Well, you can’t say I don’t spoil you! I’m pretty sure 2017 is shaping up to be the blog’s best year for giveaways…
New from Manga UK – We Are X is a documentary about Japan’s most iconic band – X Japan, who have sold over 30 million albums worldwide and boast some high-profile admirers including KISS, Stan Lee and even the Japanese Emperor. You may have heard of the band in passing or not at all – or you may already be a fan. Whatever the case, We Are X is a fascinating watch charting the success and tragedies of this iconic visual rock band.
First things first, the trailer… Then read on for my review and to find out how you can win a We Are X DVD!
I’ll admit my knowledge of X-Japan was very sparse before watching this documentary. I’d heard a few of their songs and knew they were globally popular (you may recall they performed at HYPER JAPAN in London a few years ago) but, other than that, I was oblivious. I expected We Are X to be mostly footage of concerts, band members chatting backstage and a narrative about how the band came together. What I got was something much more emotional and rewarding.
X Japan has been struck with fame and fortune but also tragedy. A heavy metal band from Chiba who formed in the 1980s, they transformed the Japanese music scene by pioneering the visual kei movement and being one of the first Japanese bands to achieve mainstream success on an independent label. They are arguably as iconic and influential as, say, The Sex Pistols or The Beatles.
Yet, despite this worldwide success, the band has a tumultuous history, which We Are X explores in detail. Yoshiki, the band’s co-founder, was drawn to music following his father’s suicide. It’s clear from the documentary footage that he himself is not well, and yet he continues to play with his entire being. His childhood friend and co-founder, Toshi, was brainwashed by a cult, which led to the band’s break-up in 1997 (leading to scenes in Japanese streets reminiscent of The Beatle’s breakup). Following the bands reunion in 2007, two of the band members committed suicide.
The documentary culminates into X Japan’s performance at Madison Square Garden in New York, where we see just how loved X Japan is across the globe. They are not only iconic in Japan but in America, Europe and elsewhere because music doesn’t suffer from any language barrier. The band’s story, high-intensity performances and one-of-a-kind music style make them a fantastic subject for a documentary.
We Are X is directed by the acclaimed documentary-maker Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man) and comes from the production team behind Searching for Sugar Man, so I had high hopes from the beginning. Still, it was far more intense than I expected, and I say that as someone who regretfully is not known for being a music connoisseur.
How to win a copy of We Are X on DVD (UK only):
- Show MangaUK some love – like on Facebook or follow on Twitter
- Double your chances of entry by doing the same for Sophie’s Japan Blog – Facebook or Twitter
- Comment below to say if you’re entering once or twice
Get your entries in by Sunday 21 May 9pm!
You can also pre-order the DVD or beautiful limited edition mondo steelbook here. General release is Monday 22 May!