Tom Smith on the forefathers of visual kei: BUCK-TICK
From forming in 1983 with no prior music experience (or skill!), to filling the massive Tokyo Dome with 50,000 people in 1989, BUCK-TICK’s journey through the Japanese music system is amongst the country’s most exciting stories. They refused to let any record label dictate their sound, their image or their line-up, and the risk paid off, and in doing so, they led a whole new musical movement in the country. And they’re still making music today.
The second box set of Shiki is lucky enough to contain not one, but two new songs from the band. The first half continues the opening theme set out in opening DVD collection; ‘Kuchizuke – SERIAL THRILL KISSER’. The song was specifically crafted for use in the series, with the band being force-fed the anime and the manga until they had a good enough taste of what it was all about. The only direction they had from the production team was ‘make it up-tempo’. See if you think it fits in with the supernatural nature of Shiki below;
Kuchizuke – BUCK-TICK
The latter half of this box set also introduces Shiki’s second ending theme, ‘Gekka Reijin’ from the same group (which can be translated as ‘the beauty under the moon’ or ‘the moonlit lady’, or something of that ilk – oh the ambiguity of kanji). This BUCK-TICK track wasn’t released as a single like the opener, leading to fans creating their own music videos for it online. The one I’ve linked you to at the start of this paragraph captures the band’s image styles, using a number of clips through the decades, though mostly choosing those when the visual kei movement was all about big hair, shoulder pads and plenty more clichés from what we’d come to call the new romantic era in the west.
Similarly, the above song also demonstrates that the ‘unique’ Japanese genre of visual kei actually has a lot more in common with British new wave, punk and rock of the 70s and 80s than that of Japanese music. Listen closely; those moody, haunting guitars licks sound awfully similar to those found in tracks by The Cure and Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the electrifying and aggressive guitar solos and harder parts fall somewhere between the grittiness of the Sex Pistols and the craftsmanship of Led Zeppelin, if you ask me.
The comparisons aren’t unwarranted. BUCK-TICK were, and still are, open about their love for the UK and its music scene. Their fourth album Taboo is particularly influenced from the darker side of British music, something the band found lacking in Japan’s often optimistic and positive music scene. Coincidently, the album was also recorded in London and the band made sure to fit in a sneaky live show whilst over here.
Fitting in with the dark and melancholic theme, BUCK-TICK also found a place in Manga Entertainment’s spooky XXXHOLiC: Part Two, where their track ‘Kagerou’ was used as the ending theme.
Shiki: Part 2, featuring themes by BUCK-TICK, is out 31 December on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment.
For the first time ever! Never before available in the UK! Collect One Piece The Movie 1, 2 and 3 before anyone else in the English speaking world.
- One Piece - The Movie: Years after his disappearance, The legend of the Great Gold Pirate Woonan and his hidden treasure map remain. Many pirates search for his mountain of hidden gold on a remote island. Among them are Captain El Drago and his men who have taken possession of a map to that hidden island. On their way there, they meet and decide to rob the Straw Hat Pirates, who, still lacking a cook, are close to starvation. Our heroes, Luffy, Zoro, and Tobio survive and go on the hunt, hoping to beat Captain El Drago and his crew to the treasure horde. Will Luffy and his crew find the treasure in time? And will they find a cook for their ship before they all starve death. And what is oden and what does it smell like?
- One Piece - The Movie 2: The Adventure Island Clock : While the Straw Hats enjoy a warm day at the beach, their ship with all their equipment and weapons is stolen. As Luffy and his fearless crew mates go in search of their beloved ship they will encounter the mysterious Thief Brothers and embark on a whole new treasure hunting adventure. The quest for the fabled Diaomond Clock from Clockwork Island.
- One Piece - The Movie 3: Chopper Kingdom - Strange Animal Island : With Chopper as their newest member, the Straw Hats arrive at the Island of Strange Animals. Before they can land, a geyser-like fountain sends their ship flying. Chopper falls off and lands in the middle of a gathering of strange animals who conducting a mystical ritual! According to local legend, a king will fall from the heavens and become the ruler of the island! Unbeknownst to Chopper the evil hunter, Count Butler and his team of despicable henchmen, led by General Hot Dog and President Snake are searching this very island for the magical horn of the fabled King of the Animals! Oh oh! Will Luffy and his motley crew of Straw Hats find their new crew mate in time or is Chopper about to become more extinct than a giant rhino?
Of the anime titles turned into T-shirts by Uniqlo, One Piece is the biggest – the reigning king of all the anime and manga franchises, pretty much unchallenged in the 16 years since Eiichiro Oda began the manga, and 14 since Toei Animation started animating it. But perhaps Uniqlo would have turned One Piece into a line of shirts even if the saga hadn’t been a world hit. Just look at those pirate designs – brash, cartoony, uncompromising. There’s no whiff of a committee, no hint of a five-year product plan reliant on changing a heroine’s hair colour (or deepening her cleavage). It just helps that the pictures are as commercial when they move as they are when they’re a cool static graphic in a manga, or on the front of a T-shirt.
“Ninja or pirates?” While Naruto – representing the ninja corner, of course – has proven hugely popular, UK fans have long been unable to weigh in on the other side. With the long-awaited arrival of One Piece on DVD this May, that finally changes.
Matt Kamen finds out who’s who in the One Piece anime
Monkey D. Luffy: The founder and captain of the Straw Hats, Luffy is a carefree soul who wants to become king of the pirates. After eating the Gum-Gum Devil Fruit, he gained an elastic body, making him near-invulnerable and able to stretch but paradoxically making him unable to swim.
One-hit wonders. Every country has them. And, as PSY can most likely attest, very few musicians really want to be labelled as one. Sure, it’s all fun, games and fancy dinners when that royalty cheque floats through the letter box. The one with all the zeroes from that single from yesteryear that went massive. But what about the rest of your work? It must be somewhat unsatisfying as an artist to be known for one track, while everything else remains relatively overlooked, and expectations are high for that difficult follow up single. If you’re TOMATO CUBE, you do nothing. Ever again.
Andrew Osmond on the history of man-machine interfaces
RoboCop is thrown into interesting perspective by looking at his anime cousins. In Japan, RoboCop is one of a crowd. Two of anime’s greatest poster icons – Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell and Tetsuo in Akira – are or become cyborgs. Moreover, a man-turned-robot was an anime hero back in 1963. We’re talking about 8th Man, shown in America as Tobor the Eighth Man. It’s a policeman who, yes, gets murdered by a crime gang, then resurrected in a robot body.
At their production peak, Shaw Studios sanded down some of the historical elements in their epics, concentrating on acrobatics and heavier violence. This, in turn, made them more palatable or at least accessible to non-Chinese audiences, and inadvertently stoked the fires of the Kung Fu Boom.
Babymetal, anime apartheid and MazandaRanting in our 25th podcast.
Jeremy “Care in the Community” Graves is joined by Manga UK’s Jerome “Twitter Hijacker” Mazandarani and Product Manager Andrew “Mr Manga” Hewson, and special guest Stuart Ashen, star of Ashens and the Quest for the Gamechild, out now. Not sure any of those names will stick.
Paul Jacques' pictures from the best of London's Comicon...
It's taken a while to shift through the paperwork and read all your indecipherable handwriting, but we've finally managed to sift through the London Comicon cosplay pictures and pick out our winners from a fantastic bunch. And with no further ado...
Andrew Osmond tries to make sense of Sunrise's mad new anime
As regular subscribers to Manga Entertainment’s podcast and twitter feed will know, there was some confusion about whether Sunrise’s new comedy-fantasy-action-fanservice series was called (deep breath) Horizon on the Middle of Nowhere or Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. We’re calling it the former in the UK, although releases elsewhere have plumped for the “in” option. Either way, it sounds less weird and Escheresque once you know that Horizon is the name of a pivotal female character in the series. But it reflects the inescapable fact that Horizon is, well, confusing.
On sale now at the San Diego Comic Con in a limited edition of only 325 prints, Kilian Eng's beautiful Ghost in the Shell poster for Mondo. It's a thing of beauty made specially to commemorate the 25th anniversary.
Redline and Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine showcase the talent of Takeshi Koike, a rising star in the anime firmament. While the two titles are very different, they’re both brash and arresting, the obverse of any safe house ‘style’...
Bleach series 13 continues the clash between Soul Society’s Shinigami and Sousuke Aizen’s Arrancar army. It also brings with it a new talent in Japanese pop-rock: miwa. This fresh-faced female, armed with a guitar and an arsenal of upbeat pop-rock songs, provides the series’ twelfth opening theme, ‘chAngE’.
Since our announcement we have had it confirmed by TOEI Animation (The Licensor) that the masters being used for our release will be those used in Australia by Madman Entertainment. At the time of our announcement this had not been confirmed to us.