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, September 2, 2020

Kinniku Shoujo Tai -- Norman Bates (ノーマン・ベイツ)

Yeah, I just had to get that thumbnail of psychopath Norman Bates up there for this article. I finally saw Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Psycho" a few years ago, and to be honest, considering some of the gory flicks that have gushed onto the screens in the decades since "Psycho" (especially during the age of torture porn), that movie is pretty tame and I certainly didn't expect something like that near-PSA at the end at the police station. Still, the late Anthony Perkins could have earned an Oscar nomination just for his final stare at the camera, and I'm sure at the time when the movie was released, it may have had folks eschewing showers in the same way that 15 years later people didn't dare go into the ocean because of "Jaws".

I'm also fairly certain that there have been a number of rock bands everywhere in the last 60 years that have created and performed songs with the title "Norman Bates", and I did find a German punk band called The Bates which was named after cinema's most terrifying hotel proprietor.

Commenter Fireminer asked me about this band called Kinniku Shoujo Tai(筋肉少女帯...Muscle Girl Band) which I hadn't known about, to be perfectly frank. However, when I saw the kanji name for the vocalist Kenji Ohtsuki(大槻ケンヂ), that rather lit a light bulb over my head but for the like of me, I couldn't initially figure out why. He has created songs for other performers but didn't know those, and he also provided anison (as a songwriter and performer) but again, these weren't tunes that I was aware of. Then, I realized that his name has popped up in my hard drive of anison that my anime buddy was very kind in giving me years ago, so that was the recognition factor there. But he's not just a rock musician and songwriter; he's also been an actor and according to his Wikipedia entry, he has been a novelist and essayist, even winning the Seiun Award for speculative fiction one year.

But getting back to Kinniku Shoujo Tai and "Norman Bates", Ohtsuki first got the band together in the early 1980s. They released a couple of indies albums in 1985 and 1987 before their major debut took place in June 1988 with the album "Buddha L"(仏陀L)and the single "Shaka"(釈迦…Gautama Buddha). On that album, sure enough, was "Norman Bates". Normally, growly hard rock or punk rock isn't my thing, but there is something interesting about this tune that was written and composed by Ohtsuki, and I believe it's that persistent keyboard riff which I wouldn't hear in a song of this genre. It gives the song a slightly more classical feeling and at the same time, something suspenseful perhaps along the same lines of those screeching violins from "Psycho". Looking at those lyrics by the songwriter, it seems like he was really trying to get the essence of Perkins' Norman as they speak of the protagonist waxing about his relationship with his significant other...perhaps Mother. Moreover, there is that one line that Ohtsuki continues to spit out accusingly like that stabbing knife in the shower on poor Marion: Ikiteku dake daro(生きてくだけだろ...You just want to live on). Maybe I should have saved this one for Halloween. As for "Buddha L", it peaked at No. 58 on Oricon.

To help with the cool down from the above intensity, perhaps you can finish off with the parody of the shower scene within Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety". I do believe that is future director Barry Levinson as the crazed bellboy...he probably didn't get a tip.

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