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, December 25, 2019

Junko Hirotani, Yuko Kawai, Eri Sugai and Yasuhiro Kido -- It's a Merry Christmas to You

Merry Christmas to everyone out there! I'm hoping that all of you are enjoying presents, each other and the eventual feast (turkey or ham or KFC).

Let me begin with something that was pricking the curiosity of my mind like pine needles for the past couple of years. It must have done quite a lot of pricking to a lot of folks globally since it has become quite the meme in both the Xmas and anime/gaming fields. There is something called "Padoru" which involves a cute little anime girl in a Santa Claus outfit singing the first several words of "Jingle Bells" in Japanese before yelling out "Padoru Padoru". It's gotten mention in the "Know Your Meme" website a couple of times now including an article just a few days ago.

Well, I found out that the excerpt came from the PlayStation game "Fate/Extra" with the character of Nero Claudius (Red Saber) doing the cute thing. It's the "Padoru Padoru" that was making me wonder all this time. I'd initially assumed that it had something to do with paddling, but apparently it's the Japanese onomatopoeia for the reindeer clopping their hooves on the roof. Other information I found was that the seiyuu is veteran Sakura Tange(丹下桜). Plus, the original Japanese lyrics for "Jingle Bells" were written by the late poet/lyricist Shoichi Miyazawa(宮澤章二)shortly after the end of the Second World War.

Now that this mystery has been solved, let me show you an original J-Xmas tune that would make The Manhattan Transfer swoon with holly-covered happiness. I found this video containing a track called "It's a Merry Christmas to You" from the 1995 album "Christmas Mail ~ Voice Fill".

Some nice jazzy vocals are provided by singer-songwriters Junko Hirotani(広谷順子), Yuko Kawai(河合夕子), Eri Sugai(菅井えり)and Yasuhiro Kido(木戸やすひろ)with music/arrangement by Sugai and lyrics by Lynne Hobday. As I said, there's something quite Manhattan Transfer about it and I am even reminded of The Andrews Sisters (of course, I also think about the vocal groups in Japan such as Hi-Fi Set and Circus). Along with some scatting, there's even a bit of tap dancing which had me humorously wondering if one of the singers decided to adopt comedian/actor Billy Crystal's technique at 3:10 above. Hearing it a few times now, I can envisage someone like Kohmi Hirose(広瀬香美)covering this one, too.

Anyways, let me leave you with a dance remix of "Padoru Padoru". I wonder whether Tange ever thought about getting this whole thing trademarked.

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