Mirai Gajetto Kenkyujo
 
Ai Shite Knight

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Ai Shite Knight (lit. "Love me [my] Knight") is a shojo manga created in the early 1980s by Kaoru Tada. An anime adaptation was released in 1983 until 1984, running for 42 episodes by Toei Animation. "Ai Shite Knight" is set in Osaka and tells the story of Yaeko "Yakko" Mitamura, an 18-year-old girl working in her father's Okonomiyaki restaurant. One day Yakko meets a little boy named Hashizo and his odd cat Juliano. Hashizo had lost both parents when still a baby and has been brought up by his elder brother Go. Go Kato is the lead singer of the emerging rock band "Bee Hive." When Yakko meets Go and his friend and "Bee Hive" member Satomi Okawa, an unexpected series of events and a tangled romance unfold. The main narrative of "Ai Shite Knight" is essentially a love story, but has interesting and innovative elements introduced to it by Kaoru Tada, most notably the portrayal of the Japanese music scene in the early '80s. In creating characters such as Go, Satomi and their band "Bee Hive", Tada was inspired by well-known bands of the time such as "The Stalin", "Novela", "Primadonna" and "44Magnum." Tada also plays with sexual provocation and sexual ambiguity, mainly embodied by the character of "Kiss Relish" vocalist Kazuma Kataoka, although these elements were considerably toned down in the anime version of the story. The anime version of "Ai Shite Knight" was produced by Toei Animation in 1983-1984, for a total of 42 episodes directed by Osamu Kasai, a veteran Toei director. The "Ai Shite Knight" anime presents some significant changes in the storyline and modifications in the characters' stories, and covers only one part of the story narrated by Tada in the manga. It was developed to target a younger audience than that of the manga with some aspects toned down and simplified. Famous voice actress and pop idol Mitsuko Horie provided the voice of Yakko in the anime. Isao Sasaki was the voice of Go, Katsuji Mori of Satomi, Takeshi Aono of Shige-San, and Yuko Mita of Hashizo. Masa Amamori provided the voice of Juliano. Mitsuko Horie also sang "Koi wa Totsuzen" ("Love is sudden"), the song featured in the opening credits of each episode. The main reason why the anime version of "Ai Shite Knight" is particularly famous is because it features, for the first time ever, original songs within the episodes, a plot device which will be very successful in subsequent anime series such as Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami and – more recently – Nana. The songs were performed by "Bee Hive" and the rival band "Kiss Relish" and they popular enough to be released in a companion album. Joe Hisaishi, who has composed the music for Hayao Miyazaki's movies, collaborated with composer Nozomu Aoki in writing and arranging the songs. The original songs featured in the anime are: Performed by "Bee Hive" Rockin' all night Fire Midnight Rock'n'Roll Star Lonely Boy Baby, I Love You Freeway Someday on Sunday Love Again Performed by "Kiss Relish" Let Me Feel Boxer A collection of all the original songs are featured in an album called Debut-Bee Hive, which was produced in Japan immediately after the end of the anime series. Subsequently, a tribute album titled Aishite Night - Hit Kyoku Shu "Yakko, I Love You" was also released, and it included the opening and closing songs of the series, as well as tribute songs for the various characters arranged on some of the background music used throughout the anime.


 Yaeko "Yakko" Mitamura
 

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