I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Genki Rockets -- Heavenly Star

Some years ago, when I first saw the video for Genki Rockets'(元気ロケッツ)"Heavenly Star", my first impression was that the man and woman from that famous "Take On Me" video by 80s Norwegian band A-ha got back together for good and had a 2-D daughter. Wow! Love that is superficial and successful.

All kidding aside, the video was indeed inspired by the "Take On Me" video according to the article on Genki Rockets on Wikipedia. For a period of several months in 2007-2008, there was a small wave of interest in this unit spearheaded by digital media creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi(水口哲也) and music producer Kenji Tamai(玉井健二), especially through the "Heavenly Star" video. My imagination and naivete were working overtime with this, since I had actually thought that the Japanese finally came up with the first realistic-looking and moving cyber-aidoru.

I'll let you continue on laughing as I continue to write that I finally found out the truth. The 2-D girl was indeed a character....Lumi, to be exact...but she was played by a flesh-and-blood Japanese-American girl by the name of Rachel Rhodes or Rei Yasuda(安田レイ). What was meshed together was her vocals along with those of singer/seiyuu Nami Miyahara(宮原永海). According to the Wiki writeup about Lumi, she was supposed to be the first human born in space on the International Space Station (how's that for a cool mailing address?) who finally comes down to Earth as an 18-year-old in 2037. Considering how much she's skipping in the video, I take it that the ISS has a decent gravity generator. Otherwise, she'd be crawling herself through the mud ("I hear you whispering surrounded in- AAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH....Damn you, Isaac Newton!!" she'd be screaming in agony)....not a particularly picturesque image on a music video.

Although the myth was blown, I still liked "Heavenly Star" so that I not only bought the single which came out in July 2007 but also Genki Rockets' first album of the same name when it was released a year later. The song won't cure any major diseases but it is an uplifting tune, and there is a certain magical quality when I hear it with the video. Mizuguchi, Tamai and one other writer by the name of Kaori Fukano(深野香)created the lyrics while Yusuke Tanaka(田中ユウスケ)composed the music of wonder. The single peaked at No. 24 on Oricon while "Genki Rockets I - Heavenly Star" got as high as No. 15.

Still wondering (or dreading) if there will ever be a fully sentient cyberspatially born character in my lifetime. If not, there are always the dulcet tones of Miku Hatsune(初音ミク). Yes, I'm being a bit snarky here.

And finally, for all those 80s music fans, here are Lumi's "parents".

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