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Cash Only, No Returns

posted Sep 22, 2012, 11:46 PM by Douglas Sun
Originally posted: November 7, 2009

And speaking of shopping at Frank & Son, not having as much disposable cash as you'd like, and the prospect of going hog wild shopping there….

Last night, I finally pulled out a three-disc collection of music from Rurouni Kenshin, which I actually bought almost exactly a year ago at F&S, then promptly set aside for an evening when I would have three hours to do nothing but listen to music (perhaps while playing a computer game). The sellers were a little odd, even by F&S standards — a couple of fast-talking Korean guys who showed up out of the blue with an astounding haul of anime DVDs, graphic novels and related goods, priced to move as if they were on fire. Word had it that they were clearing out the inventory of a store that had gone belly-up. They stayed until they sold out, then came back the next week with another haul; rinse, lather and repeat until just after New Year's, when they stopped coming back. This particular item had been removed from the shrink-wrap, but they were selling it for only $5. For that price, I could take the gamble that it had no deal-breaking defects.

Well, I finally popped all three discs into my CD player tonight. I can't read the Japanese liner notes, but disc 1 appeared to be an OST, incidental music from the TV series. And that checked out, more or less. So far, so good. Disc 2 turned out to be image songs — also okay, although I couldn't quite match the voices with the characters. Disc 3 looked like more OST stuff from the series, which suited me just fine. But instead, it turned out to be a copy of disc 2,

Alas, one of these CDs is too much like the others....

printed with the disc 3 decorative art. Oy. So that was why I could snag it for $5, when the other vendors at F&S would have charged $30 for the same item. It was defective, in a fairly serious way.

Of course, even if I could track those guys down at this point, there would be no use in asking for an exchange or refund. This was a cash deal, no receipt, no buyer's remorse permitted. And in the end, I have no hard feelings against them, especially since I snagged a lot of other bargains from them while I was at it: a stack of Urusei Yatsura DVDs at $5 each, some Inuyasha graphic novels for $3 each, even some old Battletech gaming stuff for absurdly cheap. Nothing against them — in fact, if I had had the bankroll then that I have now, I probably would have bought close to half of their stash and sold most of it on eBay for a tidy profit.

But even so, I really was hoping that I'd found a comprehensive OST collection from RurouKen; I have always felt that the instrumental music was one of the anime's many real strengths, if one that tended to go unnoticed. In particular, I can think of a handful of themes that have a haunting, elegiac quality to them in that they evoke the bittersweet aspect of Kenshin's life as efficiently as any of the visuals or dialogue. You know which ones I mean; just go to Media Blasters' DVDs and pay attention to the audio loops that play over the main menu.

I've tried to pin down a good definitive OST collection without indiscriminately blowing money on every single CD in sight that looks like it might be Kenshin-related. But it's hard to tell what's what because I can’t translate any form of Japanese script. I'm not especially interested in the image songs; I have the theme song collection; and I don't want any Samurai X stuff mixed in. So here's a bleg: Anyone know which particular CD or CD set I should get? A scan of the cover art would be appreciated, so I can identify it iconically if I see it.