If you’ve seen Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact!, you’re familiar with its roaring, exciting opening theme, “Kanjite Knight.” Led by Hironobu Kageyama and backed by the unmistakable vocals of JAM Project, it gets your heart pumping as you prepare you watch classic larger-than-life robots punch the daylights out of each other.
Except … technically, that’s not JAM Project. And technically, “Kanjite Knight” existed well before this series was even conceived of. Like decades before. And it had nothing to do with robots; in fact, it was about going back to Kage’s place and getting busy.
Allow me to explain.
Back in the late 70s, Kageyama and some of his classmates formed a band called Lazy, named after the Deep Purple song. They wanted to be hard rockers, but were instead pitched as a boy band and given the nicknames Michell, Suzy, Funny, Pocky, and Davy. (Kageyama was Michell.) In 1981, dissatisfied with what the band had become, they went their separate ways.
In 1980, just a year before their split, they recorded the song “Kanjite Night.” The lyrics included gems like:
If it’s with you, I’ll feel the night
If it’s with you, I can do it
If you’re familiar with “Kanjite Knight,” that probably sounds more than a little familiar. Minus the “sexy” part, obviously. The song was popular enough that, when the band reformed briefly in the late 90s, they performed it in concert. You can see a 2002 concert performance of it, complete with long-haired Kageyama, over on YouTube.
When it came time to record the opening for Mazinger Edition Z, Kageyama called up the original members of Lazy and the current members of JAM Project to collab. Sadly, two members of Lazy had died in the intervening years. The result of JAM Project and the three remaining members was a group they called Ultimate Lazy for Mazinger. With the band back together and reinforced by the planet-punching backing vocals of anime’s #1 giant robot song-makers, the song found new life as “Kanjite Knight.”
So does this change your impression of the song? Does it maybe make it better? Either way, it’s an amazing, thrilling piece of music for an awesome show. And if you haven’t seen Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact yet, now’s the time!