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, January 27, 2014

Yasuyuki Okamura -- Viva Namida (ビバナミダ)

Well, my anime buddy and I have gotten 2014 started with a new rash of programs to check out. One of them that started just on January 5 this year is one of those literally and figuratively out-there shows called "Space Dandy". Starring an Elvis-pompadour-sporting Lothario who searches for rare examples of exobiology throughout the galaxy, he brings along a crew consisting of a long-suffering robot that looks like an evolved Hoover vacuum cleaner and a cat-like Betelgeusian. In terms of looks and tone, the first two episodes that I've seen strike me as being a mix between "Futurama" and "Lensman" from the 1980s.

However, what has also stood out for me is the theme song by Yasuyuki Okamura(岡村靖幸). When I saw his name pop up on the opening credits as his funkalistic and sexy little tune was underway, a bell kept ringing in my memory until I looked up J-Wiki and found out that he has written a number of songs for other singers, most notably for Misato Watanabe(渡辺美里). Okamura has also been releasing his own singles since 1986, and "Viva Namida" (Viva Tears) happens to be his 27th one which got out in October 2013.

As soon as I first heard the song, I knew that I would have to get the full version of it someday. That hasn't happened quite yet but maybe I'll start hitting Amazon in the next few weeks if "Viva Namida" further digs into my brain. Here is the official video above with even Okamura himself getting into the anime act and you can enjoy the live version below.


  1. Hi J-Canuck.

    Wow, nice groovy song.

    Maybe I'm just traveling, but the beginning kind of resembles Michael's "Billie Jean" with the synths and the groovy background. Also, It's great to have an inspired anime song, and not just a song full of saccharine seiyuu voices or a blast of synth nonsense.

    I'd love to hear the full version of it too. Maybe the bridge is keeping some good and interesting twists in the arrangement department.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Marcos. There's a nice bit of groove at the beginning which brings out those memories of "Billie Jean". I saw a couple of his videos from the 80s on YouTube; he was going for a bit of what Toshinobu Kubota was singing about back then.

  2. I've been intrigued by Okamura for quite a while now. You could say he's like the Japanese version of Prince. He even has his own Love Symbol that's flashing in the second video above. :D I remember he used to get into multiple drug problems but it's nice that he's back to normal now with a cool image and funky music.

    "Viva Namida" is indeed a great song. Nice eclectic mix of R&B and electro. Now, I've never heard of this series before, but watching the opening credits above gave me impressions of flashy campiness -- just like the tune itself. Looking forward to more of his upcoming releases.

    Have you ever heard "Kahlua Milk" by him? One of the big standouts from the early 90's, in my opinion.

    1. Hi, nikala. Yeah, I think he has that Prince thing going. And perhaps even a bit of Tom Jones as well when he sings "Viva Namida". I did read about his trials and tribulations with drugs; hopefully, he has come to some sort of reckoning with those.

      I came across the title "Kahlua Milk" when I was looking at the list of YouTube videos. In fact, the cocktail was my favourite while I was in Japan. :) I'll have to take a listen to it.

      As for "Space Dandy", it definitely boosts up the old 80s anime quotient with some day-glo thrown in for good measure.


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