Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Going off on another adventure today! I'm heading to Stockholm Sweden to attend two more shows in the Play! A Video Game Symphony concert series. It's going to be great, both shows are going to be on Saturday, June 2nd, and could possibly be the biggest shows yet for Play! Expect plenty of details of all the events when I return.

See you later!

Sunday, May 27, 2007


First of all, please don't get me wrong, you have every right to buy and enjoy any CD you want, but since I believe in supporting the original CD composers and creators, this information is intended to help and not to hinder. Also, as many others know, most of these discs originate out of Taiwan, and not Japan.

  • Click
  • Did you notice anything? That Dragon Quest V CD set is from SM, and is a surefire pirate CD. I can't knock gamemusic.com. Really, I love them. They put a major effort into stopping the sale of these things on their site, and they make it so much easier to get imports from Japan without having to pay a hefty sum to import it yourself. No doubt that Dragon Quest V soundtrack is from the old stock. Still helps to know though, doesn't it?

    Five major Pirate CD makers are SM or sonmay (See Ys II Sample below), Alion, Ever Anime, Miya Records and something with a wierd symbol I am unable to make out. These are the big ones I run into more than anything. One comic shop in my area literally has dozens of game music CDs for sale all the time, but every one of them is a pirate bootleg CD. It's a shame, too, because otherwise it's a great place.
    Here is what the Ever Anime logo looks like:

    If you see this symbol on any CD, beware, it is a pirate:
  • Tuesday, May 22, 2007


    Here is a profile of an official and an unofficial Ys II soundtrack CD, with the official King Records release above the fake SM "Sonmay" one. This is a good example of a very decpetive fake for many reasons. For one, the ACTUAL Falcom logo appears on the bottom. I can't believe they got away with this. On later fake CDs you will not find the official company logo anywhere. Look also at the black spine. Many fake CDs have a different colored spine from the real ones. In this example, since both spines are black, you'll need to look further to distinguish the real from the pirate, but you won't need to look too much further. Look at the fake again and you'll see "SM-040" in the upper left corner. This is just one of many fake catalog numbers that pirate CD companies use.

    So, Why an Ys CD? Well, it's one of the few bootlegs I own. And, as the series garners more fame, there will be demand for soundtracks of the earlier Ys titles. Hopefully this will help you steer from making a purchase you won't be proud of.

    The following picture shows the back cover of both CDs with the official one above the fake one. Taking a look at the bottom lower right corner of both covers reveals something more sinister. The pirate CD maker SM actually uses the correct catalog number (K32X 7704) here! If you didn't know that SM was a maker of pirate CDs, you could be deceived into thinking it was official! However, it's nothing to worry over, there are still plenty other ways to detect it's a fake.

    You'll want to be careful on ebay, just because a correct catalog number is given, doesn't mean you're getting an official CD. If the seller can not provide a picture, request the record label be given. Ebay is rampant with fake game CDs, as well as fake soundtrack sets for such series as Catlevania and Final Fantasy.

    The picture below shows the spine of both Ys II discs, with the official one on top. (click to enlarge)

    Now the fake catalog number of SM-040 finally appears. Look closely how the pirate CD makers made an effort to create a spine that looks almost exactly like the official CD release. Take note, Falcom no longer uses King Records to produce it's soundtracks, so on any new Falcom discs you will see a catalog numer beginning with "NW". The King Records catalog number here on Ys II (K32X 7704) is also an early version of it's numbering system. On later releases King Records began using KICA-"Number" on most or all of their CDs.

    Here is an image of both discs. Once again, the official disc is on top, the fake on the bottom.
    Check out how similar they are, and yet at the same time they are very different. You can clearly tell which one is fake by the absence of the King Records logo on the bottom one. When I bought this CD the first time, I had no idea whatsoever that it was a fake. Even though this CD is quite old, it is evident that even back then SM or Sonmay was making fake CDs that look almost exactly like the originals.

    Personally, I can not tell a difference in sound quality, but after years of going to conventions and seeing tons of these fake being sold, they get annoying, and they get you angry. I've seen too many of these now and it just ticks me off when I see them still being sold. Now, for this Ys II, all the tracks are the same on both discs, but I've seen a pirate release of Final Fantasy VIII that comes in a real nice case, but if you look at disc three it is actually missing "Eyes on Me," one of the most important songs in the game!
    Until other countries get serious about importing game music into retail stores, these fakes are going to continue to have a market, for they sell for at least half the price of official ones. It is happening, but at a snail's pace. Common prices for fake CDs are anywhere from $6.95 to $14.95 USD.
    Gamemusic.com deserves a big thank you for not only putting a stop to selling fake CDs on their own site, but for also making it possible to get many of the latest game music releases without having to pay so much to import.


    No, this is a fine example of what you may hear commonly referred to as a Douin CD. It's pretty much like someone doing fan art in Japan, or, thanks to many fans all over the world, they are becoming much more common in other areas. As game music continues to grow in popularity, you can expect the number of fan made remixes to increase as well.
    The artwork may look somewhat unofficial on the above CD, but don't let that take you. The makers of Pirate game and anime CDs from what I've seen always strive to create something that looks similar if not exactly like it's official counterpart. Doujin CDs are one of my favorite things to collect. Many times you'll get some refreshing all new versions of your favorite game tracks. Doujin CDs are fan made remixes, most of which are of professional quality. Project Majestic Mix and The One Ups are examples of fantastic artits who are turning their passion for game music into incredible CDs. In the case of the Final Fantasy IV above, JM Midi not only re-created the complete FF IV soundtrack, but they also included the unused tracks, previously only available on the FF Mix CD and Final Fantasy IV Minimum album. This truly is a work of art.
    So, while it may not look like this:

    The JM Midi FF IV and other Doujin CDs definitely are not bootlegs.

    While I'm at it, here is the site of my personal favorite Doujin arranger and one of my favorite game composers Atsushi Fukai:
  • Mushi.net
  • Here you'll find examples of more Doujin soundtracks inspired by Ys, Dragon Quest, and even Dragon Spirit. One of Mr. Fukai's trademarks is creating imaginary game soundtracks, featuring all new music based on the style of a certain game or series.

    Another important note:
    While it is true that some Doujin CDs may be sold at a similar price as some bootlegs, they will be instantly distinguishable by their content. There are sellers on ebay though, who sell copies of douin Mangas on CD. So even Doujins have bootleggers. *Sigh*

    I truly hope this has been helpful so far, and it's by no means the end of my coverage of pirate CDs.
  • Friday, May 18, 2007


    Even back in my early days of collecting game music, the first Ys soundtrack I ever bought was a crap SM bootleg. Since that time, I bought two real Music from Ys CDs to make up for it. There were a few others too, that I bought as bootlegs out of ignorance and since then managed to get real copies of. But back then, the convention circuit was filled with bootleg soundtracks. I remember seeing tons of Dragon Quest CDs and just being in awe. I even remember seeing bootleg Falcom Special Boxes back then too. Everyone just assumed they were the real thing. In those early days I never met anyone who told me they weren't genuine. Thanks to the internet you can find lots of helpful information on them now, and with this article and more to come I'd like to contribute as well. The point I want to make is that the composers know about the piracy of their work, and I have a real story that proves it.

    This was the second time I met Mr. Koji Kondo in May 2006. First of all, he remembered me from Mr. Uematsu's Tower Records signing event the previous day, which was remarkable considering all the fans he met over a two day period. I think I was one of the lucky few who managed to meet him at Tower records that day. I know a lot of people didn't recognize him.

    It happened at the Chicago premiere of Play! at the composer meeting event. I had tons of CDs with me, and it was so hard to decide which ones to bring, and even harder to carry them all around. Anyway, when I approached Mr. Koji Kondo, I presented my Zelda Windwaker and Ocarina of Time soundtracks to him for signing. Here's where something great happened. Before signing, he looked over both CDs carefully and said softly: "Japanese". I knew immediately that he was confirming the authenticity of the discs, and I thought that was so cool! I wonder if anyone out there has had a similar experience...

    More to come, including pictures of bootleg Ys soundtracks and real ones to compare them to.

    Thursday, May 17, 2007


    Here's an updated version of my Drawing Mega Man video. This time I added music from Megalomania, I think it is much more enjoyable now.

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    THANKS FOR 2,000 HITS!!

    To all those who visit my page, you have my thanks! Here is Milon, drawn especially for the occasion.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007


    Finally got the Mega Man "Megalomania" CD the other day. It's a great Mega Man guitar arranged Doujin CD by Dangerous Mezashi Cat. I have to admit, the cover art is fantastic, but I wondered whether or not the CD would live up to that quality.

    No worries, it delivers completely! It's pure Mega Man rock, with plenty of room in each track used to cover the main melodies, and at the same time provide additional music to compliment the wonderful arrangements. Now, this isn't hard core Metal by any means, but that doesn't mean it's not hardcore rock! Great synth and fast, heavy drums accompany many of the tracks, and all of them are instantly recognizeable. The musicicans produced a great balance of staying true to the original music, as well as creating a refreshing take on old classics.

    Right now, this disc might be hard to get, as doujin CDs aren't sold by everybody, and their circulation is almost nonexistent outside of Japan. The price will be around $19.99. I recommend ebay seller champ_des_pins, who supports the doujin CD creators like no one else on ebay.


    1. MegaMan 2 Opening
    2. MegaMan 2 Title
    3. CutMan
    4. IceMan
    5. FireMan
    6. MetalMan
    7. BubbleMan
    8. WoodMan
    9. CrashMan
    10. FlashMan
    11. QuickMan
    12. Dr. Wily Stage (MegaMan 2)
    13. MegaMan 3 Title
    14. SparkMan
    15. Get Weapon (MegaMan 3)
    16. SnakeMan
    17. PharoahMan (Bonus)