Cel Shaded
Wilma Jandoc

Monday, September 26, 2005

Anime CDs available here

Ready to delve into the world of anime music? And no, no downloading from the Internet -- come on, be a real anime supporter and go for the officially released soundtracks!

Unfortunately, the original Japanese releases of such CDs start at around $25 or higher. That's why the growing catalog of domestically released versions of those albums is a godsend, at about half the price of Japanese CDs and often with liner notes in English.

Locally, Suncoast and Sam Goody are the best places for domestic anime CDs. Tower Records stores across the isle had a large stock of Japanese versions until a few years ago; now, you can find an odd mix of domestic and import game and anime CDs in their soundtracks section.

For purists, Shirokiya's Book-Off section in Ala Moana Center is a great place, not only for anime CDs, but also for Japanese pop and rock CDs. Book-Off is a secondhand store, though, so don't expect to find the latest releases. And it's rather pricey, averaging $20 to $25 for more popular used CDs.

Hakubundo along Kapiolani Boulevard also has a decent selection of Japanese releases.

When buying CDs, be careful of bootlegs. Most local stores aside from the ones mentioned above deal mainly in bootlegs from Taiwanese companies such as SonMay, EverAnime, Miya Records and others. The sound and printing quality of such CDs are often second-rate.

There are several good Web sites for Japanese CDs, most notably Animenation.com, GameMusic.com (which has a fair stock of anime CDs despite its name), Otaku.com and CDJapan.com. That last site is based in Japan and therefore has the best selection, but also high shipping costs. On auction sites like eBay, caveat emptor -- most CDs sold there are bootlegs.

Regular Cel Shaded columnist Jason S. Yadao is currently hunting for elusive Japanese "Super Eurobeat" CDs in San Francisco. He will return next Monday.

Cel Shaded, a weekly look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. E-mail Wilma Jandoc at wjandoc@starbulletin.com

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