The Air Moon Ch. 5: Moon Child, Part 2

Sorry if anyone following the blog got the draft version of this in their email; I was sleepy and accidentally hit “Publish” instead of “Save Draft.” ^o^; That version hadn’t been edited for clarity, and was missing the last two pages of this chapter. I wanted to hurry up and finish but things kept popping up—the latest “thing” was my bicycle getting stolen this past Saturday. (Sidenote: if someone tries to sell you my women’s Schwinn Ridge AL mountain bike in silver & purple please punch them in the face, take the bike, and let me know. Just kidding. Leave out the part about punching them in the face.)

Anyway, for real this time, here’s the conclusion of Chapter 5. For earlier portions, please see the Table of Contents.

The Accelerating “MOON PROJECT” to “Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume”

The interview looking back on the Kagen no Tsuki tour took place on December 27th. At the time, we had not yet heard that the arena tour slated for 2003 would be called Jōgen no Tsuki, so when those words crossed Gackt’s lips at the end of the interview, along with a convinced “I knew it,” I recall how everyone was swept up by an indescribable wave of deep emotion. That meant that Gackt had clearly envisioned the roles of Kagen no Tsuki and Jōgen no Tsuki a long time ago; he went into Kagen no Tsuki with that vision in mind and safely (more or less?) took it to completion.

For example, Kagen no Tsuki developed onstage as an indirect “guide” to MOON CHILD‘s world view, expressing each individual character’s personal story as the principal axis. Gackt had built a live show that gave clues to the movie. Of course, there were many other concepts within the show, but that was its main purpose.

Now that we’re already in 2004, if we look back on how Jōgen no Tsuki played its part, I think that it included a lot of new, moving situations for people who had seen the movie. Also, at the same time that it let audiences feel the world view of MOON CHILD again, it displayed in a broad sense one part of the world of MOON that was not expressed in the movie.

“I want people to come to Jōgen no Tsuki after seeing the movie.”

I recalled how Gackt had practically made a habit of saying that.

Anyway, 2002 did not end with the interview looking back on Kagen no Tsuki. The next day, the 28th, would see the last Gackt coverage of the year, but it wasn’t a one-on-one interview; rather, it was a press conference.

Starting on the 28th, there was a photo exhibit for MOON CHILD at Laforet Harajuku. Costumes and other such items that were used during filming were also on display. It was very successful, so perhaps many readers went to see it. Gackt and HYDE attended the exhibit’s opening ceremony, which also included the press conference. I saw the movie trailer before the conference, which was its first public screening. Despite being condensed into only a few minutes, the trailer made a considerable impact. It’s said that when people see something that blows away their expectations for the first time, they lose the ability to speak and just laugh with no particular meaning. But what rose up from deep inside me was a laugh that meant, “Whoa! So this is how it turned out! Incredible!” Gackt playing the thuggish Sho in his youth; the flashy gun play; everything just made you smile in satisfaction before you even realized it. My expectations for the movie got higher and higher.

There was one comment during this press conference that stayed in my memory more than any of the comments about the movie which I make note of later throughout these pages; a single earnest request which could only come about in this day and age:

“I want to go snowboarding this winter. So if you see me out somewhere, please leave me be.”

Even after the final curtain had fallen on Kagen no Tsuki, Gackt was slated to appear on special end-of-year music programs, so he was even more extremely busy than he had been during the tour. There would be work-filled days until the end of New Year’s Eve.

With every muscle in his body strained, Gackt nevertheless had a gaze so piercing it was uncanny. Seeing him like that, I couldn’t help but wish his New Year’s vacation to be a useful one as I wrapped up the last coverage of 2002.

In came 2003. Making use of his time off, Gackt immediately set out for Las Vegas. It was something private, but it was also true that what transpired during that period had a big influence on his stance toward his creative endeavors once he returned to Japan.

“Lately, my songwriting pace has gotten faster. *Laughs* What happened? See, when you get a nice big break, you think, ‘Great, I get to rest!’ But then as you keep on just resting, have you ever started to think, ‘Is it really okay for me to be doing this?'”

That’s the topic Gackt brought up at the first interview of the new year. Perhaps out of deep sympathy (ha!), both Chief Editor Harada and I replied simultaneously with “Yeah, we have!”

“I was in Las Vegas playing the slots and those sorts of games the whole time, right? It’s a mechanical action, it’s not constructive. I mean, there’s also the fact that I lost a lot of money. *Laughs* But anyway, suddenly it hit me, like ‘What the hell am I doing?'”

The feeling that that was no time to be playing, that he needed to hurry up and make music, was a driving force. That was the basic gist of it, but that emotion alone wasn’t what accelerated his speed at everything.

“This is what happened: once I started losing, I went over to the baccarat table. There were Chinese and Italians sitting there who knew I was a musician. They’d seen me on MTV, or they’d seen my concert in Beijing, stuff like that. Then I lost big time, so I was trying to figure out how I could get my money back but I was sitting there like ‘Uhh….’ It looked like the person next to me was losing too, and when I asked him how much he’d lost he said ’60 million.’ *Laughs* With the wealthiest people in the world before me, I really learned my lesson. I was so small. All at once, I got so bummed out I lost again. *Laughs* Even when they said things to me like ‘The atmosphere’s so different with a famous guy around,’ I felt like they were just making a fool of me. It’s not about how much money someone has. This happens when you’re young, right? It’s nice when your friends introduce you to someone, but then there’s that moment when you can’t sit at the same table…”

The central axis of Gackt’s story wasn’t differences in wealth, but rather differences in rank in the intuitive sense.

“I felt that I didn’t deserve to be at that table not because of how much money I had, but because of my rank as a human. I was low-caliber. But it was kinda like Amuro, ‘I wanna beat these people!’ *Laughs* Because of that, I got motivated to create. It was this sheer desire not to lose. I just had to get back to Japan, because there were so many more things I could be doing, so I had to do more. Not just making music, it was like, ‘There’s more to me than this.’ Of course, I’ve been running all this time, but now I had this feeling that I was gonna cut the brakes. Don’t need ’em! *Laughs*”

In order to win against the rich people he happened to meet at the baccarat table, not in terms of money nor gambling, but in terms of “rank,” Gackt had to raise his own rank as a musician. That emotion added fuel to the fire of his awareness of himself as a musician. In a sense, it stirred him up to return to the starting point.

“Ever since I got back to Japan, no matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about music. Even if I’m going snowboarding or something, the whole time I’m riding the lift, I can hear these sounds. I think, ‘I could do something like this too.’ I take my hard disk recorder along so I record it by myself. While riding the lift. *Laughs* I think I must make for an awfully strange sight!”

The song born from all that energy was “Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume.” In the first week of February, Gackt stayed at Lake Yamanaka for a music-making retreat.

“Every day I’d get up at 6 a.m. to walk the snowy roads…like an old man. Ahaha…”

According to Gackt, it was during those days that the song “came to” him. But before that, when he’d returned to Japan from Las Vegas in January, he’d been completely absorbed in editing the footage from the Yokohama Arena concert in December. This video would be properly titled Gackt Live Tour 2002 Kagen no Tsuki ~Seiya no Shirabe~, and released on March 19, the same day as the new single “Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume.” The final shows at Yokohama Arena for the previous two tours had also been released on video. Each time, I’ve written the text for the openings. On a certain day in January, I headed to the studio where Gackt was working with my completed manuscript in hand. I could have just emailed it to him, but I figured I could also give him my New Year’s greeting if I went to submit it in person.

“Happy New Year! You seem well.”

Gackt seemed so full of life as he delved into editing the video footage, like the work was so fun he couldn’t help himself.

“It feels completely different watching a live show versus watching a recording. The concert was captured on film just as it was, but a recording is a recording, so you have to edit it so it doesn’t end up dragging. I don’t try to compete against the live show with a video, because 2D things compete in a totally different realm. From way back, I’ve been making these things as something different. Live is live. I think if I had a strong preference for live performances, I wouldn’t put out videos at all.”

He talked about this in a later interview, but the final product was made to be faster-paced than the live show.

“I think I tried to put in a little of the feel of a live show. I put in some objective points of view so that there would be moments when you suddenly snapped back to reality like, ‘Oh, this was a live show,’ so that you wouldn’t get sucked too far into it.”

Even though live shows and video footage are different things, it would be too straining on the people watching if all either did was keep increasing the tension. It could be said that Gackt was able to put together the contents in a way that balanced the footage as a piece of his work and as a record of the concert by paying a bit of attention to that “live show feel.”

Oh, that’s right. This also happened when we met at the studio that day:

“Thanks for taking the trouble to bring this. Good work.”

I left the studio after Gackt said that to me, but to my surprise, he then went to take a nap in his car in the parking lot. That may seem like a bit much, but it didn’t matter whether it was in a car or wherever as long as he could rest and regain his strength quickly; he wanted to get right back into the studio. The air was filled with his drive to get things done.

The single “Kimi ga Oikaketa Yume” is an uptempo song that encourages you with its power. In that sense, there were probably many fans who associated it with “dears.” For me, it created this image of “dears” plus “ANOTHER WORLD,” but Gackt said, “Isn’t it kinda like ‘dears’ plus ‘Missing’?” Either way, this song seems to ring out with the sounds of a world that exists precisely because MOON CHILD came into being. It’s as if the song overlaps with the scene in the first half of the movie where Sho, Kei, and the rest go out on a nighttime joyride to the sea.

Anyway, just what kind of person does the “kimi” [“you”] in the title and in the lyrics refer to?

“I myself had intended to make this song while thinking of the movie, but after the fact, I thought, maybe it ended up being more like a message to myself. There are the feelings of the people who have been by my side since way back, cheering me on, right? It’s like I was remembering that the whole time.”

As he was writing the lyrics, the “kimi” became colored by his past self.

“So rather than me saying this stuff, it’s more like, this is something someone said to me in the past. I’m not the subject. I’m the one singing, and it is intended for me, but it’s like I’m not the subject. This is probably an unusual way to go about making a song.”1

Strictly speaking, “Doomsday” also makes you feel this complexity with the subject. In any case, up till now, these types of lyrics were rare for him. I think that maybe, this was the result of Gackt taking a psychological look back at his past self after finishing up the major project that was Kagen no Tsuki. Also, I felt that the song was a way to give himself a push forward as he continued with the as-yet incomplete MOON PROJECT, turning to a new phase: Jōgen no Tsuki.

From the Release of MOON CHILD to the Opening Curtain of Jōgen no Tsuki

“The filming was so much fun that I was thinking the whole time, ‘I wish this could go on.’ There were so many good times for me. When I met with everyone today, when I saw all of their faces in the green room, I thought to myself, ‘I’m glad I’m alive.’ I’ve known everyone for so long, that I feel like I’m seeing my family again for the first time in a long while…”

Ahead of the nationwide general release of MOON CHILD on April 19th, there was a preview screening and press conference on March 27th.2 The above quote was what made the biggest impression of the things Gackt said that day. The actors had all rushed out to the event: HYDE, Tarō Yamamoto, Wang Leehom from Taiwan, and Zeny Kwok from Hong Kong; it had been a while since the main actors had gathered together, so Gackt’s words resonated strongly in my heart.

After the press conference at the hotel, the actors went to greet and give their remarks to an audience of over 1,000 fans at Akasaka BLITZ. After that was the screening. I saw that even Chachamaru was in the audience.

I had already seen MOON CHILD at the screening in late January at Matsutake. Hair & make-up artist Kotake had also gone that day, and they had tears in their eyes near the film’s end. I remember that I couldn’t keep my cool any longer around the scene where Yi-Che talks for the first time. In the end, how long would today’s audience be able to keep watching without losing their composure…?

It goes without saying that there were many people in the audience crying after the screening.

“The world we’re representing in this movie is absolutely not about other people’s business, neither is it some real-world war nor a story on TV. With our own ideas and feelings, what must we be thinking about and acting on? What should we be doing? When it’s time to take the first step, what should our mental state be? I want people to feel these things.”

Undoubtedly, Gackt’s ideas would spread via this movie from this time onward. The first step of that memorable journey was carved out tonight. After this, Gackt would be working hard in promotional activities throughout the country, but he had to simultaneously begin preparations for Jōgen no Tsuki, which was close at hand. Rehearsals for Jōgen no Tsuki also started at about the same that MOON CHILD was released. In an interview immediately before that, Gackt had this to say about the close relationship between the movie and the live shows:

“Of course, I’m doing the tour as one part of a large tale, but I think how it’ll turn out is that the tour will have a greater psychological aspect to it, and things I wasn’t able to express in the movie will come out here. I think what will end up happening is people will see the movie first, so I think they’ll be having flashbacks to the movie as they’re watching the concert. It’s kinda like, ‘First watch the movie, then come!’ Then various scenes and impressions from the movie will come into their minds at the show, so I’m sure the concert will help people understand the story’s psychological aspect. Like they’ll be able to see more of the story after watching the movie.”

Also in this interview, Gackt went on to clear up the misconception many people have that the tale called “MOON” is the same thing as MOON CHILD.

“The movie MOON CHILD isn’t everything there is to the main concept of ‘MOON,’ it’s one part within ‘MOON.’ It’s the opposite of what everyone’s thinking.”

In the beginning, there was the main concept of “MOON.” One part of the story within that is MOON CHILD.

“‘MOON’ contains the movie MOON CHILD, but there are also many things that aren’t included in the movie. Those things are included in many related releases such as music, stage plays, books, even calendars. They’re things that come out in each project.”

Of those “many things that aren’t included in the movie,” one was the book MOON CHILD Requiem, which Gackt wrote himself.

Even though Crescent, the album released at the end of 2003, was also a part of the concept of “MOON,” it was a work that depicted many situations which weren’t incorporated into the movie; this showed how Gackt had carried out his vision as he had described it during this interview.

In any case, Gackt is a man who always does what he says.

There had been hints an arena-class tour would come after Kagen no Tsuki very early on, and at long last, the day for that to come to fruition, under the name of Jōgen no Tsuki, was finally getting close. Everyone recognized that Gackt was capable of putting on a live show not in an arena but in a dome-class venue, but in an interview from that time, he explained his reasoning for going with arenas instead.

“There’s just a lot more stuff, of course. The thinking usually goes that if you’ve got a big venue, you should do something that can only be done in a venue that size. Because there’s a certain way to put on a show in a large space, I think people end up going with that. With an arena, the space is just barely enough for this [Jōgen no Tsuki‘s] set, or for this production rather, don’t you think? I get that feeling. With a venue as big as a dome, to be frank, you can’t see. Basically, I understood that this size venue is fine.”

It’s a well-known fact that Gackt doesn’t settle for putting jumbotrons into concert venues. All this time, he has considered perception with the naked eye as fundamental to communication. Countless times during Kagen no Tsuki, he would say to people in the audience with opera glasses, “Don’t watch through those lenses, see with your own eyes!” If that’s his view and he intends to carry it through, and if you can’t see in a dome, then that’s that. Of course, there were some people on staff who suggested doing a dome tour. Considering Gackt’s current power to draw an audience, it was logical.3

“It’s because I don’t think doing it in a dome is good. Wouldn’t that seem like some sort of event thing? If it were part of some event, I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it in a dome, but doing that as part of this concept…? You really need to be prepared. For example, you could turn the dome itself into something like a 360 degree stage, and if you could come up with some production that would make use of that, I think it would be interesting, but I can’t think of a way to include that in this tour. Even if I see something in a dome, it’s usually [set up in] one direction, and the sound isn’t good. Using a dome for an event is okay, but those venues aren’t suited for conceptual things. Someone could probably say, ‘You sure talk big for someone who’s never performed in a dome,’ but ultimately, I don’t like them, you know?”

If at some point in the future Gackt comes up with a concept that can only be brought to life in a dome, then there will probably be a dome concert. However, as far as Gackt’s concerned, as long as he has a place where he can communicate this thoughts, the size of the venue is irrelevant. He wasn’t doing Jōgen no Tsuki in an arena because of how big an audience he could draw in, but rather, because the concept he wanted to bring to life required that type of venue.

While simultaneously going on promo campaigns for MOON CHILD, rehearsals proceeded rapidly in a Tokyo area studio. The time for the curtain to rise on the first day of the tour was fast approaching.

[End of Chapter 5][Continue to Chapter 6, Part 0]

1. I don’t know whether I’m thinking about this too hard, or Gackt got his grammar terms confused here, or what. What I translated as “subject” was 主格, which is the grammar term “subject” as in “the subject of a verb is the one doing said verb.” What I translated as “intended for” was 対象, which can also mean “subject” or “object” but NOT in the grammar sense. “Object” in the grammar sense would have been 目的語. I think what he was trying to say was he’s not the one doing the action of saying these words; in more natural English, the song is written from the point of view of someone other than himself even though he’s the one singing it. This is clearly the case with the next song brought up, which is written in very feminine language.

2. This is probably not of much interest to anyone who is not a film buff (or a translator working with material related to film & film criticism).

In Japanese, a film’s release can be referred to as 一般公開 (ippan kōkai lit., “general public opening”), 公開(kōkai lit., “public opening”), or リリース (ririisu, “release”). Before this release though are special screenings, which, according to this little Japanese movie blog, generally come in three kinds:

一般試写会 (ippan shishakai): The above-linked blog says this is a free screening for the media and members of the general public chosen by lottery or according to their responses on a questionnaire. The point of this is to get the media to promote to the movie while getting some feedback about it. The blog doesn’t specify this, but I assume this is a screening relatively far in advance of the release so that audience feedback can be used to make changes to the movie if need be.

完成披露試写会 (kansei hirō shishakai): This is like the above, only that the actors, directors, etc. show up to the theater to give their thoughts on the movie after the screening. I assume there wouldn’t be edits made to the movie at this point.

初日舞台挨拶 (shonichi butai aisatsu): On the first day of the general release, there is one special screening that you do need to buy tickets for, but like the above, you get to hear from the actors after the screening.

As I’m not terribly familiar with film lingo, I wasn’t sure how to translate these terms. Wikipedia has this article about the different kinds of film screenings, but it seems like the English terms don’t include anything about having the actors come to give their comments about their movie. That said, Hirose used a slightly different version of the second term, 完成披露記者会 (kansei hirō kishakai) which literally means “completion announcement press conference.” So, I simply translated this as “preview screening and press conference.”

3. What I translated as “power to draw an audience” was 動員力 (dōin ryoku) which literally means “mobilization power.” So I’m not sure if this refers only to his ability to draw an audience, to the power of the staff he’d assembled, or to both.

4 thoughts on “The Air Moon Ch. 5: Moon Child, Part 2

  1. Pingback: The Air Moon Ch. 5: Moon Child, Part 1 | Warped Frost

  2. Pingback: Next Part Now Up For Real | Warped Frost

  3. aeryn1

    Thank you so much!

    /“I want to go snowboarding this winter. So if you see me out somewhere, please leave me be.”/
    Then, just to make sure people see him, he’d go dressed in black. : )

    /Of course, I’ve been running all this time, but now I had this feeling that I was gonna cut the brakes. Don’t need ’em! *Laughs*/
    This is so like him!
    However, it seems that these days he’s been fixing the brakes he cut back then. Which is a good thing to do, for a change.

    Help! Help! I’m getting teary-eyed and sentimental. : )
    Thank you!!

    1. *Gives tissue*

      LOL I can’t help but compare Gackt then and now reading this too. Like what happened at the baccarat table. How does he feel now when he’s in the poker tournaments, I wondered? Does he think he’s raised his “rank” enough? Is he upset Takumi tends to do better than him at those games? (As far as I’ve seen. I haven’t been keeping up too closely with that. ^o^;)

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