Azn Badger's Blog

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Great Composers You Ought To Know: Reijiro Koroku Pt. 2

Pictured: Japanese composer, Reijiro Koroku.

I didn’t plan on dividing this post over 2 days, but as fate would have it, I just had too damn much to say!

That being said, today we’ll be continuing our look at some of my favorite works of composer Reijiro Koroku.

After Godzilla 1984, the next big soundtrack I can remember hearing from Koroku, was his work on the Kyoshoku Soko Guyver OVA series.

Guyver: The Man-Boobs That Kill.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on this blog, my cousin back in Hawaii turned me on to the Guyver manga way back in the day, and ever since it’s served as a huge influence on my creativity.

Something about the incredibly detailed, yet purposely hoaky character designs, combined with the darkness and severity of the storyline resonated with me in a way that makes me hopeful the manga will eventually reach a logical conclusion.

On that note, when I first found out that a Guyver anime existed way back in the day, you can sure as hell bet I went out of my way to track it down as soon as I could.

Unfortunately, as it turns out the 12 part OVA series was actually kind of ho-hum, even by the standards of an impressionable grade-schooler.

The voice cast was pretty good, and the animation was decent if not inconsistent, however the plot was an absolutely horrid distillation of the source material, cutting short many memorable sequences, and outright ignoring a number of important story beats.

Oh yeah, and unless you want to see some of the most hideous animation ever put to film this side of a budget hentai, then you’ll probably want to avoid even looking at a single frame of episodes 7 and beyond.

Aw, come on! Drawing gray bubbles on someone to symbolize melting DOES NOT count as legitimate animation!

Seriously, I loves me some Guyver, but that was some ugly shit.

That ugliness aside, much like the not-always-so-fondly-remembered Godzilla 1984, the Guyver OVA just happened to benefit from an incredible soundtrack courtesy of Reijiro Koroku.

Though the music is stylistically very similar to his work in Godzilla 1984 just a few years earlier, Koroku’s Guyver soundtrack incorporates synthesizer and electric guitar in many of the tracks.

What can I say, it was the late 80’s and synthesizers were very much “in” at the time.

That’s not to say Koroku’s more electronic approach to the Guyver soundtrack was at all a poor choice.

Heavily inspired by tokusatsu heroes like Kamen Rider and Kikaida, Guyver’s inherently tragic character and brutally violent atmosphere made the property a perfect match for Reijiro Koroku’s potent melodramatic style.

Just give a listen to probably my favorite track in the series, included in the first third of this video, to see what I mean:

Once again brooding and downright creepy at times, Koroku’s score for Guyver shows a great deal of restraint for what basically amounts to a superhero story, however in many ways I feel this is it’s strength.

Like chanbara films of old, the style of action present in Guyver is largely efficient, with each movement and attack being distinct as opposed to the more repetitive style found in Dragonball Z among other things:

I sincerely apologize if you were dumb enough to watch all of that.

Because of this, the music actually benefits from keeping it’s crescendos in check, as otherwise the music would overpower the intensely violent, but relatively low energy nature of the onscreen action.

This track, once again featured in the first third of this clip, serves as perhaps one of the better examples of how Koroku’s powerful, but relatively lax music could effectively supply the series with solid action beats:

Despite how much I love the soundtrack for Guyver, the one downside to it is that the score is very limited in terms of breadth.

Composed largely in suites intended to be recycled throughout the series, the music is quite beautiful by itself, but loses some of it’s luster when heard in the OVA, as the tracks become repetitive after a time, and as such, lose their distinction and sense of place.

Even so, the Guyver OVA soundtrack was once of the first import CDs I ever purchased, and to this day I’m glad I picked it up.

Moving on, the last time I can recall hearing Reijiro Koroku’s music, was from his work on the early PS2 title, Kessen and it’s sequels.

That's a pimp-ass mustache.

An RTS set in the Japanese warring states period, Kessen was a big hit that enjoyed several sequels, however it’s not one that I ever really got caught up in.

Chances are I was to busy playing garbage like Street Fighter EX 3 to give a shit about Kessen.

Despite my lack of appreciation for it, Kessen’s music was a whole ‘nother story altogether.

Truth be told, much like was the case with Noozles, I wasn’t aware that Koroku had done the soundtrack for Kessen, however when I did learn of this, I was not at all surprised given his track record.

Booming and proud, the soundtrack for Kessen brings to mind Koroku’s military marches for Godzilla 1984:

Lacking the brooding tone of Koroku’s previous works mentioned earlier, the Kessen series had an appropriately colorful sound to it, though one that was quite dignified despite it’s epic scale and over-the-top design aesthetics.

It’s funny, hearing this music again kind of makes me want to go back and actually give Kessen a try.

Based on what I remember hearing of it, I doubt I’d be disappointed if I did.

Anyway, that’s about everything I could think of to say about Reijiro Koroku.

Hopefully you learned something over these past 2 days, and if not, at least you got to hear to some nice music!

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Filed under: Comics, Games, Great Composers You Ought To Know, Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Way To Keep Sane At Work #47: Squeezing Random Squeezeables

Today was a really slow day at work.

When things get slow at Amazon, I find that I have more than a few options in terms of how I can prevent the onset of tedium induced insanity.

First on the list, is to talk to myself; sometimes using goofy voices just for the hell of it.

Though that’s usually my go-to method of keeping myself sane at work, the possibilities for potentially embarrassing encounters with co-workers is honestly just a little bit too high to be practical.

Seriously, no one wants to get caught playing out a conversation between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior all by their lonesome, that’s just plain embarrassing.

Trust me, the last time it happened to me, I got some truly fucked up sideways glances for it…

*Ahem!* Anyway, my second favorite method of keeping sane at work, is to sing to myself.

Let it be known, the Azn Badger is not someone known for his singing ability.

My choice of songs?

Well, though I’ve been partial to the Tiger Mask and Kikaida theme songs, lately I’ve been singing I’ll Make A Man Out Of You and Gaston from Mulan and Beauty and the Beast respectively.

How the fuck I’ve managed to remember the lyrics to those songs after all these years is beyond me.

Maybe it has something to do with Gaston being the pimpest and most manly song in all of existence…

Anyway, though those are my 2 most commonly practiced methods of retaining my sanity at work, as the title of this article indicates; there is another method I’d like to bring up.

Said method would be squeezing the various squeezable products in the warehouse.

Pretty fuckin’ random, right?

You see, all my life I’ve had this problem with always having to grip things in my hands.

I pick something up, or something is given to me, and for whatever reason; I have difficulty putting it down.

Needless to say, I’m one of those guys that routinely carries too much shit at once, only to end up dropping it all.

It’s a weird quirk, almost Bob Dole-like in it’s grip related tenacity.

We all remember HIM, right?

Although ‘ole Bob did have the advantage of being able to wave his behavior off as a result of war injuries.

Unlike me.  I’m just weird is all.

*Ahem!* Getting to the point, when you’re really fuckin’ bored, you’ll find that doing truly retarded shit like squeezing wedges of brie can make all the difference in relieving your boredom.

Don’t ask me why, but the inherent squishiness of brie makes it just perfect for drive-by squeezings…

Now if only I could eat this without getting the shits for a week...

While squeezing the brie is easily my favorite squeeze related activity at work, there’s a few other items in the warehouse that deserve special mention.

Chief among these is a truly bizarre, and downright creepy looking plush toy called a Sing-A-Ma-Jig.

KILL IT WITH FIRE.

I don’t know if it was the designers intention, but I feel it’s worth mentioning that the Sing-A-Ma-Jig’s mouth honestly looks like the orifice of a sea anemone.

Either that or it looks like an anus.

Check that, it definitely looks like an anus.

And this is considered kid friendly in this day and age?

Anyway, the real fun of squeezing this goofy looking toy, comes from the fact that doing so causes it’s anus mouth to simulate a singing motion, while a single musical note plays through a device inside it for the entire duration of said squeeze.

Repeated squeezing of the Sing-A-Ma-Jig results in a new sound of a different tonality, resulting in much hilarity when the Sing-A-Ma-Jig is squeezed rapidly.

Yes, I am in fact annoying as fuck to work with.

The other squeezeable I’d like to mention, is the Alligator Squeak Mat.

Not recommended for parents with a low tolerance for noise related annoyances...

This guy got me through some rough days, no foolin’.

Here’s an indication of how much squeeze related fun one can have at work with an Alligator Squeak Mat:

Imagine the joy of your basic squeak toy and the amount of annoying ass squeaking that can be accomplished with said toy.

Now take those 2 factors, and multiply them by 20.

Oh yeah, and factor in the fact that said squeak toy just happens to be an alligator AKA an amazingly awesome animal.

20 SQUEAKERS.

Seriously man, some may think that’s a few squeakers too many for a child’s squeak toy, but me; personally I think it’s genius.

That’s 20 different squeaky noises that one can generate, if you’re like me and like to be an ass, you squeeze ’em all at once to make one massive uber squeak.

Did I mention I can be annoying when I’m bored at work?

Anyway, I honestly had nothing to write about tonight, so I decided I would do just that.

For 800 words or so…

Filed under: Movies, Tokusatsu, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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