New header image for the Lounge!

Finally changed the header image for the Tentacle Lounge! Until now I was using a pretty cool image but it had nothing to do with Toshio Maeda or his works so I finally put that right! In this image I used some of the original pages of art that he kindly sold me when I last saw him. The image contains 3 pages from Urotsukidōji, 2 pages from Taxi Driver, and 1 page from Habu goes Forth! Hope you all like the new design and stay tuned for a new manga entry coming in the next few days!

 

Urotsukidōji: Legend of the Overfiend OST from Tiger Lab Vinyl!

Last year, fans of Urotsukidōji were given a double dose of great news when the first volume of the revamped English edition of the original manga was released by FAKKU!. The second helping of awesomeness came in the form of an announcement from upcoming record label, Tiger Lab Vinyl, concerning their mind-blowing release of the full soundtrack of the original OVA on vinyl. With both announcements being very widely welcomed by long time fans of the franchise, the time has come it seems, for the Overfiend to finally get some love after several years of hiding in the shadows!

Thanks to the wonderfully kind staff at Tiger Lab Vinyl, I was able to procure copies of both the limited edition “Tentacle Burst” variant as well as the standard “Overfiend Pink” release – and boy are they sexy as all hell! Unlike previous releases that Tiger Lab Vinyl have produced (such as Wicked City, and Devilman etc) the Urotsukidōji vinyl release spans across 2 LPs and boasts a whopping 18 tracks of theatrical goodness. The gatefold design of the release is slick too with the word Urotsukidōji written in its original Japanese (うろつき童子) across the center of the cover with various stills from the OVA contained within each character of the lettering. Amanojaku, Kuroko, Akemi, Nagumo, and even Miss Togami can be found along with a cool looking tentacle darting out of nowhere and entwining itself around the characters. The real star of the show however, is the vinyl itself. The standard “Overfiend Pink” version is a beautiful, creamy color that looks wonderful on any deck but it has to be said that the Tiger Lab Vinyl store exclusive “Tentacle Burst” variation blows even that out of the water. No two discs are alike as the  deep purple and soft pink colors merge into one another to create an effect reminiscent of the actual tentacles in the movie itself. Watching it spin on the turntable is a gorgeous sight to behold, believe me.

As for the music itself, well, I’m gonna have to be honest here and say that soundtracks aren’t usually my thing at all since I pretty much listen to nothing but thrash metal. However, once I put this bad boy on my turntable, my stance quickly changed. You see, Urotsukidōji and Akira were the first two Japanese animated movies I ever saw and between them they opened the door to an entire new world of entertainment that basically changed my life. I saw both movies within the same week and must have watched them both hundreds of times back in the early 90’s when I was in high school. The imagery and storylines of both films are what stay with most people but the music itself is so easily forgotten. When I spun this record though, I was staggered to realize how much of it was engraved in my memory and also from what scenes the tracks were used in! It’s kinda hard to explain but it was like I was enjoying the whole movie all over again but without visuals. As I sat there with a strong brandy and took in the full brevity of Masamichi Amano’s work, it really made me realize how less the movie would have been if his soundtrack was never used. The opening track “Legend of the Overfiend” that accompanies the monologue at the beginning of the movie before whisking us away to Meishin University with the “Campus Theme” as memories of Nagumo in the locker room and Osaki playing basketball quickly come to the fore. Fans of the movie will also enjoy hearing the full 12 minute track that is “Osaki’s Transformation” as they recall the epic fight atop of the skyscraper that is accompanied by this fast paced musical score. I also really dig that the vinyl cover art is of the moment that Osaki’s life is unexpectedly brought to an end by Amanojaku. Such a great scene!

Talking of scenes though, there really are too many to mention. From the moment Nagumo transforms in the hospital for the first time during “Birth of the Overfiend” to the creepy sounding piece of music that accompanies the appearance of the demon world’s elite, “Enter Suikakujū”, the listener will be captivated from start to finish. I also really like “Battle Among the Skycrapers” and “Nagumo and Akemi” but my personal favorite track would have to be “Charmer and the Half-beast: Amanojaku” which has an ominous sounding build up at the beginning before tearing into a rocking 80’s sounding midsection. Try listening to that without busting out your air guitar!

It’s been over a month since this release has been made but I held back on writing about it since part of the plan was to personally hand Toshio Maeda two copies of the vinyl (one of each variant) courtesy of Tiger Lab Vinyl by means of their appreciation. His reaction upon seeing the vinyl was priceless with an “Oh? Is this a laserdisc? What?? It’s a vinyl soundtrack?? That’s so cool!!”. We spoke about the anime and the soundtrack and his memories of working with Amano during it’s creation too which was a really awesome moment for me. As you can see by the photos below, he was very happy with his present! He really dug the choice of colors used in creating both variants of the vinyl too! He even signed my copies of the vinyl that I brought with me so I went home a very happy chap indeed that day! You could even say that my tentacle was at full mast!

In summary, If you’re a fan of this anime, (and let’s be honest, you are otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place!) then you really should invest in a copy of this magnificent soundtrack release. It’s bloody fantastic and you won’t regret it, trust me!

Thanks again to the generous staff at Tiger Lab Vinyl for making this all happen!

 

Welcome to Evil Spirit Island!

Greetings fellow Tentacle fans!

Kicking off the New Year, I decided to go back to 1981 and revisit the manga adaption of the hugely popular novel, Akuryōtō. This title is an absolute beast and took me a fair while to read through I can tell you! Thankfully, you won’t need to do the same since you can simply click HERE to find out more about this title! Lucky you!

Til next time!

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Urotsukidōji Volume 1 (FAKKU edition)

007_6972ede2-de36-4148-894e-b40804fe7cd4In late 2015, word came out that prolific North American based Hentai publishers, FAKKU! had acquired the licensing rights to Toshio Maeda’s magnum opus Urotsukidōji. News of such a release was very warmly welcomed since the existing Central Park Media release of Urotsukidōji was long out of print and becoming increasingly hard to find. (Well, for a sensible asking price anyway.) Within just a few months of the initial announcement, FAKKU! came through on their promise and launched a kickstarter campaign allowing fans to help fund the project whilst simultaneously giving them the chance to pick up some pretty nice perks along the way. The page had some interesting stretch goals too including one ensuring that Toshio Maeda would go back and revisit his manga and then “uncensor” the original artwork by drawing in the genitals that he obviously couldn’t draw first time round due to censorship laws being what they are over here. Buoyed by the promise of a new, revised translation, and the opportunity to own a possibly uncensored version of Urotsukidōji as drawn by the original creator himself, people from around the world began to back the project. The campaign was a success and all 4 volumes were successfully funded but, for better or worse, the $87,000 stretch goal to uncensor the manga was not reached….

Fast forward to December 2016 and 016Volume 1 of Urotsukidōji was finally released by FAKKU! in both digital and printed format. Like everyone else, I was excited to get my hands on a copy for two reasons; firstly it’s one of my favorite titles by Maeda and the story that introduced me to his works, and secondly because as a translator myself, I really wanted to see how it was handled. I don’t own the CPM graphic novel releases from 1999 aside from a couple of random issues but I have read enough of them to see that the translation quality was pretty low, not to mention the below par touching up of the artwork. The flipping of the images didn’t do it many favors either but, for the longest time, that was all that non-Japanese speaking readers had to enjoy the story. With these feelings in mind, I immediately set about procuring a copy of the new FAKKU! edition but ran into a few problems due to my geographical location. Firstly, it’s impossible to access FAKKU’s website from Japan without using a VPN client. Secondly, upon registering with their site and creating an account, I then learned that Japan isn’t an acceptable location for when selecting shipping options. Since the book wasn’t available to purchase on amazon.com either I was a little frustrated and soon took to twitter to ask about a work around. Thankfully, in a fortunate twist of generosity, FAKKU! CEO Jacob Grady got in touch with me personally and ensured that I got a copy! (Thanks again, Jacob!). With my brand new book in hand, I then sat down with a large cup of coffee and began to revisit Nagumo, Akemi, and Amanojaku…

urotsukidoji_legend_of_the_overfiend_fakku_kickstarter_001Before I start, let me just say that I’m not going to write anything about the actual story since I already went into great detail a couple of years ago when I added the title to the works page on this blog. My focus this time is on the actual release of the FAKKU! edition and my thoughts upon reading it so, with that in mind, I’ll cut straight to the chase. My very first impression of the book upon removing it from it’s packaging was “Wow!”. The cover artwork is the same as the Suzuran Comics complete edition but the FAKKU! edition comes with a nipple-less girl on the front and some very stylish embossed lettering for the title. The quality of the paper used is also very high (more on that later) and the color pages included are also beautifully presented. As I started reading the story, I noticed a couple of things straight off the bat; the first of which being the sound effects also translated in English. It’s been a number of years since I’ve read manga in English so this was something I’m not used to seeing much of these days. When I first noticed them, I wasn’t sure if it bothered me or not but thankfully, after 30 pages or so, they didn’t bother me nor distract my attention any longer so I was pleased by that. The second thing I noticed was the unfortunate spelling of Amanojaku’s name. In the story he gives a fake name upon joining the school and most people refer to him simply as “Amano” too in the original Japanese release but it seems there was a conscious decision made to split “Amano” and “Jaku” like they are his first name and family name. His name is taken from an existing demon in Japanese folklore of the same name so it’s a bit of a shame that his name was changed in this way. Speaking of names, I also noticed that the characters are called by their family name first (for example, Togami Kitako) but then later on this rule is switched to first name first when mentioning somebody so that momentarily threw me too. Those small gripes aside, I’m very relieved to say that the translation in the FAKKU! edition is a huge improvement on the Central Park Media effort. The translation is very faithful to the source material and the juvenile language used by some of the characters is generally befitting of their age since they are mostly high school students. Amanojaku is an exception of course since he’s at least 300 years old so sometimes he can sound a bit too juvenile in places but, on the whole, I think 022the translation team did a pretty solid job in presenting him in a way that reflects his “Osakan” roots whilst maintaining his strong character. Two things I was VERY happy with though would be the decision to NOT use honorifics in the translation. I personally hate seeing them in localized manga since they usually lead to laziness on the translators part, and they also sound totally unnatural in English so I applaud FAKKU on it’s decision to omit any use of those. Secondly, it’s a tiny thing I know but, I rarely saw any words split by a hyphen to fit the dialogue inside the speech bubbles. For somebody with a fine eye for uniformity and detail, this is something I was very pleased to notice.

In summary, FAKKU! have done an admirable job in bringing this classic to the English speaking world. If there is anything I’d like to see change for the next release aside from Amanojaku’s name, it might be the redrawing of the store signs into English. I feel they are best left in Japanese since they barely add anything to the plot and help retain the overall feel of the setting. I may be in the minority when saying this but I was personally very happy to hear that the stretch goal wasn’t reached. I feel that no penises was exactly how the manga was intended to be drawn and many of the angles in the panels were drawn with precisely that in mind so, to go back and add them later, I feel, would be meddling with Maeda’s original vision a little too much. Also, I may be alone in thinking this too but, as amazingly well-made as the book is, I did find it rather stiff and turning through the pages hurt my fingers a tad so maybe slightly softer paper next time would be better?

All said and done, this is a very solid release and I feel confident that the ensuing three volumes are gonna be just as well presented. The great news also is that I compared this page by page alongside the Suzuran Comics complete edition and it was exactly the same which means the full ending and epilogue will be getting a full English release for the first time too! Awesome!! FAKKU have said they are planning on releasing Toshio Maeda’s “entire” works in English (though I wonder if they really can since much of it has been lost to the passage of time) and, judging by this release, I think it’s safe to say that his work is in good hands. Great job guys!

Volume 1 of Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend is available now on the FAKKU! store so be sure to pick up a copy! Here’s the original cover artwork:

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Happy New Year!

Well, it looks like 2017 is already upon us. Where does the time go?!

2016 was a pretty good year for the Tentacle Master with various convention appearances around the world coupled with a successful kickstarter campaign initiated by FAKKU to get the first volume of Urotsukidōji it’s first official English release in well over a decade. I’m sure that 2017 has lots more goodies in store for the big guy too with the impending release of the Urotsukidōji movie OST courtesy of the amazing guys over at Tiger Lab Vinyl being just one thing that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Personally, for me 2017 has started in the best possible way as I was lucky enough to go for beers with Maeda-Sensei last weekend and get a whole bunch of his books signed in the process! As usual we had a blast talking about his work and the manga industry in general and it was made extra fun thanks to his apprentice, Hector Hernandez, coming along for the ride too. I was actually doubly lucky as I also spent the following morning and afternoon with the Tentacle Master too! Great times!

Anyway, I hope you all have a tentacletastic 2017 and here’s to a year of health and success for us all! Thanks for the support!!

Cheers,

Brendan