Cho Aniki ~ Otoko no Tamashii


Review by · December 18, 2006

This is the soundtrack to the Wonderswan Card-Based RPG of the same name. It’s also known as “Otoko no Tamafuda” based on a pun incorporating the words “Soul” and “Card Battle.” “Otoko no Tamashii” roughly translates to “The Soul of Man.”

Now, those of you who aren’t in the know, you ought to take some time to learn about Cho Aniki. Masaya’s shoot-em-up series featuring large, flying, muscular men with giant holes in their skulls (where laser beams come out) is probably the strangest franchise to ever catch on in Japan. Yes, the Asian equivalent to the ambiguously gay duo is quite famous, but few people even knew about its brief stint in the role-playing genre.

The series has always featured music by an equally eccentric composer (right up there with Tenpei Sato, but for different reasons), Koji Hayama. This arranged soundtrack for the Wonderswan RPG has some surprisingly addictive music, and I was quite glad to finally get ahold of it.

Random vocals are found all over the album, and they’re all done by Hayama himself. Take a listen to the title track. The man screaming “OTOKO NO TAMASHII!” like he’s grunting on the toilet is Hayama. That should give you a good idea of what you’ll find on the album.

But it’s not all weird grunge rock. There are some delightfully catchy melodies all over the album: sometimes eccentric techno-synth-pop, sometimes more traditional pop. Hayama also likes to play around on the organ, much like the well-known Motoi Sakuraba.

Take a look, also, at the names of these songs. It should give you an idea as to the frantic silliness of this three-ring-circus of an album. “Deutsch Gingerman” features Hayama shouting the word “Deutsch” to the beat of a drum, as though it were an imperial march. “It’s a Serious Song, Good-bye” is a bold-faced lie for a title…well, more like a joke…the song is pretty silly. But of course, the winner for the *most ridiculous track title EVER* award goes to “Shave Your Body Hair.” It’s not a request, it’s a command. Get to work, and listen to this soundtrack while getting rid of that pesky chest hair.

I’ll take the criticism for making this review more of a joke than an attempt to cover the music. In all fairness, most everything about the Cho Aniki series is meant to be either laugh-out-loud or raise-your-eyebrows funny. I’ll end by pointing out that the musical merits of the album are many, as Hayama is really quite a decent composer. If you’ve followed other Aniki OST releases, you should know that Hayama is great at what he does. And, luckily, this album ranks pretty high among the Cho Aniki discography, so do give it a shot…should you ever be able to find it! First Smile albums have became difficult finds, but this is one of their later prints, so if you’re really interested, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find used.

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Patrick Gann

Patrick Gann

Therapist by day and gamer by night, Patrick has been offering semi-coherent ramblings about game music to RPGFan since its beginnings. From symphonic arrangements to rock bands to old-school synth OSTs, Patrick keeps the VGM pumping in his home, to the amusement and/or annoyance of his large family of humans and guinea pigs.