Posted by: 愛撫 | 11/14/07

Real Onigokko jacket art shown, old proverbs about not judging books by their covers struggling to ring true

Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’ve been repeating this mantra to myself for the last ten minutes or so, but no matter how many times I say it, the message never quite sinks in deep enough for that thumbnail image to not fill me with dread. Everything about it is terrible – from the composition of the images that make up the cover, the font choice, the terrible picture of KOTOKO all the way down to the bloody song/movie’s title. I mean, seriously, “Real Onigokko” (リアル鬼ごっこ) literally translates as being “the real guy who got tagged as ‘it’ in a game of tag” (figurative/less wordy translation pending) – even taken independently of the film’s context, that’s a pretty dumb title. But, taking the movie’s plot into consideration, the bad title only gets that much worse.

Basically, from what I gather the movie’s plot is as such: it’s the year 3000, and everything’s bleak and dystopian because it’s a horror movie. As part of the unnecessarily cruel future dictatorship’s rule, or maybe just because they’re bored, a bunch of kids get involved in what’s essentially a ‘deadly’ version of that good ol’ game of tag. Now, I saw Battle Royale just like I’m sure we all have, and as such I can personally vouch for the fact that the whole ‘kids killing each other’ genre has a lot of entertainment potential – but just because you’ve set your movie 1000 years in the future doesn’t mean you have an excuse to rehash the plot of a much better film (in this case, Battle Royale) as blatantly as the producers have done here.

As something of a horror buff, I would like to note that the scariest movies I’ve seen have all succeeded through building atmosphere above all else. Having said this, the Real Onigokko single cover (which, I’m guessing, is probably very true to the movie’s aesthetic as well) completely fails to evoke any sense of genuine horror beyond the I’ve fan’s instinctive bracing for the upcoming fiasco of a single – an irritating lack of atmosphere her Geneon page’s new banner image with its calm, vaguely curious-looking KOTOKO only serves to perpetuate. Admittedly I wasn’t quite expecting I’ve’s notoriously untalented graphic designers to come up with a classic horror image on the level of, say, the original Friday the 13th poster, but what they have instead looks less like a professional single release and more like a hastily-photoshopped ‘album’ cover for some internet band that thinks having 12 friends on Myspace counts as making it big.

But what, you might be thinking, does all this have to do with the song? Well, therein lies the problem. While admittedly there’s known to be somewhat of a large gap in quality between an I’ve-produced single and the (usually terrible) anime or eroge it’s attached to, Real Onigokko seems to have more synergy with the title it’s connected to than most. Firstly, there’s the shared title – which was a great sign for Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, but a dire warning in the case of something this dreadful-looking. Second, the fact that the single cover’s “futuristic” graphics (which remind me of Escape From New York, but not in a good way) and uniform-style outfit for KOTOKO seem to be designed strictly to fit with the movie’s theme implies more effort than usual is being put into making sure the song and the film match up. Combined with Kazuya Takase’s disappointing performance as of late (the surprisingly beautiful ‘triangle’ notwithstanding), I think it’s fairly safe to say this next single is far from a guaranteed hit.



  1. As much as I hate to say this, but I’m a bit disappointed with the single cover as well. It’s like it was made to cram by the designers to meet the deadline. I was expecting it’ll give at least some dark feeling while staring at it but it’s much more “techno-ish” in a way… much more technoish look than the Re-sublimity single cover.

    With this no-anime-tie-up single, I think we’ll just have to wait for the PV preview to be able to hear the song. Or unless neowing will have a 45-second preview which I think is bleak.

  2. KOTOKO looks like some kinda business woman/pro assasin, which is simply not her style at all. But I’ll still wait for the song.

    Because I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
    Because I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
    Because I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

  3. Oh my god. The cover art looks like something a 12 year old kid just did -_-

  4. The cover is not meant to impress us. It’s meant to give the feel of an old-fashioned game from back in the day. Guess what?! Tag is an old-fashioned game!!! Sometimes we’ve gotta read into something less than others, but you’re all reading too into it. As for Takase’s latest work, it isn’t as good as it used to be, but where Takase fails, Maiko succeeds! ALL HAIL IUCHI-SAMA!!!

  5. The idea that the cover is designed to evoke the feel of old-school videogames isn’t one I had thought of before, I admit, but if such is the case doesn’t that just open up a whole new can of worms? I mean, everyone loves cheesy old 8-bit games, but is that really the kind of feeling we want to get from a horror film? As for the connection between old-school videogame box art and the classic playground game of tag, well, I get where you might be coming from there but I still say it’s a bit too much of a stretch and it’s more likely that the packaging was just plain badly-designed. And I’m not even going to touch the “ALL HAIL IUCHI-SAMA!!!”, as it’s rather clear to me that all such a thing would accomplish would be starting a big ridiculous flame war and that’s the last thing I want on this blog.

  6. I see what you mean, but I’m sure Geneon isn’t trying to help I’ve since it’s a small company in Sapporo. Had Geneon helped a bit, it may have been better. As for my comment about Maiko Iuchi, it is biased as I have become her biggest fan as of late. She’s been amazing me alot more than Takase has.

  7. […] It’s also worth noting that I was apparently a better writer 6 months ago because instead of going on a diseased, formless rant about cover art before a preview of the single is even released I felt it sufficient to just write 2 paragraphs saying “Virgin’s high! sounds like […]

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