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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

ChouCho -- DreamRiser/Ankou Team -- Enter Enter MISSION!

Well, it's been quite the sluggish Monday. Humidex of 40 degrees Celsius on the first official day of summer and I had to attend the annual homeowners' meeting of our condo complex. Nope, not exactly the most entertaining time and I left as soon as the "Let's scream at the executive board" segment began. But the Timbits were delicious. In any case, I haven't had a go at the blog for a couple of days and I much prefer hitting the keyboard for this purpose than sitting for a couple of hours witnessing local conflicts.

Yesterday, though, was the usual get-together with my anime buddy and the highlight of the day was watching "Girls und Panzer: The Movie", the 2015 cinematic sequel to one of the sleeper hits of 2012. And yep, if you liked the original anime series, then you will like the movie. Even more characters, even more tanks, tons of banter on the order of "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and there was an important life lesson that all of us should learn:


Plus, there was the usual stuff about gathering everyone together to fight the good fight, blah, blah, blah. And it was totally enjoyable with an amazing full-orchestral version on composer Shiro Hamaguchi's(浜口史郎)"Panzer Vor!". I was pretty much stamping my feet when that came on at the beginning. Speaking about enjoying it, enjoy the above Hollywood-ized trailer for the movie which was only lacking Mr. Movie Trailer Man.

Anyways, what I wanted to talk about was the opening and ending themes for the original anime from 2012. As much as Hamaguchi's amazing renditions of marches and original score enhanced the enjoyment of watching high school girls go on the attack in their tanks, my memory still remembers those two songs since they were so noticeably different from the score.

ChouCho's "DreamRiser", the opening theme to "Girls und Panzer"(ガールズ&パンツァー)could frankly have been the opening theme to any high school anime, but I guess director Tsutomu Mizushima(水島努)must have gone "What the hey...why not my show?" But hey, it did grow on me as time went on. Written by Saori Kodama(こだまさおり)and composed by rino, "DreamRiser" is the singer's 5th single which got its official release in October 2012.

ChouCho was also the singer behind "Starlog", the opening theme to the first entry in the "Prisma Illya" franchise, and like that theme song, "DreamRiser" has got that arrangement with what I call the disco strings that gave a number of songs by the J-R&B divas that nostalgic touch a decade previously. I think it certainly did a fine job helping out introduce the dozens of characters in the opening credits and gave that positive spin of going to school, even one as unique as Oarai Girls' High School.

According to the J-Wiki article on "DreamRiser", the song was approached by ChouCho by bringing together the singer's dreams of becoming a singer and the dreams of the main character of Miho Nishizumi. It got as high as No. 41 on Oricon.

Then, there is the ending theme as sung by the Ankou (Anglerfish) Team from the show. I went with that name for the title line above just to keep things brief but in the Labels section, I have put down all of the 5 seiyuu portraying the plucky main characters from the team:

Mai Fuchigami(渕上舞) -- Miho Nishizumi(西住みほ)
Ai Kayano(茅野愛衣) -- Saori Takebe(武部沙織)
Mami Ozaki(尾崎真実) -- Hana Isuzu(五十鈴華)
Ikumi Nakagami(中上育実) -- Yukari Akiyama(秋山優花里)
Yuka Iguchi(井口裕香) -- Mako Reizei(冷泉麻子)

A cute little tune with the ending credits to match, "Enter Enter MISSION!" was a nice way to finish off each episode but by the end of the climactic finale, the song suddenly took on a heart-swelling pride as the victorious Ankou Team paraded through the streets of Oarai. I was even a tad disappointed that the song didn't make an appearance in the movie although there was an orchestral excerpt sometime in the middle. The prolific Aki Hata(畑亜貴)provided the lyrics with Kana Yabuki and Hiroshi Sasaki(矢吹香那・佐々木裕)making the music. I probably wouldn't be surprised if the real Oarai Station had the song playing on the tracks whenever the trains arrived.

I figure that I will have to write about the famous "Ankou Ondo"(あんこう音頭)sometime soon.

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