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, April 16, 2018

Takajin Yashiki -- Suna no Juujika(砂の十字架)

A few weeks ago when I was watching the usual stuff at my anime buddy's house, he decided to show the 1981 movie adaptation of "Kido Senshi Gundam"(機動戦士ガンダム...Mobile Suit Gundam)from the original 1979 TV series. It was quite the opportunity since for all these years, I had heard about the popularity of the franchise (being compared to "Star Trek"), the famous movie "Gyakushuu no Sha"(逆襲のシャア...Char's Counterattack), the lead character of Amuro Ray(アムロ・レイ)and how he became a popular guy to imitate on those monomane specials, and last but not least, all of those Gundam battle suits.

However I had never seen how all those parts first came together, and considering all those incredible numbers of Gundam suits that I observed at the Gundam Museum in Odaiba twice, I had assumed that there would be a ton of those robots flying about in the movie...kinda like "Transformers". Actually, though, it was just the RX-78 Gundam against the multitude of Zeon Zakus. Plus, I had never even heard of the warship The White Base.

The 1981 movie being a distillation of the the entire TV series that ran from 1979-1980, it certainly felt like it. I don't think I've ever seen Amuro get pulled into all sorts of emotional states and adventures as fast as he did during those 2 hours plus of the movie. No wonder he's high-strung. But I can finally say that I have an idea of the origins of the franchise now.

And man, is that ending theme for the movie epic and sweeping! "Suna no Juujika" (Cross in the Sand) sounds like a waltz that would be played at a Zeon grand ball. There were more surprises in store when I found out that the song was sung by the late Takajin Yashiki(やしきたかじん), who I had known up to now as the pro-Osaka singer behind the power ballad "Yappa Sukiyanen"(やっぱ好きやねん).

This was Yashiki's 7th single from February 1981 and it was written and composed by Shinji Tanimura(谷村新司)from the folk duo Alice(アリス). I simply went "Ahh...naruhodo" since the songwriter could make truly amazing proud ballads out of a constellation and even the age of 22. And the way Yashiki sings "Suna no Juujika" just echoes Tanimura's style. In fact, I think it could even reflect Amuro's dramatics.

If I'm not mistaken, this may have been Yashiki's most successful song, selling around 130,000 records and hitting as high as No. 21 on Oricon.

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