Kamijo Atsushi x Sakurai Atsushi

At long last, after many delays, Buck-Tick have finally announced the details of their collaboration with famed rock-n-roll manga artist Kamijo Atsushi, author of the manga To-Y, Sex, and other titles. If you ever wondered what it would look like if Kamijo Atsushi drew illustrations of Buck-Tick, wonder no more!

Kamijo's illustration of the five band members, and his special separate illustration of a long-haired Mr. Sakurai, will be released as t-shirts through Kamijo's new clothing label, GAIN (check the site for more photos of the shirts). The shirts are available in in either black or white, because adding insult to the injuries of 2020, oversized block printed ultra-white t-shirts are currently the height of "fashion" in Tokyo these days, if fashion is what you can call it. White to match your mask? Oh, wait, it's been seven months now! Why are we still wearing white masks? What happened to crisis being the mother of creativity? But we digress. The shirts are available in sizes S through XL, and cost 8580 yen apiece, which is an awful lot for a t-shirt, but the laws of the universe state that if it's possible to extort fan love into the spending whopping sums, then it must be done. And the illustrations are very cool, it's true. The t-shirts are available for pre-order from today until November 15th. If you'd like our help pre-ordering them, please send us an email.

As to why Mr. Sakurai alone got his own special illustration - that was because Kamijo Atsushi declared he was just dying to draw his Buck-Tick namesake. Why? Probably because having the same name as a national sexual XXXXX symbol made him feel aroused. Though we can't say for certain.

Happy Halloween, folks. Enjoy the Blue Moon, but don't give in to lunacy! More Abracadabra translations coming soon.


Sophia Dreams of Harajuku

Once again, sorry for keeping y'all waiting. The kanji, romaji, and singable English translations of "Sophia Dream" and "Urahara-juku" are now up over at Not Greatest Site, along with a truly epic slew of notes. Actually, we posted the translation of "Sophia Dream" on NGS last week (did any of y'all notice?) but we didn't post about on here because we were so plum tuckered out after writing all those translation notes that we fell asleep before we could write a blog post about them, too. And in fact, we're now feeling much the same way after tackling "Urahara-juku." All the juicy stuff is in the notes, so we'll keep this post short and sweet, but please do share your thoughts on these songs in the comments.

Anyhow, in case you were in any doubt: it's official. Imai is high on acid. He's high on acid, right this minute. And he wants you to know about it, in no uncertain terms. In fact... if we didn't know any better... we'd almost think he's encouraging Buck-Tick fans to do acid, too... almost like he's suggesting that doing drugs is fun... almost like he's suggesting that the full power of Buck-Tick's music can be better unlocked under the enhancements of Lady Lucy... or like he's suggesting that if you do acid then you, too, will get to hang out with Imai's anima and watch Abracadabra sunbursts twirling through the sky and maybe even find a really huge rainbow diamond, to boot!

Imai says he was inspired to write "Sophia Dream" after a person at the DIQ 2019 after party suggested to him that he write a song like Pink Floyd's "Julia Dream." If you're curious, watch a beautifully animated video for that song below.

Another thing, in case you were in any doubt: it's official. Buck-Tick have not only spent more or less their entire careers performing under stylized images of giant vaginas, they are also feminists. While Lady Lucy helps Imai celebrate the Divine Feminine as the hope of the future, Mr. Sakurai rages at street harassers.

It's true. Over and over again in the interviews the band gave about this album, Mr. Sakurai kept saying that one of the emotions that inspired him was rage. Rage. RAGE! Where are you, LiveJournal fangirls from 2009? How does that make you feel, to know that your precious Gothique Prince is so full of rage, at capitalism, idol marketing, gentrification, and most of all at sleazy guys who sexually harass cute goth girls on the streets of Harajuku, that he would take the fall for any girl tough enough to defend herself from street harassment by pushing the harasser into the street so that he gets hit by a car and dies! Does that turn you on as much as it turns us on? Or does it horrify your dainty selves out of your white china teacups and clean out of Buck-Tickistan? Or did you already leave Buck-Tickistan ages ago because you realized that "Gustave" is about a cat having sex and you simply cannot deal with such bestial themes?

Sorry, fans, but Acchan-chan knows that what's really beastly is how tough it is, being a woman in a situation where you're being physically threatened by someone bigger and stronger than you are. Not only is it scary, the world is full of victim blamers who would be quick to blame you if you used violence to defend yourself, even in situations where violence in self-defense is your only option. Not only that, but Japan is full of old-fashioned sexists who don't think girls should use language like "fuck off," like the girl in this song does. But what does Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai think? He thinks, if you're threatened, girl, put the fear of god into the guy for daring to try to mess with you! Girls, if you've ever told a guy to go to hell or punched him for harassing you, Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai is on your side. Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai will punch that guy too. Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai knows that bitches had it coming.

...and is angry about the gentrification of Harajuku...

...and is giving the finger to idol culture, but not the good kind of finger...

...and did we mention he wrote a whole song about how if anyone tries to say it's the girl's fault, they can blame him, Atsushi "Rage" Sakurai, instead...

Boys, listen up, and listen good. You want to get all the ladies? This is how you do it: by being an angry feminist. Atsushi Sakurai: raging angry feminist and national sexual XXXXX symbol, since 1966.

Rage, Acchan, rage. Rage at us all night long.




(Oh, the sweet taste of validation. It tastes almost as good as lysergic acid diethylamide. Buck-Tick, if we weren't already married to you, we'd track you down and marry y'all again.)

If you enjoyed these translations and the notes, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi. It is much appreciated!


Who's Your Daddy? or, Here Comes the Son! (Report by The Hisashi Inquirer)

You! Buck-Tick fans, we're talking to you! You're the REAL fans. You're the ones who write emails to Cayce of The Blog-Tick Phenomenon, asking for the dirt. No, not the dirt from under Hisashi Imai's fingernails. The REAL dirt. That is to say, WHO is having please me oh yes sexual tacos with Gothique Prince Acchan right now? WHO are the fruits of Gothique Prince Acchan's garter-clad loins, where are they, and what are they doing, right now? And most importantly, are they as juicily deadly sexily luscious as Gothique Prince Acchan, and even more most importantly, are they single????? Because if you can't have the dad's nads, the next best thing is having what came out of them, amirite ladeez?

Oh, but you thought you didn't have to ask, did you? You thought you knew the truth already, even though Cayce never stopped denying it? I know, you know, I know, it's been well known on the fangirl internet for many a year now: Leoneil Vaniru is the son of Atsushi Sakurai. Just look at the family resemblance! Leoneil is much younger, shorter, and less talented than our dear Gothique Prince Acchan! Smaller = clearly a miniature version of the original! And he has a beaky nose like Acchan, a trait not a single other man in Japan possesses, aside from the two of them! And what son of noble filial piety wouldn't want to cosplay his dad's ambiguously gay lover!!!!? I spring, you spring, we all spring for offspring!

Leoneil Vaniru:

Not Leoneil Vaniru but verifiedly made out with Gothique Prince Acchan:

Leoneil Vaniru:

Not Leoneil Vaniru but verifiedly made out with Gothique Prince Acchan (omg is he Leoneil's mom!??!):

Then again... others of you also knew the truth. There's no way anyone who writes as many Buck-Tick / Der Zibet /Soft Ballet madlib mashups is the fruit of Gothique Prince Acchan's loins. Leoneil Vaniru is a homosexually inclined Gothique Prince Acchan fanboy. His mother was Billie Jean. Billie Jean was not Acchan's lover, she was just a girl who thought that he was the one. But the kid, Gothique Prince Acchan's real son, is this guy. Shotaro Mama Mia! Whoops, we meant Shotaru Mamiya. Just look at the way he scowls at that camera! It's is if he's already pulled the sword from the Stone of Buck-Tickistan, revealing himself as the one and only true heir!!! Internet fangirls sure know their stuff.

Practically indistinguishable, huh?

But then! The scandal broke!! The son of Atsushi Sakurai is, in fact, this lil' lipstick-loving bishonen by the name of Ten Yoshii, formerly presumed to be the son of The Yellow Monkey's Kazuya Yoshii. The photographic evidence leaves little doubt!

Kazuya Yoshii:

Atsushi Sakurai:

Ten "Yoshii":

Who's your daddy, eh, Ten? Who could he possibly be but Atsushi Sakurai!?!?! 

...so why are we still in doubt? If we knew all along which bishonen were/are the product(s) of Gothique Prince Acchan's reproductive processes... what is left for The Hisashi Inquirer to Report?

A SCOOP, that's what! A big scoop of Cream Soda I Scream!!!

As a matter of strictly rigorously ethical journalistic fact, major reputable news media outlets such as The Snobby Literary Press, Kyodo News, NHK, Hipster Novelists' Quarterly, and Troubled Children of Divorced Rock Stars Who Went to Law School and Were Going to Be Civil Servants But Found Themselves Instead and Became Award-Winning Novelists' Weekly, have all unearthed the Truth: the fruit of the loins of Gothique Prince Acchan (yeek! we said "loins" again!!) is none other than hipster hairdo model and 2020 winner of the acclaimed Akutagawa Prize for best literary story of the year, Haruka Tono! The Akutagawa Prize is one of Japan's top literary awards, and 29-year-old Haruka Tono (not his real name), born August 22nd, 1991 as the proud instigator of the less-than-yearlong shotgun marriage of his youthfully indiscretional parents, Buck-Tick frontman Atsushi Sakurai and former Buck-Tick stylist and seamstress of giant shoulder pads Sayuri Watanabe, is the first winner to have been born in the Heisei era (post-1988). Tono, who attended the prestigious Keio University law school, wears much more serious suits than his louche father, and previously won the Bungei literary prize for his work Kairyou ("Reform"). He was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for his work Hakyoku ("Breakup"), which, contrary to fangirl belief, is not about the oh-so-predictable end of his parents' ill-advised marriage, but, according to Japanese internet literature nerds, follows the life of a Japanese university student, Yousuke, a douchey, pompous tryhard overachiever who works on his macho muscles day and night, coaches high school rugby, thinks he's the smartest guy in town and his skillz with the ladeez can't be beat. He's studying to be a civil servant and dating a girl who plans to be a politician... but then he meets another girl, and cue disaster. Guess being macho and mansplainy wasn't the answer to everything after all. Jeez, Tono. You could have learned that one from your dad! (The Hisashi Inquirer cannot verify the accuracy of this synopsis, but since The Hisashi Inquirer rarely fact-checks anything, this is not unusual).

To unveil this highly unlikely combination of loins and fruit thereof, both father and son gave a joint interview to the literary magazine Bungei, with photographic evidence of their utter lack of familial resemblance, and Gothique Prince Acchan's subtle and slightly-embarrassed look of pride in his decorated offspring, who achieved fame purely on his own merits, because nobody in the literary awards scene has ever heard of Buck-Tick. Bravo, son! Live no longer in the shadow of your garter-clad dad!

Could this baby in Gothique Prince Acchan's arms possibly be the hipster haircut pictured above? If the baby's hipster haircut and the father's slightly embarrassed pride are anything to go on, then yes.

Meanwhile, as literature fangirls titter about the handsomeness of the newest Akutagawa awardee, we at The Hisashi Inquirer are wondering just exactly how Kazuya Yoshii fits into this puzzle after all.

Kazuya Yoshii:

Haruka Tono:

Who's son is the real son!!!? Could there be MORE scoops to come!? Stay tuned and find out!!!


Note from Cayce: The above article was translated from the original Buck-Tickistani by yours truly. The content represents solely the views of The Hisashi Inquirer, and not of Cayce or the Blog-Tick Phenomenon. For those of you who are understandably confused by this strange turn of events, some facts: yes, Mr. Sakurai publicly acknowledged Akutagawa Prize winner Tono Haruka as his biological son. While there has been no mention of who Tono's mother is, Sakurai and Buck-Tick's former stylist Watanabe Sayuri were married in 1991. She was already pregnant when they married, and gave birth to a son shortly thereafter. The two divorced less than a year later after some tabloids broke that Mr. Sakurai was having extramarital affairs (le shock). Watanabe quit being Buck-Tick's stylist and the band hired Yagi Tomoharu to replace her. Yagi has been the band's stylist ever since. No further information about Watanabe or the child was publicly confirmed. Tono Haruka was born on August 22nd, 1991, so if he isn't Watanabe's son, then Mr. Sakurai sure was getting around the town like a yowling tomcat. However, the logical assumption is that Tono is the biological son of Sakurai and Watanabe. Whether Tono Haruka is his real name or a pen name is unclear. Haruka did, indeed attend Keio University Law School. We haven't read his award-winning story, so we can't verify that the synposes are accurate, but from what we skimmed on book review sites, the general gist is correct. Serious reporting from The Hisashi Inquirer? We're frankly amazed. And yes, Yoshii Ten is the confirmed biological son of Yoshii Kazuya.


And thanks for the Ko-Fi, y'all. Keep it coming so we have enough caffeine to write award-winning novel-length notes on the remainder of Abracadabra.


Que Sera Sera

Hi, folks! How are y'all enjoying Abracadabra? Did y'all watch the live stream? What about that acoustic "Living on the Net," eh? Did you see that one coming?

We realize we've taken more time this go-around to start posting translations of the lyrics to the new album. Thanks for your patience in waiting for our translations - there's a lot, a lot, to unpack in this album, and we wanted to let the songs sink in for a while before we took a crack at translating them - also, we wanted to take the time to read through the copious interviews with the band members to check on their intended meanings of the lyrics, and to pinpoint the source of some of the references which might have slipped under our radar otherwise. In other words, we've been off the grid, doing our Buck-Tick homework for y'all (Buck-Tick homework: the best kind of homework ever.) And, you know, work, and IRL life, and less-than-perfect health. All that fa fa fa fa and la la la la. Que sera sera!

The good news: we are done with the preliminary research and now we are cracking! We are pleased to bring to you the singable English translation of "Que Sera Sera Elegy," complete with copious notes, because we know how much y'all love notes. Please feel free to leave your comments on the song on this post. Also, please feel free to join us in imagining Imai in his basement home studio, practicing his high kick dance in his giant platform heel stompy boots, as his daughter chases him around, shrieking and laughing hysterically. The inspiration for this song? Very possibly. Who's your daddy? Imai Hisashi, that's who.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported us on Ko-Fi. If you enjoy this translation and would like to continue supporting our work, please don't hesitate to buy us some more Ko-Fi, as we are currently severely under-caffeinated.


Six O'Clock Radio at Nine O'Clock

Just especially for Buck-Tick, the program "Six O'Clock Radio" is doing an Abracadabra special, to be aired at 9 PM tomorrow, Japan time. See what they did there? Six/Nine's not dead!

The program will be streamed on YouTube here. It will include advertisements for the ultra-deluxe limited editions of the album, including the contents of the limited edition CD, analog LP, and cassette tape. It will also contain "never before aired comments from the band members," and kids, please join us in hoping that these are socially distanced filmed-from-home comments, so that we can vicariously spy on the band members' houses! By now we've all seen a number of views of Imai's crazy black-and-white wallpaper, art collection, and large articulated metal celestial globe (not to mention a reprise of his Schaft plague doctor mask)... but what have we seen of Hide's place except that record-store wall (is it fake? is it real? does it matter?), and that gargoyle. Is it true that Hide lives in a scrubbed-wood hipster coffee shop with navy blue and beige horizontal stripes and small potted olive trees dotting the ultra minimalist coffee bar? Or does he live in his very own Bali-themed spa full of miniature fountains, faux frangipani flowers, carven statues of Ganesha and sexy ladies, with a soundtrack of surf rock mixed with gamelan music, sipping banana martinis as he dreams longingly of his next trip to the Southern Islands?

And what about the others? Is it true that Yutaka lives in a swanky penthouse full of baseball jerseys and gay theater actor "roommates"? Is it true that Toll has a water-cooler-style dispenser for his box wine? Is it true that Mr. Sakurai devoted an entire room to a custom-built kitty jungle gym the likes of which the world has never seen? Would he be willing to give us a tour of the inside of his closet, including the 15 identical Alexander McQueen t-shirts (but most definitely NOT including underwear?) Boy oh boy (septem peccata mortalia), we can't wait for tomorrow!

But that's not all! By far the most exciting part of this program is sure to be the part where they play all the tracks from the new album! It doesn't say whether they'll play them in their entirety, or only play clips, but it kind of sounds like they'll be playing the whole album. Better make sure you connect up your good speaker system before tuning in to this one.


A special site has also been launched for Tour Abracadabra On Screen, including miniature thumbnails of some of the new tour goods. Goods won't be sold at the venues on this tour, they'll only be sold through the web site. If you'd like to order any, shoot us an email. But we'll wait to review the goods until there are photos which actually show what the goods look like. Let's hope they put those photos up before 6PM Friday, September 18th, which is when the goods go on sale, and doubtless also when they will sell out.


When the YouTube program airs tomorrow, feel free to leave comments about it on this post. It may not be as much fun as shouting emoji into the YouTube void, but it's a lot more enduring.


Living on the Net, Eureka! and more

Buck-Tick sure are punching us in the face with the speed and volume of their announcements these days. Sorry we haven't been keeping up in as timely a fashion as we used to... we're still struggling a bit, physically. But we have been endeavoring since 2009 to get y'all the latest from Buck-Tickistan, and we won't quit now. Here goes!

1. Abracadabra Living on the Net

First, and most relevant to Buck-Tick's overseas fans: on Monday, September 21st, which is the release date of Abracadabra, and also Buck-Tick's 33rd anniversary, Buck-Tick will be holding "Abracadabra Live on the Net," their first no-audience remote-viewing live production since Satellite Circuit, back in 1991. That is to say, they will be playing a live show to an empty hall, which will be streamed live online (as in, actually happening in real time, not pre-recorded). The production will begin at 7PM Japan time with a pre-recorded interview with the band members, and then the live show will begin at 8PM. The show will then be archived until 11:59 PM, September 28th.

The live stream will be offered over various streaming platforms, but only two of them are available to overseas fans: NicoNico and Zaiko. All the details about the stream are available on this dedicated website, but we'll summarize the important points below.

The NicoNico stream is viewable in web browsers, through their dedicated app (not sure if it works overseas, though), and on TV through AppleTV's AirPlay and Chromecast. If you view the stream on your TV, the comments will not be visible, but there is support for HDMI viewing. Viewers are advised to check their TV settings in advance if using this option. I'm not sure it's available outside of Japan, though, so if you're interested, check sooner rather than later. Payment is accepted via credit card and various Japanese e-cash services that probably aren't available outside of Japan, but if you're interested, check the site for details. You can see the details of viewing platforms supported by NicoNico here. The ticket purchase page is here. You need a NicoNico account to purchase tickets, so make sure you take that into account and don't leave it till the last minute, if you're going with this option.

4400 yen, including tax (NicoNico Premium members)
5000 yen, including tax (general viewers)

The Zaiko stream has an English-language website with all the details. Their help page includes info on how to connect the stream to your TV. The stream can also be viewed in a web browser. Zaiko accepts payment via credit card or PayPal. Overall, this option is probably easier for overseas fans, because the English-language information is much more thorough and readable. They even have information on how to participate in the live chat. Nice to know that at least one website has helpful info in places where you can find it!

5000 yen, including tax (general viewers)

Post a comment if you plan on watching! The band released a pair of stainless steel cups for fans to drink out of while watching the show... but predictably, they sold out instantly on the web shop, even though the design is nothing special. And since Japan Post still isn't shipping overseas to most countries, we couldn't ship them to you in time even if we wanted to. Sorry, fans. But as you can see, you're not missing much.


2. Trailer Videos Galore

As of today, the band have released an Abracadabra trailer video including clips from "Que Sera Sera Elegy," "Kogoeru -Crystal Cube version-," and "Eureka!" View it here. Hoist up your knickers and prepare for lots of electronics and Mr. Sakurai singing about bras!

The band have also released a trailer video for Abracadabra Live on the Net, which is just a digest of music video clips, but fun to watch anyway.


3. "Eureka"

"Eureka," which the English-language Abracadabra album site helpfully translated as "Squid" before someone located and corrected the error (oh, so a human is looking at the site after all? Wow, good human, have a biscuit!) is now available on major streaming platforms. Links here. If you worried that Buck-Tick had forgotten how to be outrageously smutty... nope, they haven't. If you wondered what it would sound like if Buck-Tick covered M83, you are about to find out. What do y'all think? Leave us a comment.

Also, be sure to scroll up to the top of the Abracadabra special site and be mesmerized by the animated spinning Abracadabra in the sky. If you ever wondered how Imai felt when he was "flying high," stare at that Abracadabloop for ten minutes, and wonder no more.


4. Abracadabra Record & Cassette Players

Knowing that most fans don't have analog players anymore, Buck-Tick's management have wisely seized the opportunity to merchandise even more, and are greedily proud to offer you an Abracadabranded record player, and an Abracadabranded cassette player to go along with. The decorations on both cassette and record player were designed by Buck-Tick's art director Akita Kazunori, and both players contain USB hookups so you can rip your analog media to digital. The record player includes onboard speakers and is self-contained in its own super-swanky suitcase. The cassette player doesn't include onboard speakers, so you need to hook it up to a speaker system, or listen to it on headphones. View the specs on the cassette player here, and the specs on the record player here. The cassette player has already sold out on the first preorder, but there will be a second preorder starting at 5 PM on September 23rd, so if any of you are interested, contact us before then (preferably not too last-minute).

Cassette Player - 5060 yen, including tax
Record Player - 27,390 yen, including tax

That record player sure is expensive, but it sure is pretty! Sexy and retro! If any of y'all can divine the very pixelated message below the Buck-Tick logo on the outside of the suitcase, please post it in the comments below.

And the adorable cassette player. It's easy to see why it sold out so fast. Who wouldn't want this cute baby in their life?


5. Muy Mucho Magazines

With all their retro-format releases of Abracadabra, Buck-Tick sure are ready to put the "zine" in "magazine"! Buck-Tick members will be appearing in the following September magazines:

PHY Volume 17 (released September 19th) 1500 yen - cover interview with all the band members.

Rock & Read 091 (released September 19th) 1430 yen - Sakurai and Imai cover, personal interviews with all the band members.

(This is definitely Not Greatest Photo of Acchan-chan. Good job, Rock & Read! You made this legendary sex symbol look both hunchbacked and cross-eyed!)

According to their blog, Rock & Read would like y'all to know that this interview and photoshoot were all as socially distant as distant socials can be. Look!

Socially distant Acchan-chan, part 1

Socially distant Acchan-chan, part 2

Angsty socially distant Acchan-chan

Socially distant Imai in the best outfit he's ever worn and that's saying something

Aaaand.. fanservice photoshop to the rescue.

Ongaku to Hito October 2020 (released September 5th) 780 yen - personal interviews with both Sakurai and Yutaka.

To those of you who think these photos make Mr. Sakurai look more like Reverend Sakurai, Preacher of the Gospel of Love... who on earth gave you that idea? Certainly not Alex Kapranos.

If any of y'all want to order these magazines through us, just send us an email. Also, a reminder - reservations for the Fish Tanker's Only 2011 DVD/BluRay are open until September 30th. If you'd like our help getting a copy, please contact us asap.

And... that's all for now. But soon, there will surely be more. In the meantime, stay on the Abracadabra website, and stay mesmerized by that mandala. The more you stare, the more blessings will surely flow your way.


Love, Death, and Escapes

Hello, kids, and welcome to September! Does anyone else feel like time is speeding up these days? Could this be a side-effect of social isolation, or some kind of mysterious change in the fabric of the space-time continuum? If the Buck-Tick members know, they aren't telling us... probably because there's so much going on in Buck-Tickistan, and plus, the band members are hard at work, rehearsing for a tour that will never hit the stage, and Instagramming all the while (at least in the case of Imai).

Buck-Tick's latest single, Moonlight Escape, was released last Wednesday, and we appreciate your patience in waiting for us to deliver the translations to you. Translations, kanji and romaji for both "Moonlight Escape" and the b-side "Kogoeru" are now up over on This is NOT Greatest Site, so go ahead and check them out, and feel free to leave your comments on this post. True to their word, Buck-Tick have delivered us a pair of songs that are simple and stripped-down, both musically and lyrically - yet in typical Buck-Tick fashion, the simplicity is deceptive - the music and lyrics to both songs are precisely layered like shadows in moonlight, building off the band's previous work and complementing one another like two chapters in the same story.

For those of you who wondered why the single cover features Mr. Sakurai swishing a goth cloak around... well, it's because in the lyrics, he's singing about swishing a goth cloak around! As he explained to Fish Tank last month, in "Moonlight Escape," Sakurai sings from the perspective of a boy eagerly awaiting the night, when he can escape into his dreamworld, fly and feel the love that has been missing from his waking life. Though Sakurai stated that he intended this song as encouragement for the children of today who are struggling with abusive circumstances, it's obvious that Sakurai's narrative here comes out of his own experiences as an abused child - he's often stated that he feels more comfortable at night, in the moonlight, than in the daytime and sunlight, and it's easy to imagine that he might have felt this way since childhood - free from abuse with his family asleep, free in the dark to feel his own feelings, and able to see, in the moon and the starry sky, a vast universe full of infinite possibility. In the first verse, the goth cloak is a sort of security blanket, wrapping him up to protect him, but in the second verse, it becomes a symbol of his self-expression and power over his own life - with a swish of his cloak, he's gone, off to the moon. Poof! Abracadabra! It's an inspiring reminder of how even for the saddest, most neglected children, adulthood is waiting, with the promise of the chance to stand up on the stage of your own life, put on whatever snazzy costume you like, and sing your own song.

In his comments about these lyrics, Sakurai remarked that he wanted to express "escapism," which is often treated like a bad thing, in a positive light. If your reality is painful and you can't change it, having an outlet for emotional escape may save your life. He's dealt with this theme before, most notably in "Kagerou" - "If all you see is a nightmare/Is it bad to shut your eyes?" But in both "Kagerou" and "Moonlight Escape," there's something more than a mere endorsement of the power of escapist fantasy - there's the question of whether the so-called "real" world is really so real after all. This "life is but a dream" idea has always been one of the central themes of Buck-Tick's work. Who are we, before we're born, and after we die? In "Brain Whisper Head Hate is Noise" and "Bolero," Imai says that before we're born, we're stars. In "Kick" and "Mienai Mono," Sakurai says that the truth is waiting for us in the darkness, but we're not allowed to know what it is until we cross back over. What is this experience called "life," really? In songs like "Die" and "Solaris," Sakurai suggests that maybe life itself is also a dream, and to die is to awaken. 

Modern secular society is so attached to the idea of the external, material world that the power, validity, and importance of the internal experience of being a conscious soul have been ignored and treated as irrelevant - but Eastern spiritual traditions such as Buddhism teach that the internal experience of consciousness is everything, that everything in the universe is connected to everything else, and within each conscious soul lies a miniature reflection of the totality of the whole - as above, so below, as within, so without - an idea intriguingly similar to the holographic principle being discussed in physics today. Thousands of years before quantum mechanics, mystical, occult, and spiritual traditions have worked with the idea that thoughts and emotions can affect external reality - then along came the quantum physicists, wondering why it is that the presence of an observer always alters the outcome of an experiment. What's the mechanism behind the power of prayer? Why do you know who's calling before you pick up the phone? Consciousness is energy.

Sakurai's work is full of dreams within dreams, and "Moonlight Escape" is no exception. He's also often worked, both explicitly and obliquely, with the idea that so-called "real life" is the nightmare, hence the need for escape into a deeper dream level to reconnect with love and beauty. On a surface level, "Moonlight Escape" is another exploration of this theme - but there's something more there, as well - a sense of empowerment, which builds in the music with the ascending major scale leading into the chorus, and Sakurai's triumphant belt of, "And I  fly now." Once, Sakurai was that sad child, escaping into his dreams to protect him from the trauma of real life. Now, Sakurai is an internationally famous rock-n-roll legend at the peak of his creative prowess. What an inspirational role model he's become! And how did he get there? Where does the creativity come from? From the dreams, of course! What makes Sakurai's lyrics and performances so powerful is that he has used his art to externalize his inner world, offering his dreams and emotional experiences as a gift to his audiences. Abracadabra is a magic word of manifestation, and "Moonlight Escape" reflects this theme by implicitly showing how dreams can create reality.

In Sakurai's case, this ended up being literally true - the difficult emotional experiences of his childhood, and the dreams he turned to to escape them, became the power source for his lyrics and performance, and hence his successful career. However, there's a more metaphysical aspect to this idea as well. In "Adult Children," one of Sakurai's earlier songs dealing explicitly with his abusive childhood, the crux of the song is the line "you should know that you are free." At the end, Sakurai realizes he is free to create his own reality, and chooses to become a singer. But the point of the song isn't about the physical action of becoming a singer - it's the epiphany that in his soul, he is free. 

Something similar happens in "Moonlight Escape." In the verses, with a small handful of very gentle words, Sakurai deftly expresses the emotional struggle of the child narrator - "God, I'm praying, please forgive me," - "Papa, Mama, please I hope you won't forget about me." The boy wonders if somehow his bad situation is his own fault. Is he being punished by God? Does he matter to his parents at all? Do they love him? Do they not love him, because he's bad? A lack of love in childhood scars people for life because they grow up believing they're not worthy of love. If you believe you're not worthy of love, it's easy to spend your whole life re-enacting the abusive patterns of your past, and just as easy to flee from or sabotage anyone who comes along offering you true, pure, unconditional love. If you believe you're not worthy of love, anyone who claims to really truly love you must either be lying and soon to betray you, or there must be something deeply wrong with them, or they just haven't learned yet how unlovable you are... but they will sooner or later, and then it will all be over, so you might as well just end it now and spare everyone the heartache.

The only way out of this trap is to learn to love yourself - no easy feat in a world that invests so much energy into making people feel dissatisfied and inadequate, so they make easier targets for capitalist advertising and authoritarian control by governments and corporations. Self-love gets branded as narcissism and treated like a dirty word - because it's the key to freedom. Once you love yourself, you realize that your abusive parents, or whoever else, withheld their love from you not because you were unlovable, but because the parents themselves were struggling with their own lack of self-love. Once you love yourself, you refuse to put up with abusive treatment from others any longer. Once you love yourself, you can accept the genuine love that others offer you unconditionally. You are finally free in your soul, to be the person who you truly are, no longer bound by the pain of the past or narratives of others.

"And I fly now," sings Sakurai at the start of the chorus, declaring his freedom, then launches into a soaring melody, singing of his escape to a world where everything is overflowing love, and sadness has ceased to exist. The people who scoff at this kind of fantasy are usually the people who need it most - people who've been rejected or wounded so much in their lives that they're scared to even try to imagine a world of radical acceptance, free from pain. If dreams are the source of inspiration from which we create our realities, then if you can't dream of it, how can you achieve it? Just by daring to imagine his world of love, the boy in "Moonlight Escape" has already gotten closer to actually being there.

The PV does an excellent job of illustrating the themes of the song in succinctly beautiful symbolism. Sakurai, sitting in the defensive posture of a frightened child, in a moonlit white room next to a vase of baby's breath flowers (symbolizing both childhood innocence and faithful, everlasting love), watches his own "mental movie" projected by an old-fashioned reel-to-reel. Meanwhile, the band members are playing in their own moonlit rooms, in front of stairways and lighted windows, as if to show us that there's always a way up, a way out. As the moon rises, it begins to come out from behind its eclipse, and suddenly the darkness is replaced with light. Sakurai swishes his cloak, does some abracadabra magic hands, shoots a circle of light at the camera, and suddenly the band members are in outer space, playing live on the moon! 

In the second verse, Sakurai's posture has shifted - now he's intrigued, leaning forward to watch the films of the band members performing, both in their separate rooms, and together on the moon, and then the film of himself, doing the abracadabra goth cloak magic. At the beginning of the instrumental break, the magic circle of light reappears and homes in on the moon. The black of the eclipse is entirely replaced with blinding white light, and we see a momentary flash of blue sky. Sakurai closes his eyes, puts his hands to his temples, and swirls into ectoplasmic white mist, as if he's astrally projecting his consciousness out of his body. The moon appears on the film screen, next to a pair of speakers, one black, one white, like the yin-yang - an acknowledgement that for there to be light, there must always be darkness as well. Sakurai smiles conspiratorially at the camera, and then pop! He's standing center stage on the moon, performing with the rest of the band! And the misty blue (no pun intended) of the earth in the background matches the color of Imai's hair and jacket exactly. So if you wondered why Imai dyed his hair blue, well, this is why (does Imai really need a reason to dye his hair blue?)

Buck-Tick have always been masters of expressing deep, multi-layered concepts with simple, low-budget music videos, but they've outdone themselves with "Moonlight Escape." Every single cut is timed perfectly with the music and lyrics. Not a single second or image is wasted. And the outer space theme is lyrically beautiful - why waste time being sad when there's a whole universe out there to explore? Buck-Tick should know. After all, they came from outer space. If you doubted us before, this PV ought to be 100% rock-solid proof.


Like "Moonlight Escape," "Kogoeru" is heavy on the moon imagery, and also deals obliquely with themes of child abuse, but "Kogoeru" is as despondent as "Moonlight Escape" is uplifting. Buck-Tick love exploring two sides of the same theme - day and night, black and white, sleep and waking, love and death - and as a pair, these two songs fit into that pattern. "Moonlight Escape" is the love song, and "Kogoeru," with its suicidal theme, is the death song. In "Moonlight Escape," Sakurai challenges the idea that escapist fantasy is weakness, declaring that in fact, it can be a source of love and strength. In "Kogoeru," Sakurai challenges the idea that suicide, as an escape from life, is wrong. Resurrecting the moon-as-blade imagery he used in "Pain Drop" and "Tsuki" on I Am Mortal, he faces his sense of disconnection from himself and from life, staring at himself reflected in a dark window, wondering who he is, imagining that the moon is weeping with him, imagining that the moon is a knife to slit his wrists.

Overcoming childhood trauma and maintaining self love is monumentally difficult. Sakurai has clearly come a long, long way in processing and overcoming the wounds of his past, but scars that deep never heal entirely. In the interviews he gave at the end of 2019, he spoke about his complex feelings about the fact that at age 53, he was the same age as the age his abusive father was when his father died. 

"The same blood runs in my veins," he told Kanemitsu Hirofumi in PHY vol. 15. "I've always felt both... pity and hatred. We have the same blood type, and the same birthday, a 1/365 chance! Do things like that even happen? I look just like him, too. And now, I'm the same age... I feel like he's pulling at me. Like, 'come to papa'... that was a joke, but, you know (laughs). My older brother said, 'just hang on till you turn 54' ...there I go again (sighs)." [Sakurai tries to change the subject, and fails.] "Part of it's my age, and part of it's my personality... I understand that I still can't get out of this. I tried to be prepared for it, but I realized that I really can't escape it. I've talked about this again and again, but my father's behavior was what we'd now call domestic violence. My father beat my mother as a daily routine. Those memories have stayed with me, of always being afraid... I always talk about it, though... When I was in the hospital, I realized I need to suck it up and keep living even through my exhaustion, but then I wonder how long I can go on. I'm able to do what I love, and I'm able to make music and somehow pump myself up, but when I got sick, it was like my father was calling me... that's why I can't wait to turn 54. But, I'm so lucky to be blessed to be able to do what I love, and lately I feel more strongly that I'm really doing it, so I guess you could say that I'm happy."

Sakurai stated that with the lyrics to "Kogoeru," he wanted to allow himself the freedom to be as cutting and sharp as he felt was honest, without censoring himself at all. Lyrics like this may be difficult for some of his fans to accept, but for what it's worth, we're pretty sure he's not actually suicidal - it's more like he's using these lyrics to face and explore a passing suicidal feeling he won't act on. Those of you readers who have struggled with depression yourselves likely have sympathy for the nature of the kind of black mood that can take hold and make you feel like everything is worthless, futile suffering and nothing will ever be better or feel good ever again. It's not remotely the objective truth, and some hidden part of you knows that the mood will pass, but when you're in a mood like that, you feel trapped there. After more than two years of struggling with our own serious physical illness, we also feel a lot of empathy for Sakurai's descriptions of how difficult it can be to keep your chin up emotionally when you're physically ill and exhausted. When you're both ill and depressed, death starts to look like a very attractive option... not even because you want to die, exactly, but because, as Sakurai sings in this song, it would be so nice to be able to rest.

To illustrate his desire for sweet repose, Sakurai repeats the phrases "nenne shi na" and "nen nen okorori yo" from "Edo Lullaby," probably the most famous traditional Japanese lullaby (Dir en grey fans already know this one from the lyrics to "[KR] Cube"), thereby arriving in a simple, unaffected way at the real theme of the song - the fact that the lingering scars of his childhood trauma are still the source of his pain. There's so much in that one line, "please won't you sing me a lullaby, for your sweet baby." In fact, the line we translated as "for your sweet baby" literally means, "tell me I'm a good boy." We opted not to use this translation because it reminds us too much of the comic below for us to feel that it would be serious enough in tone for this song...

...however. This line is pretty much the heart of the song. With his exquisitely gentle vocal delivery, Sakurai makes you feel just how much he's been wishing all his life that he had been given that validation by his parents, that he was good and worthy of love. He still feels it so keenly, sometimes it makes him want to die. Sometimes he wonders if dying is the only way to return to the unconditional love that in life, we can so often only grasp at.

There are certain elements of these lyrics that can't be translated into English. One is the fact that "komoriuta" [子守唄], the Japanese word for "lullaby," literally means "child-protection song" - [] = "ko," child, [] = "mamoru," to protect, [] "uta" = song. Sakurai's request for a lullaby means a lot more when you see the word spelled with these kanji. Another interesting thing is that "nen nen," the archaic Japanese for "sleep, sleep," sounds like the "nen" [], meaning "emotional energy" or "feelings," often with the implication of strong, tangible feelings, the kind that can affect material reality - like Sakurai's unresolved feelings, and the emotional energy he wishes he could have received from his parents.

Though this is overall a very dark, sad, heavy song, there's still an element of salvation at the end. The major-key melody of the last lines injects a sense of hope despite everything, especially as it inverts from descending to ascending, with more and more voices joining in the chorus of backing vocals, as if the audience has joined in singing with Sakurai in order to cheer him up, saying, "you're not alone, we will sing with you." Sakurai's more than outdone himself on both lead and backing vocals with both songs on this single, and the mixing of the backing vocals is superb - they're more present than on many previous Buck-Tick records, drawing strong attention to the presence of harmony and multiple voices, while still putting the lead vocals front and center. The major-key chords of the outro draw a strong contrast to the moody minor-key synth of the intro, making us feel encouraged that no matter how bad things feel, the sun really will rise again. Healing is possible.

"Kogoeru" also comes back to the theme of the "real world dream," and the theme of sin and forgiveness, which were present not only in "Moonlight Escape" but were also big themes in "Datenshi" - which probably makes sense, because the band wrote all these songs in summer of 2019, and stated that originally, they had planned to release "Moonlight Escape" as the earlier single instead of "Datenshi," but changed their minds at the last minute. The lines in "Datenshi," "Forgive me forgive me / My flesh and my flesh are hurting now" were almost certainly inspired by Sakurai's 2018 illness, just as "Night of the Beasts" was inspired by his comeback from the same illness, and it certainly seems that "Kogoeru" is also related to the illness theme, albeit in a more oblique way. Funny, how illness was already a theme on Abracadabra long before the coronavirus was even a thing. 

And on that note... we know y'all are feeling depressed and isolated, and possibly drinking too much, but please do take care of your health, and that includes your mental health. If you need emotional support, don't be afraid to ask for it. And if you can offer emotional support to someone else, please do it. Don't assume anyone is okay. The turbulent times are taking a toll on everyone and the best possible thing we can do is be there for each other emotionally. But also, consider - this life may be a dream, or maybe an RPG game, who knows? If you approach things from that angle, everything seems more fun. Don't get so hung up on the idea of "real reality" that you deny yourself the fun of escaping. Outer space is a great place.


That's all for now, but before we sign off, we'd like to extend our thanks to everyone who was so kind as to support us on Ko-fi. It really means a lot to us! If you have the means and feel so moved, please continue to support us. It might not seem like much, but to us, right now, it's a lot.