Schaft Climax Birthday Toll

After a long, cold, silent winter, there's finally movement in Buck-Tickistan, on multiple fronts! Though Mr. Sakurai declared in his interview in the latest issue of the Fish Tank newsletter that the first thing he wanted to do this year was "reaffirm Buck-Tick's bond as a band," there's only one piece of news in Buck-Tickistan that's coming from all five band members at once - yes, of course I'm talking about Climax Together 3rd.

For all you new fanlings who have started to read Blog-Tick, the history of Climax Together is a long one. Buck-Tick held the first concert entitled Climax Together at Yokohama Arena back in 1992. The concert was held specifically to be filmed, so in order to maximize the potential bombast of the arena, the stage was set up along the long side of the hall. The sets were extremely large and impressive, and changed several times during the concert, but even more impressive than the sets was the set list, which focused on Buck-Tick's darkest, most experimental, romantic work, and heavily featured re-arranged tracks from the band's newly released self-cover album Koroshi no Shirabe - This is NOT Greatest Hits-, which is, of course, where This is NOT Greatest Site got its name. In our opinion, the video of the 1992 Climax Together and accompanying live album remain one of Buck-Tick's best recordings to date, especially the phenomenal performance of "Victims of Love," which I wrote about a bit in this article. If you've never seen the original Climax Together but you like Imai performing crazy guitar tricks and Mr. Sakurai back when he was a very young man with very long hair, stop what you're doing and go watch it!

Buck-Tick didn't hold the second Climax Together concert until twelve years later, in 2004. This second incarnation of the Climax Together series was also held at Yokohama Arena, and was entitled Devil and Freud -Climax Together- ...but between you and me, I'd rather not imagine Freud climaxing at all, ever. This concert, too, was filmed and released as an ultra-super-duper special DVD, so perhaps you can see a pattern here.

Like the previous two Climaxes, Climax Together 3rd will be held at Yokohama Arena, on September 11th, which is the same date that Devil and Freud was held on twelve years ago. We're not sure if Buck-Tick intended this to be a once-every-zodiac cycle thing, but whether they did or not, that is what it has become. All hail the Year of the Monkey! Yokohama Arena is so big that it's doubtful any of the fans will be able to see anything at all, but if you're a member of Fish Tank and you want tickets to this historic event anyway, ticket reservations are now open until 2PM on April 12th, Japan Time.


Anyhow, September is still along way off, and separately, the Buck-Tick members have plans before then. After Schaft performed two new songs on their tour which didn't appear on Ultra, we suspected that at the very least, a new single would be forthcoming, but Schaft fans can rejoice, because it's not just a single, it's a single and live mini-album! Entitled Deeper and Down, the mini-album will cost 2700 yen and come with a bonus DVD with a live PV of the title track, "Deeper and Down." The ten tracks are as follows:

01. Deeper and Down (lyrics - Yow-Row/music - Imai Hisashi)
02. H.N.A. (lyrics & music - Imai Hisashi)
03. Deeper and Down (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
04. H.N.A. (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
05. Arbor Vitae (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
06. Thirsty Fly (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
07. Broken English (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
08. The Hero InSide (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
09. Slice (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)
10. Cold Light (live 1/28 at EX Theater Roppongi)

We plan on writing a report of the Schaft tour, but for now, we'll say that the 2016 live versions of the old Schaft songs are extremely different from the original recordings which appeared on Switchblade, to the point that they're practically new songs, so this live album should be a treat.

In addition to the live album, Schaft will also be releasing a live DVD/BluRay of the show held on January 28th at EX Theater Roppongi. Titled Archives 2016 Tour Ultra ~The Loud Engine~, the BluRay version will cost 7540 yen, while the DVD version will cost 6459 yen. The first press edition will come in special packaging and include a special booklet. The tracklist for the video is as follows:

01. The Loud Engine
02. Vice
03. drift
04. Anti-Hedonist
05. ReVive
06. Der Zauberlehrling
08. Leidenschaft
09. Arbor Vitae
10. Thirsty Fly
11. Swan Dive
12. Adam's Rib
13. Mi
....and more

We attended all the shows except for the one in Osaka, and we can categorically say that the show at EX Theater was the best of the bunch. If you are a fan of Schaft, you will surely not regret buying this DVD! Both the DVD and the mini-album will include application tickets for a lottery for further Schaft prize goods, so if you buy both, you might win something cool, though no details have been released as yet. Both the DVD and mini-album will be released on May 11thAs always, if you'd like our help purchasing either of these releases, just send us an email.


And finally, for the fourth year running, Toll has announced he will be holding a live show in honor of his birthday: It's a Now 2016! Last year he outdid himself by holding three shows, but this year he's dialed it back to two:

Friday, August 19th at Shimokitazawa Garden (open 18:30/start 19:00)
Sunday, August 21st at Takasaki Club Fleez (open 16:30/start 17:00)

As most of you already know, August 19th is Toll's actual birthday. Last year's birthday show involved a guest appearance from one of the actual members of CAROL, so in a way, it's hard to imagine how Toll could top that, but surely he's got a trick or two up his sleeve. No further details have yet been announced, but ticket reservations are open to Fish Tankers until April 12th, so start checking your calendars!


Anyhow, that's it for now.


Buck-Tick Friends Network

Hi, Blog-Tickers! Here in Tokyo, we're gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas in March - yes, I'm talking about cherry blossom season! After a cold, damp winter, it's finally warm enough to go outdoors and get drunk in a park with lots of friends...maybe if you're lucky...this time of the year still tends to be intermittently rainy and cold! But who cares if it rains on your party if it rains on your friends, too? Especially if your friends love Buck-Tick as much as you do!

Lately I've been hearing from a lot of new readers from around the world who just became fans of Buck-Tick within the past couple months. Ten years ago, when Kame and I started This is NOT Greatest Site, our primary readership was North American, but much to our surprise, this very quickly ceased to be true. For many years now, a very significant portion of our readership has been Buck-Tick fans from various countries around the world who speak English as a second language. A lot of you have apologized for your English when you've written, but frankly, you needn't bother - you all speak English impressively well! We never expected that an English-language site was going to gain such an international following. We never expected we'd hear from so many fantastic people around the globe, but at this point, hearing from all of you is one of the best things about running NGS/Blog-Tick, so thank y'all for splashing warm beer on our cold jaded hearts.

Of course, with Buck-Tick fans scattered around the world, it might be easy to think that you're the only Buck-Tick fan in your country. It's hard to tell just based on web stats and emails, but while there seem to be high concentrations of B-T love in Eastern Europe and South America, for a long time, despite being based in Tokyo, we hardly heard from anyone in Asia...until now! Over the past few months, we've started hearing from a lot more people based on the Asian side of the Pacific rim, including Taiwan, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. A lot of you Asian fans are saying the same thing: I just got into Buck-Tick recently, but there are not enough B-T fans in my country! With so few B-T fans, how am I supposed to start a B-T copyband?

Well folks, we're here to tell you that there might be more B-T fans near you than you think. Maybe even enough to start a band...I don't know (Imai didn't know how to play guitar when he started Hinan Go-Go so don't worry about your musical skills here eh.) Which is why, in cherry-blossom-party spirit, we are opening up this post as a thread on which to request connections with other B-T fans who read Blog-Tick. Consider this a virtual party. Introduce yourselves and find copyband members. We promise we will stay off the comment thread so you don't have to be worried about us making fun of anything you say. Alternatively, if you're too shy too talk, then just sit there and drink your virtual sake in complete silence. Mr. Imai isn't exactly known for his social skills, either. We just thought we'd give you an opportunity to talk if you want to.


These Mortal Avatars


The Hisashi Inquirer Online App presents!

These Mortal Avatars (tm)!!!!

Use them as your profile picture on social media and everyone will think that your fake Sakurai Twitter is Sakurai's real Twitter!


Murata (the rumored father of Acchan-chan's newest love child!!!)

Jake (he's jealous!)

Miyo Ken (the latest rumored secret backup member of Vaniru, Acchan-chan's original love child's original band!)

Akiyama Takahiko (I bet you guys don't remember who this guy is!)



Nihilisa Overdrive

...and now for something completely different.

We're pleased to announce that we finally found something worth looking at on Tumblr, and no, it's not that horrifying surrealist nightmare montage of animated Acchan-chan gifs all gyrating their tongues at you at the same time. It's not even the one where delusional fangirls shout their visual kei sex fantasies to the entire internet.

No, my friends, this is what happens when you're listening to The Mortal on a beach in Hawaii at high noon while sipping a pina colada after taking three tabs of acid.

Nineties children fed up with the broken promises of your elders and the mess they made of the world they're leaving to you, behold Nihilisa Frank, one for each track on I Am Mortal.


Dead Can Dance

Barbaric Man






Pain Drop



Sayonara Waltz (this one goes out to Mr. Sakurai's cats!)

All images taken from Nihilisa Frank. We don't own any of them, we just love them. Have a happy Thursday :)


Music Jacket Grand Prix

The album cover for I Am Mortal has been nominated for the "Music Jacket Grand Prize," an album cover art contest that has been running in Japan since 2011. Until 5PM on April 8th, Japan time, fans can vote on their top three favorite album covers, out of the 50 nominees. To view the 50 nominees, scroll down the page to the bottom. If you vote, you are also entered into a lottery to win any of various luscious-looking prizes, including various sexy audio systems, good headphones, record players, and more. So what are you waiting for, everybody? Go vote here. The voting website is foreigner-friendly and contains English translations for everything except the prize descriptions (to view the prizes, click the brown button to the right of the prize dropdown menu.)

For those of you who have already forgotten what the cover for I Am Mortal looks like, it looks like this:

This jacket was designed by Akita Kazvnori, who designed the covers for Arui wa Anarchy and Juusankai wa Gekkou, among many, many others. 

On the cover, Sakurai, dressed in his Victorian deathgod Hamlet costume (for more info on that, read my analysis article), stands alone in a broken-down warehouse, staring at his hands. Why is he staring at his hands? Because hands are the symbol of our ability to act on the world around us, and shape our own destinies. Also, Sakurai has dealt with the idea of hands as a symbol of mortality in his lyrics before, specifically in "Schizo Gensou," off Sexy Stream Liner, a song which both musically and lyrically is very similar in theme to the work of The Mortal. Here's the lyric in question:

Can you sleep at night? 
Do you think tomorrow will come?
Mired in self-hatred
I feel like I want to disappear
To run to the ends of the earth trying to escape
I stare at my living hand
As it slowly dies in the flow of time

Out of the shadows in the right of the frame, a cat gazes up at Sakurai. In "Sayonara Waltz," it's a cat who beckons the narrator to cross over into the next world, so this is a nice visual tie-in to the album's lyrics. Not only that, but the recent death of Sakurai's last living cat surely played in to some of the emotions he was expressing on the album (and if you think it's overkill for me to say that, you are clearly not a pet mama.) Of course, the cat is also Sakurai's spirit animal.

Above Sakurai's head, light pours down through the bombed-out skylight windows in the ceiling, and in the beam of light we see an angel in the form of a dove. The dove is an ancient symbol of peace, innocence, and the divine in Christian tradition, and since The Mortal's visual iconography also used some other age-old Christian symbology to great effect (lilies of the valley, vanitas paintings, etc.) I think we can assume that the dove here carries Biblical meaning: At the end of the flood which drowned the earth for forty days and forty nights, it was a dove who flew to Noah's ark with an olive branch in its beak, as a messenger from God to tell Noah that the waters would soon recede. For this reason, the olive branch is also a symbol of making peace after conflict, and the phrase "extend an olive branch" has become an English idiom for calling truce.

Interestingly, the flood story predates the Christian bible - there is also a flood story in Greek mythology. Titans Prometheus and Epimetheus fashioned the first human beings out of clay, but Epimetheus, being a leap-before-he-looks kind of guy, rashly gave all the gifts of the Gods to the animals, leaving none for Prometheus to award to the weak humans. The gods became so disgusted with the behavior of the humans that they launched a highly convoluted scheme to destroy humanity. First, they created a beautiful woman, Pandora, and endowed her with insatiable curiosity. Then, they gave her a mysterious box and told her never to open it. Obviously, that ended well. As soon as the gods went away, Pandora opened that box right up, and out flew all the miseries of the world. In short order, the miseries terrorized the clay humans, who were weak and easily swayed and soon began engaging in all sorts of atrocities, so the gods decided to drown them all in a great flood, only sparing a select few. When the flood waters receded, the few human survivors cast stones over their shoulders, which rose up as new human beings. These stone people were much hardier than their clay predecessors, and even though the miseries had all survived by flying high and dry about the flood waters, the stone people were able to suck it up and deal (mostly.) None of this really has anything to do with The Mortal directly, but those of you who read my analysis article may see some general thematic relevance even so.

Anyway, how do we know that the dove is an angel? We don't. But considering that "Angel" is the title of the opening track on I Am Mortal, it seems like it would be a good guess.

I'd also like to note that this same broken-down warehouse backdrop appeared as the stage backdrop for the second half of "Sayonara Waltz" during The Mortal's live tour. The warehouse is Life, people. Our world is broken, blasted, and war-torn, and we're in it all alone.

So if you want a future to believe in, vote for Bernie Sanders!

Whoops, I mean, vote for the cover of I Am Mortal.




We'd also like to call your attention to entry number 35, Yellow Magic Orchestra's No Nukes 2012, which features an aerial shot of the post-3/11 Fukushima Number One power plant. Tomorrow marks the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and meltdown, and the nuke plants are still far from under control. Many of the survivors of the tragedy are still languishing in temporary housing. The towns surrounding the nuke plants are still off-limits. Everyone's glued to the Candy Crush on their smartphone screens trying to forget, but this thing is so far from being over, and it's important to remember that if you live anywhere near a nuke plant, it could be you next.

I get it, Tumblr is way more appealing than real life. It's much more fun to add the suffix "fag" onto the end of all your hashtags, and to bitch at other Tumblr users for reblogging those precious scans that you scanned yourself and watermarked with a photo of your butthole so the entire internet would know they are YOURS, than it is to worry about inconvenient truths, like the fact that the average global temperature last month hit 2 degrees above baseline for the first time in the history of humanity, and it's just going to keep getting warmer.

But sometimes, it's worth paying attention to the world around us, too. The flowers are still blooming and if you ever looked up from your phone on the train, maybe you'd see that the person sitting across from you is actually really hot! I guarantee you, if you don't actually live your life while you're alive, sometime right before you die, you're going to regret it. The skull don't lie.

/endrant. #sorrynotsorry


Happy Birthday Mr. Sakurai, part II


And now, a very special announcement, brought to you by Cayce and Kame.


Half Century Gothy Boy


Happy birthday to our one and only dear Mr. Sakurai Atsushi! Today, my friends, he celebrates a full half century of life on earth. Boy have we been glad to have him here, and we hope he sticks around for at least another fifty years! So go nuts, friends. Drink, dance, and make merry in his honor. He might be busy angsting about his age, but that doesn't mean you have to.

And as our own birthday present to him, we are proud to present an all-new in-depth article: The Cacophony of Mortality - a step-by-step, song-by-song analysis of I Am Mortal, in its entirety. We really spent a long time on this one, and we urge you to read it even if you don't like The Mortal...it might just help you understand them better and come to like them after all. Plus, it's our birthday present to Acchan-chan, so how can you say no to that! As always, please leave your comments on this post, since NGS doesn't allow commenting.


As for celebrations...Mr. Sakurai, we know you might not be in the mood for partying, but if you get into the mood after all, we extend a formal invitation for you to come drinking with us at this real actual bar in Tokyo. We know the owner, and she tells us you've hitherto been too busy watching cat videos to ever come over and check it out. Whaddaya think?


(I think he wants to)

Plus, it rained all day here in Tokyo, so maybe he's in the mood for partying after all. 

So without further ado, let's have some cake, shall we? Oh give me chocolate! Happy fuckin' birthday.





Mortal Lives, Immortal Dolls (Happy Girls' Day!)

Happy Girls' Day, everyone! Today, Hina Matsuri, is also known as the Doll Festival in Japan, when everyone drinks sweet sake, eats sugar stars and pink mochi, and everyone who can afford to celebrates the daughters of the household by busting out their expensive sets of empress and emperor dolls. Even if your daughter is a Gothic Lolita, that doesn't matter! Just tailor your hina dolls to her tastes, like this:

Wow! Much Goth, so Loli!

But even if you don't have a set of Girls' Day dolls for the occasion, who cares? Necessity is the mother of invention, so why not improvise by putting that teeny-tiny Acchan sex voodoo doll you made yourself together with your favorite American Girl doll, and playing a sexy version of Attack of the 50-foot Woman? You can't claim you haven't fantasized about this at least once. You can try to deny it, but we know you're lying.

The future is ripe with possibility!










After all, just look...there are a whole horde of them to choose from, all begging in tiny voices for you to come "play" with them!

"Play with us..."



This one even has its hand on its...what has it even got there? On second thought, please don't tell me, I don't want to know. "Dolls" and "balls" are two words I don't need to hear in the same sentence.

And this one even has a scarf on its head!

With dolls like this, who needs real people? He even has sculpted veins and muscles! You can mold him to your will. He will never betray you. He's your coin operated boy. He will love you forever. 






But that's neither here nor there. The main point is, if you, like us, prefer real live humans, you're in luck. It is not yet Mr. Sakurai's 50th birthday, and we have, true to our word, gotten our ...drumroll...

*** LIVE REPORT of The Mortal's virgin tour ***

all up on the interwebs before the big day, so go read it! And if this inspires you to order a copy of the Immortal DVD through us, you can still do that - we're taking reservations till Sunday, just send us an email. As always, if you enjoy the live report, we ask you to please leave a comment here.

As for the album review, it isn't quite finished yet, but we aim to get it up within the next few days (that's what he said.)










In the mean time, would you like a cookie?




Happy Hina Matsuri.