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, December 19, 2012

Arisa Mizuki/Ami Ozaki -- Densetsu no Shojo (伝説の少女)

Another one of those songs that I got drawn to through a commercial....namely this one:

About 20 years ago, I came across this TV ad for a Kirin drink called Chasse, featuring a teenager who was about to loom large in the geinokai, Arisa Mizuki(観月ありさ). She had already appeared in one other commercial with this striking look, and she had a small supporting role as the younger sister in a pretty dark psychological horror drama (yep, it ain't all frothy romantic-comedies on Japanese TV....mostly but not all). But there was this commercial, and then the song attached to it.

I only heard a few seconds of the song, but I just enjoyed the strings and the breezy feel of it. I was eventually able to track it down in the CD shops as a single titled "Densetsu no Shojo"(Legendary Girl), sung by Mizuki herself. The J-Wiki writeup for this song rather marveled at the fact that at the turn of the decade during the Band Boom (and the Winter of Aidoru-dom[their words]), this lone 14-year-old girl was able to hit it out of the ball park with 220,000 discs sold and a peak ranking of No. 5 on the Oricon weeklies with her debut single. Legendary girl, indeed. And the song also managed to rank No. 61 in the yearly rankings for 1991 after its May debut.

Mizuki may have been one of the few prime aidoru during the early 90s, but I don't consider "Densetsu no Shojo"to be an aidoru tune. It just sounds so lush. And perhaps that may be due to the singer-songwriter behind it, Ami Ozaki(尾崎亜美).

Ozaki was apparently inspired by another hit and debut single for another young singer, the 1978 song "Olivia wo Kikinagara"オリビアを聴きながら....While Listening to Olivia) for Anri(杏里), when she wrote and composed "Densetsu no Shojo". But I think there were some other people in the mix as well. The backup vocals sing out famous lyrics from songs by Carly Simon, The Supremes, Paul Young and Stevie Wonder for some reason.

A year after Mizuki's hit, Ozaki did a cover of the song for her album of covers, "Points-3", released in March 1992. Her version has more of an R&B vibe along the lines of Lou Rawls in the arrangement as compared to the slightly more AOR/standards feel that the Mizuki version has. I enjoy both and couldn't choose which one is better.

As for Mizuki, I last saw her as a tough-as-nails genius lone wolf police inspector in a 2012 drama serial "Answer". Boy, has time flown!

Arisa Mizuki in Myojo

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