Chuuka Ichiban Soundtrack

August 28, 2009

This is sure an old anime for me to blog on. Chuuka Ichiban was the first of only two food themed animes that I have watched. With all the seemingly delicious and sumptuous Chinese cuisine that the show has to offer, how I wished I had a taste of Mao’s exceptional culinary cooking skills. Even with the prospect of just seeing all the cooking action, it was enough to make me salivate. Oh yes. Don’t forget those hilarious reactions when other people taste Mao’s out-of-this-world cooking. Simply classic effects.
Although the series doesn’t provide eye candy (in terms of animation visuals or hot babes ;p) and the above mentioned savoury candy (how can you taste something instantly on TV?), at least it has several background music which provides ear candy. The original soundtrack is not something to boast about nor is it quite a popular one. Released back in August 1998, the single album consists of only 24 tracks of which 6 tracks are TV versions of the opening and ending themes of the series. Which means if you do the maths, there would only be 18 background music, which are composed by Michihiko Oota. However, not all of them are to my liking and just like my previous blog on anime soundtracks, listed below are my favourite ones in alphabetical order:-
1) Being Kind To A Great Mother
2) Born In The Sun
3) Speed & Technique
4) The Great Wall Of China
Uh huh. Not much, eh? But it is not the quantity that matters. Among the four, my favourite one is still Speed & Technique. A very catchy and lively beat which is mainly piano and strings driven. I remember this piece is played when we see Mao in fast forward cooking action. Cutting, slicing, frying and cooking those tasty mouth watering dishes. Hey, you can’t wait and watch the entire cooking process, right? I’m not saying that they show it in fast forwarding sense whereby the action zooms by quickly. Just several important clips here and there on how our chefs are progressing with their work.
Next is Born In The Sun, which is the longest duration track in the album lasting close to 5 minutes. This is Mao’s theme in particular. Another lively and upbeat rock piece to show Mao’s exuberant and creative side. Not to mention his innocent and bubbly exterior as well. With the electric guitar as its lead, this is the kind of song which gives us an impression of hope and looking forward. Also, the kind of tune in which should befit most happy endings.
To portray the grandeur and magnificence of the Chinese culture, that is what the theme The Great Wall Of China perfectly does. The orchestra and very Chinese-like tune may sound a little repetitive even if the bridge part sounds a little diverse but perhaps it is to give an everlasting impression of the continuity of the Chinese splendour. Finally Being Kind To A Great Mother is a slow string-driven piece. Though it has a little sad tune in it, but I feel it sounds more towards ‘paying respects’ to a revered figure. In this instance, Mao’s late mom who is also a great chef herself.
Though I’m not saying the other pieces suck, they don’t really appeal to me. So a brief description on the other tracks in the series. Silly Kid sounds more like the blues with some fanfare. Like one of those songs when you enter a pub or nightclub. I’m sure with such a name, this piece is for comical situations. Guess who is the silly kid? Figuring Out What To Do may start out more like a fantasy journey through the Milky Way with its mystical-like tune but it soon turns into a lively piece which gives an impression exactly like its aptly named title. Kikkaro initially starts off with a grand sounding orchestra piece like as though you’ve entered a revered place than halfway it changes to a slower pace with a Chinese tune. Oath Of Vengeance is a slow eerie piece in the beginning and gradually the strings and creepy deep bass definitely make it sound like a revenge plot anxiously going to burst anytime. An aptly named track is Appearance Of An Ominous Enemy. The dark feel of the track sends a warning signal that a great opponent has arrived.
I remember when the people who taste those wonderful dishes, they go into some relaxing fantasy of their own. That is what the background music Voluptuous portrays. Though it also sounds very Chinese-like, the easy and soothing pace of the song gives an impression of a peace of mind. If only in real life many dishes could have such an effect. The Competitive Heart Is Burning feels like another theme for a cooking battle albeit it is a slower pace compared to Speed & Technique but sounds a little more intense. Another battle themed song is Solution Of Riddle. This dramatic cosmic-like tune sounds like the chefs have to put on their thinking caps to figure out a way to solve the issues at hand. However the song sounds more towards optimistic rather than tensed. Which Is The Winner is a suspenseful track as it gives off an air of suspense (I think an organ was used for this effect) before the judges deliver their final verdict to the winner of the cooking battle. Of course we know who it’s going to be lah. And after all that hard work and our heroes have won, the lively Victory And Glory piece is played to honour their win.
Going On A Journey sounds like a variation of Born In The Sun. Even the rock beat is no exception. Maybe this could be Mao’s second theme. But because of the name of the song, it brings to mind a hope-filled trip and adventures awaiting our heroes. Hope For Tomorrow also sounds like a shorter variation of Born In The Sun but is more strings-driven in a moderate calming pace. Just like its name suggests, it gives a sense of hope for whatever may await the protagonists. However I don’t find the track Anxiety befitting its tune. Sure it sounds dramatic but again the grandeur of the piece gives an impression of an impending approach of something big. Perhaps because of this overwhelming feeling, maybe one is supposed to feel anxious? Confidence Lost is another track which doesn’t sound like its title. It’s not a sad or gloomy piece but more of a dramatic and suspenseful tune. Also sounds a little like a situation where time is running out.
In a nutshell, this whole album helps to complement the series though it doesn’t stand out very obvious on its own. But I note that many of the tracks are appropriately named to fit the atmosphere and situation in the series, though a handful to me doesn’t feel so. It’s better than giving some long-winded and unsuitable names which will make listeners scratch their heads of how a particular track’s tune is related to its name. Though I don’t feel like rewatching the series even if they rerun it on TV, I’m still listening to my favourite quartet of songs in this album from time to time. It brings back great nostalgic memories. Now if only I could taste the food…

Chuuka Ichiban

Kaze No You Ni Jiyuu

November 2, 2007

  Watashi wa yume no naka de,
  Anata ni atte imasu feel me,
  Tomodachi no koto ni naru to,
  Tokuige ni hanasu anata ga suki
Here’s another retro song that I once used to sing. Okay, maybe the song itself isn’t decades old but since I haven’t been singing this song for quite a while, it seems like it’s been ages already. Kaze No You Ni Jiyuu ~Free As The Wind~ is the thrid ending song of the series Chuuka Ichiban and is sung by Keiko Utoku.
  Shitto suru jibun no koto wa,
  Donna fuu ni utsutte iru no demo,
  Aoi honou wa akai honou yori zutto,
  Onda ga takai
Not that I’m saying that this song is hard to sing, but it isn’t an easy one either. At least the verse part is easy to sing because it isn’t high pitched nor it has that long voice sustaining part. So the tough part is the chorus (especially those last lines of the chorus) whereby it has a little of those 2 elements. Thus it didn’t go well for a person with a horrible voice like mine even though there are background vocals.
  Kawaita mizuumi ni,
  Amamizu ga shimikonde yuku you ni,
  Kokoro no naka wo tabi shiyou,
  Mokutekichi wa kitto aru
I remember when I first sang this song, my timing was a little off. Sometimes too fast and sometimes too slow. Since I rarely sing this song nowadays, I think I’ll still be facing the same problem. Lyrics wise, this love song ballad is simple enough to remember but of course without practice, I’ve given it all back. Hmm… I wonder what Keiko’s saying or rather murmuring during the solo part. Sounds like English since I could only grasped some of the words.
  Onaji jidai ni meguriaetta no,
  Kaze no you ni jiyuu,
  Sonna futari ni shinu made ni nareru kana,
  Anata e no kimochi wa uchuu no PAWAA
One thing I would like to note about the tv animation for this song is that I find the characters drawn (Mao and Mei Li) don’t really look like the characters itself. In fact they look so horrible and it’s so obvious! I don’t know whether they used different artists to do so, but I got a feeling that it’s deliberate. Plus, there are 2 versions of this song for the tv version. One a more slower ballad and the other a typical pop song. But aside that, if ever I feel nostalgic, this song would be one of those good ones to start with.


June 2, 2006

  Kagayaite itai yo ne,  Itsumo waratte itai yo ne,
  Heya no sumi no GURIIN mo genki da shi
I remember that this is the first anime song that I fell in love with. Thus, making it the first anime song that I’ve taped. Yup, it’s Sora, the first opening song from the anime Chuuka Ichiban.
  Demo yume mite’ta tomodachi ga akiramete osamatta,
  Yuukidzukeru kokoro no dokka de HOTTO shite ‘tari shite
The singer of this song Maki Ohguro, though I didn’t know whether the singer was a guy or or girl at first, as the voice may seem ambiguous to either gender. Though I didn’t really find out (even up till now) I have a feeling that the singer may be female. But that doesn’t stop me from listening over and over again.
  Ima nara umi e mukou BASU ni ma ni au,
  Kondo dake wa misugoshicha ikenai ki ga suru
This is quite a lively and catchy piece with trumpets blazing in the background and especially the solo part. Another one of those songs where it wants to make you get up and do a little dance of your own.
  Aoi sora no shita de mou ichido, Tsubasa wo hirogete,
  Ichido shika nai life, Sou da yo ne mottainai yo ne
I don’t sing this song quite as often as before mainly because I really don’t sound good. Uh-huh, you know me, don’t have that singing voice. Somehow it’s rather difficult for me to match and hit the right tone of the song.
  Akai sora ni dakarete doko made mo, Kaze wo oikakete,
  Arukinareta michi ni, se wo mukete hashitte miyou
And that last part of the song which goes ‘nah nah nah nah nah…’ was quite long. Lasted for a minute plus. At first sound so odd, then funny, now like normal. Oh well, continue with my singing…

Chuuka Ichiban

October 20, 2005

Watching Cooking Master Boy sometimes make me either want to really laugh out loud or just roll my eyes and sigh. Especially the food tasting part where there always seems to be over-reaction or exaggeration by the tastee (the one tasting the food). Wah… I didn’t know Mao’s culinary skills were so good at such a tender young age. Together with Shell and Leon, they make the Underground Cooking World tremble with fear (hopefully). Nevertheless, I still find it an enjoyable anime to watch.