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.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mari Iijima -- Ai Oboeteimasuka? (愛・おぼえていますか)

The face you see above is that of probably one of the most recognizable figures in anime. Of course, it's Lynn Minmay(リン・ミンメイ )from the 80s anime "Choujikuuyousai Macross"(超時空要塞マクロス...The Super Dimension Fortress Macross). In terms of my ancient history with anime, Macross will be to the 80s as Yamato was to the 70s. Of course, my first exposure to the series was through the American adaptation of it, known as the first part of "Robotech".

Macross has come out in many different incarnations over the decades, but the one that will always resonate with me is not the actual 1982 series but the 1984 movie version titled "Ai Oboeteimasuka" (Do You Remember Love?). The TV series was condensed into a 2-hour cinematic epic with much more textured animation and more explicit scenes.

But the highlight was Minmay's singing of the title song. There was a similar sequence at the conclusion of the original series but with a different tune. It was an interesting contrast: this hopeful ballad sung by a space-age aidoru while the Mother of All Battles is being waged all around her. The entire sequence still manages to put a chill down my spine, as much as hearing the theme song from Yamato still does.

Of course, as all fans know, Lynn Minmay's acting and singing were performed by the same person, Mari Iijima(飯島真理). And "Ai Oboeteimasuka" will be the one song that she will always be identified with. Originally from Tsuchiura, Ibaraki Prefecture, Iijima actually started out as the voice actress behind Minmay before becoming a professional singer in 1983. The Macross love theme was her 3rd single, and throughout her career has released 30 albums dating up to 2009. A number of her singles are on YouTube, and I'd like to give them a shot as well. She has been living in Los Angeles for almost 25 years.

The song itself was released in June 1984, about a month before the movie's release. It peaked at No. 7 on the Oricon charts and was the 38th-ranked song of the year.

The song was composed by late 60s former singer Kazuhiko Kato(加藤和彦)who became a songwriter and record producer. Sadly, he committed suicide in 2009. The lyrics were provided by Kazumi Yasui (安井かずみ).

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