Anime of Tomorrow
Category Archives: Vocaloid
I returned to work this week to find some of my students made me Christmas cards. I received a particularly awesome Vocaloid card that reminded me about how cool it is to be comfortable and honest about your hobbies. And as an added bonus, my students are more interested in English by being able to associate their studies with something they enjoy, which I know from first-hand experience is a terrific motivator. I guess the point I’m long-windedly trying to make is that this nice little surprise made my day.
I came to an interesting realization last night that I think is worth discussing. Generally speaking, most people nowadays are not fans of opera or musicals. This I think is a good generalization that doesn’t have much room for dispute. Singing out a story has fallen into the realm of a super-niche audience in an era when people prefer to have a plot presented to them with simple prose. But the important questions is why people don’t like opera or musicals. I think I’ve figured it out and the reason is because the music they play at these venues is horribly dated and out of fashion. As a kid I loved listening to golden oldies about the old west and Charlie Daniels telling horror stories accompanied by the fiddle. If they played genres that people enjoyed listening to I’m willing to bet opera would start to make a resurgence. I think of Avenue Q’s success as a more modern example to justify my claim. Now, how does all this relate to anime?
I’ve been a fan of Vocaloid since the leek spin meme gained popularity a few years ago. Last year, I really started to get excited about Vocaloid when the 39 Live Event in Tokyo was posted to YouTube and became a sensation. I recently watched the Vocaloid videos Daughter of Evil and Servant of Evil sung by the Kagamine twins and it’s an exquisite example of blending story with music (an approximation for what I think of as a modern opera). The theme of darkness and out-of-touch nobility is complimented by some harsh, synthesized tones that remind me of something out of central-European royalty. Starting the story with Rin’s point of view sets up a selfish and dislikeable perspective that results in a good feeling of satisfaction and justice by the story’s end. But when we see the story again from Ren’s point of view, it’s clear that this tale has two sides and you begin to realize that maybe your quick judgment on the first song may have been premature. It’s a fantastic dichotomy that really gets the listener to think in ways that may be uncomfortable. It’s an amazing accomplishment for something deceptively simple and easily overlooked. If you haven’t seen it yet, I suggest you check it out.