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.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Crystal King -- Ai wo Torimodose!! (愛をとりもどせ!!)


Ahhh...."Hokuto no Ken"(北斗の拳...Fist of the North Star). In complete honesty, I have to confess that I never saw a single episode of this popular 80s anime in its entirety but even I know its reputation of a post-apocalyptic Earth filled with tyranny and horrors only for a hero the size of a small truck inflict some major whup-ass to the bad guys as he travels the ravaged land. Of course, I remember Kenshiro's way of fighting with those Gatling guns he calls hands and the "ATATATATATATATATATATATATATA!!"

And then there is the famous opening theme song for the series, emphasized by those three words at the very top of the article. I don't know the rest of the lyrics but if anyone ever said "YOU WA SHOCK!" to me at an anime convention, I would probably counter with my incredible "ATATATATATATATATATATATATATA!!" (verbally, not physically) in knowing response.

But the crazy thing here is that I had no idea...not one iota...that it was the band Crystal King(クリスタルキング)which was responsible for one of the most famous anison in history. I should have realized it from Masayuki Tanaka's(田中昌之)scream of those 3 words but I never made the connection. My knowledge of Crystal King wholly stemmed just from their most famous hit, "Dai Tokai"(大都会)in 1979 in which Tanaka blew out that ear-piercing shout (and perhaps many a stereo speaker) at the very beginning of that song.

Perhaps the song can be just known or titled as "YOU WA SHOCK!" but its official title is the strangely soft "Ai wo Torimodose!!" (Take Back The Love!!). Coming out in October 1984, the muscular anison was written by Crystal King pianist Kimiharu Nakamura(中村公晴)and composed by band guitarist Michio Yamashita(山下三智夫). I mentioned above that I had no idea that Crystal King would ever perform an anison. Well, I guess that may have been the case with vocalist Tanaka as well. According to the J-Wiki write-up on Crystal King, Tanaka despised anime and when he was handed an issue of the original "Hokuto no Ken" manga, he refused to open a single page. And he just wondered why he deserved the ignominy of singing an anime theme song. I guess he wa shock.

Well, as it turned out, "Ai wo Torimodose!!" became a big hit as it went as high as No. 53 on Oricon, and it cracked the million barrier in sales. I guess after all those accolades, Tanaka mellowed out considerably on his least for this particular song anyways, and now admits that he is happy that he did get to co-sing it with lead vocal Monsieur Yoshizaki(ムッシュ吉崎). It may be anime history but it's history nonetheless, Tanaka my man!

I should actually mention that my good friend JTM has already given his opinions on the song in his article "JTM's 80s Playlist - J-Dorama/Anime/Movie Edition".


  1. hi, will you dedicate a post to Gesu no Kiwami Otome? They play a beautiful kind of indie pop-rock, similar to Sakanaction.

    Also, do you like Yukihiro Takahashi's new project Metafive?

    1. Hello there. Thanks very much for your comments. I was actually thinking about doing an article on Gesu no Kiwami Otome due to their performance at last year's Kohaku, and I've finally got the article up:

      I didn't know about Metafive. Perhaps you can let me about it. Is it in a techno vein or more eclectic pop?

    2. A very eclectic kind of pop, with funk rhythms, synths, some wind instruments, and a good young singer such as Leo Imai. Here's two songs: (electro-pop) (funk)

    3. Thanks for letting me know about Metafive. I've really started to enjoy listening to "Don't Move" and "Luv U Tokyo". Leo Imai kinda reminds me a bit of Tom Jones way back when.


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