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.

Friday, August 16, 2019

POLYSICS -- Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto(ドモアリガトミスターロボット)

I was fortunate enough to have discovered my love of music on both sides of the Pacific, just when the tradition of music videos started being born in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was quite the novelty to see these mini-films that were concocted around the songs that they were to advertise. For me, some of the videos that became forever entrenched into my memories were Donald Fagen's "New Frontier", Chaz Jankel's "Questionnaire", Madonna's "Borderline", Michael Jackson's "Thriller", Thomas Dolby's "Hyperactive" and the one below.

Styx's "Mr. Roboto" had quite the video, didn't it? Not only did the song contain Japanese lyrics but the music video had me wondering whether it was just part of a major motion picture starring singer Dennis DeYoung. All that stuff about robots tyrannizing human society, Kilroy starting a rebellion and that amazing music in "Mr. Roboto"...some of that did get into some later movies, I'm pretty sure.

The original song was often used in a number of scenes of the 2005 Japanese TV drama "Densha Otoko"(電車男...Train Man)about an otaku who saves a beautiful young lady on a subway and promptly falls in love. However, I think the above video is more of "Mr. Roboto" adorning scenes of the happy life in Akihabara. I enjoy myself whenever I go there.

In 2002, the band POLYSICS provided their own version of "Mr. Roboto" with the fuller title of "Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto" as a track on their mini-album "LO-BITS". However, this isn't a cover at all, really. Outside of the declarative four lines from Styx's original, vocalist Hiroshi Hayashi provides his own techno-rock music and lyrics for the rest of it. I've heard the POLYSICS version a number of times on TV, and according to J-Wiki, it's been used as the theme song for a number of shows.

The video is pretty funny, too, as a temperamental robot star finally cracks up under the strain and goes on a rampage against everybody even the show's director and some playground kids (the violence is G-rated, I assure you). The rebellion in this case is just him against everybody else, it seems. Meanwhile, Hayashi's lyrics laud the robot as if he were still the hero in the program. His melody is darn catchy with that "dooka, dooka" beat!

"LO-BITS" managed to peak at No. 97 on Oricon.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.