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, November 12, 2015

Masato Shimon -- Star Wars

Well, in a little less than a month from now, millions (billions?) of fans of a certain sci-fi franchise will be getting their Xmas present a week early in the form of "The Force Awakens". I'm fairly interested myself although I'm nowhere near as orgasmic as some of those folks on the YouTube reaction videos for the trailers. Even if I wanted to, there is no longer any way that I can pick up a ticket for December 18th; I'll just have to see how the fandom reacts on that day.

Long ago in a condo not very far away (in fact, I'm occupying it right now as I type), I was watching the US morning news program "Good Morning America" when the late entertainment reporter Rona Barrett gave me the first glimpse to some spaceship movie coming out soon starring a walking carpet and a pretty girl wearing a pair of cinnamon rolls on her head. Of course, for the next few years after the release of "Star Wars", pop culture everywhere slowly turned toward the Force via TV shows, toys and the Oscar-winning John Williams soundtrack with that amazing theme song. I ended up heading over to my next-door neighbour's place to hear the record with my old friend a number of times before I finally got my own LP.

But even before I heard the real McCoy, I had been hearing the 1977 disco version of "Star Wars" (as shown above) by MECO on radio and TV commercials. And I finally caught the actual 1979 with my father at the Fairview Theatre where the movie had been playing non-stop everyday for 2 years straight...the lineup was still enormously long; remember that this was a time long before the Internet, VCRs were still fairly expensive and kids played with something called toys.

Of course, after seeing that movie, my worldview changed drastically.

Over the years, I had heard that there was a Japanese-language version of "Star Wars" so it was just a simple trip over to YouTube to find Masato Shimon's(子門真人)hammy take on the classic that came out in 1978. Shimon was the fellow who performed a number of anison such as the theme for "Gatchaman"(ガッチャマン)and even sang the most successful song for 1976 according to Oricon, "Oyoge! Taiyaki-kun"(およげ!たいやきくん). So, "Star Wars" probably didn't intimidate Shimon at all.

The Japanese lyrics were provided by Masako Arikawa(有川正沙子)and it was basically Shimon singing to the MECO disco version. As it is, it isn't quite as cringeworthy as I assumed (at least up until the "Cantina Band" sequence...did a quick skip of that) and it's about as entertaining as Bill Murray's lounge lizard take on it. Glad he didn't give up his day job.

Lucasfilm wasn't too thrilled though since the Japanese version had been produced without Williams' permission so any further sales of the Shimon single was stopped promptly. I can only assume that anyone who was able to get a copy back in 1978 may have something of some monetary worth.

Anyways for all of you around the planet, as of this writing, I think you have around 35 or 36 sleeps before the big day. May the Force be with you! And...Han shot first.

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