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.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kazuko Kawashima -- Mugen ni Hirogaru Dai Uchuu (無限に広がる大宇宙)

Yup, after all these years, I still have that poster of "Be Forever, Yamato" on my wall. When Toronto's legendary comic book shop, The Silver Snail, could still afford to have Japanese products at its old Queen West location back in the 1980s, I bought a fair amount of paraphernalia regarding "Uchuu Senkan Yamato"(宇宙戦艦ヤマト...Space Cruiser Yamato)mostly in the form of books. However, I did find this poster as well and after some hemming and hawing, I finally pulled the financial trigger.

One of the first articles I ever wrote on this blog happened to be the opening theme for "Uchuu Senkan Yamato" by Hiroshi Miyagawa(宮川泰), the triumphant march that I remember alongside John Williams' "Star Wars" and Alexander Courage's original theme for "Star Trek" as one of the most famous sci-fi overtures. Even today, when I listened to "Uchuu Senkan Yamato", the lumps were still forming in my throat (or as they are now labeled on Twitter, the feels). And then there is the Mood Kayo-esque ballad of "Makka no Scarf"(真っ赤のスカーフ)that can also press a few emotional buttons. Both of them were sung by the anison singer emeritus Isao Sasaki(ささきいさお).

However, not all of the memorable music was performed by Sasaki. There is still one ballad that I had yet to cover until now which remains as one of the musical touchstones for "Yamato". And yet, I didn't know the title of this piece until today. That would be "Mugen ni Hirogaru Dai Uchuu" (The Infinite Universe) which I assume was also composed by Miyagawa although no mention of the song or even the title was made on the song portion of the J-Wiki article for the series, although I think the alternate title was "The Scat" (ugh...nope that doesn't work).

All of the Yamato fans will know "Mugen ni Hirogaru Dai Uchuu" from Kazuko Kawashima's(川島和子)haunting voice and Miyagawa's ethereal music. It's the counterpoint to the Yamato march. Whereas the march signifying the ship boldly going where no one has gone before, "Mugen ni Hirogaru Dai Uchuu" is the song always present in the universe...never needing to move, it's always there.

If memory serves me correctly, this secondary theme was used at the beginning of almost each episode of the first season when the Yamato was heading to Iscandar while the narrator caught everyone up on the story. And it was also used in the more poignant scenes when someone or something was about to end up in the eternal ether. It probably never failed to elicit throat lumps at the very least. And for a lot of us in my generation originally watching the dubbed version of the show in the form of "Star Blazers", this was probably the first TV cartoon to have us tearing up a bit (although most of us will not admit it).

A new version was made for the rebooted 2199 series.

Plus of course, I gotta finish up with the Miku Hatsune(初音ミク)version.

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