Multitalented entertainer Mitsuhiro Oikawa has long dreamed of one thing - singing the theme song for a robot anime.
His dream will finally come true, as his song "Save the Future!!" will be used as the theme for "Transformers Adventure," to be aired on the Animax TV station starting in March.
"It's been my dream to sing a theme song for a robot anime," said Oikawa, who is affectionately called Mitchy.
It will be the latest in the popular "Transformers" series, which has also been made into Hollywood live-action films.
During Oikawa's childhood in the 1970s, "Mazinger Z" and a number of other robot-themed anime were the latest craze.
"Mazinger's DNA is inscribed into our soul. We are in the generation when anime theme songs were the first music we came into contact. We've been watching [such anime] ever since we could remember. I really loved the anime works by Sunrise [anime production company], beginning from 'Zambot 3,' 'Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3' and '[Mobile Suit] Gundam,'" he said.
Jonetsu no Geiji Agete/ Takaku Tobe!/ Unazuki Au/ Tomo o Shinjite (Raising the gauge of passion, jump up high! Believe in your friends just by exchanging glances.)
The lyrics, written by Oikawa, is packed with geeky anime-inspired phrases.
"Comrades are what is needed in great robot anime," Oikawa said. "People need to feel united to fight."
The lyrics also go on to ask the listeners: "Don't you have something that you absolutely must protect?" a phrase that sounds very much like Oikawa.
"I thought this phrase would help shorten the psychological distance between [the singer and] listeners. This may reflect my own character. Rather than shouting 'Let's fight,' I'd rather ask: "Why not fight?"
Oikawa sang the theme song for the first time at Animax Musix in November last year. It was his third appearance at the event. He has ventured into a field that is not necessarily his specialty and attracted audiences everywhere.
"The showmanship" in performing on stage prompts him to take on new challenges, Oikawa said. "I don't feel intimidated by new encounters. Essentially, I'm not shy about meeting new people. I rather like it."
"Our life is not always filled with happy things. I'm appealing to people to 'liven up' our daily lives as much as we can. Even shop clerks who are working with a sulky face may be able to enjoy their lives a little if they smile more," he said.
Born in Tokyo in 1969, Oikawa achieved success as an actor, having played key roles in a number of TV dramas, such as "Yae no Sakura" (Yae's cherry blossoms), "Aibo" (Partners) and "Hanzawa Naoki," among others.
As a singer, he has released albums, featuring his own works, almost every year. He also once formed a unit called Mitsukiyo with the late singer Kiyoshiro Imawano.
Oikawa has been involved in anime music a couple of times, but he feels especially enthusiastic about robot anime and lyrics themed around justice and friendship.
"Collaborations of music and images excite me. I feel so refreshed on stage when I'm openly singing about justice and courage," Oikawa said.
Oikawa says he often enthusiastically sings anime songs at karaoke parlours with comedian Hiroyuki Miyasako, who is of the same generation.
"[Miyasako] wanted to become an anime singer. Influences one receives in one's childhood are very powerful like that. I assume that's why men [in this country] find themselves unable to get away from anime even after having turned 30 or 40," he said.
An ultimate entertainer, Oikawa says he has no hobbies.
"I have no hobby that I can become absorbed in. Apart from work, I can't find a hobby on which I can spend time, however hard I've tried," he said.
"For me, work is a lifetime hobby. It may be a process of finding out why I exist and how I can come into contact with society and other people through what I'm doing.
That may be why I like creating things. By presenting it to the public, rather than just doing it as a hobby, I can raise my awareness as a professional," he said.