A city pop soundtrack with songs by Akiko Yano and Mariya Takeuchi! “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO” Original Soundtrack Release Commemoration ── Composer: Takamitsu Shimazaki / Takeshi Masuda Interview
December 01, 2021 16:200
Soundtrack Interview 2021 Autumn Anime
A city pop soundtrack with songs by Akiko Yano and Mariya Takeuchi! “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO” Original Soundtrack Release Commemoration ── Composer: Takamitsu Shimazaki / Takeshi Masuda Interview
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While the 1980 animation “Muteking, The Dancing HERO” produced by Tatsunoko Production has reached its climax with the reborn reboot work “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO”, a set of 2 CDs containing all 43 songs accompanying the play. The original soundtrack was released on December 1, 2021.
Mariya Takeuchi’s song “Plastic Love” was played at the beginning of the first episode, and what was the music design of this work that surprised not only anime fans but also “city pop” fans who are talking about these days. Is it? We interviewed Takamitsu Shimazaki, the composer who was in charge of the production of the accompanying music, and the music producer of this work, and Takeshi Masuda, the composer.
Takamitsu Shimazaki (left) and Takeshi Masuda
How did you become in charge of the music for “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO”?
──How did you get in charge of the music for “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO”?
Shimazaki: It was around the summer of 2019, but I decided to set up a new production department within the smile company to which we belong, and when I was working as the chief, “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO” (hereinafter, “” ” I met the producer of “MUTEKING”) and started as if the two timings were aligned. From the first meeting, director Sato Yuzo asked if he wanted to put city pop at the center of his musical image, and could use Mariya Takeuchi’s song “Plastic Love” (1984) in the play. bottom. On the way back from the meeting, why don’t you call Mr. Masuda, who is already experiencing 80’s pop music in real time, and start such a project together? I made a request.
──When “Plastic Love” suddenly started to flow at the beginning of the first episode, many fans were really surprised …
Shimazaki: The plan to play “Plastic Love” at the beginning of the story seems to have been clear in the director’s mind from the beginning, and I had already heard the idea at the time of the first meeting. However, it is difficult to use the original song as it is, so it will be necessary to rearrange it. Then I remembered the musical “Honki de Only You” (2008), which is a collection of Mariya Takeuchi’s songs. In this performance starring Aya Matsuura, Mr. Masuda was in charge of producing the sound source for all the songs. He is familiar with Mariya Takeuchi’s songs, and has already worked on official arrangements. I thought that this was the only one except Mr. Masuda, so I called out to him.
──However, it seems that the broadcast of “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO” has been postponed significantly due to the spread of the new coronavirus infection …
Shimazaki: That’s right. Originally it was scheduled to be broadcast in the fall of 2020, so it means that it has been delayed for exactly one year. However, in the two years since the start of production in the summer of 2019, it was completely unexpected that Japanese city pop and “Plastic Love” would be re-evaluated worldwide so much. If it had been broadcast a year ago, it would have been more talkative, so it’s a bit disappointing. In any case, I think the foresight of director Sato, who had envisioned music incorporating city pop from the beginning, is amazing.

Process of gekitomo music production
──What exactly was the production of the gekitomo music for “MUTEKING THE Dancing HERO”?
Shimazaki: In the production of a gekitomo music for a normal anime work, the work is to receive a music menu from the sound director and create it, but this time, based on the fact that “music” is the axis of the work. From the early stages, I also participated in the meeting and had a fairly detailed meeting from the stage of coming up with ideas, such as “This kind of music for this character” and “How about this kind of sound for this scene development?” rice field. Along the way, I made a preliminary demo of “Dancing Train” and “Plastic Love”, which are included in the first song of DISC-1, as songs that symbolize the musical image of the entire work. “I’m going with music in this direction,” to form a consensus among all the staff. It wasn’t until the music menu was organized.
──How do you divide the two, Mr. Shimazaki and Mr. Masuda?
Shimazaki: I was in charge of not only composition but also direction as a music producer, so I first sorted out what I wanted to ask Mr. Masuda from the menu. Of course, I also listen to 80’s, but I’m a generation who has experienced it retroactively, so I would like to ask Mr. Masuda, the middle generation, for songs that require a stronger 80’s sound. I decided to take charge of other things.
──You said that you were influenced by the corona vortex, but what was the timing and period of music production?
Shimazaki: Work started in the summer of 2019, and most of the work was completed by the beginning of 2020, but just around that time the corona vortex became severe, and it may be difficult to broadcast as planned … Was mentioned, and the progress was pending for a while. However, after that, the director asked me to work on additional songs and rearrangements, and I was relieved to say, “Oh, it’s working properly!” Even when the atmosphere of the world was sinking due to the corona whirlpool, I was encouraged to find that the animation production team was doing their best. It was a time when I was working on other works, so it was a little difficult to switch to “MUTEKING” mode again for additional work (laughs).
Masuda: I was fine because I trusted Mr. Shimazaki completely. The fact that there are additional orders means that the quality of the work will improve accordingly, and I think positively (laughs).
Shimazaki: It’s not a matter of workload, but in the case of music production, once you finish the work with a break in your feelings, it may be difficult to make additional music in the same environment and with the same quality. you know. There is a step in the texture. In this case, it is necessary to switch on that unique world view of “MUTEKING” again. Specifically, if you normally make music with the current high-bit equipment (digital audio equipment with excellent sound quality), it will be too clear for the 80’s world of “MUTEKING”. It is necessary to devise ways to blend the music into the world of the work without any discomfort while using the current equipment. It takes a little time and effort to change the mode.
Masuda Fufufu …, maybe because I was always asked for 80’s sound, etc., even if I made it normally, it would be 80’s sound as it is, so in a sense it was still in normal mode when switching modes. Maybe (laughs).
──What did you struggle with in this gekitomo production?
Shimazaki: Despite the 80’s sound and city pop feeling that I talked about earlier, there are two composers, so the texture may differ depending on the situation. I am working on quality control to create a sense of unity so that I do not feel any steps.
The rest is a story development centered on music, so many “songs” will appear. The presence of the song is so strong that it leaves a strong impression even if it is used for only 10 seconds. How to connect the song and the gekitomo without any temperature difference so that you don’t feel the difference when the gekitomo plays after that. It took a lot of time for the trial and error. Like some songs that are not included in this CD, there are songs that are being worked on by another team of other artists, but even in such cases, I listened to them from the demo stage and exchanged opinions while exchanging opinions. We are working to create a sense of unity between songs and gekitomo music. This is where I became the most severe music producer.
──Are there any differences in how you make or prepare for the song and the gekitomo music?
Masuda: Mr. Shimazaki has a lot of experience in producing gekitomo music, but this was my first time. When making anime songs, I’m always asked to be able to handle a wide range of genres of music, but gekitomo is more than that. I also needed music for just one moment, which couldn’t be a song, and this was a really interesting experience. There were many discoveries that the music that I hadn’t worked on was full of fragments of the music image I had experienced since I was a kid, so it was really interesting and fun to work with. ..
Awareness of the old work “Muteking, the Dangerous Warrior” and the sound of the 1980s
──Are there any music or reference works that inspired you when you made the gekitomo music?
Shimazaki: It’s intentional, but I wasn’t honest. Because gekitomo thinks it is important to express the world view of the video work independently. If you refer to something, you may be dragged, so I dared not listen to it here.
Masuda: I haven’t been inspired by any particular work either. There is a feeling that it is more like “MUTEKING” if it is messy to some extent, and rather than trying to make it look like that, it was the work of catching what comes out of the image of the work and making it sound. It’s like waiting for the feeling of the 80’s to ooze out naturally.
島崎 何かを参考にしようにも、「MUTEKING」の世界が独特すぎる……というのもありますけど(笑)。もちろんシリアスな場面もあるんですけど、一般の映画やドラマの劇伴のようなシリアスさを出してしまうと、音のほうが勝ちすぎてしまって、この作品の持つポップさや絵のタッチ、色彩感覚などとズレてしまう。いわゆる典型的な劇伴のパターンのほうがずっとわかりやすく作りやすいんですが、「MUTEKING」にはそれを安易にはめ込むことができません。そこが難しいところでしたが、同時に、楽しめたところとも言えます。
──What are your thoughts on “80’s culture,” which is the atmosphere of your work, and how do you reflect it in this music?
Shimazaki: The 1980s was a very important time in the development of music equipment, and the synthesizer, which had been able to produce only short notes until then, finally entered the stage where chords could be played, and programming of performances, so-called “driving” music production. It’s a transitional period that is becoming more common. It was in the 1980s that the synthesizer blended into the sound of band performances up to that point without any discomfort. There is a point that I wanted to produce a feeling of sound at such timing.
Masuda: As I said earlier, the original experience is 80’s sound in the first place, so if you make it normally, it will be 80’s sound as it is. In the case of other works, even though I didn’t make it with that intention, I was told that it was “retro-ish” (laughs). That was a dilemma, but this time, on the contrary, I felt that I was able to work honestly without having to think that I had to make adjustments in a modern way.
──Have you ever seen the old work “Muteking, the Warrior”?
Shimazaki: It’s a work that was just born, so I didn’t see it at that time, but I had the opportunity to provide the music to the voice actor Kazuhiko Inoue, who played the leading role, and at that time I knew the title of the work. I saw the work only after this project was decided.
When I looked at it again, I was surprised at the content that was so crazy (laughs). Even if the contents of old video works are surprising to see now, this was the most advanced at that time, and I wonder if various works were influenced by this after that. “Muteking, the Warrior” surpasses that, and even now, it’s fresh enough and full of surprises. If you think about the momentum and momentum unique to Tatsunoko Production, or if a straight ball like an octopus alien will come, there is also a changing ball that suddenly sings like a hero in the play, and the mixed feeling is very pop.
──Are you aware of the music (composed by Michiaki Watanabe / Hayashi / Koba) of the old work “Muteking, The Dangerous Warrior”?
Shimazaki: As I said earlier, I dared not to be conscious of it, but I heard that I found it ingrained in me … When I was a kid, I loved “Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan” (1981), “Space Sheriff Gavan” (1982), and “Space Sheriff Sharivan” (1983). Of course, since I’m a child, I don’t know who made the music, but the melody and sound of Michiaki Watanabe was burned into my heart, and it was awakened again with the theme of “MUTEKING”. It was a feeling that it came out naturally through the filter of.
Masuda: I’m growing up listening to Michiaki Watanabe’s music while watching the same “Mazinger Z” (1972), “Great Mazinger” (1974), and “Steel Jeeg” (1975) in real time. I felt like giving back to him through the music production of “MUTEKING”. Especially in the music of battle scenes, that image may come out naturally.
──How did you remake the old gekitomo music “Mutekin Change !!” (composed by Koba Hayashi)?
Shimazaki: At the moment of the Mutekin change, just before “Roller Hero Muteking” starts to sound, it is useless without that song! I decided after discussing with Sato and the producers. It’s a very short song, but the impression is strong. However, when it comes to remaking this, I wondered how much I should leave and how much I should make it. If you arrange it too modernly, that nuance will disappear anymore. While leaving a retro feel, I adjusted it so that it would not be different from other gekitomo music, and the result was DISC-2’s 8th song “Mutekin Change !!”. Actually, the tempo of the old Muteking is a little slower. I made a version with the same tempo, but this time the faster version is adopted.
──The theme song of the old work “Roller Hero Muteking” is used in the climax scene of each story this time as well.
Shimazaki: After all, there was a request from the staff who wanted to use “Roller Hero Muteking” by all means, and we decided to use the sound source of 1980. It was a task to add chorus and vocals to the karaoke sound source at that time, but there was also the problem of “steps” here. If you put the 1980 sound, which has a completely different recording technology, on the same side as other gekitomo music, the texture will be clearly different, and if you simply put a chorus or vocal on it, it will float. However, the sound of 1980 is not inferior.
When I first listened to the karaoke sound source provided by Nippon Columbia, I was surprised at the thickness of the sound. It is a rough cut in a good sense that is created from the bleeding of the magnetic sound of the master tape, and it has the power of jumping into your ears from the brass sound of the intro. On the contrary, this is a precious sound that can no longer be recorded with the current technology. Even though I was working, my ears were happy (laughs).
However, I was a little worried about the work of adapting this to this “MUTEKING”. First is the noise unique to magnetic tape. If you’re listening to the 1980 sound itself, the noise isn’t too much of a concern, but it’s definitely noticeable alongside other gekitomo music made with current technology. The noise is removed by digital processing, but if you overdo it, the rich sound texture of 1980 will be lost. It was difficult to adjust the balance. Furthermore, it is a matching with the chorus and vocals on the karaoke sound source. I spent a lot of time finishing it while discussing with engineer Hiroki Shimizu in order to blend in with the voice recorded with the current microphone and current recording technology.



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