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.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Hiromi Iwasaki/Akira Fuse -- Ginga Densetsu/Ai no Inochi (銀河伝説・愛の生命)

I'm covering both sides of Hiromi Iwasaki's (岩崎宏美)21st single, "Ginga Densetsu"/"Ai no Inochi" as the second part of my tribute to the 3rd movie in the "Space Cruiser Yamato" series, "Yamato yo Towa ni"ヤマトよ永遠に...Be Forever Yamato). I started with Isao Sasaki's(ささきいさお) "Hoshi no Pendant" which musically saw off the mighty battleship in grand anthemic fashion as it launched to rescue the Earth once more.

"Ginga Densetsu" (Galactic Legend) has that title which would befit the crew and the Yamato itself, and hint at another epic march. However, it's actually an epic love ballad by Iwasaki that seems to hint at uncertainty then turns to hope. Instead of a battle tune, "Ginga Densetsu" is more on the line of "star-crossed lovers", which for this movie are Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori.

I actually heard this song on one of Iwasaki's BEST tapes some years before learning of its connection to my favourite anime, and in fact, it never appeared in "Be Forever Yamato" proper but was heard at the very end of the end credits when the screen had already gone completely black. In a way, it's a pity since I think this is one of her best efforts with some of the finest strings I ever heard in a kayo kyoku. This could've easily been used as an ending theme for "Kayo Suspense Gekijo"(火曜サスペンス劇場...The Tuesday Night Suspense Drama), a show for which Iwasaki had contributed at least three songs during the 80s.

The song was written by Yu Aku(阿久悠) and composed by Hiroshi Miyagawa(宮川泰) for release in August 1980. With the movie becoming a major hit, "Ginga no Densetsu", which was the A-side, managed to get as high as No. 18 on the Oricon weeklies and won a Gold Prize at the Japan Record Awards.

I only found out just in the last hour that Akira Fuse(布施明), a man with a pretty epic voice himself, did a cover of "Ginga no Densetsu" as a B-side to his own contribution to "Be Forever Yamato", "Ai yo Sono Hi Made"(愛よその日まで...Love, Until That Day). That single actually came out in July 1980, about a month before the Iwasaki A-side came out, but apparently Iwasaki had recorded the song first. In any case, indulge in Fuse's epicness!

Compared to "Ginga no Densetsu", Iwasaki's B-side of "Ai no Inochi" (Love Life) is closer to some of the softer and perhaps folksier pop ballads that Iwasaki had sung at the time. Yoko Yamaguchi and Kingo Hamada(山口洋子・浜田金吾)were behind the writing and composing of this song, an excerpt of which appeared during the movie as Kodai-kun was wracked with guilt about having to leave behind the love of his life back on occupied Earth. The song is appropriately melancholy.

As for the movie itself, "Be Forever Yamato" was a pretty big leap for the series as the animation was a lot sharper and the story quite a bit darker. I remember the alien invaders murdering commuters on a subway as it was going past by strafing machine guns....the image has stuck with me as one of the lasting memories of that movie. Still not quite sure about the story especially when it came to the double-galaxy bit but it was definitely epic. And it had the songs to match.

Hiromi Iwasaki -- CD File Volume 5

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