











So do you want to know what’s on the actual record itself?

Well guess what, so do I! There is next to no English text to be found on this record, the sleeve, the linear notes or anywhere else. I was only able to get the title of the record after I showed it to a Japanese friend, but they didn’t have time to go over the rest of the LP for me.

Here are the tracks I do know, thanks to some sleuthing on YouTube.

Track 1: Tetsujin-28
Track 9: Astro Boy
Track 13: 8Man

As for the remaining 13, I got nothing. And that’s where you come in.

You fancy yourself a Japanophile? Or are you from Japan? If so, and you can translate the album’s tracklisting, let me know in the comments! If I get the actual tracklisting I’ll be sure to update the zip file with the correct information.

Let’s crowdsource this people!

And thanks to one awesome commentor we have mission accomplished! Thank you for your help!