Longtime fans know how strikingly juxtaposing the series is, with their straight-faced plot lines going hand-in-hand alongside the slew of dopey side-quests and goofy distractions. Of course, that includes karaoke, the rhythm-based mini-game that really took the gaming world by storm with its catchy tunes and memorable in-game music videos.
Previously, we covered a soundtrack album featuring karaoke songs from the Yakuza/Ryu Ga Gotoku series, featuring the vocals of recurring series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu. Yakuza Kiwami 2 (a remake of the second entry in the series) had two special editions released solely in Japan, and one of them featured a soundtrack CD containing the singalong shenanigans of everyone’s favourite one-eyed madman Goro Majima. Chances are if you love the Mad Dog of Shimano, then Best of Majima – Ryu Ga Gotoku Goro Majima Karaoke All Time Best Collection CD should be nothing less than an unforgettable listen.
There’s an eclectic blend of genres to enjoy here. Majima unleashes his inner wackjob on the mic like in the soppy love song ‘I Love You’ and the fan-favourite ‘24-Hour Cinderella’. During some of these tracks, he’ll sing his heart out in parts, and ends up screeching like a pterodactyl in others. They can be a jarring listen at first, but chances are you’ll learn to appreciate his manic energy after a couple of listens, especially in songs like the tongue-in-cheek, kabuki-flavoured ditty ‘Samurai Ondo’, and the thumping beats of ‘GET TO THE TOP!’. Then there’s ‘Majima No MajiROCK’, a badass rock anthem with some fantastic guitar riffs, a striking beat, and a killer performance from the Mad Dog himself.
There’s a fair handful of tracks with Majima on backing vocals, such as the cheerful pop track ‘x3 SHINE’ and the thrash metal masterpiece ‘Pride From Despair’. In fact, these tracks even feature Kiryu on backing vocals alongside. He even sings the main vocals on two different versions of the latter, albeit one with Majima’s crazy voice, and the other without. The latter could’ve been packaged alongside Kiryu’s own album, in all honesty.
Generally speaking, these duets are a joy to listen to. Not only do these tracks have catchy and infectious instrumentation, certainly so with tracks like ‘Ring’ and ‘Rain Drops’, the lovely ladies on lead vocals are like the buttery-smooth icing smeared on top of this delectable cake. Majima’s overly-enthusiastic back-up singing breathes in so much more life into them, too. His voice is often given echo or autotune SFX, which helps these versions sound so much more memorable than their in-game counterparts.
Size-wise, it’s a tad smaller compared to Kiryu’s album, and while it doesn’t have any bonus instrumental tracks to go alongside, there are a fair few alternate versions and remixes. Alongside both versions of the previously noted ‘Pride From Despair’, there’s the remix ‘EURO de x3 SHINE’, which comes with a thumping electronic beat and blaring synths. ‘GET TO THE TOP! [Jounetsu-teki da yo Zen’in Shuugou Mix]’ has a brand new sound to it, and has the dainty, innocent Haruka on vocals alongside Majima and other protagonists changing along energetically to the melodious rhythm like a bunch of silly pillocks.
Topping off the package is the ‘Majima Construction Anthem’ from Yakuza Kiwami 2, along with an instrumental version as well. While not technically an in-game song from the karaoke minigame, its choir of lively singers chanting along to an empowering orchestral arrangement (they even chant Majima’s name in the chorus multiple times, and it’s difficult to resist joining in) is definitely the kind of track you could end up whistling along to at work, appropriately enough!
Tracking down a physical copy of Best of Majima – Ryu Ga Gotoku Goro Majima Karaoke All Time Best Collection CD is by no means an easy feat. No matter how you wish to acquire it, this compilation is filled to the brim with bangers, and is bound to please. Providing you can handle Majima’s unhinged nuttiness on a microphone, his album is bound to please, whether he’s chanting along to a heavy metal headbanger or lively interjecting during a bouncy pop song. After listening to it, you’ll probably go a bit mad for Majima as well.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our Top 10 best karaoke songs from the series?