July 8 marked the 50th anniversary of the television series broadcast “Android Kikaidä,” a Japanese tokusatsu (live action with special effects). In celebration, the rock band Second Player Score released a cover of “Go Go Kikaida,” the opening theme song from the show that premiered in Japan in 1972.
Second Player Score is a Vancouver, Washington-based rock band and includes former Nä Hōkü Hanohano-award winner Brian Tashima, who is the band’s lead singer and guitarist. Tashima was born and raised in Hawai‘i and was a huge fan of the series, growing up.
“One of my earliest memories is of myself as a five-year-old kindergartener, spontaneously volunteering to sing the Kikaidä theme song in front of the whole class for no good reason,” Tashima says with a laugh. “I don’t think it was part of the teacher’s lesson plan for the day, but she was nice enough to indulge me. So that experience, along with the fact that Jiro (Kikaidä’s human form) played guitar, is probably what led to me singing and playing guitar in a band.”
The live-action show was based off a superhero manga series of the same name about a heroic robot who saves Japan from an evil organization. The series ran for 43 episodes and was broadcast in Hawai‘i on the Japanese-language television station KIKU in 1974, where it remains popular to this day.
Second Player Score’s cover of “Go Go Kikaida” is a single off their new album “Beer & Ramen,” which also features covers of “Ue wo Muite Arukou,” commonly known in the U.S. as “Sukiyaki” as well as “Hitohira no Hanabira,” a song originally sung by the now-defunct Japanese rock band Stereopony. The album also includes two original songs from their own 2019 album “Glorified,” re-recorded with verses translated in Japanese.
“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more interested in my heritage along with Japanese language and culture in general,” Tashima said. “So it just seemed fun and natural to do a project like this. I still only speak tourist-level Japanese, but I’m working on it.”
Other members in Second Score Player include Kyle Gilbert on drums and backing vocals and Daniel Downs on bass and backing vocals. Downs was also born and raised in Hawai‘i before he relocated to the Pacific Northwest where he met Gilbert and Tashima.
“Go Go Kikaida” was written by Shotaro Ishinomori and Watanabe Michiaki and was originally performed by Yuki Hide with Columbia Cradle Club. Second Player Score’s version, along with the rest of the “Beer & Ramen” EP, is available on multiple streaming platforms exclusively through TuneCore Japan or on CD.