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, February 2, 2019

Hironobu Kageyama -- CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA

Because of timing and immediate affinity, when it comes to manga artist Akira Toriyama(鳥山明), I will always side with his "Dr. Slump"(ドクター・スランプ). although his subsequent "Dragon Ball"(ドラゴンボール)franchise is by far his greatest masterpiece. It was during my 1981 trip to Japan that summer when my host sister in Nara asked me during a trip together through her hometown whether I had heard of this manga "Dr. Slump". Having replied in the negative, she promptly stopped off at a manga store and bought me a couple of issues of the adventures of Arale-chan and Senbe Norimaki. I was enamored with the series so that I kept on collecting the original books until my odyssey was finished during my long residency in Ichikawa many years later.

I never got into "Dragon Ball", the manga or the anime, the latter which started up immediately after the end of the run of "Dr. Slump" in 1986. For some reason, that particular Toriyama bug never got to bite me, although its fame has been such that even I know the characters of Goku and Gohan, and I even saw its parody on Adult Swim's "Robot Chicken". Indeed, I knew about the Hollywood adaptation, and from what I've heard about it, that is all I will say about it.

The other aspect of the anime franchise that has seeped into general pop culture legend, Japan and elsewhere, is the theme song, and what I learned was a bit surprising for a non-Dragon Ball fan like me. "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA", a rocker that I had thought was the only opening theme for the entire series, was actually the song for the first half of "Dragon Ball Z", the sequel to the original series which had run from February 1986 to April 1989. The sequel itself lasted from April 1989 to January 1996 with "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" fronting over two-thirds of the episodes.

"CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" may have been one theme song for "Dragon Ball", but I think me and a lot of the fans would say that it is the theme. It is certainly the only song that I know from the show, and any time that I've seen a retrospective on anime or anison on TV in Japan, "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" will always be featured without failure. Heck, one YouTube commenter stated that it ought to be made into the Japanese national anthem.😆

But I gotta say that "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" is one spicy and attractive anison for the kids (and probably adults, too) who loved "Dragon Ball". As sung by Hironobu Kageyama(影山ヒロノブ), it, through the lyrics and music, really does get the excitement flowing for the adventures and battles to come, and man, did that improbable combination of syllables in the title become a legend itself! It's kinda of a musical Super Saiyan (did I use that term correctly?).

Now that is one guy who is in his element, in the zone! Nothing happier to see a singer who loves to sing a particular song. I'm not sure whether Kageyama ever performed this at an overseas Fan Expo or Comicon, but I can only imagine the joyful mayhem that would erupt from the masses. Yukinojo Mori(森雪之丞)came up with the lyrics while Chiho Kiyooka(清岡千穂)composed the song. It was released as the 16th single by Kageyama in May 1989 with a re-recording done in 2005. It got no higher than No. 118 on the regular Oricon charts, but I think its fame and popularity have far outlasted any stat.

According to J-Wiki, "CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA" has been covered by a number of other singers, although this seiyuu wasn't listed, I did find Aya Hirano's(平野綾)version under her character on "Lucky☆Star".

One group that was listed was Momoiro Clover Z(ももいろクローバーZ)who did their cover on the Z-edition of their 15th single, "Zetto no Chikai"(『Z』の誓い...Pledge of "Z"), released in April 2015. The single reached No. 4.

Finishing off with Kageyama, he's also become famous for another leather-lunged performance recently.

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