Yesterday I gave a basic understanding of Vocaloid and its culture, focusing primarily on the music part of it. Today, I want to dive deeper to discuss the visual storytelling aspect that has become a big part of Vocaloid.
Halloween Movie Countdown — Witch
While this doesn’t exactly count as a full feature movie for the Halloween countdown, this Vocaloid details a full story alongside some beautiful and very simple animation, so I say it counts as a movie nonetheless! Telling the story of a witch and a prince, “Witch” follows their tragic tale as the two fall in love only for the prince’s jealous priestess to convince the prince that the witch has deceived him.
Come, listen to this sad story
Come, don’t forget to prepare a handkerchief
It seems that there was a witch in a land
and it seems that she fell in love with a prince
“Witch” is an excellent example of the many facets of Vocaloid’s vocalists. While the vocals themselves are recordings from famous voice actors and singers, the vocalists are the character in which those vocals are attributed to. For example, the most popular female Vocaloid vocalist, Hatsune Miku, gets her voice from voice actress Saki Fujita. Miku has her own full character personification, right down to a full concept design. This is how it is for all Vocaloid vocalists.
In the case of “Witch”, there are four vocalists: two narrators (one male, one female), the witch, the prince, and the priestess. These four vocalists are four separate Vocaloid characters: the two narrators are vocalists Rin and Len, the witch is Luka, the prince is Gackpo, and the priestess is Miku. The way in which each of this characters is drawn in the “Witch” video is directly correlated to how they are illustrated officially as vocalists. This is the common practice in Vocaloid filmography.
Beyond its Vocaloid education uses, “Witch” is the perfect story of betrayal as it displays that theme in multiple ways. Not only is the witch betrayed by the prince, but the prince is betrayed by the priestess as she makes him believe that he was betrayed by the witch. “Witch” is the ultimate love triangle, ending in the biggest implosion of heartache that the narrator a the beginning wasn’t joking–you really are going to need a tissue.
The use of penitenziagite (a Latin religious phrase that means “do penance”) in the crowd’s arduous cries for repentance is especially cool. Not only is the pronunciation attractive in the song, it’s an appropriate use for the perceived setting of the story, while at the same time speaking volumes about each character in turn. The cries are clearly for the witch about to burn, while the ones who really should be repenting swallow that reality until it’s too late–the witch allows her hatred to take over her and uses her magic to escape.
I really appreciate the lyrical value of “Witch” in conjunction with its imagery and storyline. I really enjoy Vocaloid for this reason, because I think that it allows artistry to develop in an entirely new way. For the exact reason that musical theatre can be so powerful, Vocaloid has an ability to impact its viewers in only a few minutes of song and story.
Held by the cross
I look up at the sky
Erase the voices of prayer
Dedication reduced to nothing
For me, “Witch” reeks of All Hallow’s Eve not just simply due to its use of witches and magic, but because it addresses things that are sometimes even scarier that anything otherwordly. The idea that things like this actually happened–I’m looking at you, 1862 Salem, Massachusetts–that mass hysteria has the ability to claim innocent lives like this, that’s a truly scary thought. In the case of “Witch”, it’s even scarier because it shows that the fear of things beyond understanding can turn even those we love against us.
Of course, it’s the deep emotional impact that really had me hooked with “Witch”. It’s beautifully rendered not only lyrically but visually as well. I don’t think there’s anything more powerful as a viewer than to watch duplicity play out before our eyes. There’s just something that makes it sting your heart, but at the same time make it really hard not to look away. Maybe we’re all just a schadenfreude deep down? Or is that just me?
Well, regardless as to whether you consider yourself one, “Witch” is something you’ll enjoy. It’s Halloween-y and movie-y enough to count for our countdown… sort of. Guys, it’s just really good. Just pretend for my sake that it’s totally within the realm of the countdown!