Symphonic Suite Theatre
I love how the Japanese romanticize their anime characters, particularly when it comes to the de rigeur soundtrack collections. In my youth of Arcadia, Japanese toys and media were absolutely scarce unless you lived on the West Coast or had a relative in the overseas military. I reveled in the moments I could tune into Channel 26’s GATTIGER or IKKYU-SAN from faraway San Francisco. When my parents first took me there to Jeffrey’s Toys in Ghiradhelli Square for a weekend treat, I discovered a giant glass case displaying an explosion of die-cast and plastic color in the form of robots, racecars, monsters, and spaceships representing all walks of anime and even better, kaiju — which meant the incredible Bullmark metal Godzilla, Ghidrah, Gigan and Baragon. Jeffrey’s became my cultural treasure chest (and those toys were outrageously expensive) and a reservoir for my entry into Japanese collectibles. I also loved the LP’s hanging on the wall with their gorgeously illustrated covers, my favorites being the Symphonic Suites for GATCHAMAN and SPACE CRUISER YAMATO. The albums promised a world of action, mystery and adventure, all encapsulated by the archetypal Japanese overtly-lush soundtracks.