SUMMARY: A quick and super clean retention for coin workers
OVERVIEW: I'm not really into coin magic, so I'm not really the person that this coin retention effect is geared towards. But I'm always looking to learn new things and explore new territory. And even though I realized that I was probably biting off more than I could chew, after seeing the demo video, I just couldn't help myself, and had to check this product out. The moves were just so clean, the vanishes so sudden, and the illusion so convincing.
From Vietnamese magician Tri Ryuzaki, this effect has also been marketed under the name "NOWHERE". It's quite a claim to say that "you'll be doing a retention vanish better, faster, and more convincing than any version published," but check out the official video trailer, and judge for yourself how clean and amazing this looks!
The main sleight that is taught is Tri Ryuzaki's very visual retention vanish, but of course this has a very broad application, including vanishes, changes and penetrations, and digital download covers all that too. But the main promise here is a revolutionary technique that looks clean and beautiful. Can this effect really live up to such bold claims? Let's find out!
What you get for around $10 is an instant digital download of the video, which demonstrates and teaches the sleight and several applications of it. You can play the video via streaming, or download it in *.mp4 format to view on your computer with any video program. The entire video is just over 15 minutes long, and is filmed in high quality, so the downloaded file is about 470MB in total size. Most of the footage is an over-the-shoulder view of the magician's hands, so you do get a very clear view of all the moves as they are performed and taught. Slow motion shots are used at times, and the close-ups of the hands and coins in use ensure that you don't miss what is going on.
Although Tri Ryuzaki can speak English okay, in consultation with the publisher it was decided to do a voice-over with a natural English speaker rather than use sub-titles, so that the video would be as easy to follow as possible, and that works fine.
The fifteen or so minutes of video content is roughly divided into the following sections:
1. Trailer (1 minute): Things start off with the video trailer, which shows the stunning beauty of the vanish as performed by Tri himself.
2. Overview (5 minutes): This is the most important part of the video, and explains the basic sleight, and teaches how to perform Tri's retention vanish.
3. Vanishes (2 minutes): Now Tri's retention vanish sleight is applied to three different vanishes: a fingertip vanish, a wave vanish, and an instant vanish. Once you have the main sleight mastered, these are quite straight forward and obvious applications of it.
4. Routines (3 minutes): Tri then goes on to explain three routines that incorporate his retention vanish: a one coin routine, a two coin routine, and a three coin routine.
5. Changes (4 minutes): This part of the video uses Tri retention vanish to perform various changes, a Tri Change (this incorporates a Chinese coin), a Hit Change (an instant change from one coin into the other), and a Glitch Change, and some more complex changes, a Three Coin Change, and a Banknote Change (where one or more coins is changed into a banknote).
6. Penetration (1 minute): In the Coin Through Hand routine, a coin is made to penetrate through the magician's hands, first in one direction and then the other. When performed well, it looks very impressive and convincing!
We never get to hear Tri himself explain things, due to the decision to use a voice-over, but that doesn't really hinder the explanation in the slightest. The most important part of the video is the five minute overview that explains Tri's retention sleight, because everything else builds on that. The quality of the video footage is excellent, but I wish the producer hadn't made the decision to only feature over the shoulder shots as part of this. While the slow motion and detailed camera coverage shows everything clearly, it would have been nice to have seen this from different angles as well. Especially with the routines and applications of the basic sleight, it would only have strengthened the impact of the video to have first showed what these all look like from the spectator's point of view, which in the case of some of the routines you never see.
With the routines themselves, not a lot of teaching is given - the basically just runs through each routine twice slowly from the same angle, with some basic commentary and explanation. I suppose that if you've mastered the basic sleight, you've done the hardest work already, so perhaps experienced coin-men won't have an issue with this. But I do think that the teaching of the sleight itself could have benefited from a bit more elaboration and detail. Having said that, this is probably more of a reflection that this kind of video is not a place for a beginner like me to start with.
The skill level required for this sleight is definitely not territory for a beginner like me, but is suited to magicians who already have intermediate and advanced abilities with coins. The explanation of the routines assumes that you are already familiar with sleights like JW grip, thumb palm, and handwash technique, because these are mentioned and performed without explaining them - it's assumed you already can do these things. So if you know nothing about retention vanishes at all, you may struggle. That probably won't be an issue for people who are already experts at working with coins, but it puts these routines well outside the ability of relative beginners. In the advanced section of the video, you can progress beyond vanishing a single coin to vanishing two and even three coins in the same way. For those wondering how the technique of the basic sleight differs from existing retention vanish, Tri himself posted this explanation elsewhere on The Magic Cafe about that: "My technique is completely different from all of them because the coin go directly to nowhere palm position without transfer to finger palm."
While getting to the point of vanishing three coins and doing the routines will only be within the scope of advanced coin workers, you probably don't need to be an expert coin man to learn the basic sleight itself. The basic concept of the sleight is to move a large coin from your fingertips to edge grip, to hide it behind your fingers. For someone like me, this was all new territory. I'd hoped that perhaps I might be able to learn even just the basic sleight, but in the end even that proved elusive. It didn't help that not a lot of time is spent explaining how to get the coin into the nowhere finger edge grip. So this is not really a video for beginners to start with, unless you are very determined to learn a vanish and prepared to persist with all the practice required. But this video is going to be most useful to people who have already mastered the fundamentals of coin magic, and are looking to add a very clean and quick vanish to their arsenal. If that describes you, then learning this sleight probably won't be super difficult, and once you've mastered the sleight itself, you will likely have no problem doing the routines either.
This is a fantastic looking sleight, and here are some things to consider about this effect and this video:
1. Clean, quick, and visual: It really does look impressive, and the trailer does a good job of showing the potential.
2. Average video: Even though the actual quality of the footage is terrific, with great close-ups, the overall package would have been stronger if more camera angles had been included, and if the explanation at times was a little more detailed.
3. Loads of content: Even though it's only around 15 minutes long, there's lots of content here. Not only do you learn the sleight itself, but you also get applications for vanishes, and multiple different routines. People who are prepared to learn the sleight will find themselves having quite a few possibilities opened up as a result of it. A ton of material is covered in a short time.
4. Large coins: Due to the mechanics involved, I don't think you can really perform this easily with small coins - it might be possible, but it will be even harder. It really works best with large coins like the ones shown in the demo and the video.
5. Angles: You can't do this entirely surrounded, but it works fine from the front and 45 degree side angle.
6. Advanced: This is not a place for beginners to start. It will be most useful to magicians who already have some solid experiences and skills in working with coin magic.
While not something suitable for beginners, Tri Ryuzaki's Retention is definitely going to be of real interest to coin workers, given how clean and smooth it looks. It does have some limitations with coin sizes and angles, but the speed and cleanness at which vanishes and transformations can be performed makes up for that. Given that many experienced coin workers have found the basic move to be less difficult than they expected, and the amount of material covered in this video for a relatively low price, if you are someone who does a lot of coin work, this digital download is something well worth considering!
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame