Friday, 30 November 2012

[PV REVIEW] Go for a drive in the snow with GACKT!

All opinion are my own and, if you an issue, keep it to yourself~ Otherwise, I will murder you. Or something to that effect.
GACKT - WHITE LOVERS ~Shiawase na Toki~
If you don't see how beautiful this man, then, I can only assume that you've had your eyes gauged out at some point in this past. That, or you've got some kind of horrendous eye infection. Or you've just got no taste, whatever -coughs-
Right, so, I was stunned when I first saw this video. Okay, it's not exactly anything special in the grand scheme of things but it was still really, really nice. You have to realise that all we've gotten from GACKT, regarding (non-YFCz) PVs, since last July is a bunch of animated shots, a one-shot PV of GACKT walking through the city ('m not bashig, I love that vid), him sitting around in armour whiel some video game clips are played and a rehash of an existing PV. I've enjoyed all his PVs in that time (okay, no, UNTIL THE LAST DAY was not a good PV, sorry - thank god for the song itself!!), but, this, this is much better! It's a new and totally endearing PV - I don't know how to tell you how pleased and excited I was when I saw the video. It's the best GACKT PV since Stay the Ride Alive, which was released nearly three years ago now (the single came out on New Year's Day, '10, but the PV came out mid-December '09). Take that into account and, now, imagine how happy this must make me. Seriously, the end of this year has been absolutely amazing, GACKT-wise! He's finally getting back into the flow of things and doing what he does best.
He's back. He's brilliant. Rejoice!
All that aside, let's focus on the actual video. The video, people, the video!
The main driving (pun not intended) point of the video seems to be GACKT going for a ride in his big-ass, fancy car in a dark winter's night. During his drive, he begins to reminisce about his love. So, sadness, separation, cars, lots of dark blue-ish colours and pretty lights - typical GACKTy stuff, only, this time, nobody dies! As far as I know, anyway. The woman in the video could be dead and that's why he's thinking of her. But, she's also in a non-flashback scene. But she is just standing there in the snow, looking wistful. Uh. I don't know. Let's just say that...mystery is a typical asset of a GACKT video, too? Over-analysation can come later, anyway. We're focusing on the basics right now.
This video is hardly appealing based on budget and production alone, though, as is the way with all things, money doesn't always make it. I've seen enough shitty Hollywood films and high-budget music videos that lack any substance whatsoever to know that. Now, I'm not saying it's low-budget or that the production is bad, but, rather, granted you're the kind of person who's convinced that all music videos have to be big and flashy and not much else, this may not be your thing. This video doesn't have much going for it in terms of special effects, as in there aren't too mnay of them. Of course, special effects aren't always necessary in some cases and this is one such case. I mean, there are still obvious special effects being used here but they're mostly used to indicate flashback scenes or, rather, GACKT's memories. They're nothing too extravagant, either, juts a few lightening and colouring filters to give them that kind of distant yet fond feel. It's a typical look for flashbacks, isn't it? There's a kind of warmth and coldness in these doesn't make sense in words but if you watch the PV itself you might just get what I mean. Anyway, the warmness kind of gives that fond feeling, a pure love kinda thing, while the coldness shows the distance, as it's something far away and out of reach. Something like that. And...well, I don't know how real that snow is.
Actually, on that note, the colour schemes in this video are very effective. What this video lacks in flashy appeal it definitely more than makes up for it with the more subtle little touches. Who cares how fancy it is or how many scene changes there are when you have a video with such sweet little touches that the mood of the entire thing is so clear just like that? There seems to be an over-ruling blue theme to this video, which, I think, really emphasises that wintery look the video's clearly trying to go for. Of course, blue is also a colour most associated with, as far as emotions are concerned, sadness. Now, this is a melancholic GACKT video - sadness is key. That kind of pained feeling of loss is quite strong in this video. On top of that, it's also a darker blue - darker colour schemes are pretty common in GACKT videos, granted they aren'tm one of his more upbeat songs (though, that being said, he has plenty of more emotional tracks with lighter coloured PVs). Darker colours are also a really good way to symbolise sadness - darkness isn't happy, after all, right?
What I think is really cute about the flashback scenes, though, is how happy some of them are. GACKT (or his character, whatever, we'll just call him GACKT for simplicity's sake, all right?)'s clearly trying to remember the more pleasant times, the happiest times. I also like how he doesn't appear in any of the flashbacks, and the way they're filmed. Like that, you really get the feeling that this is what he remembers seeing through his own eyes. The close-ups of the girl really get this feeling across, too. And, she has a really pretty smile, so I just end up being all like 'Aww, look how happy she is, aww, look how nice, aww'. Whoever she is, she does those scenes awesomely, so kudos to her.
However, I'm particularly drawn to the car scenes. Okay, no, they're most of the video, I know, scratch that. I'm drawn specifically to the car scenes that aren't in a bloody tunnel. That first tunnel actually pissed me off just because it was way too long. But, that was only because I was paying too much attention to it, stupid long tunnel. Aside from that, the tunnels were fine. However, I'm a total sucker for that kind of cityscape at night kind of look. The bridge he drove over, too - so gorgeous. The lights it was casting on the windscreen were beautiful. Actually, that one scene is probably my favourite in the whole video, as I was pretty stunned by the way the reflection of the lights were sliding across the windscreen as the pillars they were lighting disappeared into the distance. And the snow falling, too. Unf. And GACKT driving that very car, too. Unf. To be honest, a lot of why I'm so drawn to this scene, aside from the cityscape/nightscape thing, is that...I don't know, I just think things like that are really beautiful. I've always loved it on long car trips when you get to points like that and the lights are just bending and twisting inside the car while you sit there. The world is dark and light at the same time and I find it fascinating. I'm a fool for a light/dark contrast, I admit it. Beautiful.
Though, when I'm going through a tunnel in a car, I really love that, too. I'm really not interested in cars, so, when I first sar how car-orientated the video was going to be, I was a little unsure, but, in the end, all the video did was remind me of my favourite parts of long car journeys. This is sort of a personal attraction more than anything, to tell the truth, but it really made the video for me. To me, this is an absolutely gorgeous video, GACKT or no GACKT.
Now, onto the plot analysation~!
As I said before, I'm not actually sure what the backstory of this PV is. But, that's common in GACKT's PVs. I don't think it's poor direction, though - it leaves you to write the story yourself, just a little. Interpret in your own way. Something like that? Regardless, I personally love the enigmatic feel to his videos. But, now, here's the thing, I'm pretty sure the video would make a little more sense if you took the lyrics into consideration. Now, I don't speak Japanese (I only know some basic stuff, as far as vocabulary goes), and I'm at school and everything's blocked, so I can't provide any translations other than the horrendous mess with which Google Translate has kindly provided me. Having given the contorted English translation a look, it seems like the love interest in this video did, in fact, die as I had guessed. Okay, there's no specific evidence that it's the case, but, based on the lyrics, that's the idea I get. The line 'Your warmth disappears, Embraced by snow, Ah, leaving, leaving only memories' gives off that feel doesn't it. After all, if she's leaving and the warm is disappearing...well, death would be the most obvious conclusion, I feel. Besides, this song seems to be a heartfelt farewell and, if tis does in fact tie in with the video, why would she be crying if she had chosen to leave him? Well, there are many reasons, but I think it all makes the most sense if she's dead. It also explains all the lonely reminscing. It's a really beautiful video if you consider that. And,  granted my theory is true, I really like how they don't dwell on it, as such. They don't play the obvious cards and give you explicit proof of any death. A lot of music videos do that and it's a bit clichéd, I feel. However, the way this video is presented, there's definitely a heartrending feeling to it. Actually, suddenly, my appreciation for this video has increased quite a bit. Kudos to the video director. After all, I love sentimental thing like this. They're emotional and tragic without being mushy. For the record, I don't do well with mush. And certainly not fluff.
Of course, we'll have to look at the song itself. I think we've already established that I like the story that the lyrics are conveying. But, really, long-running snow metaphor? Yes, please. I like snow metaphors - it's lame but true. Seriously, it can signify a kind of delicateness but, it can be cold and piercing, too. Here, GACKT compares snow to tears a lot, too. I like GACKT's imagery in his songs, it's something he's really good at. It contributes quite a lot to my love of his lyric-writing. The melody of this song is really good and the arrangement is flawless. It's very reminscent of much older GACKT songs, but with a hint of his newer styles as well. What a fusion! Also, as always, the emotion conveyed in his voice...oh, it gets me everytime. I mean, it's one thing that he can sing beautifully (like, I'm not even being biased, he is a really good vocalist), but the emotion he conveys is unnaturally powerful. He's a truly fantastic musician. He never disappoints and, oh god, this is one of the best things he's produced these last two years. Absolutely brilliant. And I'm maybe a little bit biased. But, I have reasons. Actually, no! I just gave you reasons as to why I should be biased so why am I implying it's bad to be biased. Well, ignoring that, this is a truly fantastic song and, granted it's your kind of thing, I'd definitely recommend it, PV and all!

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