Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Today is a special post as it is the 10th anniversary of what may have been my first full Berryz review: 2008’s Dschinghis Khan, theme song to the musical Dschinghis Khan ~Watashi ga Tsurugi, Netsusuna wo Some yo~ and (more importantly) a cover of the 1979 song by the same name by Dschinghis Khan.
So without further ado, let’s dig into Berryz Kobo #16 and seize victory!
Dschinghis Khan (Genghis Khan)
From the Beginning
As this is a cover of a song, a little history lesson is in order (especially for anyone who isn’t familiar with this song). Of course, given the song’s fame, especially in Europe (for reasons explained below), this is more like a brief review.
The original song was West Germany’s entry into the famed Eurovision Song Contest. (Needless to say, when the Berryz single was announced, the European fans were ecstatic.) Rather appropriately, the group’s members are decked out in Mongol-inspired disco garb with one practically cosplaying as the man himself.
This is a fun disco hit that is… Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a song about the Mongol leader’s vigorous prowess on the battlefield and in bed. (As you may have expected, the Berryz version’s lyrics are heavily sanitized. Then again, do we really want to hear a septet of Japanese teen girls singing about someone “father(ing) seven children in one night”?)
Despite the rather earthy and frank lyrics of the original, it’s still a fun song to listen to. Why? Because true to Eurovision’s signature charm, the song is just so much… fun, so quirky. It’s not meant to be taken that seriously (and really, one can argue H!P has done worse).
I first encountered the song myself via Pop’n Music, having become familiar with the band a few years before thanks to a Newgrounds Flash featuring Sonic and Mario sprites dancing to Moskau. (2005 was a weird time…. Then again, teen years are always a wacky time.)
Eerily enough, Extra History is currently (as of this writing) doing a series of episodes on Genghis Khan so if you want to know the man the song refers to (albeit extremely watered down in the Berryz version because, again, the original is a tad earthy), look no further.
Very Nice Berryz Version (Taste of Honey)
This DANCE☆MAN-arranged tune captures the original’s disco grooviness and amplifies it with the Berryz Koubou-flavored Hello! Project touch. It’s short, but it’s a sweet little tune that will keep you dancing.
It’s full of youthful vigor and energy, which are also what the song speaks of: having courage to go for your dreams and seize victory in your life:
A glittering palace
A girl who’s fallen in love at first sight
Get the gold, uhha
You’ll seize the sparkling palace,
that woman you fell in love with at first sight,
and the gold
Credit to KiwiMusume. Credit to the ProjectHello team.
If you think about it, this goes rather well with the original being about the leader’s vigorous prowess on the battlefield and in bed. (Of course, this is a bit hilarious since one Berry–the “main” in this song no less–is now carrying a Berry of her own.)
The PV is set at a school, with three alternate scenes.
- With the Berryz on a stage in front of a captive audience of primary schoolkids.
- Goofing off in front of the camera in a hallway.
- A close-up shot in front of a background that looks like it was made by crayon, possibly by said primary schoolkids.
The general song’s sense of fun is translated into the visuals, maintaining a goofy atmosphere.
(As this single was released in 2008, it is not subject to the changes in sales reporting as implemented by Oricon in Fall 2016.
All figures reported in this section are from the Hello! Project Wikia with the percentage and average mathematics done by moi.
Of course, if a piece of idol music really touches you, does it matter that much how well it sells? It does to some people, which is one reason I do this…)
The single had a Total Reported Sales figure of 37,096 with 82.67% (30,667) coming from the first week. It debuted at #4 on the Single Daily Ranking, reaching a Week Rank of #5 and eventually obtaining a Year Rank of #195.
The single, in addition to being BK’s first cover, holds two record distinctions: it was their highest selling single until 2013 and their longest charting single for a little more than a year. Both records were broken by Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta / ROCK Erotic and Watashi no Mirai no Danna-sama / Ryuusei Boy respectively.
Wow, was this a trip down memory lane. I remember the excitement this single’s life cycle brought and looking at it ten years later… I’d say it holds up. Sure, H!P is more into “cool” music these days, but it can a dive into fun pieces (like a lot of Kobushi Factory’s single material) and…
I guess what I’m trying to say is… embrace the past, present, and future with your raised hands.
Until the Next One!