The photos I have taken specifically for this article are possibly historic. For it is possibly the first time ever that these 4 (not so) little Laserdiscs have ever been photographed together. As a group. As a full set.
It has taken me just over 2 years to complete this small set of Laserdiscs. The first title, Darius Gaiden, I acquired merely by stumbling upon it from a ‘typical online research’ session (definition: entering a search term and an hour later realising you have about 90 browser tabs open as you delve further and further to the outer boundaries of the vacuous Internet).
“I became curious as to whether other Darius titles had appeared on Laserdisc or other formats. My obsession started right there and has not waned.”
Initially I thought Darius Gaiden would be the easiest of the four to acquire. It is certainly, in my opinion, the most desirable of the four titles as it is the only disc to feature a live action Darius movie. I believe I have been proven wrong. At the time of writing, I have not seen this title appear for sale on Laserdisc since. A VHS release appeared for sale once but that is it. In fact the only photos I can find of it are photos I have posted online myself! In my opinion I believe Darius Gaiden to be the most difficult of the four titles to track down.
After watching the disc in it’s entirety, I became curious as to whether other Darius titles had appeared on other Laserdisc or other formats. My obsession started right there and has not waned, even today as I write this article.
Between the time of discovering, taking delivery of and watching the Darius Gaiden Laserdisc, I had discovered three entries on the Laserdisc Database website. One for Darius, another for Darius II and finally an entry for Super Darius Perfection. Oddly there is no mention of Darius Gaiden over at the LDDB website, perhaps I will add the information some day?
“Initially I thought Darius Gaiden would be the easiest of the four to acquire. At the time of writing, I have not seen this title appear for sale on Laserdisc since.”
Months later I was fumbling around Yahoo! Auctions Japan when I came across a number of VHS format superplay titles. One of which was for Darius II. With the knowledge obtained from LDDB, it would appear, like Darius Gaiden, that Darius II had received a release on both VHS and Laserdisc formats. In the time that had elapsed from the Darius Gaiden discovery, to the moment my eyes landed on that Darius II VHS tape, I had never seen a copy of the VHS or Laserdisc release of Darius II available for sale.
In fact to this day I have not seen the VHS release appear for sale again. I didn’t hesitate. I snapped up the VHS edition and soon it would be a new addition to this small, but exciting collection quest I had entered unwittingly some months prior.
Months, nay, probably a year passed before my quest reached the next milestone. During that time the Darius II Laserdisc appeared for sale twice, and is actually still available today from the same sources. They likely didn’t sell due to the astronomical sums the sellers were (and still are) looking for.
But it wasn’t Darius II that would be the next title to find it’s way to Dublin, Ireland.
After another ‘typical online research’ session I somehow ended up with 674,329 open browser tabs. At the end of of all of that (and literally hours of research), I discovered the catalogue number for the original Darius Laserdisc release. This one was an oddity as it was not released by Pony Canyon but by Sony. It therefore carried an entirely different catalogue number and wasn’t even branded as a Laserdisc but as a Sony Video Disc. Again, once I stumbled across this information, I began trawling for more information that may lead me to find a copy of this disc available for sale. I was hitting constant dead ends until eventually after several weeks passed, a virtually pristine copy surfaced for sale in Japan. I say virtually pristine, the obi strip has some very minor sunfade clipping on one of the edges, nothing super critical to a collector at least.
Darius was the next title to find its way to Ireland, and upon further examination I discovered it was a superplay title in the same style as the Darius II VHS cassette I already owned. Lots of detail, hints, tips and tricks to enjoy! It would be another 6 months or so before a copy of the Darius II Laserdisc surfaced, again in Japan, for a price that wouldn’t require a personal European Central Bank bailout. It was snapped up and frog marched directly to Ireland.
Since acquiring the Darius II Laserdisc, I conducted further research in to any other titles that may have been released. As of writing, the only other title I know of that was released to the Laserdisc format is Super Darius Perfection, a superplay released on the Pony Canyon label that covers a perfect run of the NEC PC Engine video game Super Darius. I have seen VHS copies of G Darius available, however these appear to be doujin releases and not official products. One of which is almost certainly a doujin title as it is a photocopied black and white cover. To date I am unable to find any further titles that were officially released on VHS or Laserdisc. As far as I am aware, there are four official titles and that is it. Of course I stand to (and would actually love to) be corrected. So if you have any further information, please do contact me!
“In over two years not one copy of Super Darius Perfection has appeared for sale. Either on Laserdisc or VHS.”
Fast forward to four or so weeks ago. For over two years I had been searching for Super Darius Perfection. I actually thought that it would be the easiest title to track down. I was wrong. Next to Darius Gaiden, this was probably the next most difficult title to pinpoint. In over two years not one copy of Super Darius Perfection has appeared for sale. Either on Laserdisc or VHS. However this title proved to be like buses. You see none for ages and then two come along at once. Three or so weeks ago, both the Laserdisc and the VHS editions appeared for sale in Japan within days of each other. However this time I would have to hold my nerve and hope to win the last piece of my jigsaw in an auction environment.
Thankfully (and probably because nobody else actually cares) I was the only bidder on the auction and this evening I took delivery of what is likely the final piece of this little Laserdisc jigsaw puzzle. And so for the first time, I am able to present you with the full set of discs, united, together as one.
It’s been a long time coming…