photo collections

cover imageVoice of Weiß (roman album/photo collection)
Tokuma Shoten; ISBN 4-19-720031-5; ¥1,980
114 pages plus mini-CD "Neoki de YaVai'ssu"

Apparently, this book includes photos and text previously published elsewhere (specifically, Voice Animage and perhaps some of the CD liner notes); I'm not sure how much of it is new and exclusive to this book.

However, I was very impressed by the pictures. You get to see the seiyuu armed and in costume as their alter egos, outdoors in casual dress, and dressed all in either black or white in dozens of poses. (for a sampling of scanned images, see the images section)

That's the first part of the book. If your Japanese is up to it, the second part of the book is even better. There are pages and pages of a round-table discussion featuring all four seiyuu, reminiscing about past events and making plans for the future. Then, there are individual interview sections, where each one answers a set of fifty questions and is the subject of comments by the others. Takehito Koyasu, as the creator of Weiß, has a special solo interview, and there are short profiles of the supporting cast of the first drama CDs. The book also touches upon the fictional side of Weiß with character profiles and a fun flow-chart test (translated version available here) to see which florist/assassin you're best suited to. Finally, the book closes with a few pages of fans' comments and illustrations.

This book also comes with a mini-CD about 20 minutes long called "Neoki de YaVai'ssu." The title is a play on words meaning something like "Waking Up is Dangerous." It's neither a music CD nor a drama CD; instead, "Koyapii's Manager Shirapii," Eri Shirasaki, takes listeners on a tour of the Weiß members' bedrooms while they're asleep, then proceeds to wake them up and ask them the burning question, "What color are your underpants?" The results are utterly not to be taken seriously (I hope), and what little I could understand was very funny. Sample dialogue:

Shirapii: ...In any case, I'm here on behalf of all the Weiß fans to ask you what color your underwear is.
Seki: My underwear? Here, I'll show you!
Shirapii: No! That's okay! There's no need to--
Seki: ...just get this belt here... oops, pulled 'em off with my pants... There!
Shirapii: (still protesting and shrieking)
Seki: Hmm. They're white. White, with a yellow part in the middle.

I highly recommend this book to all Weiß-seiyuu fans.

Du lugst coverDu lugst (photo collection)
photographs by Saori Tsuji
Movic; ISBN 0146-0334-01; ¥2,310
96 pages plus a set of three cardboard pinup "portraits"

Unlike "Voice of Weiß," this one is strictly photographs (most of them full-page and full-color) cover to cover. The seiyuu appear in a wide array of flashy suits, ugly shirts, and cool shoes. I'm hesitant to crack the binding to scan too much of the book, so to encourage you to order the book for yourself, I present...The Du lugst Awards!

The photos in Du lugst aren't meant to be cosplay, but Koyasu-san's turn in a white suit and eyeglasses a la Schwarz' Brad Crawford get him the Most Out-of-Character Award.

The Most Ubiquitous Accessory is, predictably, the cross pendant, sported in some shape or form by Seki-san, Miki-san, and Yuuki-san.

Du lugst coverThere was some tough competition, but the Ugliest Shirt Award goes to Seki-san's plain black sweater with patches of multicolored feathers haphazardly glued on the shoulders and elbows. First Runner-Up: Yuuki-san's flowered white blouse. Well, actually, it's quite pretty. I think my late grandmother had one exactly like it.

Seki-san also receives the Least-Ugly Shirt Award, Polyester Division for the one with the enormous black and white polka dots. Least-Ugly Shirt, Natural Fibers Division honors go to Miki-san for his beige heroin-chic V-neck sweater.

Best Product Placement: Lark brand cigarettes, a pack of which appear tucked into the top of Miki-san's leather pants. In the same series of photos, Miki-san gets the Most Likely to Pull a Groin Muscle Award, sitting on the floor with his legs spread wide apart. Wide, wide apart.

Miki-san also is the recipient of the Best Use of a Blow Dryer Award for his blonde rockabilly pompadour, while the Worst Use of a Blow Dryer is awarded to Koyasu-san with his hair styled away from his face, creating a look oddly reminiscent of Jim Carrey. However, that photo is redeemed by the freckles visible on his chest where his shirt is unbuttoned, worthy of the title Most Endearing Physical Revelation.

The award for Best Optical Illusion goes to the pair of photographs that play with depth perception and the difference in Yuuki-san and Miki-san's height. First Runner-Up: the blue polyester shirt with the vertical zigzag pattern that makes it look as though Koyasu-san's entire torso has been pleated (not so much in this picture, though).

And finally, the Non Sequitur Award goes to the only original text in this volume, a series of English-language word balloons running beneath photos of the seiyuu sitting at a patio table:

"Have you come up with a recipe for love."
"This is cute, I'm sure it will look nice on you."
"Oh, you really stink!"
"Leave me alone!"
"Money isn't everything you know."
"Service, service"
"What? This is it?"

(more scanned images available in the images section)

Peace (photo collection)
Movic; ISBN 4-89601-417-0; ¥2,800
(112 pages plus two cardboard pinup portraits, two postcards, and two photograph prints)

Sorry, the image at left is not the cover picture. The cover is actually blue, showing the Weiß guys against the sea and the sky, but I don't have a scanner right now...

More than any of the other photo collections, Peace is pure fun. Unlike Voice of Weiß, it doesn't put the seiyuu in character, and unlike Du lugst, it doesn't attempt to be particularly cool or artsy. It just follows the seiyuu on one long day off (they wear the same clothes throughout the entire book).

The seiyuu are all smiles as they eat, drink, visit shrines, go shopping, play frisbee, and just hang out. Perhaps it's because they look like they're having a good time that there isn't a bad picture in the bunch. (And apparently, some of the frisbee pictures were taken by Hiro Yuuki.)

If you enjoyed Du lugst's brief interlude of English phrases quoted above, Peace has even more English captions. And if the English captions sometimes seem sort of strange, well, so do the Japanese ones. Really, they're not nearly as awkward as most of the Japanglish you see out there.

A note on locations: As far as I can tell, most of the group pictures were taken around Yokohama. (TK is from Yokohama, and there's a district called "Koyasu" there.) TK's solo pictures were taken in Daikanyama in Tokyo, near Ebisu (which he envisioned as the real location of the fictional Koneko no Sumu Ie flower shop. I don't think Monzennaka is where TS grew up, but I think it's close or has the same atmosphere. Yoyogi and Shinjuku are parts of Tokyo you may actually have heard of, but I don't know what significance, if any, they have to SM and HY.

hm3 DX coverhm3 DX (magazine special edition)
Ongaku Senkasha Magazine number 01594-12, ¥1,800
(74 pages plus two posters and six trading cards)

This awkwardly oversized volume is something between a book and a magazine. It's printed on shiny, heavy paper and has a square spine, but while the bulk of the book compiles the various Weiß features that have been printed in the first six issues of the magazine hm3, it also has several pages devoted to Daisuke Sakaguchi, Nobutoshi Hayashi, and other male seiyuu. Some of the pictures are from the same photo shoots used in the photo collection "Du Lugst."

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