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Top Ten 3x3 Eyes Products

by David Park
Note: Pictures added February 1999.

The Japanese economy is in trouble, which is bad news for yen-earning salarymen like me, but good news for anime fans in other countries. With the current currency exchange rate near 140 yen per US dollar, anime products from Japan can be bought at very good prices. If you have been saving your cash waiting for the right moment to splurge on some 3x3 Eyes merchandise, then here is a list of some products worthy of your money.

The ten categories listed here are fairly broad, and they try to take into account the variance in product availability in different parts of the world. The list ranking is loosely based on three criteria: content, value, and required Japanese-language ability. Content refers to the product itself. Value considers the cost and what you get for your money. The final criteria should be self explanatory. Items that can be understood or at least enjoyed by English-speaking fans are ranked higher than those that require knowledge of Japanese.

Here is the list. To add a little suspense, the list is in reverse order, from 10 to 1.

10. Character Goods

[Sanjiyan UFO catcher doll] Character goods are the miscellaneous toys and accessories that seem to be available for every popular anime series. A great variety of 3x3 Eyes posters, notepads, pencil boxes, file folders, telephone cards, vinyl model kits, UFO catcher dolls, and even T-shirts have been produced. While character goods in general are plentiful, specific 3x3 Eyes items can be hard to find, even in Japan. Part of the problem is that the most recent 3x3 Eyes anime series was released almost 3 years ago, and merchandisers have moved on to other things (such as Nuku Nuku). But if you search, you may find a special 3x3 Eyes item that will be the object of envy of your friends.

The value ranges widely, depending on what you buy and how much you pay. Most character goods are pretty to look at but not very useful, and therefore not worth spending a lot on. Usually it is best to wait and see if something in particular strikes your fancy.

Japanese Required:
In general, character goods are self-explanatory. Since English is commonly used as a product decoration in Japan, some products feature some interesting English slogans. I bought a 3x3 Eyes laminated pencil board for just this reason.

Some anime import businesses on the Internet may still have some 3x3 Eyes character goods in stock. The best place to look is probably anime conventions. These items are generally best seen up close before buying, I have found a lot of cool 3x3 Eyes items in convention dealers rooms in the past.

9. Drama and Image Albums

[CD3 cover] The first 3x3 Eyes compact discs (and cassettes) to be released were drama albums. The first CD, Heaven Chapter (KICA 23), has dramas of important scenes from the early manga. The next two, People Chapter (KICA 34) and Earth Chapter (KICA 61 or KICA 137), contain original stories. Since these dramas were created before the anime series, some different voices are used, notably for the Sanjiyan. (Megumi Hayashibara is still the voice of Pai.) You also get to hear Haan, who has yet to show up in the anime but has appeared in the video games. 3x3 Eyes Soundtrack II (KICA 71 or KICA 136) can also be considered a drama album, since it has very little BGM from the anime. The dramas on this CD are very silly, with Pai taking on the roles of Heidi (Paidi) and Cinderella. Finally, there is the Takada Band image album (KICA 115), collecting the Takada Band songs from the earlier CDs. I can only recommend this one to hardcore Takada Band fans.

The value of these CDs really depends on what you are looking for. The instrumental music is not that great, so if you want BGM you should look elsewhere. The dramas are very entertaining, but only if you understand them and enjoy the radio play style of entertainment.

Japanese Required:
Some Japanese knowledge is needed to understand the dramas, but it is not too hard to figure out what is happening otherwise. It is somewhat similar to watching unsubtitled anime, but without the pictures. Also, music is music, so you can still enjoy the instrumental and image songs.

Since these CDs are relatively old, they may be hard to find. They are readily available at used anime stores in Japan for good prices. The first editions of all of these CDs were special in some way (hence the different catalog numbers for some CDs). The only way to get these special versions now is probably to find used copies for sale. I do not know of any companies that sell used anime goods online, but you may be able to find someone selling their own CDs.

8. Fact Books

There are two books available that can best be described as 3x3 Eyes guides or fact books. The first, titled 3x3 Eyes no Himitsu (Secrets of 3x3 Eyes, ISBN4-88718-189-2), is an unauthorized book published by Data House in 1993. It contains answers to questions both common and obscure, based on the speculation of some people that obviously spent way too much time reading the manga. Think of it as a 217-page version of the 3x3 Eyes FAQ. The other book is the new and official 3x3 Eyes: Youma Daizukan (Demon Big Picture Book, ISBN4-06-319934-7), compiled by the staff of Young Magazine and published this April. The title sounds goofy when translated, but it is basically an illustrated, up-to-date guide to nearly all of the characters that appear in the 3x3 Eyes manga, with information about their backgrounds, special powers, and relationships. Both Himitsu and Daizukan have some interesting charts and diagrams, including information on romantic moments between Pai and Yakumo and the number of times Yakumo suffers serious injury.

Both books are small, black and white paperbacks, although Daizukan includes a few color stickers. Himitsu is nearly all text, but Daizukan is lavishly illustrated with art from the manga series. Both books are crammed with information, and they are good buys if you can use them. If you only get one, I would recommend Daizukan because it is newer, official, and has nice art.

Japanese Required:
While these books are valuable additions to the library of a serious 3x3 Eyes fan, they are written in Japanese. If you can read Japanese or do not mind spending quality time with a kanji dictionary, get them. Otherwise, pester other people for answers to your questions.

Both books are still in print. I am not sure about the availability of 3x3 Eyes no Himitsu outside of Japan, but Youma Daizukan is published by Kodansha and should be available from anyone selling the Japanese 3x3 Eyes manga.

7. Video Games

[Saturn game cover] 3x3 Eyes has a long history of video games, going back to the Super Famicom (SNES) and early Japanese PCs. Most fans these days will probably be more interested in the trilogy of games from Nihon Create: Sanjiyan Henjyo, Kyuusei Kousyu, and Tenrin Oh Genmu. (Nihon Create seems to favor difficult kanji. I am still working on translating the names.) All of the games were originally made for PCs, are they are currently available in Windows 95 compatible versions. Kyuusei Kousyu is also available for both Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn, and a PlayStation version of Tenrin Oh Genmu was just released. The games feature original stories, a few new characters, and voices by the anime cast.

There is an old non-playable demo of the Kyuusei Kousyu game available from the Nihon Create website. The demo seems to work with the US version of Windows 95. To view the demo, download and uncompress the LZH file (using WinZip or a similar tool), run the EXE file, and hit the Esc key to quit.

The games can be a bit pricey, especially the PC versions, but you may be able to find good discounts on some of the older console games. Also, the PC games require a Japanese operating system, and the console games require modifications to your PlayStation or Saturn. This can cause an additional expense.

Japanese Required:
The drawback to these games is that they require a good bit of Japanese language ability. I hope to have simple walkthroughs available on this site eventually. Since the games are relatively linear "interactive movies", it is technically possible to play through them without knowing any Japanese (and thus without understanding or enjoying the plot). Unless you are the type of person that loves to watch unsubtitled anime and has a lot of patience, these games are not recommend unless you can understand Japanese (or plan to learn).

The PlayStation and Saturn games should be available at good prices from better game importers. There is a helpful hint book available for Kyuusei Kousyu. I have yet to find a company that sells Japanese PC games online, but chances are that if you can find a place to buy the required Japanese version of Windows 95, you can find the games as well. If you happen to visit Japan, used PC games are available for very low prices. Just make sure you do not buy the PC-98 or FM-TOWNS versions!

6. Calendars

The joy of anime calendars is that they are both attractive and practical. They also offer an opportunity to acquire poster-sized versions of series art that was previously confined to the back covers of the manga, as well as some original art. While the 1998 3x3 Eyes desk calendar did not offer much in the way of large pictures, the 1999 3x3 Eyes "My Poster Calendar" seems like it will rectify that. It will include 13 posters and stickers for customizing their look.

Considering the prices charged for a single 3x3 Eyes poster by some anime stores, a poster-sized calendar is a great bargain. The 1999 calendar should cost about 2000 yen.

Japanese Required:
Japanese calendars are relatively normal, except that Japan has unique holidays. The 1998 3x3 Eyes calendar uses no Japanese, and the 1997 "calendario" was written in Italian!

The calendar will be available in late November, but fans outside of Japan should pre-order with their favorite local or online retailer to be sure to get a copy. Stores are not offering pre-orders yet, but they should start appearing this month or next. Once the calendars are gone, they are gone.

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3x3 Eyes story, art, and characters Copyright © 1987-1999 Yuzo Takada / Kodansha.
This unofficial fan web site is not affiliated in any way with the copyright holders.

Site maintained by David Park
Last updated: March 1, 2011 2:43AM UTC