SMAP and Hime-chan’s Ribbon
Hime-chan’s Ribbon Episode 13: Annex 1

February 3, 2007 – HCR13 Annex 1: SMAP and Hime-chan’s Ribbon

SMAP is a now very popular Japanese "idol" group. Their debut was in 1991 and HCR was first aired in 1992–93, and back then SMAP was not so popular nor well-known as they are now. HCR's OP and 3 EDs are all their songs. Not only that, but Kusanagi Tsuyoshi did seiyū for Hasekura-senpai (Hasekura kōichi), the person Himeko had a secret crush on.

Hasekura in HCR is an excellent student, admired by everyone, and later goes abroad to study even more. Kusanagi, in reality, is exceptionally intelligent too, speaking both Japanese and Korean fluently.

However, Kusanagi was (and is) an amateur as seiyū, even though he may be a great singer, and to be frank, he was not doing very well as Hasekura ^^; Kusanagi is now known also as an actor (not seiyū), but he was still very young (18 years old when this episode was broadcast) and inexperienced at this point. They didn't use him as a seiyū because he was great at that, but basically they tried to promote him and SMAP by doing so. Using anime to promote singers and their songs is one of the typical things, since the great success of Magical Angel Creamy Mami (1983). (Well, it was commercially a "great success", but Ohta acted as Mami quite poorly, much worse than Kusanagi as Hasekura.)

Egao no Genki: 
HCR OP since      October   2, 1992
CD is Out         November 11, 1992

Hajimete no Natsu
HCR ED2 since     March    14, 1993
CD is Out         June      6, 1993

Another example: from Floral Magician Mary Bell
MB ED2 since     August    24, 1992
CD is Out        September 18, 1992

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi even appeared as himself in HCR Ep. 13. Considering the relationship between Fullmoon o Sagashite and myco (or rather, Creamy Mami and Ohta Takako), this is not so unusual, but it's a bit interesting. Technically, Kusanagi even voiced Himeko (when she transformed into Kusanagi).

Real SMAP (now). From left to right, Katori, Inagaki, Kimura, Nakai, and Kusanagi Tsuyoshi, who acted as Hasekura-senpai in HCR.

SMAP in HCR 13 (1992). Originally there were 6 members. Mori Katsuyuki left the group in 1996, but HCR was before that. You can hear a girl shouting "Mori-kun!" in Ep. 13.

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