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Amano, the previously unpublished VHD short story "A Message from Cecil," 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 

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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