In video games, whether they're shooting games or role-playing games, there's always a last boss. And according to convention, the last boss is typically large. Make that, enormous.
However, this isn't a video game character. It's Japanese singer Sachiko Kobayashi. Online in Japan, though, she's dubbed "the last boss". And for good reason.
Kobayashi is an enka singer. While it sounds very different, enka is often compared to American country music or the blues due to the similar sentiments the music evokes. Here, you can listen to Kobayashi sing "Omoide Zake" (おもいで酒) or "Sake Memories". Or, perhaps more relevant, hear her lend her voice to "Pokémon Ondo" (ポケモン音頭), which was used as an ending song for the Pokémon anime. She's truly a great singer—and entertainer.
For over three decades, Kobayashi has appeared on the Kouhaku Uta Gassen (紅白歌合戦), which is an annual New Year's Eve music show in Japan. It was first broadcast on the radio in 1951, and the TV broadcast started in 1953. These days, Kouhaku broadcasts now last over four hours. The show is a very big deal.
Each year, Kobayashi's costumes have gotten bigger and more extravagant. Online in Japan, her Kouhaku getups lend comparisons to video game enemies. Have a look at some of the highlights, and how gamers in Japan reacted to her stage performances.
Due to a business scandal, Kobayashi wasn't invited to this year's Kouhaku. It was the first time in 33 consecutive years that she didn't perform. Hopefully, she'll be back next year and bigger than ever.