It's that time again when I have a new release from Sakamoto Maaya, and I'm both extremely excited and once again anticipating the next one. The never-ending cycle...
Anyway, not even a month ago I wrote this post sharing some information regarding Sakamoto's newest single, Replica. This past Wednesday, 08/20/14, it was released, and my copy ~that I preordered a long, long time ago~ (not really - the end of June) arrived from CDJapan on Friday.
I've thought about it, and even though my last Sakamoto review - Be Mine!/SAVED - was a single post, I've decided to break this one up into two parts. The first - which you're reading right now - is about the limited edition single's packaging and any first press/external bonus(es), and the second will be my actual review of the songs on the single. I'm going to try to get Part 2 up later this week, but for now let's enjoy some pretty pictures!
***Just to reiterate: I do have the limited edition of Replica, so all of the pictures featured in this post will be of the limited edition version as opposed to the regular edition.***
This may be an odd way to start, but I want to mention something: the main song of this single, "Replica," is the opening of the anime M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane. Strangely enough, I noticed that this single did not come with any artwork from that anime - not even a partial sleeve.
The limited edition of Replica, aside from different packaging/a different cover from the regular edition, comes with an additional CD that features a "mini live album" and is four tracks long.
|The packaging within the limited edition sleeve.|
As far as limited edition packaging goes, the single comes in a thin cardboard sleeve where Sakamoto poses differently than she does on the single's actual cover/booklet. It's not the sturdiest sleeve, and it seems kind of pointless - the packaging itself is a single CD case that is no bulkier than any other typical CD case, so it's not holding anything together - but it does give you a different way to present the CD, depending on whether you want to keep the sleeve on or not.
|The back of the limited edition sleeve.|
The back of the sleeve, seen above, has a geometric-esque "replica" of Sakamoto. It also features the track list of both CDs on the bottom left corner as well as general information regarding the single, such as its genre and release date, on the top right corner. I've done closeups of both below:
In the next picture, you can see the CD case as it is without the sleeve, as well as an insert of the packaging's spine. My picture gives a little nod to the theme of this song and its PV. See the reflection?! Haha.
|The packaging after the limited edition sleeve has been removed.|
I can't say I prefer one image of Sakamoto over another. All I know is that I love everything about the presentation of this single: Sakamoto's appearance, the color scheme, the geometric patterns that tie in with the sound of "Replica"...
It seems as though Sakamoto has decided to keep her long hair since Be Mine!SAVED, and I'm thrilled because I think she looks so pretty with long hair. Then there's the deep blue and black color scheme, which I think is a nearly perfect combination. The shade of blue is in the same color family as my absolute favorite color, and the black gives it a different feel than you'd typically expect from Sakamoto. Usually her CD presentations are colorful and whimsical, but Replica has a more serious vibe to it. As for the geometric patterns, I think that they give the single a modern/computerized feel that you'll see me bring up again in Part 2 when I review "Replica."
|The front of the CD packaging.|
I just couldn't help myself: I had to use a shirt I own in my favorite color as the backdrop for a lot of this post's pictures. I really think the color scheme is my favorite thing about this single's packaging, haha. Anyway, the back of the actual CD packaging displays the same information as the back of the limited edition sleeve does. The geometric image of Sakamoto is simply mirrored/facing the opposite direction.
|The back of the CD packaging.|
Now let's take a look at the inside of the packaging and the two discs themselves!
Much like Be Mine!/SAVED, Hajimari No Umi, and More Than Words, Replica has both CDs sharing the same insert, hence why the packaging is so slim. On one side is the single itself, and on the other side is the limited edition mini live album.
|The main disc.|
|Closeups of the main disc.|
While having a blue or black disc would have been neat, the silver that was actually used isn't bad. It's just difficult to keep clean and even more difficult to photograph. It's so damn reflective that you can't help but see the CD and then some in nearly every disc-related picture. As you can see above and below, both discs are designed with the geometric patterns from the packaging. They almost remind me of the "More Than Words" PV, to be honest.
|The limited edition disc.|
|Closeup of the limited edition disc.|
|Closeups of the text on the limited edition disc.|
And that concludes the packaging portion of this post! Now it's time for the EXTERNAL BONUS!
The Replica external bonus is a mass-produced autographed postcard with a little "Thank You" message from Sakamoto. This has been a common external bonus with her past few singles, and I don't mind these postcards at all. There is something I do mind, though. Take a look at the above picture for a moment, and then at the below one for another moment, and then maybe at one of the postcards from the other three single reviews linked throughout this post.
It's not the most obvious thing to spot, but my postcard came in the bubble wrap that the CD packaging came in, and nothing else. No plastic sleeve or anything. I don't actually have a box or album or anything that I keep my Sakamoto bonuses in - I just tuck them in a drawer - so keeping this postcard in good condition isn't very convenient for me. I'm not sure why they passed up on that small detail, when it feels like a logical thing to include.
|A closeup of the postcard's message and Sakamoto's mass-produced signature.|
Aside from that, I have to admit that I'm disappointed by the fact that there haven't been any (promotional) posters as external bonuses. I would have really loved having one for this single especially, being that I love the presentation of it and all (even the presentation of the PV itself). Hopefully her next album will feature a variation of first press/external bonus extras. Sealed ones if they're small, lol.
So that's about it in terms of the Replica packaging and external bonus details. What are your thoughts on Sakamoto's current "look"? And who else is excited for her next album? Considering that the last was one entirely composed by Sakamoto herself - Singer-Songwriter - and her interesting single releases, such as this one and the double Be Mine!/SAVED and SAVED/Be Mine!, I don't even know what to expect of it.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week. 'Til next time. ('<>')>
Interested in picking up a copy of this edition of Replica? Check out the link below: