The Fugue: Yamato Cover Albums

As soon as the Space Battleship Yamato movie became a certified hit in 1977, the race was on for anyone with musical talent to ride the wave by publishing their own version of the opening and closing songs. Some versions were better than others, some approached the quality of the original, some took off in completely different directions. But all of them were inspired in one way or another, and helped to expand the reach of Yamato music.

Over time, the cover album became an artform unto itself as new musical genres rose to popularity and pushed the boundaries ever outward. The Japanese penchant for mash-up words gave us the term ‘Anison’ (a contraction of Anime Song) to describe an entire new category of music. Not a bad legacy for a saga that gave us the word ‘Anime’ itself.

Presented here is a diverse gallery of albums containing cover versions of the Yamato Theme and/or The Scarlet Scarf, including some recommendations. This was assembled in the summer of 2008 and is almost certainly NOT a complete list.

Oricon Playback ’78
Disco All-stars
EP, Unknown Label

Galaxy Express/Yamato
Cassette, Bronze
Circa 1978

Space Battleship
Terebi Manga Main
title theme Best Hit
EP, ELM (circa 1978)

EP: Star Wars &
Yamato Marches
Double Power Brass Orchestra
EP, King/Seven Seas
(circa 1978)

Yamato & Captain Harlock marches
Leon Brass All-stars
EP, King Record Co. 1979

Popular Arrange for Young
Terebi Animation exciting brass
LP, Nippon Columbia (CO-7008)

Space Fantasy
Space Cruiser Yamato &
Close Encounters
LP, For Life Records (FLL-5019) 1978
CD, For Life Records (FLCF-5027) 2010

Space Guitar Suite in Animation
LP, Nippon Columbia (CX-7041)

These were the first three true standout albums, each reaching a standard of excellence second only to the original score. All three featured renderings of both the Yamato Theme and The Scarlet Scarf in unique arrangements. Space Fantasy was a synthesizer album that preceded Columbia’s popular Digital Trip series (see below) and had a special connection to Yamato music. Click here for details.

Children’s Terebi
Main title themes
Karaoke version
King Record Co. 1980

Battle of SF Animation
Synthesizer Fantasy
CD, Nippon Columbia 1983.2.21

Digital Trip Catalogue
Synthesizer Fantasy
CD, Nippon Columbia 1993

Happy Child!
I Can Sing in English!
Victor Entertainment

Animetal Sentimental
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Anime Kazuta Super Medley
CD, Unknown Label
1997.12.21 (unknown)

My Dear TV Animation Songs 1
CD, First Music

Best of Animetal
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

’99 Math Game Music Collection
CD, Columbia Music Entertainment

Kaishingeki TV! Utaemon
Super masterpieces! Featuring Evergreen
CD, Columbia Music Entertainment

London Sinfonia Sound
Animation Theme Song Version
CD, Forte Music E. (FMCC-5024) 1994.4.1

This is Animetal
CD, Sony Music Entertainment
(B00005G71G) 1997.2.1

Animetal Marathon
CD, Sony Music Entertainment
(SRCL 3779) 1997.3.21

These three discs represent the fullest possible range. London Sinfonia Sound is a magnificent orchestral collection covering The Scarlet Scarf and various other anime themes including Triton of the Sea and Galaxy Express. Animetal occupies the opposite end of the spectrum, crushing dozens of anime themes together in high-energy heavy metal medleys. Animetal proved hugely popular and spawned over a dozen albums. Listen to two of their Yamato renditions here and here. Live version here.

Complete First Live
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Complete Last Live
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Beatmania GB2 Gatchamix
For Game Boy Color
Konami, 1999.10.24

Back to the Childhood
By Yuichi Inoue
CD, Unknown Label 2000.2.25

Anipara Kids and More
CD, Warner Music Japan

E-kara Anison Club
Vol. 2
For E-kara karaoke microphone
Takara, 2000.?

Club Anipara presents
Anipara Best and More
Warner MusicJapan

2001 Anime Hit March
CD, Columbia Music

Primary School Music Collection
Music for athletes
CD, Columbia Music Entertainment 2001.9.1

by Hamoneprig Live
CD, Unknown Label 2002.1.17

Steel Suite: From Space With Love
By Concerto Moon
CD, Nippon Crown (CRCP-1005) 1997.12.17

By Makoto Kuriya
CD, King Record Co. (KICJ 350) 1998.8.21

Super Robot Spirits Tour ’99
Double CD, First Smile Entertainment
(FSCA-10092) 1999.7.7

The standards are raised by all three of these releases. Steel Suite is a loving 17-minute tribute to Yamato by heavy metal hair band Concerto Moon. Read more about it here, and see a YouTube video here. Antitheses is the first of two albums by jazz musician Makoto Kuriya, whose work inspired the term ‘AniJazz.’ He was also a performer in Leiji Matsumoto’s 1998 Rail of Fantasy concert. Super Robot Spirits was the invention of Jam Project, a gang of Japan’s most popular anime singers. Their concerts brought all the best themes to the stage, including Yamato and The Scarlet Scarf, both sung by Isao Sasaki in 1999. See his performance on YouTube here.

Pop’n Music 7
For Playstation 2
Konami, 2002.1.6

Pop’n Love
Pop’n Music 7 game soundtrack
CD, King Records, 2002.1.6

Warner Music Japan

Because Anime
is There
by ‘Baka Girl’
CD, Unknown Label 2003.8.27

Animetoonz 2
CD, Jellybean Records

Big Hit March: family
anime song collection
Anime Song Omnibus
CD, Unknown Label 2004.2.24

Anime Trance
DJ Remix
CD, Farm Records

Rebirth Heroes
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Animetal marathon VI:
The Sentimental
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Zoorasian Brass Quintet
CD, Aniplex 2004.11.5

Cafe De Anime
CD, Warner Music Japan
(WPC7-10131) 2002.2.27

Hiroshi Miyagawa: The Hit Parade
CD, Columbia Music Entertainment
(COCQ-83636) 2002.11.21

Akira & On-Gaku-Dan
Akira Miyagawa and the Osaka Symphonic Orchestra
CD, King Record Co. (B000J10C94) 2006.12.6

Cafe De Anime is a gold mine of superb anime cover songs including four Yamato themes, Galaxy Express, Lupin III and many others. They run effortlessly from synthesizer to symphonic arrangements by Seikou Nagaoka, the composer of Tenchi Muyo, Elhazard, and others. Hiroshi Miyagawa returned to his classics in The Hit Parade, which offers a new rendition of his first chartbuster, Una Sera de Tokyo, and a medley of Yamato tracks. The project was made even more special by the chosen performers: three generations of the Miyagawa family. His son Akira conducts the Osaka Symphonic Orchestra on Akira & On-Gaku-Dan through many popular standards including his father’s most famous anime theme.

Super Robot Spirits
the Best Vol. 2
2-CD set, Be!Smile Ltd.

MoeTora Anime
Trance 01
CD, Unknown Label

Trance Heaven
AniTra Heaven
Victor Entertainment

Animetal Decade of Bravehearts
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

Kyoen Rafureshia
Anijazz Tokyo Brass Style
CD, Unknown Label 2006.8.23

100 Best Competition Marches
CD, Unknown Label

CD, Japan Crown

New sounds in Brass 2007

J-Pop TV Anime
Hit Hit March 101 Omnibus
Victor Entertainment

Anicapella Vol. 1
CD, Universal Music Int’l

Zettai Anime 100
CD, Aniplex
(SVWC 7222) 2004.11.17

Gokusen! Anime 100
CD, Aniplex
(SVWC 7255) 2005.6.22

Best Anison 100 Unplugged
CD, Aniplex
(SVWC 7355) 2006.4.19

This trilogy of albums was conceived with a single purpose: to jam through 100 different anime themes on a single disc. All three achieve this with flying colors, combining various vocalists with simple instrumentation and plunging straight through their playlists. Some are done as parody, others are straight up, and still others go off on unpredictable tangents. But every minute is wildly inventive and entertaining. More importantly, all three include the Yamato Theme.

Cherry Bell presents
Welcome to the New World
CD, Unknown Label 2007.6.29

100 Voices: Voice
actors Grand Prix
CD, Sony Music Entertainment

By Megumi Ogata
CD, Unknown Label 2007.10.3

The Koshien Live Recording
Universal Music Int’l

Competition of Dreams
Dance World
CD, King Record Co. 2008.2.6

By Cover Song Dolls
CD, Audiense Nest 2008.3.26

Wind Ensemble New Selection Allegro.1
Date unknown

TV Anime
Theme Song 1
CD, Unknown Label
Date unknown

TV Mania Anime
Dance Tracks Vol. 1
CD, Columbia Records
Date unknown

Immortal Terebi Anime
Main title theme Collection
CD, KS Create Inc.
Date unknown

The End

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