I had just finished writing this entry and FC2 completely erased it!!
Its the one time I didn't make a backup of the entry before posting it either. Damn.

Let's try this again...

Yesterday Mana posted on twitter that he made an appearance in the famous Japanese video game magazine, The Weekly Famitsu. I had suspected this may be the case about a week ago when he made a vague reference to it, and it seems it was true!
This time there are no photos of him included, but the article contains artwork of him along with a commentary he made for the 20th anniversary of the manga ドキばぐ (Dokibagu), which has a connection to the Famitsu.

Click the thumbnails for larger size images

Given an appearance in the times of a legend
A congratulatory comment from Mana-Sama (Moi dix Mois/MALICE MIZER)!

Mana-Sama, an artist who is active as a guitarist and music producer showed a firm love for video games with “Dokibagu” in the past. We got a congratulatory comment from him for the 20th anniversary of “Dokibagu”!

“This has been my favorite story in the Famitsu ever since childhood, so I had always wished to be in the manga and I got to be twice! I was really happy about that!
I had a photoshoot at Ami Shibata’s house, and when the Xbox raided Japan I didn’t go out to the market, so she came and showed me the real thing……I had tears! “Dokibagu” put forth an “Even this is in here!” type maniac content, and the story was always so interesting; it’s single-handed execution was nothing short of a catharsis! Congratulations to “Dokibagu” on it’s 20 year anniversary! “

Although it was a short statement, I could really really feel Mana's enthusiasm upon reading it! As far as I'm aware, Dokibagu is not a manga that ever surfaced or saw official translation in the US. From what I could find online, it doesn't look like it was ever released anywhere except Japan, actually. Many times when Mana talks about particular titles such as this, it makes me want to look into it more myself. Some how it always makes me feel like I've completely missed out on an aspect of Japanese pop-culture for the soul reason that it was never made available overseas. I often feel like I should take advantage of the fact that I live in Japan, and try to get my hands on these things, but the sheer amount of content made only available in Japan feels a bit overwhelming sometimes...

Anyway this is going to end as a relatively short entry.
Theres a lot more I wanted to talk about actually (which thankfully I did manage to save!), but at this point I feel like its probably better to leave out of this entry. Tomorrow, well technically today, is Dis inferno, so I feel like it would be information overload if I continued this and then wrote a full live report later on too.

Maybe some of you can guess what the content is that I want to discuss because theres quite a bit I haven't addressed recently. I feel those things are still important to cover on here, but I will do it for sure when the timing is better.

Until then, please look forward to that entry, as well as the Dis inferno live report that will go up after the concert!

Schwarz Stein 15 Year Anniversary Live + Secret Guest Mana

So how many of you believed me when I said Mana would be the secret guest at the Schiwarz Stein 15 year anniversary concert even though it wasn't officially confirmed? ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ

I'm joking! I know it was something that was obvious outside of my posts, so I think everyone already understood from the start.

With that being said, the concert was held tonight so I can finally write about it!

Before I begin, theres a few things I want to address:
I think this entry is going to cater to a different variety of people than normal. Some of who are aware that this is my first time to a Schwarz Stein live so they probably want to hear my impressions, some who are interested in Schwarz Stein and want to hear about the concert, and of course a bulk majority who are here for Mana related content. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to try my best to appease everyone, but generally speaking I'm not usually as detailed with non-Moi dix Mois concerts. Since this is my first Schwarz Stein concert, I don't really have anything to compare it to, so I apologize in advance if this entry lacks in detail that I would usually go into.

Now let's get into it!

The venue this time, Shibuya REX, is a very small concert hall that usually fits somewhere between 250-300 people. Ever since the moment we all understood this is the concert Mana would be a special guest at, I had been watching and digging into as much information as I could. I was surprised to see for the longest time that tickets hadn't sold out at all, but that finally changed only a couple days prior to the concert date.

Tonight's concert is the beginning of a Schwarz Stein 15 year anniversary 3 city tour. The next two cities they will perform at are in Nagoya (special guest Mako from Deadman) and Osaka (special guest Kozi from ZIZ/Malice Mizer). Talking to a few regular Kaya/Schwarz Stein fans, it seems they were all happy and surprised to see a sold out concert tonight! However, realistically speaking the reason for that was because tons of Mana fans showed up. Thats not to say that they otherwise don't care Schwarz Stein; I think its more or less because Mana being there was a bigger incentive to make more of an effort to go for a lot of people. I have to admit, I was definitely a part of that crowd too, but I have certainly liked Schwarz Stein ever since the beginning of their activities 15 years ago!!

As for the show, I was so happy to hear so many nostalgic songs and to finally see Hora for the first time in my life!!

Kaya (left) and Hora (right)

Of course he wasn't covering his mouth like he did in this picture. What can I say?? His demeanor was a little different from what I expected! For some reason I always had this image of him as a serious, more secretive kind of person, but actually he has a very nice personality! In fact, I feel like he balances Kaya out well since Kaya has such a huge flashy personality. Hora was a lot more laid back but had great interaction with the audience and seemed very comfortable talking and making jokes with everyone. I found myself in instant admiration of him. I finally feel like I understand why people love Hora so much!

Their performance style was also very different from what I had imagined. Of course knowing Schwarz Stein's music for years now, I realize they play more electronic/dance style music, but I didn't anticipate the show itself to feel like everyone should be up dancing at a club. Funny enough, since this is Japan nobody really dances. They basically stand and watch like a normal concert but kinda move their heads to the beat or do various hand movements. I don't know...it felt kinda strange for the style, I guess. Some how I imagined the stage to be decorated differently as well. To be honest, I think my image of Schwarz Stein comes from their early days, not within recent years. But all in all, it was great and I have no complaints what so ever! In fact, the energy was so good I felt extremely refreshed! There may only be two people on the stage, but they completely fill it with their enthusiasm!

Thanks to a friend, I already received the full set list from the concert!!

1. SE. Testament
2. Queen of Decadence
3. Perfect Garden
4. Release me
5. GENUINE -Recurrence-
6. Profane Gone
7. Current
8. PREDICT -Rosen Clarion-
9. Lilith
10. Hakobune
11. **New Song** Apocalypse -eclipse ring-
12. Creeper
13. Remind (SE)
14. Transient (Gt. Mana)
15. Beautiful the Virgin (Gt. Mana)
16. Sleeping Madness
17. Syphilis and Disorder
18. New Vogue Children

Encore 1
1. **New Song** Haven
2. Last Hallucination

Encore 2
1. Succubus 2014 (Keyboard Mana)
2. SE the alternation of generations
3. -increase-

There were also a few MCs during the night. The first one was more or less a simple introduction and advertisement/information for the next upcoming shows. Kaya tried to talk about tonight's performance and the "secret guest" as sort of a mystery but everyone started laughing because it really wasn't much of a secret. Even Hora said something along the lines of "you all know who it is, I even see many of you who look like/are dressed like him" to everyone's entertainment. Actually, Hora really wanted to just say it was Mana several times, but Kaya kept stopping him and saying things like "not yet!!"

During the second MC they talked a lot more about this being the 15 year anniversary of schwarz stein, their start as Rudolf Steiner and much more. At the beginning Hora couldn't help himself from saying "Theres so many people here, its like an arena!!"
I think both Kaya and Hora were truly excited to see such a full venue and seemed so thankful for everyone who came to see them tonight.

They played a few songs after the second MC and eventually they cut to some type of seemingly intermission type music where they were just kinda standing around on stage and then suddenly without warning or introduction, Mana popped out on stage!


He ran to the front center where he held his arms out wearing a long chiffon gilet that looked like a cape at first by the way that he was holding it up. If I'm not mistaken, I think that gilet is actually something he used to wear years ago in the earlier years of Moi dix Mois. This time he also wore a blue frilled Moi-meme-Moitie blouse with a longer skirt/pants. You can see how he looked from the picture above.

He stood there for a good minute or so, until he eventually walked over to the left side of the stage (from the audience point of view; right side from stage point of view). That may seem like a minor detail but I was wondering if he may go to that side of the stage this time because he always stays on the opposite side for Moi dix Mois concerts. I guess its also a give away that Hora's keyboard was on that side so it would be impossible for Mana to play there, but anyway I already had that feeling before I even entered the venue.

As he walked to the side of the stage where he would play, his Jeune Fille had already been sitting at the edge for him to pick up. He took a moment to tune it and then instantly Transient started to play. Instantly everyone in the audience started screaming and tons of people started pushing to the front of the stage. I stayed in the back this time, so I only watched from a sort of small platform above the main floor but even people who were standing behind me started rushing down to the front.

It seems Kaya and Hora's interactions during concerts aren't limited to talking and joking with the audience, but they actually touch peoples hands a lot. They tend to touch the audience hands and give high fives among other things, so to follow suit in that style, Mana started doing the same. Thats when the audience started getting really crazy. I noticed a lot of people started pulling on his hands and arms and at one point I thought he was going to fall in (actually I couldn't tell if he was falling in or wanted to crowd surf by how he acted). It was intense.

Of course it was a rare sight to see Mana playing as a guest for a different artist. I don't think I can put into words how special it felt to see something like that! But at the same time, as wonderful as it was, it also felt a little strange to me. I think Mana has become very comfortable and rehearsed in his own setting (Moi dix Mois), but I didn't really know how to take that portrayal in Schwarz Stein. As I watched Mana perform, I started thinking "I guess Mana-style is Mana-style, but this almost feels a little too much like Moi dix Mois for Schwarz Stein". It didn't quite feel like Mana's performance style matched up completely with Schwarz Stein's performance style, if that makes any sense. If I were to paint a picture in your head, just imagine watching a Moi dix Mois concert, but turn off the music and play a full Schwarz Stein CD instead.(≧∇≦)
Basically not only were his movements the same as during Moi dix Mois concerts, but so were his interactions with the crowd and Kaya and Hora, as if he was trying to dominate the stage. There are many times in Moi dix Mois when Mana will go up to the various band members and try to play back to back with them (literally, he pushes his back against the other members like hes showing himself off with each person); he was doing the exact same thing this time too.

Its not particularly bad, but it was enough to make me scratch my head a little.(;゚∀゚)

After Transient, they played Beautiful the Virgin. Since Schwarz Stein plays electronic music that doesn't normally include guitar, Mana basically played guitar to the main chorus parts of the songs. I felt like this methodology really showed through the most in this second song. In Transient I felt like it was a little hard to distinguish the guitar sound from the rest of the music, but Beautiful the Virgin included an added portion for Mana to play a guitar solo in. Its probably needless for me to say, but it sounded great together!! I'm sure its only a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be nice if Schwarz Stein released a single with Mana playing these parts in the songs? Or better yet, how about a single/mini album with Mana, Mako, and Kozi's parts included into whatever songs they perform!!
It would be nice....

Immediately after, Mana bowed to everyone and ran back off stage and the rest of the concert continued.

After the main concert, there were two encores!!
The first included a bit more talking from Kaya and Hora about random things and then a few songs. Then to my surprise eventually a second encore came where they brought Mana back out on stage. Previously neither Kaya nor Hora would actually say Mana's name on stage, but would only refer to him as "the secret guest". I was a little concerned, thinking "They're seriously going to take things this far and just totally refrain from saying 'Mana'? Thats kind of ridiculous..." so I was relieved to eventually hear Kaya say "Mana-Sama"

With Mana's return to the stage, they had one more song planned for everyone. However, every time Mana showed up on stage things felt a little awkward. Mana seemed nervous the entire night as he kept folding his hands together and whenever he bowed to the audience he seemed rather rushed in his actions more than usual. Funny enough though, whenever he actually played he totally stole the limelight from Kaya and Hora. Really, was this a Schwarz Stein concert or a Mana concert?? Of course thats to be expected since this was highly anticipated. Anyway, one of the most awkward situations came when Kaya needed to do a bit of talking on stage while Mana was there. Actually, Kaya straight up said "I'm so nervous" a few times, but I think when he said he was nervous he meant along the lines of he doesn't quite know what to do with Mana on stage. The problem is, Mana doesn't talk, so Kaya wasn't really sure how to do interactions with him publicly. He wanted to ask Mana a question that wasn't really a yes or no question, and Mana seemed to have no idea what to do about it, so he kinda froze and stared at Kaya and Hora in a panic. I don't remember what they were asking him, but if I recall I think it had something to do with Mana playing Hora's instrument.

For those who don't know, Hora plays keyboard but he wears it similar to how you would a guitar, with a strap over your shoulder to hold it up. As Mana stood there like a deer frozen in headlights, Hora took his guitar and tried holding it up for Mana to take. Eventually he did, and then they asked him to try to play something on it. Suddenly Mana turned it on and started playing the intro to MALICE MIZER's Saikai no Chi to Bara!!!!
Suddenly the audience started screaming, and Kaya did too!! This part seemed to be totally unplanned because in an instant Kaya went from one of the performers on stage to a complete fan and couldn't stop saying things like "That was so great!! That was so amazing!!! I can't believe it!" etc.

Once Mana showed off his keyboard skills, the song Succubus started to play! Mana played keyboard the entire time and Hora just kinda danced and jumped around on stage, as well as screamed a few parts in the chorus. It was interesting to see Mana play a totally different instrument such as a keyboard in this way on stage, but I got the feeling that even though he played a little, he also used a kind of prerecorded loop that automatically plays particular parts so he didn't have to memorize the entire song. I also wondered how planned out that song really was with Mana playing it because it seemed like Mana kept forgetting he was holding a keyboard and would repeatedly treat it in the exact same way he does his guitars. Its hard to explain, but he tends to be somewhat rough with his guitars by swinging them around or shoving them into the audience. Everything he does with his guitars he was doing to Hora's keyboard. I hope it didn't get damaged at all...

Once again after the song ended, Mana ran off stage just as he did before, and that was about the end of the night.

It turns out there was actually an "after concert event" if you were willing to pay an extra 2,000 yen (approx $20 USD). I noticed this information either yesterday or the day before that and decided I would do it even though there were no details about what would happen. I assumed if Mana was a special guest at the concert, theres a good chance he might appear in the after event as well.

It turns out I was right!!

Not everybody decided to stay and I was nervous that it might not be something really worth-while, but I'm so glad I did!
I asked around to people who have gone to these kinds of Schwarz Stein concerts/events before what they thought it could be and how long it might last, but it turns out I guess each time is different.

Fortunately the event didn't last too long (since the concert started later in the evening I was worried about the end time). Basically Kaya and Hora showed about 10-15 minutes of video clips from Schwarz Stein lives at the very beginning of their band activity. The footage was old and projected on to a screen so the quality was a little bit hard to see, but it was so fun to watch! Kaya and Hora made some commentary as we watched and named off what year and venue the concerts were held at. Hora made some jokes at Kaya calling him a grandma now; they really seemed like two brothers together. Also, it was shocking to notice how young they looked in those old videos! They seemed like kids!

Here is the information on all the video clips shown during this part of the event:

November 3, 2003 @ Shinjuku Liquidroom
Queen of Decadence

December 15, 2004 Shibuya O-East
Perfect Garden

Roppongi Y2K (Kaya’s first solo concert)
fester love

March 29, 2004 @ Shibuya O-West
New Vogue Children
Last Hallucination

Finally for the end of the night, Mana was called back out one more time. It was a little funny when he came back out because this time Kaya had the venue play some kind of very cheesy sounding classical music. It didn't quite depict "Mana music" if you ask me, so I had to laugh a little(≧∇≦)

This time Mana had a commentary prepared for Kaya and Hora, which Kaya read aloud. Basically he just congratulated each of them on 15 years as Schwarz Stein and their time as artists. He said when he first saw Kaya he couldn't tell if he was a man or a woman or what kind of flashy person he was, but in the end Kaya is Kaya. He also made mentions about Rudolf Steiner and the beginning of their careers, being a producer for them, and other things like that.

I think Kaya and Hora were deeply touched to have Mana there with them tonight, especially with such a deep connection they have together. Not only that, Mana has never done anything like this in many many years so I have no doubt this was a huge treat to them.

Also, once the event ended there was a flower bouquet presumably sent from Mana outside the concert hall!

By the way, if you looked into the big bubble near their name card you could see a cut out of the embryo image used on their album "New Vogue Children"

Also, I didn't particularly take any pictures of my coordinate this time because it was relatively simple, but I took at least one picture for commemoration of the night.

Oh and before I forget!!
As I was leaving the venue I saw Seth standing incognito near where I had been standing!! I wonder how long he had been there? I never saw him during the concert itself, but I've heard he likes to make escapes before people notice him when there are breaks... Well, just as I suspected.

Anyway, it was a fun evening!! I was deeply impressed with Schwarz Stein so I hope to see them again some day, even if Mana isn't there as a special guest!! I have to make that effort!٩( 'ω' )و


It happened!!!!


In a word, it was...OUTSTANDING!!!

I have been looking forward to this concert for a few months now and as the time got closer, I started becoming more and more excited.

I rarely ever mention my musical interests outside of Moi dix Mois and MALICE MIZER on this blog, but when I get to go to an exciting concert or event I can’t help but want to talk about it!!

In my last entry I said I wanted to make a connection to Moi dix Mois in this entry, but actually I think this time around I would rather focus on Slayer and some of the other artists I got to see the other day.
HOWEVER!! Thats not to say I won’t connect it to Moi dix Mois! As I’ve been thinking about how I want to craft this entry, that thought has still lingered in my mind. I think a fair trade-off would be if I made a separate entry to this one focusing more deeply on the connection between Slayer and Moi dix Mois. Okay?? Okay.

Aslo, I won’t go into as much detail as I do with my Moi dix Mois concert reflections since I get the feeling the bulk majority of readers here aren’t particularly Slayer fans. But for those who do like Slayer, please enjoy!!


It was a 12 hour day of metal bands that started from around 9:50 am!
Those who know me know I can't wake up in the morning to save my life, so actually I didn't arrive until later on in the afternoon. That was okay with me though because the bands I was most interested in seeing didn't start until later anyway.

The bands I was most looking forward to see were

Alice Cooper

and of course...

It may not sound like much compared to the big schedule Loud Park had prepared, but since these bands are very well known, their performance time slots were much longer than the bands that played earlier in the day. I probably saw a good 6 hours worth of concerts!

So as I arrived to Saitama Super Arena, I was hoping to catch Opeth first, but I got there a little late. However, I was able to see them! But only a portion of the show...

Of course the music was good so I was happy to even see that much!!

One of my first impressions of the event overall was a bit of shock.
I didn't quite know what to expect of the people attending, but it really reminded me of the kind of crowd I hung out with in the US. Naturally most of the attendees were Japanese, but the entire event had this sort of Americanized, or should I say Westernized feel to it. I'm not simply talking about the concerts due to the bands being non-Japanese, I mean everything!! Thats certainly not an atmosphere I often get to experience living in Japan so it was a little overwhelming at first.

I even made a few remarks on twitter that I felt like I was back in high school.(≧∇≦) Really, it looked that way!!! (of course not everybody in my high school was gothic, but I was definitely part of the crowd that was)

The way I dressed was far more casual than when I go to Moi dix Mois concerts, but despite that I still felt like I was more dressed up than most people there! I guess it was the make up and accessories, but everyone seemed to just be wearing T-shirts of their favorite bands and pants. My full dress attire was a little more....


Basically a slayer hoodie with a skirt, leggings, and platform boots, and spiked accessories. For me it was casual, but for other people I guess it was a little bit more dressed up than usual. I got a lot of stares at the venue. f(^◇^;)

One of the two major highlights of the night for me was Alice Cooper!!!

Of course I've known who he is for as long as I can remember and within recent years he starred in a movie I really loved -- Dark Shadows!!
However, I've never been to any of his concerts before so I had no idea what to expect.
In fact, its extremely rare that I get to see concerts by American or European musicians. In the US concert tickets are always extremely expensive so I've only seen big acts a handful of times, and within those times some were out of pure luck. Like Lady Gaga; I got free tickets to see her in the US once because a local radio station was handing out tickets in my area for people who found their radio truck fast enough. Fortunately I happened to be extremely close by and was the first person to spot them! Other times I saw bands like Korn, Deaftones, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, etc, but these were at tours that included VK bands as well.

Anyway, Alice Cooper put on more of a show than I ever expected!! He is a true performer in every sense of the word. Not only did he sing, but every song was like a show! He had so many props, costume changes, and styles with each performance it was impossible to take my eyes away from him! Of course I've heard lots of his songs before, but I think the whole performance caught me off guard.

One of his coolest images was going under a guillotine and being "beheaded" before he reappeared for yet another song. He really thinks of everything!!

For any Alice Cooper fans, heres the set list he played on Saturday.

1. Brutal Planet
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
3. Under My Wheels
-Guitar Solo-
4. Poison
5. Halo of Flies
6. Feed My Frankenstein
7. Cold Ethyl
8. Only Women Bleed
9. Killer/I Love the Dead
10. I’m Eighteen
11. School’s Out / Another Brick in the Wall

Once you see the set list Slayer played, you'll feel like this looks extremely short! But I guess there were some major differences between Alice Cooper and Slayer. For instance, Slayer got a full hour and a half of play time since they were the headlining band, and Alice Cooper got about one hour. Also, Slayer's songs seem to be shorter than Alice Cooper's in general, and since he did put on full shows with his performances, the transition between songs sometimes took a while.

By the way, I took some video footage of both Alice Cooper and Slayer!! Here are two videos of Alice Cooper.

I apologize if the videos are sometimes shaky. I was zoomed in so far with my camera than any small movement looked big in the video. Also these videos are marked as "Unlisted" on youtube, so the only place you can see them is anywhere I post a link...like on this post!

Video #1 is the opening to the Alice Cooper concert with the song Brutal Planet and Video #2 is the finale with School's Out.

I think Alice Cooper became one of the biggest highlights of the entire night for me.

So now for Slayer!!!

The moment I had been waiting for!!!

The band that played before Slayer was Emperor. Since Emperor is also a very big band, tons of people were extremely excited to see them and the venue was completely packed.

Its probably hard to see in the picture, but people were everywhere!!
However, once Emperor ended and the TV screen in the middle flashed "Slayer" for the first time, immediately the crowd started cheering and you could instantly feel the enthusiasm in the air!

There was a big sheet placed in front of the stage, where the Slayer logo started flashing until the first song, Repentless started playing and suddenly the lighting on the curtain reminded me a bit of the World Painted Blood album cover.

Immediately the curtain fell and there was Tom Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt, and Paul Bostaph right before our eyes!!! Sadly because of the area where my seat was, I couldn't see Paul except for on the center TV screen, but it was still easy enough to see the other three.

Without a breath they played one song after another. A lot of the music was from their newest album Repentless which is probably due to several reasons, but I loved it!!!
I wasn't so familiar with that album, but since I liked a lot of the newer songs I decided to download it on itunes afterwards. One of my instant favorites was "When the Stillness Comes".

In fact, heres my video of the Slayer concert!
Before posting it, I want to note that even though the video is a full 13 minutes long, I compiled several clips together. Not every clip is a full song; some are snippets, and some are MC portions. Everything is edited and labeled so its easy to understand.

Once again, sorry for the shaky quality. If you're patient, the videos do sort of smooth out over time, but as I said with the Alice Cooper videos, any small movement I made ended up looking much bigger due to the zoom.

Also, heres the set list from the concert:

1. Repentless
2. The Antichrist
3. Disciple
4. Postmortem
5. Hate Worldwide
6. War Ensemble
7. When the Stillness Comes
8. You Against You
9. Mandatory Suicide
10. Fight Till Death
11. Dead Skin Mask
12. Born of Fire
13. Cast the First Stone
14. Bloodline
15. Seasons in the Abyss
16. Hell Awaits
17. South of Heaven
18. Raining Blood
19. Chemical Warfare
20. Angel of Death

The last song, Angel of Death, was a huge surprise and the grand finale!!!!
I was really hoping for songs from Reign in Blood so Postmortem, Raining Blood, and Angel of Death were definitely 3 big songs I was hoping to hear! The fact that they played the very 3 that I wanted to see the most totally made my night! Angel of Death was such a wonderful, amazing ending! I'm really sad I didn't film it, but I was enjoying it way too much to want to sit there holding up a camera the entire time.

Once the song ended, Tom Araya talked a little to the crowd, which I thought I filmed but apparently it didn't save. He went out and thanked everybody for coming and listening to them play. The way he spoke was so kind and sincere, it really took me off guard. Actually, their entire stage presence was different than I had expected. I'm not quite sure if its because they were in Japan or if its how they normally act, but they seemed a lot more calm and collected than I thought they would be. Its certainly not a bad thing; in fact I was pleasantly surprised! I felt like their presence sort of quietly demands respect in a way you wouldn't normally see with a lot of bands. They play hard and their concerts are full of energy, but they carry themselves with such confidence and experience that theres no need to attempt to stir up excitement before or during the show because it happens organically. You can absolutely understand the passion that lives within them simply by watching them!

Not only that, as you can see from the video I posted above, they try to play with the crowd in small fun ways that stir up a big impact! A lot of younger metal bands tend to seem a lot more excitable, but as Tom said in the video "You are here because you love the music, and we like to play the music. Its a little love affair we share,” I think it sums up exactly the dynamic Slayer has with their audience.

The feeling was totally different from Japanese bands I usually go see. Of course I think its based on a matter of style, but to see such a unique interaction/performance felt really special. I can't help but respect Slayer for performing every song as if they anticipate it to be the best performance they've ever done within their long career of over 35 years! It must take a lot of dedication and love to maintain such energy but this must be what makes them great.

Theres a lot more I could say about that going deeper into their history and current mentality of the band, but I imagine after a while it may only start to sound like rambling.

For those who are interested, I also compiled a large number of pictures I took from the concert into an interactive gallery!!


There were so many pictures I was worried this entry could easily get overloaded, so I created an easy to use gallery!!


The navigation is simple enough to smoothly browse through with your mouse or keyboard and has 2 kinds of menus if you want to quickly access certain photos. I tested it on Safari, Firefox, and Chrome and all seemed to work well without problem.


It seemed to work on my iPhone browser too! I was able to swipe and press the arrows to navigate through each picture, so if you prefer to check the gallery by smartphone it works just as well!

The gallery includes a huge Slayer section as well as pictures of the venue, Opeth, Emperor, Alice Cooper, and a few personal photos of me. All the pictures you see on there were also taken by me, and I'm pretty happy with the quality of the concert pictures!!

The link is the same for both smart phone and computer versions, so by all means please check it out!!


Maybe one of these days I could make a similar gallery for my collection of Moi dix Mois and MALICE MIZER related photos and scans too!

Sadly the concert ended way too fast for my taste, but I really hope to see these bands again the next time they decide to come to Japan. I would love to compare the differences between their concerts in Japan and the US so maybe if I'm lucky they'll have a concert nearby some day when I visit my family in the future!

One can only hope!

TANAQRO *Edit 10/13
*Edit 10/13
I have now edited the end of this entry to now include the new address to send Mana gifts to. Please check the P.S. at the very end of the entry!

I've been holding off making this entry for a couple days now because this situation deserves a lot of sensitivity and care. I think a lot of people may already know what I'm going to be talking about, but for those who don't, Moi-meme-Moitie has decided to transfer ownership from Mana's label, Maglaia, to an outside company, TANAQRO. Here is the official announcement with source links at the bottom:

† Towards a new Moi-même-Moitié

This October, Moi-même-Moitié business ownership has been transferred from previous owner Maglaia to TANAQRO’s apparel division.

Being able to reach the whole world by making use of TANAQRO’s global structure will be helpful with facing Moi-même-Moitié‘s most important future challenge:

To expand Japan’s prized Gothic Lolita culture on a worldwide scale.

My fundamental convictions have stayed the same ever since the foundation of Moi-même-Moitié.
It is my wish to guard this culture and make it known to more and more people.

Moi-même-Moitié  Producer Mana

Notice regarding business transfer of Gothic Lolita brand Moi-même-Moitié

TANAQRO. Co., Ltd., which also runs Wunderwelt online shop,
agreed with Maglaia Co., Ltd. on a business transfer of Gothic Lolita brand Moi-même-Moitié.
In order to realize Moi-même-Moitié‘s worldwide expansion, the brand will make the best use of TANAQRO’s experience with providing service to global users.
The business transfer was decided upon with the aim to revitalize the brand.


Sources: http://moi-meme-moitie.shop-pro.jp/

As much as I want to share my thoughts and opinions, I'm going to try my best to keep them to a minimum on here. Of course some commentary may reflect what I personally think, but that really can't be helped. I still want to focus more on the facts than speculation though.

So what does this mean?
For consumers overseas this is somewhat positive news. This means you'll be able to order new Moi-meme-Moitie items as they release in a timely manner, rather than the known issues with websites like CDJapan who had a lot of trouble with sales and distribution through Moitie over the past several years now.
Frankly speaking, the reason why CDJapan had problems is because Moi-meme-Moitie wasn't keeping in contact with them. There were several occasions where customers tried to purchasing from CDJapan but Moitie never responded to the order requests coming from CDJapan.

Earlier this year the company Wunderwelt agreed upon a partnership with Moi-meme-Moitie in order to make Moitie items readily available for overseas customers. As the official notice explains, TANAQRO owns Wunderwelt, so in terms of overseas purchases, it seems at the moment Wunderwelt will be in charge of international sales that will hopefully run much smoother.

Also, as I checked the official Moi-meme-Moitie website it seems the order page is still geared towards Japanese customers only, but the company information has been completely changed over to TANAQRO now.

For those who like data and information, heres a screen shot which includes the new information:


Since its all in Japanese, I'll translate and explain the main points I'm talking about.

Distributor: TANAQRO Co. Ltd.
Owner name: Junya Tanaka
Postal code: 1510053
Address: 3-24-3 Dai2Umemura Bld.4F,
Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

After that, all other information remains the same as it was before, so it seems right now no major renovation has been made to the Moi-meme-Moitie website. That same information can be found on the TANAQRO website as well:


Why is that important?
Because I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for the Moi-meme-Moitie website. Wunderwelt already deals in sales and distribution within Japan and overseas, and since they already acquired Moi-meme-Moitie theres hardly a need for two separate websites with the exact same function. That is, except, one of the websites (the official MmM page) doesn't include overseas sales, so when you think about it, the Moi-meme-Moitie website is a bit redundant at this point.
I wonder if eventually the Moi-meme-Moitie site will be phased out and simply merge with Wunderwelt, because from the perspective of TANAQRO that would be far more beneficial to them. Furthermore, TANAQRO's official company description is as follows:
Business Activities: Purchase and sales of used luxury brand apparel and goods

I think this is a really important point because Moi-meme-Moitie itself is not "used" apparel and goods. This sounds far more like the function of Wunderwelt, so it really feels like everything points at a bigger merge than one may initially think. Of course it makes sense since TANAQRO is now the owner of Moi-meme-Moitie; they can do whatever they want with the company.

I'm not saying a full on website merge is going to happen over night or anything, but I would say the information suggests the signs are certainly there for this kind of future.

I think this could seem like a big shock, maybe even devastating to some people because it seemingly strips away the individual identity of Moi-meme-Moitie, but actually similar things happened some years ago. Once upon a time Moi-meme-Moitie had their own retail shops, but several years ago many lolita brands, including Moi-meme-Moitie shut down their brick and mortar stores and merged together with Kera Shop, which has the advantage of supplying multiple brands at multiple locations across Japan. Since Moi-meme-Moitie had to shut down all their shops around Japan several years ago and only retain their Tokyo location, it was a smart move for them to merge with Kera. Shutting down a shop doesn't necessarily mean theres absolutely no interest in the brand, it just means that the client base wasn't big enough to warrant a retail shop dedicated to the one brand alone.

I think this will be the same fate of the Moi-meme-Moitie website. Its not particularly bad; its a move to attempt to save the brand from problems that would inevitably shut the entire company down. Of course now there are key elements that are going to lead to big changes and I think this is something a lot of people are worried about. Still, this is a move to allow Moitie a better chance at thriving for a longer period of time. Without this change Moitie would hardly have a chance at survival much longer. I don't mean that in terms of interest or lack thereof, I'm talking about business practice. This has been problematic for a long time now as many customers (especially overseas) can attest to.

I believe Mana has a strong will and desire to see Moi-meme-Moitie go in a direction that would satisfy and honor him as well as everyone else who loves Moi-meme-Moitie. Remember, criticism is okay, but take into account Mana's perspective and why he felt this was the right move to make. Obviously he wouldn't do it if he didn't think it would be in the best interest for Moitie.

I have no doubt that a lot of careful thought and consideration went into making this decision as he loves Moitie way too much to hand it over to someone he didn't feel would do it justice. Hes always had a track record for being very careful with who he allows to work on his projects, and I don't think Moitie is an exception to that rule.

At this point only time will tell what direction Moitie will go in next. Maybe TANAQRO has special plans for the brand that aren't being shown in the details yet, or maybe it will go in the direction I described here. Either way the most we can do now is continue to support Mana and Moi-meme-Moitie.

If you got to the end of this entry, once again thank you!!!
Surprisingly, my previous entry seemed to go over really well and I was extremely happy and excited to see so many comments and messages that you all would like to see more entries similar to that one! I was so scared everyone was going to hate it!! ( ̄◇ ̄;)
Even though we're nearing the end of the year and thus the end of Mana's 25 year anniversary as an artist/Moi dix Mois 15 year anniversary, I think the future entries pertaining to those contents will still serve as a fun commemoration! I'm so motivated to work on those entries I would love to jump into them right now, but I felt it was important to address the current Moi-meme-Moitie situation first.

Also, the Slayer concert is in 2 days, so I really hope to write about it on here!!
Slayer is an important element to Mana as an artist, so maybe a Slayer entry will be up for grabs next.
Even if you're not a Slayer fan, I'm hoping that entry will still be interesting and filled with relevance to Mana/Moi dix Mois so all Mana fans can appreciate it!

Once again thank you so much! You have no idea how much it means to me to hear so much encouragement! I want to give you all everything I've got!!!!

10/13 Mana's blog has now been updated to include the new address to send gifts and letters. The translation of the entry and new address are as follows:

† Forwarding address for postal items to Mana-Sama
Due to Moi-même-Moitié going into a new system the forwarding address to send Mana-Sama letters and such has changed to this.

〒151-0053 東京都渋谷区代々木3丁目24−3 第二梅村ビル4F
Moi-meme-Moitie Mana様宛

Moi-meme-Moitie C/O Mana-Sama
Dai 2 Umemura Bldg. 4F
3-24-3 Yoyogi
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

* Please refrain from raw materials (things that can spoil easily).

Source: http://manamonologue.blog16.fc2.com/blog-entry-602.html

関ジャム VK special episode

Was I right or was I right???

関ジャム (Kan Jam) aired last night with the anticipated MALICE MIZER clip!!
I'm a little excited about it, maybe for stupid reasons, but somehow it felt good to see my predictions come true!

For those who don't know, Kan Jam is a show that focuses on music and on last night they had an episode focused on Visual Kei history. Mana mentioned on Twitter that a MALICE MIZER clip might be shown on this episode, so of course fans had their hopes up that the clip would air.

I then took to this blog in the last entry to talk a little about more recent updates, which included a commentary about this show. In that entry I talked about how even though the TV show had requested to use the clip, it may not be guaranteed that it will actually be used. However, considering the fact that this was VK history and MALICE MIZER certainly had a big influence within that world surely it would air.

I also commented that I believed the subjectivity of the MALICE MIZER clip would likely be something generic and easy to understand by a large number of viewers. When I said that originally Gekka no Yasoukyoku was the first thing to pop into my head. In fact, looking back at that entry I'm surprised I didn't say it! Did I write it and then erase it?? Anyway, thats exactly what appeared.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to record any high quality footage of the show since I don't have a DVD recorder or anything, but I did live broadcast it on twitter as it aired!!

I'm sorry the quality isn't great, but as of right now this is all I have. I think the MALICE MIZER portion is somewhere towards the middle mark (30 mins in or so) of the episode. I had to hold the camera up to the TV for the full hour because the ledge I had it sitting on broke off right from the beginning (><)

If you're interested in the commentary, Shou Kiryuuin (Vo. Golden Bomber) talked about how MALICE MIZER was his first band and how they made a huge impression on him. He mentioned particularly how he questioned if they were really playing instruments at all since they were often dancing or creating productions where they may not have seemingly been able to truly play, but in fact they do play their instruments. (For those who don't know Golden Bomber, they're sort of an air rock VK band that doesn't actually play instruments, so the reference was somewhat of a tie-in to Golden Bomber's band activities)

In terms of MALICE MIZER, the focus was more on their music style and quite a bit of attention seemed to be payed on Gackt and Kami's piano and drums duet.

The MALICE MIZER video of the clip used for Kan Jam can be found here:

Kami & Gackt Duet

When thinking of the entirety of this show, it brought back memories of bands I used to listen to all the time but have somewhat forgotten over the years. It was actually refreshing to hear songs that made me think "I remember this!!!"
I miss those days a little......

More interestingly to me though, the show divided it's content up by decades and it made me think about the timing I got interested in VK and which era I feel the biggest connection to. They even talked a bit about the western VK boom in the US and Europe and how its popularity arose, as well as its connection to anime and "cool Japan." Their explanation was exactly right, but its fascinating to think about the situation from the perspective of Japanese people (essentially the artists). In fact, thats a topic I really wanted to add my own thoughts to on here!!


What should I call this section?

Sarah's International VK Perspective ??😂

Heres a stupid old picture of me so you're not too bored looking at a giant wall of text.

Maybe this isn't a point of view many people get to hear about, which is why I wanted to share these thoughts.

So far I’ve been living in Japan for 8 years, but actually my first visit to Japan was 10 years ago! Going back even further than that, I probably became interested in VK about 15 years or more ago at this point.

As I recall, when I first learned about Visual Kei it still wasn’t something that was widely known but it was on the verge of breaking through to western audiences. The information I was able to find at that time was scarce and relatively dated, but I think in some ways the trend of outdated information prevailed for a long time until finally social media started to shorten the gap between Japan and western countries.

As VK was gaining popularity there was a common urge among fans to find as much material as possible despite the limitations we faced. It was also such a new concept to us that we were all consuming as much content as possible in order to embrace VK to the best of our abilities. It felt like a scavenger hunt, particularly online, because you could forget finding anything in real life.

Heres a trivia question: Do you know what my first MALICE MIZER song was?
(I'll answer it at the end)

As a result, my VK music library slowly grew with samples of various band's most popular songs. Finding full albums to listen to was a little tricky, so sometimes I was limited to only a couple songs by each band I came across. If I was lucky I could find more than that, but for a while I had to make do with what I could find. I think thats why when I watched Kan Jam it brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings. I'll never forget those early days sorting through a huge mesh of various band's songs and attempting to reach out to anyone possible to share music and information with.

The short samples contained on this CD were the first Moi dix Mois songs I ever heard because at the time no full length songs were available.

But finally the boom hit. Lots of bands came to the US and played at anime conventions because thats the market where VK would likely have its highest chance to succeed. And succeed it did! However, notably, just as it was discussed on Kan Jam, Dir en Grey eventually became an exception to that rule and was able to tour and perform outside of anime conventions.
VK bands at that time were able to have an ever stronger hold in Europe where they were able to have concerts and tours in major cities that weren't connected to anime conventions.

Old picture of me with Shun (Gu.) from the band Duel Jewel. This was my first encounter with a VK band in person and a first for VK bands at anime conventions in the US.

Online communities focused on VK started popping up too, especially on websites like Livejournal where people could create "communities" focused on their favorite bands. I wonder if there are many people still around from that time period?

When the VK craze was at its highest, in the mid-late 2000's, information about Japanese pop culture found a sharp rise in interest too. Suddenly US anime conventions became polarized. It was obvious who was explicitly going for VK bands, who was there for fashion (lolita, ganguro, oshare kei, etc), and who was there for anime/manga/cosplay. These groups isolating themselves from the others (for a lack of better words) caused a lot of tension, particularly between anime/manga fans and VK fans. Those who were interested in street fashion seemed to be somewhere in the middle, but more or less leaned towards the way of VK fans.

Thinking about it now, I feel like even the more hardcore VK fans outside of Japan still didn't entirely have a grasp on the insight of their favorite bands. I say this while thinking specifically about MALICE MIZER and Moi dix Mois (probably to an extent bands like Dir en Grey too). While it was easy to understand and appreciate their music and aesthetics, I often felt like we westerners may have been missing out on some deeper meanings lost in translation. Perhaps that contemplation came from the fact that MALICE MIZER's intent was to explore the ideology of "What is human?"

With obstacles such as language gaps creating barriers, it seemed we were about 10 years behind the actual current trends in Japan. Everyone talked about the infamous Harajuku bridge and how loads of VK and Japanese street fashion enthusiasts gathered there on Sundays as a sort of a huge fan frenzy. However, you could imagine my shock when I finally came to Japan for the first time in 2007 and didn't see the spectacle I had been anticipating. All the people at the bridge in Harajuku were.....GONE!

Well, that is, except for this very small group of kids who were fighting to keep it alive.

I think as time progressed on there was another sort of "soft revival" of interest in places like the Harajuku bridge and VK bands in general when speaking about Japan, but I wonder if that had some kind of connection to the enthusiasm coming in from overseas? When I finally moved to Japan permanently in 2009, I noticed a short lived boost in participants at the cosplay bridge, but a key element of that was the sudden influx of tourists specifically looking for the illustrious Harajuku bridge cosplayers.

Once I gained a deeper understanding of the VK culture from within Japan, my own perception was changed. I think before then my mentality was pretty typical of most overseas VK fans, and I think that implies a lot of misconstrued ideas of VK's current status at that time...or at least the era I was most familiar with.

This is why when I say the west was about 10 years behind Japan, it created a lot of inaccurate portrayals of the reality.
The bands I was most familiar with mostly came from the 90's (and to some extent the 80's), but since almost all VK bands were considered "new" outside Japan, I was looking at older content that depicted how popular/famous many of these bands were in Japan and believed those sentiments still applied today. Thats not to say they weren't famous, but a lot of major recognition of these 90's bands were already in the midst of diminishing due to the changing of times. Its like talking about groups such as the Spice Girls in the west and claiming they still hold major relevancy today in 2017. Of course there are still people out there who are very passionate about them, but the bulk majority of people would probably say "Oh yeah, I remember them! I used to love them when I was younger!"

With that realization, I began to struggle with the VK community outside of Japan. Before I knew it, getting involved with the Japanese community was giving me an inside look into VK culture that painted a more realistic picture of the situation. If I tried to speak about this reality to people outside Japan I would be demonized because it didn't match the image that was being perceived. As a natural course Visual Kei in the 2000's and early 2010's was handed over to newer bands and some older bands that had achieved massive commercial success. Several of the 90's bands I knew and loved didn't quite fit into that mold anymore, but a lot of westerners were convinced that they did.

Dio, Rentre en Soi, 12012, and Sugar were a few of the many bands I met in the 2000’s who were quickly entering the forefront of the VK world.

Since I took the route of following Mana as an artist over other VK musicians, my understanding of the VK world also gained some other unique perspectives. As Moi dix Mois toured Europe a couple times, a lot of the western Moi dix Mois/MALICE MIZER fanbase was centralized in Europe, and it seemed the attitudes of those fans matched up with the views of American fans as well. That is to say, everyone was under the impression that Mana was a major star, implying some kind of major commercial success. Statistically speaking Merveilles was the commercial success of MALICE MIZER and of course Mana is without a doubt one of the most important components of that. However, with the progression of time, a major observation I've noticed is that when speaking to the general public in Japan, Gackt's role seems to be what people remember the most of the band. Thats not to undermine Mana or any of the other members, but in all my years of working in Japan I think I can only count the number of times I've met people who understood who Mana was on one hand...

So was Mana a success? Yes absolutely, of course! I have no doubt in my mind about it. But when looking at the bigger picture, I started to gain a sense of "people who were invested in VK at one point or another certainly know who Mana is, but people who may have casually listened to music related to MALICE MIZER or VK in general without much investment may not remember." So I felt like the western perspective was somewhat misplaced. I think a lot of these fans didn't take into account the difference between "fame within the VK industry" and "fame in general." This is exactly why I claimed "Gekka no Yasoukyoku" to be "generalized material for a wider audience." Since Merveilles was MALICE MIZER's most famous album, Gekka no Yasoukyoku often seems to be used as a major representation of their success.

I think this point of view applies to a lot of the VK world, so I absolutely love what Kan Jam tried to achieve on their show last night. It showed the culture of Visual Kei and where fits in the world. They not only talked about it's history, but a deeper understanding that is rarely touched on nowadays. Visual Kei is at the forefront of things I have been passionate about the longest in my life, and being able to see it from various angles is something I cherish a lot. Since I connect with the 90's era the most, I don't tend to go to many concerts anymore outside of Moi dix Mois, but that doesn't mean I don't respect what it has become today. Its amazing to see how VK has changed over time, and I think its important that it does so it can continue to peak the interests of people who will strive to keep that passion alive.

Trivia Question Time!
What was my first MALICE MIZER song?
The answer is Seraph!!
I will never forget, the moment I heard this song it felt like something clicked inside of me and from that instant I said "THIS is the music I have been looking for!"
Ever since then the rest is history...


If anybody actually reads this to the end, thank you!!

Visual Kei, especially MALICE MIZER and Moi dix Mois, is something I've been very passionate about for a long time and it was nice to go in depth about the topic again after many years.

As one last remark before closing this entry, I wanted to make a special note that the other day on Mana's blog, Monologue†Garden, he made a small commentary about the upcoming Novmber guest appearance. It seems my hunch that this event will never officially be announced was also correct. Heres a translation of that post:

† シークレットゲスト
† Secret Guest
I have decided to play a little bit of guitar at a certain live in November.
The live is with an artist I am very connected to.
It will be pretty rare, so find out who it is and please come~


Anyway, I hope this entry was fun to read. I was so happy to finally see MALICE MIZER on TV first hand!!
Its like a dream...
Really, I'm so glad for the opportunity!

If any of you enjoyed this entry, maybe it would be fun to make this into a more regular column on here?
I could talk more exclusively on information pertaining directly to the history and details of Mana, MALICE MIZER, Moi dix Mois, Moi-meme-Moitie, etc. if that seems interesting.
If you like the idea of it please let me know!