Archive for April 14th, 2010


Sega Saturn Shiro! / Segata Sanshirō – “Sega Saturn, Shiro!” (Hiroshi Fujioka)

April 14, 2010

In the mid-90s, Sega ran a fairly successful ad campaign featuring a judo master Segata Sanshiro (a pun on the Kurosawa film Sugata Sanshiro), who tracks down kids and beats them up if they aren’t playing Sega Saturn. His name is a pun for “Play Sega Saturn!” and “Sega Saturn, white!” Segata Sanshiro was the mascot of the ill-fated system, and his commercials have achieved cult status (and rightfully so!). There was a whole series of them, from Bomberman to Deep Fear as well as general ads for the system. He also starred in his own game, Segata Sanshirou Shinken Yuugi, which was a collection of minigames based on the commercials. The commercial music was compiled in an album (1998) sung by both Hiroshi Fujioka (the actor) and Ichirou Tomita (the vocalist from the commercials). Segata Sanshiro was played in the commercials by Hiroshi Fujioka, who also played Kamen Rider. He’s a cult figure in Japan, similar to Chuck Norris. He’s got an English homepage and even has a planet named after him.

Sega Saturn Shiro! / Segata Sanshiro – “Sega Saturn, Shiro!” (Hiroshi Fujioka)

I suppose “Sega Saturn, Shiro!” is more famous because of the ad campaign – divorced of the video, it’s just a funny overly heroic song harkening back to the days of classic samurai films. Wonderful orchestration and over-done emotions make for an excellent listen. It’s an incredibly clever marketing technique, with symbolism and references on multiple levels, but sadly it wasn’t enough to save Sega.

There’s a full playlist of all the commercials on Youtube as well (all 18 of them). SEGAROCKS did a mix of this, but it would be an overstatement to say it wasn’t any good (mainly the vocalists’ fault). Oh yeah, here are the lyrics so you can follow along:

The solitary man who devoted his soul to the way of games
Today, he comes again
He will punish those who do not play seriously
Their battered bodies will never forget!
[chorus] Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn… shiro!

They play tennis, sing karaoke, flirt around in clubs…
Are there not more serious tasks to be done?
Those who do not play maturely
He questions them deep inside their hearts
Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn… shiro!

(voice of Segata)Youngsters… is there something in your life you are completely devoted to? Something you sink into so deep you put your life on the line? You must play Sega Saturn! Play… until your fingers break! Until your fingers break!

Even if they chase after sex, that petty pleasure
Their soul will remain hollow
Those who do not immerse themselves to the extreme in gaming
Will find their bodies beaten harshly!
Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn… shiro!

The white clouds floating on the great blue sky
And the boiling red bloodshed in fierce gaming
Those who give up halfway through
Their battered bodies will never forget!
Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn… shiro!
Segata Sanshiro, Segata Sanshiro! Sega Saturn… shiro!