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!