My biweekly Sunday routine of watching anime and eating with my old friend continued, but what was a little more special yesterday is that the new crop of shows for the season got started over the past couple of weeks. "Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??"（ご注文はうさぎですか？？）was the first to enter my range (oh my word...those ending credits), but then there was this other one which was pretty much on the other end of the hardboiled-fluffy scale.
My anime buddy told me about "One-Punch Man"（ワンパンマン）, the story of a jaded superhero who can end a fight...and the opponent's life...with just one well-aimed fist. It's basically a god as an X-Man with plenty of tokusatsu city-smashing and an animation style that can wildly range between "Fist of the North Star" and "Chibi Maruko-chan". We saw the first couple of episodes yesterday and they were fun for the snarky banter and timely amounts of grue (I kinda wonder whether Tarentino would like this). My first thought after watching the pilot episode was "Well, I've been missing 'Kill La Kill'...". And to top off some of the satire of the superhero genre, JAM Project comes up with this over-the-(mountain) top opening theme "THE HERO!!" which had me thinking of "Ai wa Torimodose"（愛はとりもどせ）from the aforementioned "Fist of the North Star". The only things missing from "THE HERO!!" were "YOU" and "SHOCK".
I certainly was expecting an opening theme of that caliber and decibel level for "One Punch Man", but after 20 or so minutes of glorious screaming and clobbering (including a uniquely cringeworthy way of offing a human-crab hybrid), my friend and I were caught off-guard by the ending theme. Huh? As a number of YouTube commenters have been remarking, the song could have fit the ending credits for any dozen anime...and not necessarily for the sci-fi genre. It's just this pleasant little semi-technopop tune which could have been delivered with a bunch of azaleas and a chamomile tea grin. But I think that was perhaps part of the producers' overall joke with the show. Just imagine the most notorious scene of "School Days" and then right after the first stab of the knife comes the hilariously soothing Nice Boat sailing through the fjords.
"Hoshi yori Saki ni Mitsukete Ageru" (I Will Search Beyond The Stars) has that incredible title of hokeyness and was created by the prolific duo of Aki Hata and Kenichi Maeyamada（畑亜貴・ 前山田健一）. Plus, it has the voice of one Hiroko Moriguchi（森口博子）.
Perhaps for a lot of folks outside of Japan...and Wikipedia, Moriguchi has been known only as an anison singer, including the entries for the "Gundam" franchise. But for me, her official singing is the part of her long career that I know the least about. Actually, I've known her since my Gunma days over a quarter-century ago as a comedic tarento and impressionist who seemed to appear everywhere almost daily. In fact, I always looked forward to seeing her on TV just to see if she would break down into a soft mass of giggles (the Goldie Hawn of Japan) as she often did. But she was also famous for impersonating a number of female singers which included the distinctive Shizuka Kudo（工藤静香）such as above.
In the early 90s, just after I had left Japan for a few years in Toronto before returning for my far longer stint in Tokyo, she and fellow tarento Kenji Moriwaki（森脇健児）, teamed up to host a half-hour variety show called "Yume ga MORIMORI"（夢がMORIMORI...Dreams with Gusto）which also featured a group of young singing and dancing lads who were being groomed to become something big....I think they were called SMAP or something. If you go over to the 3-minute mark on the above video which is the blooper reel of the show, you can find out how giggly she was and probably still is.
My fellow collaborator JTM has written a little more history on Ms. Giggles in his 80s playlist of anison and drama themes; scroll down to entry No. 6.
|The Gundam Cafe in Akiba. Not sure if Moriguchi ever|
showed up here.