Saturday, March 7, 2009

Yoshitoshi's Art in Kagrra,'s PV, "Kotodama"

I'd like to take a moment to write about the most cultural thing I can think of:


Well, sort of.

I guess it's no secret that Kagrra, is my favourite band.  (Their new album, Shu, comes out April 1!  =D)  But it is often a very hard decision for me to select just what must be my favourite band and my favourite song and my favourite PV.  I see/listen/watch the music I like during most of my day, and new artists and singles and things are being added to the mix by the second.  So for me, it is a difficult decision, which I base on the culmination of absolutely everything I am exposed to within the band and their work.  I'm rambling... what I mean to say is that, with the style of music, clothing, the message, the imagery, and the dedication of the band, Kagrra, is the band I would have to choose for pretty much every "What is your favourite" question. 

You should know that I enjoy learning and studying all types of cultural things from all over the world, running the gamut from history, religion, customs, culture, people, tribes, art, etc.  It goes on and on.  Naturally, a lot of my interest comes from what I myself have been exposed to by way of my own childhood, education, and thoughts impressed upon me by my mother.  I like to research, write, and share with anyone who will listen my thoughts and views and (limited) knowledge on the things around me and the things I am interested in.  But if we're being honest here, yeah, I guess a lot of it comes from video games.  If you asked me to explain as much as I could about the Three Kingdoms Era of China, about 99.9% of it would be from Dynasty Warriors, probably including quotes from the characters and my own halting descriptions of the awesome awesome (inaccurate) costumes that they wear.

So, when she requested that I make a review of some Kagrra, videos and the subtle cultural and at times religious imagery that they use, I guess I jumped at the chance.  Reading back on this post so far, I guess I jumped and fell pretty hard, but the sentiment remains the same that I am now going to start a series (spread out over the course of when I feel like it, so as not to become monotonous and boring, or at least to give me an extra entry when my brain stops working and I go months without updating) of reviewing various aspects of Kagrra, and some information that the casual fan (or even someone who is not yet a fan) may not know.  Or at least, to be interesting and expand my repertoire of rock music reviews beyond "xxx can't sing, and the songs are overused pieces of shit, so why is this band so popular?",  "xxx sucks now that Bou is gone", or "xxx is wearing a big ugly hat".

So, now that I've been given my mission, obviously I set out right away to procrastinate and not do it. 

I decided to start my series of reiews with the ultimate Kagrra, song:  Kotodama.  Not only was it essentially Kagrra,'s very first song, but it was also the very first PV of theirs I ever saw.  It made me a fan, which I will get into later, but first and foremost, it is, to me, the epitome of what Kagrra, represents, and remnants of the message the song gives can be found in every subsequent song or PV if you think about it.  So I began to watch it with hopes of reviewing it, and realised that I had my work cut out for me:  so much was happening in the PV, so many subtleties and interesting little tidbits I wanted to mention, so many things going on at once, it was as if the very story of the kagura itself was being relayed, and then the arc of Yamato crashed down upon its head, and the whole thing wrought forth some kind of impromptu festival.  I'm not kidding, if you try to watch it with a mind to take notes and absorb the happenings, the whole thing becomes a blurred mess of tradition and horror.

Which I guess is a good way to describe Kagrra,, huh?

So anyway, please stay tuned to the next post, in which I will explain the history of Kagrra,/kagura and the meaning of the song/PV, as well as interesting facts about rock music, Shinto, and Japanese folktales/horror, for in this post, we need to get all of our peripherals clear so that we may view the PV with a focused eye.

So now, I shall relay the tale of how I was first exposed to Kagrra,, the intricacies of art, and just why Kagrra, is allowed to have their very own genre of music.