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Info:

  • Audio Rating: N/A
  • Video Rating: N/A
  • Packaging Rating: N/A
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Tofu Records
  • MSRP: 23.98
  • Running time: 55
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: X (Japan)

X (Japan): Best

By Chris Beveridge     February 22, 2004
Release Date: February 24, 2004


X (Japan): Best
© Tofu Records


What They Say
X (JAPAN) is one of Japan's best known and most popular groups ever formed. They were pioneers of the "Visual Kei" or Visual-Type movement in Japan which involves heavy make-up and amazing on-stage dress, they have sold over 5 million records world-wide, and are said to have influenced every Japanese metal band since the 1980's!

Due to many hardships and tragedies, they no longer are together - but with this DVD/CD set - you'll be able to listen to some of greatest music Japan has to offer!

CD TRACK LISTING
Kurenai
JOKER (LIVE)
BLUE BLOOD
ENDLESS RAIN
Miscast
Celebration
Love Replica
XCLAMATION
WEEK END (LIVE)
Silent Jealousy
X (LIVE)
Say Anything

DVD TRACK LISTING
X
Kurenai
ENDLESS RAIN
WEEK END
Celebration
Silent Jealousy
Joker
Say Anything

The Review!
Compiling some of the best songs from their twelve-year career, Tofu Records brings over a selection of video and songs from one of the pioneering bands in Japan.

Audio:
One of the best things about this release is that the audio on the DVD is kept in its originally uncompressed PCM format, something that typically gets dropped in favor a stereo mix. This track just sounds fantastic on our setup with a wide range and great depth to it. This is the kind of track where the louder it is the better it is.

Video:
With a total running time of sixty minutes, there isn?t a lot filling up the disc but what?s here comes across great for the most part. Each of the videos is subjected to its own peculiarities at the time of its recording, such as the Endless Rain video being pretty heavy on the cross coloration, or some of the minor natural ghosting effects that come from the live concert footage. Most of the videos come across very well though and without any real noticeable issues.

Packaging:
Done in a single keepcase with a flippy insert to hold the DVD wit the CD behind it, the front cover is heavy on the black with the rose thorn imagery floating across it. The back cover uses the same imagery and lists the tracks for both the DVD and CD. The insert booklet lists all the songs and proper credits for them as well as romanji lyrics for them. It?s unfortunate that a fully translated version couldn?t be produced.

Menu:
The menu is a simple piece with the X logo artwork to the left and the individual video selections ringed along the right. Since the audio is non-selectable and there aren?t any other features, there?s not much here beyond the songs themselves. Access times are nice and fast and each video loads quickly.

Extras:
None.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Over the years I?ve had some minimal exposure to X Japan and enjoyed what few songs had made it over to me. But beyond a bit of sampling there and from friends who had some of the import CDs, I never made the push to learn more about the group or their music unlike my obsession with Ayumi Hamasaki. So with this Best release from Tofu Records, I was able to get a bit more insight into the group with a handy informational press sheet that came with it plus taking in actual videos of the group.

X Japan, at least according to the sheet, is one of those few bands that influence a wide number of other groups and fans over the course of their history. They?re known heavily for their ?Visual Kei? style, something that?s very hit or miss here in the U.S. with people, particularly in cosplay circles. Watching the videos here, it?s easy to see all of that, which looks like a mix of 80?s glam gender bending, Road Warrior chic and gothic punk. Frankly, it?s pretty wide ranging in what you can see it in, particularly the earlier material from the 80?s when a lot of aspects of this were popular here.

The only downside to this release, and it?s one I don?t see changing but think it will make it difficult to really reach a lot of new fans, is the lack of subtitles for the track. It?s not a huge issue, since I do admit to buying R2 concert DVDs that I have no clue as to what?s being sung, but that?s for groups I already know I like. I?m definitely glad at the inclusion of the romaji lyrics though, which does make it easier to sing along.

In Summary:
This was a fun concert disc to check out and it really gives you a feel for X Japan and their career. From the opening strong ?X? to the more somber ?Endless Rain?, there?s a lot of energy to these pieces. Even more amusing is the continual fascination with including westerners in their music videos, like in Celebration. Of course, I will say that my favorite part of watching things like this that my one year old gets into these things so much that her body is just moving all over the place. Her excitement to the music only adds to my own, resulting in a fun hour spent together.

Features
Japanese PCM Language

Review Equipment
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.


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