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This Epic "Last Boss" Isn't a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer

Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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.

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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.

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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.


Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
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Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled This Epic Last Boss Isnt a Video Game Character, But a Japanese Singer

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.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

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DISCUSSION

Curiousplay
Curiousplay

"In video games, whether they're shooting games or role-playing games, there's always a last boss."

Actually no, I can think one game where there isn't, but I can't remember the name of the game for the life of me. I've been trying to figure it out for probably two years. I think it was a PS1 game, or very early PS2. You played as some really buff Native American with a pet falcon that you could have perch on cliffs and look around corners through its eyes. The visual style made me think it was done by Disney but it definitely wasn't, you could take a huge battle ax and lob off an enemy's head.

One of the reasons I like the game was pertaining to what I quoted. You're fighting some evil sorcerer type to protect your land and on the last area you finally get to him and he makes the cliche speech - "Join me and we'll rule everything!" Then your character does the one thing I always wondered why no character ever does. While the baddie is making some grand speech, your characters non-chalantly takes his huge battle ax and hurls it at the bad guy, hits him square in the forehead and he's dead. Game finished, credits roll, no final boss.