Review: 初音ミクの消失 -Real and Repeat-

May 15, 2020 on RateYourMusic.
Release: Dissapearance of Hatsune Miku -Real and Repeat- (cosMoBousou-P, 2018)

Let's start from the top. -Real and Repeat- sees many of cosMo's ∞ -InfinitY- series tracks brought together and remastered beautifully as some sort of 10th anniversary-ish rerelease. There was already a pretty hefty layer of meta to the original ∞ -InfinitY- series when it emerged over a decade ago: within the bounds of this fictional narrative constructed with Vocaloid, Miku grapples with her existence as a Vocaloid. Already in 2008, right in the middle (or even the beginning) of Vocaloid's golden age, Miku was lamenting her eventual abandonment. So releasing these tracks again, when Vocaloid has actually mostly fallen... That alone changes the contexts of these songs completely.

There's more, though. There are some new additions in the mix. Among the new tracks is "The Real Disappearance of Hatsune Miku" (リアル初音ミクの消失 / FAKE: THE END OF HATSUNE MIKU), a direct "sequel" of sorts to cosMo's legendary "The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku" and a commentary on the downfall of Vocaloid and, more broadly, the way we treat art as disposable. The song seems a little bitter -- and reasonably so. Should we be consuming art like this?

There's not just bitterness for the end of Vocaloid, though. The release also includes "0→∞への跳動" (Dynamic Leap from 0 → ∞), a new song based on the novelization that references and essentially acts as the culmination of the ∞ -InfinitY- series. Beyond the love and care apparent in this kind of release, in the NND upload description, cosMo says that, "Even so, I love Hatsune Miku." And there's "いままでも、このときも、これからも――" (Always Have, Always Are, Always Will), too, a song originally written for Vocalohistory, a huge compilation of some of the most important Miku tracks that details a nostalgic, long-standing friendship. Its inclusion on this album, too, says a lot to me.

So what's the point here? The Disappearance of Hatsune Miku -Real and Repeat- is an extremely interesting album, an encapsulation of and commentary on the passing of Vocaloid's golden age and the feelings that brings. (Even as the vocalsynth culture Vocaloid started continues on quietly, it looks very, very different, and though Hatsune Miku seems to be known on a meme level by pretty much everyone now, it's a bit removed from vocalsynth culture.) The way it engages with fans' nostalgia is fascinating, and, of course, the music is so good you can enjoy the whole thing without knowing about any of that. An excellent work that I'm willing to put in the work for an imported copy of. CosMo shines here, as always.

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