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, November 13, 2015

The Three Graces/Hiroko Asakawa/Angerme -- Mahotsukai Sally (魔法使いサリー)

If you were a TV kid like I was, then you would have been very acquainted with "Bewitched", the long-running ABC sitcom from the 60s and 70s starring Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stevens the witch. Sam and the rest of the motley characters including long-suffering hubby Darren, crabby mother Endora, Uncle Arthur, and Dr. Bombay were very welcome folks in my living room way back when. And apparently, the show was quite the hit as well in Japan; I vaguely remember the lovely Ms. Montgomery showing up on a Japanese commercial complete with nose twitch when I was over there in 1972.

Although I have never seen the 1966-1968 anime "Mahotsukai Sally" (Sally The Witch), the theme song has become familiar to me since whenever those anime retrospectives periodically came on TV, the song was perennially on the Top 10 list. I had wondered whether the anime was connected with the American "Bewitched", and according to Wikipedia, the creator of the original manga, Mitsuteru Yokoyama(横山光輝 ), actually was inspired by "Bewitched" (perhaps I should say bewitched by "Bewitched"). What I was even more surprised was that "Mahotsukai Sally" is supposedly the very first Magical Girl anime to be produced, so I can gather that a whole bunch of Sailors and PreCures would be chanting "We're not worthy" at Sally's dainty feet.

Like the theme for "Bewitched", "Mahotsukai Sally" also has its own jazzy theme although the jazz here is not of the lounge/standard variety but more on the much older Dixieland version. Written by anime producer Takashi Iijima(飯島敬)under his pen name of Kiyoshi Yamamoto(山本清)and composed by Asei Kobayashi(小林亜星)who would create a big hit for Harumi Miyako(都はるみ)a decade later, the opening theme could also have been one of the first anison earworms especially with those magical words at the beginning. It was sung by The Three Graces(スリー・グレイセス), a trio consisting of Masae Morimoto, Misao Hoshino and Hanako Shiratori(森本政江・星野操・白鳥華子), who would handle anison, real-life drama themes and a ton of commercial jingles.

To keep the legacy alive, Sally returned for another 2-year stint along with an updated pop version of the famous theme song in 1989. Saitama-born anison singer Hiroko Asakawa(朝川ひろこ)sang the new version.

Then in July 2015, Angerme (アンジュルム...pronounced as "anjerm", although I can't help but see it as "anger me"), a member group of Hello Project, released their own version of "Mahotsukai Sally" as the coupling song to their 19th single, "Nana Korobi Ya Oki"(七転び八起き...Ups and Downs). To be honest, I had never heard of these ladies in their current incarnation although their former name of S/Mileage was a tad familiar to me.

Ah, did find an Elizabeth Montgomery ad in Japan.

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