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.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pete Mac Jr./Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra -- Lupin The 3rd (ルパン三世)

In J-Wiki, the theme from manga-turned-anime "Lupin The 3rd"was labeled the most famous anime theme in Japan. Well, I think a certain boy robot and the crew of a certain spacegoing battleship may take issue with that declaration, but I can say that this theme for the goofy but crafty gentleman thief is probably the most hair-raisingly coolest one that has ever been created...along with the fact that it is one of the most famous themes.

It was first created in 1978 for the second season of "Lupin The 3rd". Composed by jazz pianist/composer/arranger Yuji Ohno(大野雄二), the theme is a sonic tidal wave of jazz orchestral sax and trumpet pounding on you at the same frenetic pace that Lupin's car outraces the cops. This song would probably have felt at home in the United States alongside the theme from "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes or any of the themes for those cop shows in the 70s like "SWAT" or "Ironside".

Variations on this theme could probably fill a small booklet. In the same year as the instrumental version, lyricist Kazuya Senke(千家和也) (who had written songs for Momoe Yamaguchi and The Candies) added his words to the song for which Pete Mac Jr. (aka Japanese-American singer Kikuo Fujiwara) contributed his smoky yet silky vocals. Incidentally, the female chorus who sing out "LUPIN THE THIRD!"is known as Singers Three. The above video contains the sung version from 1978.

In 2001, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra gave their own version, called the DJ NB D&B REMIX which gives its own warp-boosted version of the theme along with snippets from the actual anime itself.

And here is an update on the song.

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