【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.

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The current members are:
ryo (music)
三輪士郎 (MIWA Shirow) (illustration, logo – professional)
huke (illustration – professional)
redjuice (illustration, website design)
SUGA (illustration)
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.

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supercell 1st album cover. (Illust: 三輪士郎)

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)

【CD】君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) by supercell

As if I don’t already have enough posts about this CD’s title song. Anyways, I finally received my copy of the CD today after preordering it last month.

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Album cover (illust: 三輪士郎)

The version I got was the first press edition with an extra DVD and a sticker that you can put on your cap. The CD comes with 5 tracks, three of which have vocals and two are instrumentals.

CD Track List:
01. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari)
02. LOVE & ROLL
03. theme of “CENCOROLL” instrumental track
04. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) -TV Edit-
05. 君の知らない物語 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) -Instrumental-

All the songs are composed by ryo of supercell, and the vocals are done by nagi. nagi is basically the reason I bought this CD at all because her voice is too great. My favourite track is probably the title track even though it sounded kind of generic to me at first, but the lyrics are great. LOVE & ROLL, the main vocal theme for CENCOROLL, is a very welcome change from ryo’s usual style, and I love the main melody, but it seems to repeat a lot and makes the song sound a little long. Nevertheless, still a good song that I like, and it has interesting lyrics as well.

The cover illustration is done by MIWA Shirow and the sticker illustrations were done by redjuice. I was kind of disappointed with the sticker because I actually thought that there would be 8 stickers, one for each illustration. But alas, it was only one sticker with 8 cropped pictures on it.

The package design was done by wooserdesign, which is good and clean. I’m not used to buying singles, but I was a tiny bit disappointed that there weren’t any liner notes from the staff/vocalist. (Or are liner notes for albums only?) The paper insert (not a booklet) is only one piece of folded glossy paper with the cover illustration, credits, lyrics, and back cover, with a two-sided advertisement insert inside promoting Bakemonogatari DVD vol.1 and CENCOROLL. The CD case is pretty high quality, though, and isn’t exactly the ultra-fragile jewel cases I’m used to seeing.

The DVD I haven’t watched yet since it’s Region 2, but I watched the videos from it on the web.

DVD Track List:
– 「君の知らない物語」 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) MUSIC VIDEO
– 「君の知らない物語」 (Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari) CM SPOT

The LIVE ACTION PV is a terrible disappointment since I was really hoping for something animated or at least related to Bakemonogatari in some way. It’s basically a juvenile story about a high school love triangle. The CM spot video is really short and reuses footage from episode 1 of Bakemonogatari.

All in all, I’m not exactly regretting that I got the first press edition, but since the DVD bonus was mediocre, I recommend getting the regular edition, even though the one (big) sticker is pretty cool. I’m happy that I got the CD at all since CDs with nagi’s vocals are so hard to find, so jumping on this mass-produced single is a good opportunity if you are either a supercell or nagi fan. I don’t really think that there’s much here for Bakemonogatari fans unless they really like the song or really want to collect the sticker.

Picspam under the cut.

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【Vocaloid Composer】baker

Okay, time to start introducing the basics of Vocaloid composers.

baker

baker (aka kisk baker, ウイイレP, FIFAP, real name is HATTORI Keisuke) is one of the most well-known Vocaloid composers/remixers, and is also a DJ. Incidentally, he is also my favourite Vocaloid composer/remixer. Random facts include that he lives in Kanagawa prefecture, his blood type is O, and because he likes the Winning Eleven games, he took on ウイイレ (JPN contraction of Winning Eleven) as his P name. (However, the tags for his P name now say FIFAP since he now likes FIFA09.) Also, some of his newer remixes have been labelled with “nitagamo” or its contration, “NTMG”, which literally means boiled egg.

baker started composing songs using Vocaloid in 2007, and his first video was a short preliminary version of carol. His next song was celluloid, which is by far his most well-known song, even making it into the famous 10-minute 七色のニコニコ動画 medley in 2009. It currently has 459,000+ hits. After posting 3 more songs, サウンド (sound), カナリア (Canary), and carol (full-version), he posted celluloid retake in June 2008 and announced that he is retiring from composing Vocaloid songs.

However, he still consistently makes remixes of a lot of other composers‘ songs and also has composed many original songs. He seems to work closely with はるよ, and has had her as a vocalist for his original song 旅人のうた (The Traveler’s Song), and baker personally mixed her renditions of his songs. He also has a few collaborations with OSTER Project, where they remixed each other‘s songs and baker made a PV for one of OSTER’s songs, つきうさぎ (Rabbit of the Moon). baker has also tried his hand at singing Vocaloid songs which are not exactly meant to be sung and mangling his own song with softbank’s Yukkuri text-to-voice program.

Some of baker’s consistent characteristics is that the videos he uses for his PVs are all scenery videos shot by him with his cell phone (phone model is softbank911T, which is why it appears in his tags.), and that he really rarely depends on Hatsune Miku’s image and character to makes his songs unique. As well, he has proven to be quite versatile in genre in both composing and remixing, ranging from ballads to poppy techno(?). His tools of the trade include Vocaloid and KORG DS-10.

His latest remixes include 恋は戦争 (Love is War) NTMG MIX for MIWA Shirow‘s Comiket76 release’s bonus CD, モバイリ:センセーション (Mobi Re: Sens@tion) NTMG MIX for sasakure.UK‘s C76 Album, and one of ピアノレッスン (Piano Lesson) for 古川P (FurukawaP), also for C76.

Website: http://kisk55.web.fc2.com/
Blog: http://kiskbaker.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/kisk_baker
Nicovideo Mylist: http://www.nicovideo.jp/mylist/2896283
MP3 downloads: http://www.muzie.co.jp/artist/a049385/ (Provided by baker)