Thursday, 6 June 2013

Art of Japanese Laserdisc

Over at the mighty Hero Never Dies blog, my good pal and all round Eastern Condor, Martin has posted up pics of two very nice acquisitions - the Criterion laserdiscs of Crash and Akira. I thought it might be fun to do a sister post based on that so below are pics of the Japanese laser editions of Crash and Akira.

The Crash artwork from the 1997 Herald edition (with yellow OBI) is really quite a beauty and captures well the film's strange juxtaposition of eroticism and violence, with a still shot of Rosanna Arquette's very desirable rear clad in short leather skirt, and fish net tights contrasting with the clunky leg braces and the vaginal-like surgical scar. It's a procative sleeve much like the Japanese artwork for the Shivers laserdisc and one I think JG Ballard might have enjoyed. (Please excuse the muddy looking Crash front cover - its much more vibrant in actuality, late evening summer sunshine is not ideal for laserdisc photographing)

This 1998 Japanese edition of Akira on the Pioneer label comes as a 2-disc gatefold set and features rather strangely, English credits on the back sleeve, with full Japanese credits on the insert. I wanted to get snaps of the gatefold image - but the dark glossy jacket didn't photograph well sadly. On the back side of silver OBI there are ads for two additional Akira-related laserdiscs - Akira Production Report, a 47min documentary on the film and Akira Sound Clip a 19min featurette on the soundtrack. Both of which are available on the Special Edition DVD (but not on the current Blu-Ray)


  1. Gorgeous Wes. The cover artwork for Crash is simply astounding, and perfectly highlights the difference in approach towards western graphic design and that of the Japanese. There is absolutely no way in hell even an artisan western company like Criterion would have ever used a design like that, more's the pity!

  2. Yep, Crash is very nice, this edition was instrumental in kick starting my laserdisc collecting phase - I just had to have this sleeve. I think my most requested Criterion Blu - after Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev - is easily Crash and hopefully we'll see something one of the days. Extraordinary film, and I would highly recommend a read of Ballard's book - I think both compliment each other wonderfully.

  3. Yeah, I read the book way back and loved it, I just never got around to seeing the film for some reason. I'm tempted myself to try and track it down to have the cover....