I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Kumiko Kaori -- Yasashiku Shinaide (やさしくしないで)

Keeping on the Leiji Matsumoto bandwagon after my entry on the "Space Cruiser Yamato"(宇宙戦艦ヤマト) theme song last night, I offer this much more low-key and beautiful song by Kumiko Kaori(かおりくみこ), a veteran anison singer. "Yasashiku Shinaide"(Don't Be Gentle) made its appearance in the first film made of "The Galaxy Express 999"(銀河鉄道999), arguably Matsumoto's most famous work after "Yamato". I remember watching the adventures of the mysterious Gwyneth Paltrow-lookalike Maetel(メーテル) and her young companion, Tetsurou Hoshino(星野鉄郎), on board the fantastic Galaxy Express on VHS years ago. The movie was accompanied by rousing orchestra and Godiego's(ゴダイゴ) hit eponymous tune throughout it. But then in the middle of the movie, young Tetsurou creeps into this hole-in-the-wall saloon on hearing this ballad being sung and strum. And the movie just stops. Not in a bad way but in a magnetic one as Ms. Kaori sings of someone who has just gotten tired and embittered of love. The characters in the saloon all look tearful or mournful, and I'm sure a number of the movie audience were feeling the same way. Considering the theme of the tune, it came off as very enka. The movie went back into adventure mode soon after but for those 2 or so minutes, there was a respite of some depth. And in fact, there was an instrumental reprise of that song later in the movie.

The above is the full song. Regrettably, for some reason, it never got onto the original soundtrack for the movie, but my old friend The Anime King played it for me, much to my surprise, in its entirety a couple of days ago after not having heard it in over 20 years. Apparently, it did get onto the Eternal anniversary edition of "Galaxy Express 999".

I'll make this half-joking recommendation. Listen to it while sipping down a tumbler of whiskey-on-the-rocks.

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