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Japanorama

Manga Memories

It is amazing what conversations are sparked with like minded individuals over a few pints, for instance do you remember those good ol’days when Manga video was the forefront of Japanese import anime. There was a moment when you would pop in the video cassasette and after the tracking had been set you were left with a pure black screen….darkness took over for a few seconds. Then like a blinding flash of light blaring guitars rang through your ears and every other sense was attacked in the process (at the tender age of 8 years old this was a sensory overload) and a cavalcade of fast paced images whizzed past the screen (as well as those child like eyes) at a speed faster then light.

As the images continued to play through, the sense of wonder was so powerful as it felt grown up (almost like a secret that I should not have been watching) and awe inspiring as the images kept unfolding. This was my first introduction to Manga video and little did I know that these images and pieces of action would continue to define my childhood up until my teens.

These releases where the film collections that more often then not, became a dirty little secret for a select few. Often seen by parents as being crass or vulgar, but all of the releases still hold a special place both in my heart and imagination to this day.

I remember Guyver: Bio Booster Armour being one of the first Manga videos I bought, all of these releases contained a single episode of the series plus a double panelled comic called Hellkat on the reverse of the video cover. It was not just Guyver that was my introduction to this wonderfully odd piece of subculture, but also the extremely artistic and graphically enticing video covers. Each one felt like something forbidden and still to this day looks fantastic, that even in these days of Bluray and DVD still contain a certain beautiful seediness. Particularly in reference to the Urosadoji cover with its “Legend of the Demon Womb” title, as well as the Crying Freeman covers where they seemed to be all painted in an overly erotic novel kind of way (this was also helped by the fact he would be cradling a half naked woman in his arms, just for good measure).

Still to this day Manga videos are something I have kept (as I know several of my other Manga alumni’s have done) due in part to the fact that these represented part of the end of my childhood and the beginning of my adolescent teen years. Not to mention the fact that very few of these lesser know titles have been released on any other formats.

It is nice to know that this dirty little secret between friends has carried over into my adulthood and which I hope will continue to for years to come, this is such a part of my cultural make-up that it truly is too hard to let go or forget for long periods of time.

Check out the video of the intro and see if you do not reminisce as much as I have done recently, partially as it looks like I shall be digging out my old 3×3 Eyes videos to smile and feel content with. Hopefully you will do the same (if you are from this era) and grasp these classic pieces of artistically mind expanding filth, with both hands and say “Yes this is part of my childhood, Rejoice and be thankful”. Bring back the glory days of Manga video, just like some Vinyl, these films need to be seen and even kept on video. There is just something better and almost timeless about it.

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April 2010
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