Versailles Fifth Anniversary Single "ROSE"

I have been a Versailles fan since the beginning and I was very happy they were able to accomplish five years of producing very awesome music. Thus, I was all over their fifth anniversary release of the single, "ROSE". I went ahead and put down the money for the limited edition collectors box-- a set that was only going to have 6,666 pieces. The box is about the size of the Holy Grail collectors box. It is covered in a red velvety material with the Versailles seal and title of the single embossed on it. In the lower left corner on the back of the box is your serial number. I am 4,838 out of the 6,666. Inside, you are greeted with the special case housing the CD and DVD and the photobook. The front of the inner case is the same as the regular edition release of the single.

The first half of the photobook contains beautiful full page shots and other photos of the members in their current outfits, along with the lyrics for the songs on the single. The second half of the book is a trip down memory lane as it contains photos from the last five years. You'll get to visually relive everything from "Lyrical Symphony" to "Noble" to "Ascendead Master" up to "Holy Grail".

The single itself is very nice. The title track, "ROSE," sort of reminded me of "God Palace". While not exactly like that, it is a standard Versailles-sounding track with music by Hizaki and lyrics by Kamijo. The second track is "Ayakashi" with music by Masashi and lyrics by Kamijo. Ayakashi is the most traditional Japanese sounding song Versailles has ever produced. Instead of invoking the image of vampires... I imagined oni and vengeful ghosts in a haunted bamboo forest. It is a very heavy sounding song with deep guitar rifts and Masashi's amazing bass work. The last two songs are re-releases from previous albums. The third song is "Love will be born again". This time, the lyrics are in Japanese. At first, it sounded strange because I am so used to hearing the song in English. It was already very touching and sad the first time it was released. However, the Japanese lyrics just make it even more poignant.

The final track of the single is the 2012 version "THE RED CARPET DAY". As one of my favorite songs ever, I was wondering what Versailles was going to do on the re-release. As soon as it starts playing, you will notice the melody is set a few notes lower. The mad organ playing has been toned down and overall, the song feels much heavier and darker. Yuki's drumming is absolutely amazing and so crisp on this release. Masashi's bass work is as intricate and breath-taking as ever. The interlude of the song has also been changed. It starts with a lonesome organ. Then, there is the new guitar rift accompanied by Yuki's mad drum beat which gives that portion a sense of urgency. Finally, it all melts back into the usual instrumental portion. Because the song is set a few notes lower, the signature "The Red Carpet Day" portion is definitely darker and more powerful thanks to deeper and more enhanced background vocals. It a beautiful rearrangement of an already energetic song.

The DVD included with the limited edition includes the history of the band from conception up until now. People who went to A-KON in 2008 will be thrilled to know they made the cut on the DVD. There was also a poignant tribute to Jasmine You. Most notably absent from the history books is Versailles's work on their mini-tv series. The second part of the DVD includes seven songs selected from the Holy Grail Grand Final in February 2012. I have had the pleasure of seeing Versailles perform live twice in my lifetime and I have seen their other live DVDs. However, none of that prepared me from the energetic and powerful performance presented on this DVD. I've never seen Kamijo put so much into a performance. His singing was spot on, the interactions between the band mates, and even the crowd just made it a very enjoyable experience. Hell, I even ended up like two songs I previously didn't care for much thanks to this DVD.

Overall, it was definitely worth it to buy the limited edition. According to CDJapan, the limited edition is now gone and there are very few copies of the regular edition left. I'd snag it while you still can. On the heels of this release, there is both good and bad news to report. In September, Versailles will release their next album. However, that album will be the band's last. By the end of 2012, Versailles will cease all activity to pursue personal activities. While I am disheartened about this, it has been a wonderful and epic five years and I am very happy I was able to participate and experience that which is Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet-. I hope in the near future they'll get back together to provide the world with more of their unique music and visual style.


Image Comics Exclusives at Comic-Con International

Berkeley, CA - July 5, 2012 — In addition to a full schedule of panels, Image Comics is also celebrating creativity at Comic-Con International in San Diego with exclusive covers and editions of popular and debut titles. Creators will be signing exclusives, which are available in limited quantities, so be sure to stop by the Image Comics, Skybound and Top Cow booths to make sure you get your copies!

Comic-Con International takes place on July 12-15 in the San Diego Convention Center. The Image Comics booth (#2729) will be the destination for Skybound, Shadowline, and Image central titles, while the Top Cow booth (#2629) will have all the latest in the WITCHBLADE- and THE DARKNESS-helmed universe.

Some highlights include:

THE WALKING DEAD #100 Vannen Watch
In honor of The Walking Dead’s 100th issue, Skybound and Vannen watches bring you a limited edition timepiece. The watch features art from Charlie Adlard’s issue #100 cover.  Each watch is signed by Robert Kirkman. ($85.00; Limited to 500 units, One per person)

THE WALKING DEAD Hardcover Compendium
Limited edition, foil stamped hardcover version of THE WALKING DEAD Compendium Vol. 1.  Collects issues 1-48 of THE WALKING DEAD ($100.00; > Limited to 900 copies, One per person)

THE WALKING DEAD Michonne Bloody Poncho Variant Action Figure
Limited edition bloody Michonne action figure featuring an exclusive poncho based on her first appearance. ($25.00; Limited to 3000 units, Two per person)

Artifacts #19 Broussard Comic-Con Exclusive Variant Cover
Kicking off a brand new story in the Top Cow's ongoing REBIRTH initiative, RON MARZ and STJEPAN SEJIC introduce a brand new Artifact bearer -- Dr. Rachel Harrison, bearer of the Heartstone -- in this special three part story. Available only at Comic-Con, this exclusive cover by MICHAEL BROUSSARD features Witchblade, Angelus and Aphrodite! ($10; Limited to 500 copies)

The Darkness #105 Portacio Comic-Con Exclusive Variant Cover
Concluding DAVID HINE and JEREMY HAUN's explosive opening story arc, this issue sees Jackie Estacado, bearer of the Darkness, confronted with disintegration of his perfect world. Available only at Comic-Con, this exclusive cover by WHILCE PORTACIO features The Darkness and his Darklings! ($10; Limited to 500 copies)

Think Tank #1 Bagus Variant Cover
A Comic-Con Debut Issue! The action-packed science series from MATT HAWKINS and RAHSAN EKEDAL tells the tale of a brilliant scientist trapped in a military think tank and his attempt to escape. Available only at Comic-Con, this exclusive cover by BAGUS HUTOMO introduces the world to slacker genius scientist -- Dr. David Loren! ($10; Limited to 500 copies).


Animate Cafe's Junjo Romantica Inspired Menu

Oh, how my heart aches and my tummy grumbles!

If you are fortunate to be in Japan this month and a member of CLUB animate, you have the fantastic opportunity to enter the drawing to attend Animate Café’s “Junjo Romantica” event. Commemorating the series’ 10th anniversary, the limited edition menu will allow lottery winners to partake in delicious dishes inspired by Shungiku Nakamura's [and my favorite] BL that would make Misaki Takahashi proud.
I’ve never wanted to eat an Octopus-shaped hotdog more than I do right now! And there is yummy omelet with hilarious “I like dogs” ketchup-written topping! And there is even Suzuki-san shaped ice cream for dessert! That’s not even the beginning of the menu’s hearty plates and drinks (ichigo daisuki!), with each section of the menu dedicated to the couples of Romantica, Egoist, Terroist and Mistake! The chefs may have even finely minced green pepper into all the dishes, and while I share Usagi’s strong dislike of the green vegetable, I would be willing to lose 1,000 yen to each cook to have the bountiful meals on my table!

While your belly would surely be satisfied by all the tasty food, your heart will be warmed by the plethora of fabulous swag and shopping, including Suzuki-san coasters, Suzuki-san plates, Suzuki-san mugs, Suzuki-san chocolate cookies, “JR” clear files, secret prizes and much, much more!!

Sadly the much-filled-with-love “Usami-sensei no Fuwa Fuwa Omlette Special Deluxe” is not on the menu. I’d be willing to risk Usagi’s food poisoning if it meant I could attend and grab some of these goodies.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sob into my peanut butter sandwich… T_T


Viewfinder Ryuichi Asami Doll Photos Released

Is it possible to put a price on your love for BL? How much are you willing to pay to support your favorite character or your favorite series? Well, all of you fans of Ayano Yamane’s "Viewfinder" better sit down, balance your check books, plan a summer lemonade stand franchise and consider whether or not you really need to have two arms, because you are about to pay, and pay big.

Hop over to the b-boy website and feast your eyes on crime lord and uber gorgeous seme Ryuichi Asami in doll form. Brought to you by Aozone International, Asami stands at an amazing 25 inches and features a real fabric three-piece black suit, black overcoat, white dress shirt and burgundy tie. And to top it off he can be posed and his silky black hair can be styled.

The cost of Asami is 99,750 yen. To save you from having to pull up whatever website you use to convert your yen to dollars I’ll tell you that’s over $1,200! Don’t grab your inhaler just yet. It doesn’t seem that you’ll be to get your hands on him from any online store unless you took part in the pre-orders quite a long time ago; however, if another set for ordering is not released, surely someone on Yahoo Auctions Japan will tempt you to bust your checking account should this be a must have for your collection.

Would I be willing to spend over a $1,000 on a single BL item? Handsome as he is, I am willing to pass. Those who know me best are aware of particular items I desire, but unfortunately (or perhaps thankfully) they only exist in my mind. However, the fact that Asami is now indeed in doll form makes me wonder if my mind better start imagining a second job…