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, July 6, 2020

Meiko Nakahara/TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND feat. Sumire Uesaka -- R-R-R-Russian Roulette(ロ・ロ・ロ・ロシアン・ルーレット)

I'd heard of the expression Russian Roulette a number of times as a kid but never actually knew what it meant until that famous scene from "The Deer Hunter" starring Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken. The scene didn't exactly sit well with me since up to then roulette had always been about that fun spinning game in Las Vegas (or as my high school history teacher used to say: Lost Wages).

Many years later, I found out that the concept behind Russian Roulette also lent itself to many a humorous scene in anime (and it has occurred in real life, usually at year-end parties). Not that cute girls put guns to their heads but they would have a game in which there were some cream puffs that they had to ingest with only one of them containing something atypical and gross such as spicy mustard. That was indeed the case in one episode of "Gabriel Dropout".

Even more recently, the concept came to the fore with balloons in the second season of "Kaguya-sama".

I never expected that there would ever be a kayo with an actual title of "R-R-R-Russian Roulette", but indeed there was and it was written, composed and performed by Meiko Nakahara(中原めいこ). For the past several entries, the articles have been mainly focusing on her purely City Pop material in the 1980s going into the 1990s such as "Friday Night", but I remember that the first song that I had ever heard by her was "Kimi Tachi Kiwi Papaya Mango da ne" (君たちキウイ・パパヤ・マンゴだね), the zany tropical fruit boogie-woogie tune.

Arranged by Jun Sato(佐藤準), Nakahara's "R-R-R-Russian Roulette" was Nakahara's 9th single from July 1985, and it was the opening theme for the television anime "Dirty Pair"(ダーティペア). With a high-octane vibe bringing in elements of City Pop and rock (and some dance remix tropes), it's raucous and sexy and perfect as the song for the show of two troublemaking trouble consultants. In all likelihood, for anyone within 100 metres radius of the Dirty Pair, it was pretty much playing Russian Roulette with their lives.

I figured that "R-R-R-Russian Roulette" would be ripe for covering some day, and sure enough, it got its opportunity thanks to TECHNOBOYS PULCRAFT GREEN-FUND with the inspired help of quirky seiyuu/singer Sumire Uesaka(上坂すみれ)who is famous for her studies of Russia/USSR culture. The Technoboys and Uesaka turn the song into a delectable synthpop treat which made its way onto the former's November 2017 single "Magical Circle", although it didn't have any direct connection with the updated anime "Mahoujin Guruguru"(魔法陣グルグル...Magical Circle Guruguru).

For another "Dirty Pair" anison sung by a City Pop legend, try out Miki Matsubara's(松原みき)"Safari Eyes".

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