When you think of heroism and bravery, what is the first animal that comes to mind? Perhaps you think of the lion, which has long been a symbol of courage and fearlessness, a concept that was satirized in The Wizard of Oz. Maybe you think of the iconic sled dog Balto who delivered a vaccine to Nome, Alaska in the early 1920s and saved countless lives. Maybe, for you, heroism is embodied by the crazy, badass honey badger, the most fearless animal in the animal kingdom. One animal that you probably don’t associate with heroism and bravery is the chicken. Well, all that is about to change.
The Gregory Brothers and Takeo Ischi collaborated on a song called Chicken Attack in 2017 (which just so happened to be the Year of the Rooster, according to the Chinese Zodiac) that made the world completely rethink its conception of chickens. While we usually think of chickens as foolish little fowl that can be found pecking at the ground or lining the center of a sandwich, Chicken Attack portrayed the chicken as a fierce defender of humanity, a heroic ideal from which we can all draw inspiration. We can now all sleep easy at night knowing that wherever evil abounds, Takeo Ischi and his pet chicken will be there to stop it.
While Chicken Attack went viral on the internet for its obvious awesomeness, many who have seen it are not aware that it exists as a part of an entire saga of animal-aided crime fighting. To most, the chicken whisperer himself, Takeo Ischi, is a quite mysterious figure. Let’s take a look at Takeo’s backstory and find out what inspired him to grace the internet with such a fine piece of art as Chicken Attack.
The Takeo Ischi Story
Yodeling is a tradition of singing that involves changing between low pitch and high pitch in rapid succession, and it was believed to have been first used in the Central Alps by herders who were trying to call their flocks or communicate between neighboring villages. Since its European origination, the yodeling style of singing has traveled all over the world. It was believed to have been introduced to the United States in the early 1800s by German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and has since become widely popular throughout the country. One place that people don’t typically associate with yodeling, however, is Japan. Until Takeo Ischi, that is.
Ischi was born in 1947 and raised in Tokyo, Japan. During his high school years, he was somewhat of an outcast and spent a lot of time listening to music on the radio. After he graduated from high school, he followed in his father’s footsteps and studied mechanical engineering at university. When he wasn’t studying, though, he was becoming infatuated with learning to play the zither and hammered dulcimer, instruments commonly used in Alpine styles of music.
As his university years progressed, Ischi became more and more engrossed in yodeling, even teaching himself how to yodel by listening to the records of Franzl Lang, a singer from Bavaria, Germany who’s commonly referred to as the “Yodel King.” After honing his craft, Ischi began yodeling on Japanese television. Then, during a study abroad program in Germany, Ischi began hopping over to the border to Switzerland to perform at a local beer hall.
From there, Ischi began to gain recognition among Western yodeling circles, and they began referring to him as the “Japanese Yodeler.” Eventually, Ischi even performed in front of his idol Franzl Lang, who decided to take Ischi under his wing and propel him to even further prominence. Soon, Ischi was given the opportunity to perform with Maria Hellwig, another prominent figure in the yodeling community, on television.
Of course, yodeling is not the most popular form of music in the world. And while Ischi enjoyed great recognition in the yodeling community, he was relatively unknown to the rest of the world until the release of Chicken Attack in 2017. But, since the video was originally released on YouTube in 2017, it has been viewed over 23 million times. Finally, Takeo Ischi is getting the global appreciation that he deserves because, although Chicken Attack is clearly meant to be hilarious, the man truly is a special talent. He was even invited to perform the song live with Taiwanese heavy metal band Chthonic.
Takeo Cinematic Universe
Ischi’s recent success is owed largely to the creation of a YouTube series known as “Takeo Cinematic Universe,” the first episode of which is Chicken Attack. The series was created by The Gregory Brothers, who had previous YouTube success with their song Winning, a remix of Charlie Sheen’s infamous interview in which he describes his hedonistic partying habits, as well as their song Bed Intruder Song, a remix of the world-famous news interview with the guy saying, “Hide your kids, hide your wife.” So, when the time came to release Chicken Attack into the wild, their YouTube channel “schmoyoho” already had an avid fan base ready to receive Takeo Ischi’s artistry.
The Takeo Cinematic Universe series can be summed up pretty easily, and it all follows the same basic principles laid out in Chicken Attack. Takeo confronts some bad guy who refuses to admit defeat. Then, Takeo summons some barnyard animal who turns into a ninja warrior and defeats the bad guy. It’s not too much to wrap your head around, but it’s definitely funny.
The second episode of the Takeo Cinematic Universe series was called Chicken Pig Attack and featured a new sidekick for our hero, a super buff guy dressed in a pig suit. While Chicken Pig Attack hasn’t enjoyed the same success that its predecessor has, it’s still massively entertaining, featuring lines like “chicken and pig, bacon and eggs,” and “cock on a swine,” being repeated over and over again.
The Gregory Brothers and Takeo Ischi also released an installment of the series called Rat Attack in 2020 that included Takeo and his friends being kidnapped and tied up, only to be saved by a rat passing by. Of course, once Takeo has been freed, he takes his new rat companion to beat up some more criminals.
As recently as March 12, 2021, The Gregory Brothers released a new video on their YouTube channel teasing the release of a new episode of Takeo Cinematic Universe called Cow Attack. The teaser features an animated version of Takeo Ischi standing next to a cow and drawn in the anime style, which is absolutely delightful to watch. Unfortunately, the teaser does not mention when exactly the video will be released, so we’ll all just have to wait eagerly.
Personally, I hope that there are plenty more episodes in the Takeo Cinematic Universe still to come. Everything about Takeo Ischi is just so lovable. From the fact that his on-screen superpower is summoning barnyard animal warriors to his amazing backstory to the fact that he’s actually a very well-respected yodeler, this guy is simply electric. If you haven’t seen Chicken Attack or the other videos in the Takeo Cinematic Universe, go watch them and share them with your friends. Let’s make Takeo Ischi filthy rich. Why? Because he deserves it.