The Gakupost

 Owning up to the fact that I totally spaced on including the PV for Episode.0 in my review the other day, honestly I meant to, and then when I proof-read the review, I completely forgot the PV existed. In any case, it makes a good excuse for a follow-up post… Hoorah for the early onset of Alzheimer’s.

Since Episode.0 has been the latest topic of discussions around here, I’d like to continue the discussion a little more formally, meanwhile taking out two birds with one stone. The two most logical follow-up comments regarding GACKT’s latest single and cover of the Gakupo vocaloid song of the same name, are currently: Was the PV any good? and Has anyone heard the vocaloid version?

We’ll take them one at a time, in reverse. First of all, and I mentioned this briefly in response to Kaxxina‘s comment this morning, to be perfectly honest, and I know this may be a great pitfall in my history of Japanophilia, I really have zero, nada, amari attraction to, and interest in, the vocaloid scene. If that whole scene makes you tick, then tick away to your heart’s content. But let’s just get this out in the open: vocaloids weird me out.

Has anyone else read the novel Idoru by William Gibson, by any chance? I took a copy out of the library when I was dying of mono this summer, and it actually turned out to be a stimulating read– exactly along the lines of my interests, being concerned with Japan, fandom, and advanced theoretical concepts relating to the Japanese music industry and its future. For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure, do take my recommendation. Also for your benefit: the story is basically based on the idea that Japan has developed a new idol, the perfect idol, and….she’s not a real human being. She’s a holographic projection, and everyone is going nuts over her. Anyway, fascinating stuff.

Well, I kind of feel like the whole vocaloid thing isn’t too far off from the Idoru thing. Like, all these people are going apeshit over these singers….that aren’t even real. It’s just odd, isn’t it? On one hand it’s quite a cool concept, and the ingenuity of it is something I can appreciate, yes. But on the other hand, people are already dating pillows and marrying video-game consoles; novels from the ’90s have sci-fi situations in which real people become engaged to holographic images….Friends used to tease me that I would end up married to a robot, and honestly, I doubt that– only because soon the world might be populated with ideas rather than sentient, or even mechanical, lifeforms.

What were we talking about, again? Oh yeah, Gakupo.

I also find the quality of the vocaloid vocals to be eerie and a little unnerving. For me, one of the main reasons why I am so attracted to the sound of the human voice is…because it comes out of a human. Unlike playing a musical instrument, it’s actually something that’s physically a part of you. This is amazing to me. And now that they’re piping it out of machines….Honestly it loses its appeal. That being said, nothing wrong with it. Here it is, form your own opinions:

Next up, we have the PV for the living, breathing, real-people GACKT version. I know this was revealed a million and a half years ago, but I make a point of not watching PVs for certain artists before the singles are released. A method for building tension and reverence, I suppose. Now that I have seen it, I’m kind of glad that I didn’t use it as a reference point for the single itself.

Although I like the stylizing and the imagery presented in the PV, it really didn’t feel like a PV to me. And seriously, what is that random chick doing there, and why is she lip-syncing the lyrics? Someone (perhaps me….) should write a letter to all the PV directors, like, ever, and let them know that you can still make a good PV without a chick being in it. Honestly, come on, she had two scenes that weren’t even that cool.

All in all I felt like the PV was quite boring. Pretty to watch–once. But nothing striking that would inspire me to watch it again.


2 responses to “The Gakupost

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t really understand the vocaloid character obsession. I don’t like the tone and sound of electronic/synthesized vocals anyway and I’m iffy about heavily electronic-based music genres (house, techno, what have you) so that’s a primary reason I never had interest. I can agree that the software sounds freaking cool to play around with, but on the other hand if we are to see these as “idols” a fake anime character-looking hologram “person” hardly captivates me.

    Since Gackt apparently condones it, I can at least respect it. Though the thought of robots/computers replacing real humans as artists and musicians being the norm is incredibly sad and creepy. . .

  2. That Idoru thing… was that the makeup of the best parts of Morning Musume (or one of the groups)? “She” is quite cute and considering the surprising amount of in-their-mind-only relationships that seem to go on in Japan, I guess it’s not too outlandish for them. :)

    As for vocaloids, for me, they fail completely. The emotion is off, the enunciation is wrong… I’m too much of a vocals-phile to go for it… (However, I admit an affection for Genki Sudo and his WORLD ORDER group even though I’d love to hear him more without the autotune. It does serve a purpose.) So I have to second the sentiment of: “Unlike playing a musical instrument, it’s actually something that’s physically a part of you. This is amazing to me. And now that they’re piping it out of machines….Honestly it loses its appeal. ”

    As for the PV, I kinda like it. :) I think there’s something about Gackt’s wounded face that’s alluring and blasphemous at the same time (yes, a little melodramatic wording, but it suits the video, no?). No, no, I’m not going for the wounded idol thing… it’s more the peace he exudes… maybe… I dunno. :)

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