D Gets Bustier With Each New Release

D for 7th Rose

D‘s recent activity has been a mixed bag for me. They got quite a makeover for their latest releases album 7th Rose and the up-coming (their 7th single) Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai. However, what’s new for a band oh-so-familiar with black leather slightly dom Gothica, has been tried and tired by our own little historical-fiction genre of bands such as Versailles~PQ~ and solo artist Kaya. I’m slightly disappointed to see that the only apparent changes to D‘s look since 7th Rose has been to add, well, to put it frankly, busts to his bustier.

Some added 'oomph' for 7th single

While I wouldn’t say that D has ever had the most creativity insofar as their image changes go, I’m just profoundly bored with this needless dominatrix drag. If a man wants to wear a dress, or bustier, for that matter, I wish him joy in it, and I will always have, and have always had, a deep appreciation for HIZAKI, Kaya, Mana, and other leading dragsters. However, in my biased and heavily judgmental opinion, I feel like the above mentioned artists have so personalized the style that now for D to attempt to pull it off feels like a desperate cry for attention. In the same way that I appreciate our favorite men in tights, I will always have a reigning admiration for a Visual Kei artist who is confident he can be popular without masquerading as Marie Antoinette.

On the other hand, I would like to add that although I hope I can go until their next makeover without ever having to look at the band again, I think that D has been able to carefully retain their creativity in the musical department. When I first heard the new album 7th Rose, I was skeptical at best. Once I gave it a 2nd chance, however, I was able to find so much to like about the album that all of my doubts were instantly put at rest. As long as they keep making music like this, ASAGI’s ridiculous dress and Ruiza’s equally obnoxious headdress will be forgiven…well…accepted, anyway.

Akaki Hitsuji ni yoru Bansankai will be released on July 28th, and the band will hit up 4 more dates for a second major tour, beginning with a sold-out show in Ebisu on July 18th.

D 2nd Major Tour – Spiral Castle-

Spiral Castle ~Second Door~
2010/07/18 LIQUIDROOM ebisu
OPEN/START:
16:00 / 17:00
Tickets: SOLD OUT

Spiral Castle ~Third Door~
2010/09/04 Akasaka BLITZ
OPEN/START:
17:00 / 18:00
Tickets: On sale July 25th

Spiral Castle ~Fourth Door~
2010/09/21 OSAKA MUSE

OPEN/START: 18:00 / 19:00
Tickets: On sale August 7th

Spiral Castle ~Fifth Door~
2010/09/22 Nagoya ell.FITS ALL
OPEN/START:
18:30 / 19:00
Tickets: On sale August 8th

Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai / D

Translation/source: neumania

Versailles World Tour Dates

Despite tragedy and some pretty heavy hard-times hitting the band last year, it would certainly seem that Versailles is fighting back with a lot of gumption. They are without a doubt putting the “world” back in the term “world-tour” this year with their extensive international circuit, circling through Japan, North and South America, and Europe. The band announced that they will perform 7 more dates in Japan, wrapping it up on September 4th with a tour-final at CC Lemon Hall. Here are the final dates for the rest of the tour– with South America and European dates included.

Versailles World Tour 2010

-Method of Inheritance-Latin America

June 04  Sao Paulo / BRAZIL

June 06  Santiago / CHILE

June 09  Buenos Aires / ARGENTINA

June 11  Lima / PERU

June 13  Mexico City / MEXICO

-Method of Inheritance-Europe

June 26 Oslo / NORWAY Samfunnssalen ※Desucon (Guests)

June 27  Moscow / RUSSIA

June 29  Helsinki / FINLAND

June 30  London / UK

July 02  Baecelona / SPAIN

July 03  Montpellier / FRANCE

July 06  Amsterdam / HOLLAND +SOLD OUT!+

July 07  Cologne / GERMANY

July 09  Hamburg / GERMANY

July 11  Budapest / HUNGARY

July 13  Paris / FRANCE

“Method of Inheritance”-Arousal-

07/19 Club Citta Kawasaki
08/10 Nagoya Bottom Line
08/13 Hakata Be-1
08/19 Osaka BIG CAT
08/22 Sendai Darwin
08/27 Sapporo CUBE GARDEN

“Method of Inheritance”-GRAND FINAL-

CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES

09/04 CC Lemon Hall

Source: Official website

Take a Walk in the Park with Descendant of the Rose

Versailles new official fanclub Descendant of the Rose will be launched on March 1st. Japanese fans can already register, and information about overseas fans registration might be revealed soon.

Might be revealed soon. Thanks for that, Versailles.

[Membership fees]
Normal membership: 6,000 yen
Online membership: 4,000 yen
Admission fee: 0 yen
Membership validity: 365 days

[Special privileges]
Two special privileges will be sent to people who will register by February 28th.
1. Fanclub limited photoset (4 pictures). Normal membership only.
2.
Right to attend one of the special concerts at Meguro Rokumeikan on June 23 and June 24. The first one is limited to male fans, the second one is limited to female fans. The people attending will be chosen through a raffle.

[Fanclub services]
1. Priority advance sales for Versailles concerts and events. However, it’s possible that priority advance sales might not be available depending on the event organization and the like.
2.
Members card issue.
3. Special bulletin magazine (at least twice a year). The first issue is going to be a DVD.
4. Memorial admission present.
5. Greeting cards will be sent for your birthday and Christmas.
6. Priority access to fanclub-sponsored events.
7. Original merchandise sale.
8. Mail magazine delivery.
9.
Access to the fanclub area of the website featuring exclusive off-shot footage, video comments and the like (PC only).
10. Other kinds of service. (Such as?)

As mentioned above, actual admission for world-wide fans is not open yet. It will be up on SG when it is. So, going to join?

Inheriting the World~ Versailles Tour ’10

You heard correctly! Despite 2009 having been a year of hardship for the band, Versailles~PQ is making a strong come-back in these early days of ’10. Despite the passing of Jasmine-You in August, the band persevered and made an appearance at the V-Rock Fest ’09 in October with a guest bassist. On January 20th, ’10, they released their debut major album, Jubilee, and starting February 28th, the band will inherit the world– well, Japan, anyway– with a nationwide tour.

Versailles World Tour 2010 ~ Method of Inheritance -APOSTLES-

2/28 Yokohama Sunphonix Hall
Open: 5:00 / Start: 6:00
SOLD OUT!

3/05 Nagoya Bottom-Line
Open: 6:30 / Start: 7:00


3/07 Okayama IMAGE
Open: 6:00 / Start 6:30


3/09 Kobe VARIT.
Open 6:30 / Start 7:00

3/11 Matsuyama Salon Kitei
Open: 6:30 /Start 7:00

3/13 Fukuoka Drum Be-1
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00


3/14 Kagoshima SR HALL
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00


3/16 Kyoto MUSE
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00

3/21 Niigata RIVERST
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00

SOLD OUT!

3/22 Kanegawa VanVan V4
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00

4/02 Sendai darwin
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00

4/04 Sapporo Kraps Hall
Open: 6:00 / Start 6:30

All tickets: Advance purchase, ¥4,500 / Door price (as if!) ¥5,000

Note: A ¥500 drink charge may be applied.

Method of Inheritance -JUBILEE-

■The following 2 performances’ tickets go on sale February 27th. The P and L codes will be announced shortly.
Note: P-codes and L-codes refer to Japanese concert-ticket buying systems.

4/18 Osaka Midou-Kaikan
Open: 6:30 / Start 7:00

4/30 Tokyo JCB HALL
Open: 6:00 / Start 7:00

Advance booking/ All tickets ¥4,500, At the door: ¥5,000

+JAPANESE INFORMATION+

“Method of Inheritance”-APOSTLES-

2月28日(日) 横浜SUNPHONIX HALL

OPEN 17:00 / START 18:00

SOLD OUT!

3月05日(金) 名古屋ボトムライン

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

*名古屋公演のチケット購入につきましては下記の電話番号にてお問合せくださいますようお願いいたします。

ぴあ: 0570-02-9999(Pコード 342-021)

ローソン: 0570-084-004(Lコード 41384)

サンデーフォークダイレクトセンター: 052-320-9000

3月07日(日) 岡山IMAGE

OPEN 18:00 / START 18:30

Pコード:341-559 / Lコード:66694

3月09日(火) 神戸VARIT.

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:342-510 / Lコード:57854

3月11日(木) 松山サロンキティ

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:342-589/ Lコード:66827

3月13日(土) 福岡Drum Be-1

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:341-552 / Lコード:86324

3月14日(日) 鹿児島SR HALL

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:341-552 / Lコード:86325

3月16日(火) 京都MUSE

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:342-510 / Lコード:57854

3月21日(日) 新潟RIVERST

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

SOLD OUT!

3月22日(月) 金沢VanVan V4

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:341-675 / Lコード:55280

4月02日(金) 仙台darwin

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

Pコード:341-821 / Lコード:25088

4月04日(日) 札幌Kraps Hall

OPEN 18:00 / START 18:30

Pコード:341-716 / Lコード:19657

■前売 ¥4,500 当日¥5,000

*入場の際に別途ドリンク代500が必要となります

Method of Inheritance -JUBILEE-

■下記2公演の一般発売日が2月27日に変更となりました!

Pコード Lコードは後日お知らせします。

4月18日(日) 大阪御堂会館

OPEN 18:30 / START 19:00

4月30日(金) 東京JCB HALL

OPEN 18:00 / START 19:00

■前売/全席指定 ¥4,500  当日¥5,000

++Source++

Official Website

Let’s Celebrate…

Today saw the much-anticipated release of Versailles~Philharmonic Quintet‘s first major-label album, Jubilee.

Jubilee / Versailles

If you didn’t get your copy yet, there are still first- press/ limited editions available with the awesome bonus poster.

CDJapan exclusive poster


Jubilee comes in a regular-version and a limited edition with DVD and external bonus poster. The DVD includes the official PV of ASCENDEAD MASTER, a masked and mysterious other PV, as well as making-of footage.

~JUBILEE (1.20.10) Track listing~

1. God Palace -Method of Inheritance-
2. Ascendead Master
3. Rosen Schwert
4. Ai to Kanashimi no Nocturne
5. Amorphous
6. Reminiscence
7. Catharsis
8. The Umbrella of Glass
9. Gakkoka
10. PRINCESS -Revival of church-
11. Serenade
12. Sound in Gate

Youshikibi~ Playing the Part (Final)

More than just a bunch of complicated ideals and aesthetics, however, Visual Kei is a social stage upon which we are all acting out a role we have created for ourselves. It’s not just looks; it’s about playing the part.

Traditional Kabuki makeup

Having discovered Jrock and Visual Kei after already having a basic understanding of traditional Japanese culture, my first thought when I started watching videos of Visual Kei bands was This is Kabuki, if it was put on by a French opera company played out by metal-bands. I was surprised to find that Tiffany Godoy, the author of the photo book Japanese Goth took the same approach. There is no doubt about it: Visual Kei is a descendant of the Noh and Kabuki theaters of traditional Japan. Only instead of acting out a play with a script, the bands are acting out scenes and characters with their costumes, personalities, and music.

Versailles~ Philharmonic Quintet (3rd Gen.)

Each member is using costume, makeup, and personality (whether natural or affected) to play out a particular role, within the band as well as within the music itself. This is perfected in the affected personas of idols such as GACKT (ex-Malice Mizer), who says that he is a Vampire born in the 16th century, and Mana (Moi dix Mois, ex-Malice Mizer) who dresses entirely in Gothic Lolita and refuses to speak, claiming that the only modes of expression he needs are that of his music.

Gackt, Mizerable era (1999)

This “role playing” carries over into the topic covered in the “Manpires” post, where many of the vocalists and frontmen for Visual Kei bands assume a role of a protagonist or hero figure. This “hero” is often depicted as being the ideal man, repeat: like a character out of a historical romance novel. This role-playing and literal acting of the part selected, is part of what creates the allure and attraction around these rockers. They are like a palette onto which you can project whatever ideals you have, and your dreams will never be crushed, nor fulfilled.

Youshikibi~ Manpires (Part 3)

In the last installment of the Visual Kei series here on SG we talked about the Visual Kei subculture of drag and androgyny within the VK sub-culture of Youshikibi . Today we will talk about the non-drag male aesthetic directions of Visual Kei, which I affectionately refer to as: “Manpires”, the tortured aristocrats.

Versaille's KAMIJO

As I mentioned already in Prince & Princess, the 2nd generation of Visual Kei began developing heavy androgyny themes. Although this ran to extremes with the drag styles of Mana etc, it carried over into what the (normal) men were doing as well.

Although they weren’t putting on dresses, the more masculinely-attuned Visualists were tapping into their more elegant, feminine polarities, developing a physical aesthetic of androgyny, playing into the Japanese concept of the “bishounen”, or pretty-boys. What I mean by “physical aesthetic” is that the aesthetic here has more to do with how the man looks physically, rather than projecting the aesthetic onto the clothing (in my own experience, the dragsters tend to draw the persona from the clothing [as in the case of Mana and Kaya], whereas with the male Visualists, the clothing seem to draw the aesthetic from the personality itself, if that makes any logical sense.).

The ideal man...?

The desire to appear as androgynous and bishounen-beautiful as possible seemed to spring from a particular fantastical and fetishistic concept within the Japanese psyche surrounding Vampires and Vampirism. We all know how, through literature and film, throughout the past 100 years or so, the idea of Vampires went from ugly demons, to a sensuous mythology. The male-vampire image swallowed its monstrosity and became an exquisite seducer who used his beauty and cold charms to get at that delicate white throat.

This concept is personified in the artwork of Kojima Ayami, the concept-art mastermind who developed the character designs and cover work for the prolific, Dracula-hunting Castlevania Nintendo games. (In fact, one of her pieces for Castlevania‘s Dracula character has a striking resemblance to one of Gackt’s Mizerable era outfits.)

A Kojima Ayami vampire

Kojima’s artwork depicts coldly exquisite vampire males, with snow-white skin and aloof facial features. They are strikingly effeminate, and yet with a decided air of manliness at the same time.

This is the aesthetic of the Manpires, the tortured aristocrats.

This aesthetic can be further analysed, however, as one ponders its popularity. The majority of Visual Kei fans are reported to be women– interesting fact, seeing as the Visual Kei aesthetic is one of prettiness and elegance. Shouldn’t these men be hulking out, wailing their ballads from 12-inch-thick Hokuto no Ken throats, flexing and exploding their rugged t-shirts mid-concert?

Apparently not. The aloof, beautiful Vampire figure is more or less an archetype of the “ideal man”. The perfect blend of manly and effeminate, both elegant and yet strong. Gentle, but dangerous. These Visual rockers are personifying this archetype. They are untouchable beings from a realm of fantasy– they can say that they are Vampires from past eras, and if you look at them long enough, eventually it will begin to make a lot more sense than that they went to high-school in Yokohama.

Klaha, ex-Malice Mizer

While Mana and friends were becoming princesses in their own right, the male personalities (I realized a few paragraphs ago that I can’t refer to Mana, Kaya, and HIZAKi as not-men, because they are men. But after watching Kaya videos all evening, I have to admit that I no longer even know what any of these words mean. So I’m groping for some way of defining genders that are extremely undefined. Bear with me.) were also finding their niche. In the realm of fantasy that is youshikibi, this was the tortured aristocrat.

But which aristocracy? Take your pick. Ex-Malice Mizer vocalist Klaha drew his inspiration from the Gothic-Lolita subset of “dandy” and “gothic aristocrat”, which was inspired by the sleek, streamlined suits and funerary attire of 19th and 20th century Europe.

Also-ex-vocalist of Malice Mizer, Gackt played on his affected persona of being a Vampire born in the 16th century, and dressed to impress in elaborate, classical European-opera-esque costumes and vaguely 18th-century French outfits. By 1999 and the 2000s (after he had left Malice Mizer), he was donning full-throttle ensembles that would have made Dracula drool with wardrobe-envy.

Gackt, 1999-2000 era

Kamjio, vocalist of Versailles~Philharmonic Quintet, who is featured in several images above, also plays on the “hero” figure that was adapted by Gackt and Klaha, as well as many other Visual Kei vocalists. This style of “character portrayal” is especially popular in the youshikibi subculture, where the historical themes and stylistic elements often have a story-telling air. You can almost imagine these men as characters out of historical-fiction romance novels. And, for all intents and purposes, that is what they are, and that is why they, and not Kenshiro, are the archetypal personifications of the “ideal man”.

Notes: Hokuto no Ken is an extremely popular manga and anime series from the ’80s. The characters were all extremely manly, with massive, hulking muscles and thick-necks. The aforementioned Kenshiro is the main-character of the series. Interestingly enough, the story was recently re-told by a female manga-ka, who took the original concept work and drew the characters as bishounen. Funny, that.