Talk Live Report, July 22, 2005 I had a chance to attend a "talk live" event in Tokyo this past friday (and to get out of the city before the earthquake stopped all the trains), and I thought I'd give you a quick breakdown on what was said and done with regard to the Vampire Hunter D series. As you may have heard, the long out-of-print books on tape dramatizations of second, third, and seventh novels were released this month as a CD boxed set. Priced at around $80, it's quite a steal considering that I paid that much for each of the last three tapes on Yahoo JP. The boxed set also comes with a cool booklet that the tapes never had. The 58 page square-bound book has loads of illustrations by Amano, the previously unpublished VHD short story "A Message from Cecil," highlights from the scripts of all five CDs, cast information, and images of the cassette packaging for all five of the books-on-tape. As I said, well worth the price of admission. Although it hasn't hit bookstore shelves yet, Mr. K had a half dozen advance copies of the second half of the seventeenth VHD novel, "D--Hakumasan." Using the fairest method known to man--a gigantic paper, rock, scissors battle--he distributed these to a number of lucky fans. A similar method was used to distribute a half dozen copies of the CD booklet. This booty had apparently been brought to the event by Asahi Sonorama editor Susumu Ishii, who rides herd on the VHD series. My complete lack of paper, rock, scissors skill notwithstanding, I came away from the event with both books because Mr. Ishii kindly gave me copies. Somedays it pays to be a translator. In the afterword to the latest VHD novel, Mr. K is good enough to mention me and the English translation of the first novel, and he also suggests interested parties check out the book on Amazon. Yes! The VHD novels have been coming out in Taiwan for some time now, and selling rather well--over 260,000 books sold in total for the first 8 or so novels, according to Mr. K. Some of the staff recently came to Japan and got a tour around Kabukicho by Mr. K (this is where we have the talk live events, and is also the "Demon City" part of Tokyo is other series). The man translating the books for them has been putting them out at an incredible pace, but the publishers are now in a bind-- their translator has to report for his compulsory military duty now. Apparently there are a number of strategies to try and get out of this service, but all of them seem to involve some risk to the person's health--becoming dangerously underweight or overweight; taking drugs to blur vision and alter heartbeat, and other fun stuff. On the English translation front, I've sent along the second and third book. Though I'm not exactly in the loop on this, expect the second book in September, and the third in January '06. Asahi Sonorama and Mr. K currently have an offer for more books (at least 3, but possibly up to "Dark Nocturne"), but we don't have anything on paper yet. Not one to let that stop me, I'm still plugging away at the fourth novel. If all goes well, you could be seeing the fourth novel in May of '06, the fifth in September of that year, and the sixth in January '07. I don't see any reason why the next batch of English translations wouldn't come out--Mr. K is quite pleased with the reaction overseas, Dark Horse has to be happy with how well the first book is doing (35,000 copies shipped by some time in June, according to Mr. Ishii), and I've got nothing better to do. At any rate, keep your fingers crossed. As far as the live-action VHD movie goes--nothing to report. Nada. Why doesn't that surprise me? If anyone was planning on hopping on a plane for the September talk live event, you'll want to know that the date has changed from the 23rd to the 30th, so plan accordingly. This happens to be a few days after Mr. K's birthday, so we'll be celebrating that at the event. As in years past, I'll be willing to play postman for any fans wishing to send cards and letters along to the maestro. Now that you've had a chance to read one of his actual books (albeit in translated form), I thought more than ever there might be interesting in sending along birthday wishes. So here are some suggestions and rules: ENGLISH: Mr. K started out in the fiction business as an English-to-Japanese translator, so he can read and understand a fair bit. I would suggest printing over cursive, just for the sake of clarity. If you have a smattering Japanese, I'm sure he'd be pleased to see that, too. If you're not a native-speaker of English, don't worry--neither is he. Traditionally, non-native speakers have an easier time understanding another non-native speaker rather than a native speaker. At any rate, it's the thought that counts. SIZE: Well, since I have to carry this stuff into Tokyo, and he has to carry it home, let's try to keep the dimensions reasonable. For cards and letters, that shouldn't really be a problem. If you want to do some sort of illustration, let's try to keep it down to something that'll fit in a 10x13 manila envelope--which probably rules out life-size portraits and marble busts. SURFACE MAIL: Don't do it. It's been known to take up to 3 months for things to get here that way, which wouldn't make the deadline. AIRMAIL: This is what you want. Usually takes about 5 days, but can take as long as 10 days. Also, keep in mind that Japan is more than a half day ahead of the U.S. My address here is: Kevin Leahy Namiyanagi 1-15-2 Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0825 JAPAN ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS: If it gets right down to the wire and it looks like you won't be able to make it via snail mail, I'll be taking some electronic submissions, too. First, make sure your subject line doesn't have "SPUR-M" or anything like that in it--something VHD-related would be nice. Also, give me a heads-up if there are going to be email attachments involved. And I guess that just about covers the birthday stuff for now. I'll give you periodic reminders as we get closer to event. The "D Day" event is also moving closer to reality. Right now, it seems like it'll be on a friday in November, but the time hasn't been set yet.
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