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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kenji Kondo -- Shirokuma Cafe Music Playlist Follow-Up (しろくまカフェミュージックプレイリスト)

Hump Day....actually, it was supposed to have been something else today. Unfortunately, my old friend informed me that he wouldn't be able to meet up due to sudden work obligations. And to compound things, it's rather too late to inform my powers-that-be that I'm available for work due to time sensitivity. However, I was able to make some lemonade out of lemons since I decided to cook for dinner on my own tonight. I'll be making my own Peperoncino Pasta for the first time since my Japan days so I picked up the ingredients an hour ago.

Now, one of my wishes when I get to Tokyo next time is to visit the actual Shirokuma Cafe in Takadanobaba. It's been open for a few years now and looking at YouTube, it looks like it's gotten its fair share of overseas customers since the anime has garnered a lot of non-Japanese fans, including yours truly. Let us hope that it continues to do so before I get there, so I'm appealing to anyone working at the cafe who may read this article: make a welcome for J-Canuck!

Well, I've decided to do a follow-up of sorts to the lovely anime soundtrack of "Shirokuma Cafe" that I first wrote about a little over a year ago. The one trigger for the follow-up was actually a statement at the end of the first article about my wish to find some hint of the glorious and hilarious music surrounding Penguin's supposedly successful attempts to court Penko-san.

I couldn't find a video with the actual track but I was able to find Episode 9 of the show which featured excerpts of "Romance Kumikyoku"(ロマンス組曲...The Romance Suite)from around 13:30 in the video above. The track truly is a sweet suite as composer Kenji Kondo(近藤研二)goes melodically through the highs and lows of love...the full track is indeed marvelous. The old-style jazz violin swoops and soars like a virtuoso Stephane Grappelli around the love struck yet ineffectual Penguin. In a way, it reflects the character's creation of a mountain out of a molehill in terms of a simple confession of love to Penko-san (buyer's remorse though much later); mind you, having been in a similar situation when I was a lad, I don't think I have any right to make fun of the bird.

Going through the comments for Hiroshi Kamiya's(神谷浩史)portrayal of Penguin, I still come across a lot of amazement about how the seiyuu for a kickass character in "Code Geass" could master what comes across as the Barney Fife (Google or YouTube him) of "Shirokuma Cafe".

I'm kinda surprised that I hadn't included this track in the original article but I guess since I had already included a couple of wistful tracks there, it was just as well. Anyways, this is "Onaji Hoshi wo Miteita"(同じ星を見ていた...We Were Watching The Same Star)which popped up in a number of the more introspective scenes of the show.

The other one is another funny tongue-in-cheek musical jab. Just like Kondo decided to take a poke at Arashi(嵐)and other male aidoru groups through "Yama Arashi Tonight!"(ヤマアラシ☆トゥナイト!), he also took on the tokusatsu theme genre with "Nankyoku Sentai Penguingers"(南極戦隊ペンギンジャー...South Pole Squad Penguin Rangers). There was a running gag during the later episodes of the show in which some of the minor penguin characters decided that they had to make a name for themselves in show business so why not become the first Antarctica-based superheroes? Cue the heroic synth-horns!

Allow me once more to end things with another post-credits routine by the main characters.

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