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.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ruiko Kurahashi -- Mihatenu Yume wo Oikakete (果てぬ夢を追いかけて)

Although I was never a huge fan of the anime "Lupin the 3rd"(ルパン三世), the character's theme song has become one of the Japanese pop songs that has embedded itself permanently in my memory as well as being one of the most recognizable anime themes. 

However, it isn't the iconic theme for the James Bond franchise alone that has helped support each of the individual movies. Of course, there has been the incredible "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey and "Live and Let Die" by Paul McCartney. So, the jazz classic that is Lupin's theme probably has had its own other songs for each of the franchise entries on TV and on the big screen. Case in point: I found a lovely little tune by one of my favourite singers, Ruiko Kurahashi(倉橋ルイ子), which actually was a theme song for one of the Lupin the 3rd TV specials in 1991, "Napoleon no Jisho wo Ubae!"(ナポレオンの辞書を奪え!...Steal Napoleon's Dictionary!).

I have Kurahashi's album from that year, "Out on a Limb" which showed the singer with a dramatically different appearance. She looked almost as if she were going for a k.d. lang look. Her hair was reduced to a brush cut and she sported jeans and a leather jacket. Although, as I remember it, her singing didn't really change along with her looks, it was still a pleasant surprise to hear this brand of sophisticated Riviera-friendly bossa pop. "Mihatenu Yume wo Oikakete" (Chase the Impossible Dream) makes for a light hand stroke across the water when compared to the action blast that is the main theme for Lupin. In a way, I can compare it to the "Pink Panther" theme and the smaller incidental themes in the original movie by Henry Mancini. And I can't think of anyone better than Kurahashi to sing this ballad since she has always had a flair for these songs with a romantic European bent.

"Mihatenu Yume wo Oikakete" was the coupling song or B-side to Kurahashi's 13th single, "Cosmos Kaze ni Yurete"(コスモス風にゆれて...Swayed by the Cosmos Wind)which came out in July 1991. The singer provided the lyrics while Yuji Ohno(大野雄二)composed the music. Ohno is also the man who came up with the famous Lupin theme.

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