【Vocaloid Composer】supercell (ryo)
Long overdue post spotlighting this popular group. supercell is probably the most well-known Vocaloid-based group out there, and also the most successful in turning from amateur to professional. When ryo used 119’s illustration in his video for MELT in 2008, he borrowed it without asking, but when he later got permission to use the image, supercell was formed as a group. The group consists of ryo doing the lyric writing and song composing, and the other members, ranging from pros to amateurs, doing illustrations, website design, and package design. ryo is the creator and leader of the group.
The current members are:
三輪士郎 (MIWA Shirow) (illustration, logo – professional)
huke (illustration – professional)
redjuice (illustration, website design)
mac (illustration and videos)
宇佐義大 (USA Yoshiki) at wooserdesign (package design, binding, printing)
丙8郎 (hei8ro, support in illustration and photography)
guitar (support in illustration)
crow (support in ???)
golv (support in ???)
supercell’s first and most popular song is メルト (MELT), posted on nicovideo on December 7th in 2007, and has had more than 4 million hits and 144,000+ mylists since. It is 3rd in nicovideo’s all-time mylist rankings. supercell’s other songs, 恋は戦争 (Love is War), World is Mine, Black★Rock Shooter, and 初めての恋が終わる時 (The Time My First Love Ended) almost all have more than 1 million hits as well (the only exclusion being The Time My First Love Ended). As well, almost all these songs have remained on every iteration of the Weekly Vocaloid Rankings since they were posted on nicovideo.
After Black★Rock Shooter, they released an album with new, unposted songs at Comiket 74 in 2008 along with an included artbook that had many new and old illustrations based on the songs. They were also able to release the same album commercially on March 4th 2009 under Sony Music. This album reached 2nd on the Oricon daily charts and 4th on the weekly charts, and in June 2009 supercell’s album was awarded the monthly Gold Disc by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The limited edition of the album came with the same artbook from their C74 release. The last song that supercell posted on nicovideo was The Time My First Love Ended, on December 12th 2008.
supercell released their first major single on August 12th 2009, featuring the ending theme song from Bakemonogatari named 君の知らない物語 (The Story You Don’t Know), and got 5th place in the daily Oricon single rankings. This single also marked the first time that supercell did not use Hatsune Miku for vocals, and instead used a (human) vocalist named nagi, who was famous for her singing on nicovideo under the name of Gazelle. The single also included two songs done for the (upcoming) anime movie CENCOROLL.
supercell’s music style is usually pop or rock with vocals done by Hatsune Miku (they haven’t used the other vocaloids for their songs yet), with the occasional techno. Piano solos a la MELT have become a characterstic of ryo’s compositions, and the main melody is usually repeated throughout. What makes supercell stand out the most, though, is that the personality and character design they create for Miku (or their songs’ protagonists) are always different, which makes it very easy to tell the songs apart and makes it much more memorable. In terms of lyrics, ryo says that he likes to write them according to his initial instincts and without hesitation, and doesn’t like to “add decorations” to make them less “embarassing” to sing. (This is from a section of the Japanese wikipedia entry, quoted from supercell’s interview with Oricon. Translated wiki excerpt is below this entry.)
As of now, supercell can probably be classified as a professional group, as they have had increasingly more mainstream releases in not only music, but also figures and other anime-related things, the newest being the Black★Rock Shooter anime pilot DVD release (which may develop into a full series) being animated by Ordet and directed by YAMAMOTO Yutaka (aka Yamakan of Lucky☆Star fame).
Official site: http://www.supercell.jp/
supercell member blog: http://www.supercell.sc/index.html
supercell interview at Oricon: http://rn.oricon.co.jp/special/20080805_02.html (Japanese)
ryo’s nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/3291521
ryo playlist at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=FF5DC29263C4C9C3
ryo at Twitter: http://twitter.com/ryo_9987
Wiki excerpt translation: On writing lyrics, ryo says that he “doesn’t edit” and “writes according to the first immediate ideas that float into his mind”, and when told that some people find this manner of writing odd, he says that because “when people sing, they usually think something like “Oh, these lyrics are too embarassing to sing, let’s go with some different ones instead” and end up putting in excess decorations in”, “and because a robot is singing my lyrics, I don’t think that it’s necessary to change my lyrics to make them less embarassing, and so I write them without a second thought.” (Original JPN Wiki entry)