Thursday, November 29, 2007

honeycreeper vs. honeycreeper: first and second pressings compared

Japan gets all kinds of crazy bonuses with "first pressings" of CD's. Designed to entice you into buying on day one and driving chart position, these extras can be anything from trading cards to special packaging to full-length live DVD's or any combination thereof. PUFFY are no exception to this. They've done picture discs in the past, they've done trading cards, and now with honeycreeper, they've gone and changed the cover art. Above you see the first pressing on the left, second pressing on the right. Far superior photo on the left, don't you think? But wait, that's not all!

It's not just the front, but the back too:

There, I actually think the second pressing comes out slightly ahead, although both girls are cut off a bit.

The CD's themselves look exactly the same (and are), though the jewel case itself is slightly different (check the nub in the middle):

Probably no significance to this, though. It's not like Splurge, where the first pressing felt noticeably chunkier and better quality than the second.

With the different back cover art comes a different obi. The first press obi is a bit bigger:

Let's take a look at the insert. The first pressing included a special 26 page insert chock full of photos (it was advertised as 28 pages, but that apparently included the front and back cover). I wasn't sure what to expect from the second pressing, but while it did lose a few photos in the process of being cut down to 14 pages, they managed to squeeze in more than I would have expected. And the quality is, again, exactly the same.

Pages 1 and 2 (first pressing on top, second on bottom):

The photo there in the second pressing appears later on pages 5 and 6 of the first pressing. But in order to fit in the titles above, they had to do a pretty weird crop of it - what is Yumi looking at?

Pages 3 and 4:

Pages 5 and 6:

There's the photo from page 1 and 2 of the second pressing. This crop looks a lot more natural; Yumi's looking at a magazine.

Pages 7 and 8:

Pages 9 and 10:

Ah, here we have the first shot that the second pressing's going to lose. That shot of Yumi above is only in the first pressing booklet.

Pages 11 and 12:

Ditto for this shot of Ami.

Pages 13 and 14:

And here's where the second pressing booklet ends.

Pages 15 and 16:

Pages 17 and 18:

Pages 19 and 20:

Another shot cut from the second pressing.

Pages 21 and 22:

And another.

Pages 23 and 24:

And another.

Pages 25 and 26:

Back cover:

The back cover of the inserts are slightly different because it's just a continuation of the front cover artwork.

If you buy honeycreeper today, you're going to get a second pressing CD. It's the second pressing that was sold at their concerts in North America; I know because that's where mine came from. So, all you collectors out there, be on the lookout on the used market. This one's easy to spot because the front and back cover are so clearly different. I doubt first pressings of this disc will ever be really rare, although some may want to hold onto them because of those great photos.

No word yet on which cover or insert the 2008 US release will use. There are good arguments either way from a marketing standpoint. It's worth mentioning that most US PUFFY releases have had completely different (usually worse) inserts than their Japanese counterparts, though, with fewer pages and less color. Even 14 pages is a lot for a US CD release. Don't even count on the same cover artwork theme; it could change completely. (Don't count on them getting the same treatment as Tofu gave them.)


  1. Nice. It's interesting to note on how, in this age of DOWNLOADING, record companies are still trying to get 'hard-core' fans of anything, to buy more than one copy of a recording. Being a 40 yr. old, i've seen many attempts by the industry to obtain more of my money. From the mutli-covers of The Police "Synchronicity" to ZTT's collectible 12" singles. In the end, I just wanted the MUSIC. And yet, I understand that the thrill of owned limited edition items. Plus, I prefer having something to hold, a CD sounds better than a download. Plus, I'm glad this will be released in America.

  2. I don't think they're really trying to get people to buy it twice... I only did because that was the way to get the autographed card at their shows. Figured I'd at least make a blog post out of it and get some value that way. But it's more that they want to give early buyers more stuff to get them into the stores on day one so the album charts as highly as possible. Then, they cut costs on the second pressing while keeping the price around the same. People know this, so they buy albums early if they can... and that's the point.

    Generally, second pressings are clearly inferior, so there'd be no reason for hardcore collectors to want them over the first pressing, or even in addition to them. This case is a tiny bit different because cover art is a subjective thing... though objectively speaking, the second pressing does just have fewer photos.

    I'm like you in that I also prefer something to hold over a download. I then rip all my own mp3's. I get the quality I want that way and I still have the CD as an "archive" if I ever want to re-rip. I would probably never download music. It's like paying for nothing, to me, because with a CD I can actually get better digital files *and* I have the CD itself with the printed artwork and lyrics. So why would I pay only for the digital files?

  3. By the way, that was me, VINCE. They've changed your comment thing at the bottom, so I couldn't hit the OTHER button. I had a cousin of mine try to get the special editions of both "Hit & Fun" and POLYSICS "Karate House", but, she couldn't find them. Bummer.

  4. I'm a collector and so I always aim for the first-press editions. I do this for the music of course.. but it's always nice being able to hold the tangible product in your hands. It's an experience. The photos, the text, the design all compliment what the music is to me.

    Also, I don't like having only a compressed copy of music. I always think that somewhere down the road, I'll be able to afford an amazing home theater or audio system and it would be a travesty to listen to mp3s on it when I can listen to the original uncompressed audio. I rip all my CDs to FLAC audio files for archiving and MP3s for my digital audio player. I just fear that down the road, the music companies may opt to release music only via digital distribution to the masses who may not care about uncompressed music. On the other hand, I hold out for the thought that, when the benchmark CD has finally been superceded, then storage density and price will be so much better for us and it won't be difficult to offer lossless music.
    ... That still doesn't solve the issue of not having that groovy packaging.