Am I human? Can I die? where is the End? and if I end, does it make me human? and all those questions so much familiar with Japanese culture – its big part inhibited by ghosts, death, and cyborgs asking themselves how much human they are, and all wrapped up in the melancholic story-telling. At least that was one of mine first impressions when I watched Japanese movies or read Japanese literature for the first time. Weirdly enough just now started questioning myself in the similar way as something seems to come to end…
Anyways, THE END vocaloid opera was indeed the highlights of recent months – it took me more than a week since I was invited for the preview of this extraordinary but “strange” performance. I am still “digesting” and trying to understand what I witnessed and just now realizing that probably will never do. And I am aware that It is partly because I have never been into “kawaii” and otaku thing which is represented by Hatsune Miku here – though I must admit I was quite impressed about the idea when I heard about her for the first time. It is quite amazing that non-physical character has her persona, does live concerts and has huge fan base.
The END – all story is about the death and the end. I felt like the whole audience was caught in the cuber-space somewhere between the reality and the dream, with Hatsune san in the centre, with her strange clone-herself-alike visitor, and even more strange the rabbit/squirrel – seemed like all being different part of the same existence. There were lots of sung dialogues as opera it was indeed but in XXI century style – with no human characters, all sung with computer generated voice /vocaloid/ and with main characters floating around the stage in 3-dimention created by computer graphics and projected on 4 separate screens simultaneously. What was real and connected to originals of opera, was an the story, even it was very futuristic, and the audience – real for sure. Actually there would be even more interesting if some “people” in the audience would be hologram projections.
I did not get many things – with the rabbit/squirrel on the top of my list /found it quite annoying/ – but again it might be purely due to my lack of deep interest in “kawaii” and “otaku” culture as well as due to the not-much-good-enough text in English – I really hope it was just poor translation, making parts of dialogues pretty “naive”. BUT what I really like was that this kawaii-otaku character as Hatsune Miku is, was given another dimension, much deeper that usually those kind of characters seem to have. I liked the music by Keiichiro Shibuya, even it was not my kind of thing, it reminded me some sound and music installation in the modern art galleries. I loved that she didn’t look like another character from “maid`s cafe” – but was very nicely dressed and styled – thanks to Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs Studio, of course – great collaborate!! I loved the scene of “falling” and “running” – it was something captivating about it. I loved the dj-booth and how it was connected with the rest performance by visuals projected on it. I loved its melancholy and the Hatsune san`s 3D-print we all were given in the end.. And what about Hatsune Miku herself? WHAT THE LEGS….!!! – wow, lucky girl!
cast: Keiichiro Shibuya, Hatsune Miku ; concept, script : Keiichiro Shibuya, Toshiki Okada ; music: Keiichio Shibuya ; visual director, mostion picture: YKBX ; costumes: Louis Vuitton