I get the feeling interest in Game Lab is split between people, so for those who would rather read other news, I have more Mana/Moi dix Mois related information to share in this update after the Game inferno translations!
Please check it out!
Photo caption: Beauty is…a sin!?
Mana-Sama's Deep Game inferno
THIS MONTH'S PICKUP
Release date: November 22, 1994
Console: Sega Saturn
Sensations put into a game, the too beautiful "MYST"
The theme in last month's issue was "Game Sounds", so this time I want to talk about beautiful visuals.
In the dawn of the polygon era
special techniques implement beauty onto the screen
I was deeply impressed some ten-odd years ago when I encountered "MYST"; an experience that was visually captivating. It was an adventure game where a mystery on Myst Island was to be solved, and it boasted the most beautiful striking visuals.
"MYST" was originally released in 1993 for PC, but following in 1994, it was remade for the Sega Saturn. Furthermore, in the following years, a 3DO version and a PS version were also introduced.
If I were to speak about the traits of these 32-bit consoles, it would have to be about polygons. As it is at the moment, they are still underdevelopment and while it is cool that we can experience the three-dimensional 3D world, the limitations in presentation have been shaky.
In such a situation, the technique that "MYST" used was connecting CG depicted in high-definition to the screen as it advanced [in the game].
It wasn't until then that I saw clearly distinct landscape, so it was something that surprised me, making me say "Something this beautiful can actually be expressed in the game world?"
As a natural reflex my breath was nearly taken away by a peaceful and wondrous world appearance.
The situation is that there is nobody but you left on a deserted island. There is no BGM [background music]; you can only hear nature sounds like wind and water. It was really nice! Even as I talk about it now, it gives me a healing therapeutic sensation.
I digress, but I really like these kinds of games loaded with natural sensations, so in recent years my favorite [game] has been "Portable-Island Palms Resort" on the PSP. Its an open world in a southern country where you are free to look around as you enjoy the beautiful scenery depicted in 3D. It was something I played leisurely in my free time when Moi dix Mois did a European tour……
"MYST" felt like a sensation of just "being" in that world
Now then, let's return to the main topic. "MYST" is configured in a surreal mysterious space and the solution to the puzzle is difficult.
You are thrown into this strange world from the moment the game starts. There are no particular instructions so it makes you feel like 'what should I do', but the feeling of being isolated in this world is, on the contrary, mysteriously original. Also, as you solve the puzzle little by little you get this feeling of excitement that you can't savor in other titles.
Back in the day, when speaking of adventure type games, there were instructions that told you what to do next, and the story pretty much developed allowing players to hold on to their goals.
"MYST" was the polar opposite of what was customary of those kinds of games which seemed to create problems dividing people's preferences.
The main concern for me was the graphics, and I was extremely shocked it's all too beautiful CG, so of course that was a positive point.
The game had an extremely high level of difficulty, but with the amount of beauty it had awakened, that charm alone probably fascinated people. Even as I stumbled along I still advanced in the game play, but somehow being in this beautiful world just seemed soothing and I would find myself absentmindedly staring at the screen.
As for the original presentation techniques that "MYST" used, you could say it was a monumental breath of fresh air for adventure games.
Right now is a great period where we can enjoy games with extremely beautiful polygon imagery. There is a game I recently played called "Oblivion" on the PS3 that had the same kind of dream-like sensations as "MYST". This work has a huge open world that you're free to roam around set in a medieval European world.
The polygons depicted in this world are so beautiful you could mistake them for real pictures. The flowers and the surface of the water flicker, so it gives me the illusion that I'm actually in this world.
Of course, as it is a game, there is a goal in "Oblivion", but the desire [to get to the goal] is surpassed because I just want to do nothing but look at the vast world. Several years ago I was reluctant to go to bed on New Years, so I continued to play this game.
I am so surprised by the progress in how the presentation of games now are so different from a while back. When you get used to the high spec machines used for games now days, it might seem like what is displayed in "MYST" that I introduced this time is cheap. However, "MYST" was certainly a revolutionary game, so I think it had some ties to today.
Writing my thoughts about "MYST" has made me want to go back and enter that particular world again......
But I have a hunch that if I go back to it now, I won't be able to play it with that fresh new sensation again. There is also a sequel to it that I haven't played yet, so that it also a vital point to check!
There was a hut included in "Portable-Island" which would load into special mode where you could look at the imagery of the beautiful southern island and listen to the BGM of the natural sounding environment similar to a movie. I would lean it up against my bed and enjoy looking up at this mode. There was also a clock, so it had various conveniences. (Mana)
As for other news, recently I came across a book I had been looking for for a few years now. I was a little reluctant to buy it at first because it was a little bit on the expensive side, but I decided to make it an early birthday gift to myself.（￣ー＋￣）
I really couldn't pass up the opportunity when I found it because it is pretty rare.
The Big Illustrated Encyclopedia of Black Magic and Witchcraft
You might be wondering, how exactly does this pertain to Moi dix Mois?
Back when Mon+amour was still active, in the very beginning Mana talked about this book as the roots of the Madousho (vol. 2).
As a matter of course, I became interested in getting my hands on it, but this book was printed in 1976 and as far as I'm aware it was never printed later on in another edition. Furthermore, even Mana only had this book in his childhood and some how his copy vanished so he asked Mon+amour members to send it to him if they found it.
Long story short, a fan eventually gave it to him at an event some years later and he wrote about it in Mon+amour saying he was really excited to have finally received it.
As for me, I thought this book would be a great chance for gaining more insight into what Mana meant exactly by "roots". Obviously he meant that this book was one thing that captured his imagination and inspired him when creating Madoushos, but I couldn't shake the feeling that his interest ran deeper than Mon+amour; it was probably implemented into Moi dix Mois as well.
It turns out once I finally received the book a few days ago I was not disappointed!!
These pages particularly interested me and the stories and information were things I hadn't known about before.
Some of them are a little bit lesser known stories so I often feel like I can't put this book down and its constantly on my mind!
Another interesting point is the art style used throughout the pages.
Seeing constant blue and red throughout all the illustrations screams "Mana" everywhere. There is very little left to the imagination as to why he loves this book so much!
Funny enough, after spending some time reading through this book, I started connecting some of the dots in my mind.
Although on the surface level this is an obvious observation, I think theres still some degree that has been overlooked by lots of people (including myself).
Basically all the stories are linked to witches in some way. In fact, when I researched the author and publishing company, this book is only one in a series, and each has its own special topic. A large portion specialize in some part of the occult, but this one is specifically about witches.
Thinking about that, I started to realize some other materials Mana uses as inspiration for Moi dix Mois...
Suspiria is about witches too. In fact, the whole Suspiria trilogy is about 3 witches.
Moreover, another one of Mana's favorite movies is Black Sunday, which is another film about witches.
And if thats not enough he throws the song "Witchcraft" right in our faces with the lyrics "Les Sorcières Fiancées de Satan" which I mentioned back in 2012 is the title of a book yet again about witches.
I don't mean to say Moi dix Mois is all about witches, but these resources bring to light more and more mysteries hidden within the world of Moi dix Mois. For me its interesting to dwelve into these themes in order to truly understand Mana as an artist (and perhaps to some extension as a human being).
In my opinion, Moi dix Mois was not created to be easily understood. It was intended for those who sympathize with the same world outlook, so to research it adds a new level of depth that can easily be taken for granted if we don't stop and think its meanings from time to time.
This is one thing about Moi dix Mois that constantly keeps me in suspense. The more I try to research deeper into various themes, the more I learn that all along the answers behind the mysteries are hidden in plain sight. You just have to adjust your eyes and ears a little to see things in the proper light. Maybe that in itself is the true secret...
I enjoy doing it, but trying to accurately portray the right image and meaning with the right words is a little bit strenuous.
With that said, I took a small break from looking at lyrics and decided to work on something a bit easier.
Actually, to be honest, it was only yesterday that I took that break and I ended up going much faster than I had expected, so as a result I can share something I just finished translating today!!
Finally I'm happy to announce Game Lab Part 13!
Mana-Sama's Deep game inferno
THIS MONTH'S PICKUP
~White Night Concerto~
Sales Agency: Konami
Release Date: June 6, 2002
Console: Gameboy Advance
An indispensable component that represented the performance world -- Game music
This time I'm going to be talking about games and music in connection to my principal occupation.
Whenever I play games, I don't usually just enjoy them, I take notice to the sounds and sound effects. Game sounds make up a big foundation of my musical life.
Being made aware of Game "sounds"
The merits of "Invaders"
When I was very young it was the dawn of games, and in regards to game sounds there were no melodies yet, so the standard was extremely simple machine sounds that were being implemented.
In "Pong" and "Breakout" there were only simple sounds that resounded with the rackets and blocks. Now days I feel like it holds a lonely impression, but regardless, in that case it feels like simple is best, so its possible to say it has a particular significance.
After that, the era of sound effects with no music continued. During that [time] "Space Invaders" made a clever use of sound effects. While repeating only 4 sounds, they successfully created a feeling of dread, like "They're not really going to invade, are they……"
I think for this work they leaned heavily towards making it known that "Somehow sound will be important in this game"
The shock of hearing "Help Me~" from a game
In regards to "sound," something that I will never forget is Sun Denshi's "Speak & Rescue". The title is no lie in this work; somehow the game could speak. Now days its become so natural, but back then it was revolutionary.
Even I said "Theres no way a game could speak!" so I was shocked.
As for the game's contents, it was a bad imitation of "Galaxian," but when the humans were abducted by aliens, the words "Help me" came out. Of course in those days the voice wasn't very lively and it had a mechanical, artificial type sound, but its strong significance was something I was drawn to because the concept itself of "the game speaks" had not been done before.
To my memory, that title must have been the world's first where a voice was expressed. With that kind of significance, its a monumental game, but for some reason I feel like its been completely forgotten, so its disappointing for those who know about it. Since that piece felt like a game of the future, I feel like it should be appreciated more……
Also, if I'm to speak of artificial voices, I can't leave out a game I really like, "Crazy Climber". Its a bold game design where the main character does nothing but climb up a building, but when things like flower pots fall from the windows and they hit him, a voice comes out saying "Ow!"
The player and the character in the game have to synchronize, so its no exaggeration to say it was a monumental work with a fresh new game concept that created a huge stir.
A Chance Meeting with the producer of "Akumajo [Dracula]"
And then up to the point of making music
At first there were no game sounds except for sound effects, but as time passed, consequentially melodies would accompany them, creating music. Theres probably no need to explain to everyone who reads this magazine that a lot of masterpiece game music has come out of it.
In relation to that, I want to make a special mention of the game music in the series "Akumajo Densetsu". It's ominous sounds definitely supports it's dark appearance.
Of course for me the nature of this game series and it's sounds were very comfortable, so when MALICE MIZER was active it was something I put on display in my room when trying complete everything. Partly because of that, I had a talk about the plans for [the game] with Mr. IGA, the "Akumajo" series producer, at the Vampire Cafe. At the same time, he gave me a request hoping I would make a song for a ring tone as a musical image of the same game. I love the series so it was an event that made me very happy.
Regarding this request, what I created was a tune called "La Nuit Blanche" which means White Night.
"White Night Concert" was released in 2002. At that time the number of sounds that were used in mobile phone ring tones were very few, so constructing a balance of sounds was extremely difficult. However, once I got the grasp of the piece and finished it, it was really a huge asset for me in my musician life.
In recent years the media that comes along with packaged games is DVDs and Blu-ray. In the past it was different, so the fact that we've reached a point where a grand orchestra type sounds can be recorded makes it feel like we've practically reached the movie world.
From here on after, if I ever received a sound request from a game I like, I would definitely want to try it. Ever since I was a child, I grew up with video games, so for me writing dark magnificent game music is a significant dream I have.
In 1984 "Galaxian" was implemented for the Famicon. In this game Paul [Mauriat] was in one of the command inputs. There was an underhanded trick where the melody to Mauriat's "Queen of Sheba" would start playing and I remember being surprised and saying "cool" when this displayed in front of everyone. Hidden in sorrow, the "Queen of Sheba" is a really good song, and was something I would listen to many times on the Famicon.(Mana)
For those who are interested, I translated the conversation Mana had with IGA a long time ago. Its a great supplement to this issue, so if you haven't yet, please check it out here: Mana & IGA's secret Castlevania talk
I've been waiting to post this since the beginning of July, but sadly as it comes up today I hardly have time to celebrate Tanabata, let alone write about it.
(For those who don't know, Tanabata is a holiday in Japan based on folk lore about two star crossed lovers, which are essentially the stars Vega and Altair.)
I love this holiday because its the very first Japanese holiday I was ever introduced to when I was younger and the story of Tanabata was the first real Japanese story I was able to read all the way through.
...Not only that, but since I love numerology I also enjoy this day because its on 7/7.
You're supposed to write a wish and hang it on a bamboo tree, but I don't really have either of those things, so instead this blog entry will have to make due.
If I were to make a wish.......hmm...I think I would wish for the second half of this year to be better than the first half...and to be less stressed! (can I wish for two things at once??)(≧∇≦)
Anyway, I need to make this entry short because I only have a limited amount of time before I need to start working again.
For those celebrating today, I hope your wishes come true despite the bad weather!
I mentioned a few entries back I was working on translating Beyond the Gate...
I thought it would be easy due to the amount of English in a lot of songs, but its turning out to be more challenging than I expected.
I don't know if anybody really cares about it, but as I've been trying to work at and fully understand each song I've found a lot of interesting points I think will be worth sharing once its all finished. I don't know exactly when that will be, but I hope everyone will look forward to it in the future!!( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ
Not much going on in the world of Moi dix Mois lately, but one thing thats been on my mind recently is the number of new songs Mana keeps talking about online. I get the feeling this all means we could be seeing the production of a new album in the moderately near future because the count is now up to about 7 new songs. (Diabolos et Angelie, Twilight Flower, Beast Side, Embrace + 3 new untitled songs mentioned after the last concert)
But besides that, I have some of my own personal news!!
This is something I've been wanting to talk about since about a week or so ago but I've been holding it off until I finished.
Some time ago I checked out a shop in Shibuya a friend had recommended. It was a really cool place with a cave-like entrance from the street level and as you walked downstairs to the basement if felt like you were entering a dungeon of vintage collectibles.
I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I took my time looking at everything. As I was walking up and down the isles I suddenly caught a glance of a strange looking box. It was hidden among other boxes, so once I dug it out I was shocked to find something I never would have imagined!
......Do you understand?
*quick translation of the last picture:
In one corner of my house.
This is a shot with two of my precious Dracula dolls.
I want to make it a more gothic room..
(From Ma Cherie vol. 1)
Thats right, its the same Dracula figure Mana has shown several times before!
I honestly wasn't even trying to look for it, it just happened to catch my eye so I couldn't resist buying it.
So quickly I made my way back to my apartment to see my new Dracula for the first time!!
The commute back felt like forever, but finally I made it...
and thats when I opened the box...
I guess in my excitement I didn't even think about the part of the box that said "Art Kit" so you can only imagine my shock when I opened the box to see pieces I had to put together and paint myself (;ﾟ∀ﾟ)
I've never done anything like that before, so at first I was disappointed, but then I quickly decided I'm going to try to make it anyway!!
The next day I went out and bought all the supplies I would need to make my own Dracula, and turned my room into a craft area.
The beginning process was the most intimidating to me. I had to get an X-acto knife to cut away extra pieces from the model to give it the correct shape in order to be put together later on. If I were cutting something flat, like paper, this task wouldn't have been so daunting, but cutting a 3D object like this made me worried that I might accidentally cut myself. Fortunately everything came out perfectly with very little injury!
...I say very little because I did accidentally cut my thumb in one place, but I didn't realize it until I started bleeding. It was a small cut though, so its not really a big deal.
Also, cutting out the pieces didn't take nearly as long as I would have thought, so I was really happy about that!
Next was the bulk of the project -- painting.
Naturally the hardest parts were the small features like the face and hands but over all it was relatively easy. I ended up really falling in love with this process although it took such a long time, mostly because I wanted to make sure everything dried before going on to paint certain areas. In total I think it took roughly a week to finish painting everything.
I used acrylic paint for most of his body, except for parts like the shoes and lapel of his coat where I used enamel paint because according to the picture on the box those should look more glossy. For the most part I followed the product image, but with a couple small changes here and there.
Finally last night I got almost completely to the end of the project!!
There were some tiny details I wanted to brush up on before putting the last piece, his cape, on. So I finished up what I could before going to bed, and then after work tonight I was able to put it all together!!
I'm really satisfied with how he turned out!! ( ´ ▽ ` )
I've never done this type of project before, but I think I really fell in love with it! Honestly, I want to paint more art kits now because it was way too fun!
Also, just for fun, I wonder if any of you can point out any differences between mine, the product image, and Mana's?
One major difference is the arm placement. To be honest its more difficult to raise his left arm up like the box because of the cape. Some pieces, like the legs and the cape, fit snugly to the model so theres no need to glue them (I also don't want to glue on the cape because the back side has extra details that can be seen if you remove it). However, since the arms, hands, and head needed to be glued to the body, they tend to be a bit more fragile and gluing the hand pointing upwards would easily make the arm fall off as soon as the cape was attached.
One difference between mine and Mana's is at the neck line. I decided to paint the red part according to the box as its supposed to be a necklace. However, on Mana's model it seems he painted the collar red....was that an artistic choice or did he not notice?? In his defense, if you're not careful its easy to mistake the collar for a bow...I know I mistook it several times, but when it came time to paint the red on I studied the box art carefully.
I think there are some other tiny differences in the details, but I'll leave that for you to figure out.（￣ー＋￣）
If he doesn't make a post about it on his blog I get the feeling a lot of people could completely overlook it, so I think its worth sharing on here.
...Although I say people might overlook it, he actually updated the Moi dix Mois twitter page with the video, so those who follow Moi dix Mois on twitter probably wont miss it. Heres the post with translations.
MALICE MIZER／追憶の破片 ～ 死の舞踏への特別メドレー at 日本武道館 珍しい資料映像を見つけたのでUPしました 映像は当時のスイッチングです このメドレー展開中々刺激的！ Mana / Moi dix Mois https://t.co/ZlysY8q97T— Moi dix Mois (@M_d_M_official) May 30, 2015
MALICE MIZER／Tsuioku no Kakera〜Shi no Butou special medley at Nippon Budokan
I just happened to find this rare video data, so I UP(loaded) it
The video clips were switching [a lot] in those days
The way this medley progresses is really stimulating!
Mana / Moi dix Mois
If any other news on this video ends up surfacing, I'll update this entry with the details.
Based on Mana's twitter the other day, the Gothic & Lolita Bible was supposed to come out on the 24th, but as it turns out new magazines are not sold on Sundays, so it was a little misleading. Finally today, the 25th it has come out so for those looking to buy your own copy, you should be able to find it fairly easily at book stores now!
This time there are only two pictures, and both feature the EGA and EGL versions of the new Fall Cross print.
For those who are interested in the new series, check them out at the Moi-meme-Moitie Online shop!
As of right now the EGL version is on reserve only, but the EGA is currently on sale.
Concerning Mana in this issue,
I love that it seems like hes trying to go back to the older Moitie style with the black lipstick and hair. Of course the clothes aren't really the same as old Moitie, but Mana's aesthetic seems to be influenced on that.
What are your thoughts? Do you like the EGA or EGL version the best? Personally, I'm partial to the EGL version, because in general the EGA version is similar to something that came out a few years ago. However, it looks great both ways!
If you like these scans, please consider buying a copy of the GLB vol. 56 at the local book store, or if you live abroad on CDJapan!
A friend asked me yesterday if I could translate the text that goes along with the Mana pictures on the GLB, but shortly after asking another friend helped her out.
However, I still thought it might still be interesting to translate the text for those who are interested in the story that supplements the pictures!
EGA (first page):
You are always smiling gently.
Your honest eyes were asking me something--
When I reached out my hand, I awoke from the dream.
If I go to some place, perhaps I will meet you......
EGL (second page):
I only encountered you in a dream.
Because we are living in the "wrong world"......
I hope for the day when you reach out your hand, I will be able to hold it--
Honestly, its extremely hard to believe it was one year ago, but it doesn't feel like that.
It still feels like maybe one month or so ago...
Since I shared one of my stories the other day concerning K, I don't intend on making yet another potentially upsetting entry.
Instead, even though I posted it on my Monologue Garden translations site, I want to share my translations of Mana's recent blog entry on here too. I feel like thats the best way to convey this one year marker.
† 5.19 K One Year Death Anniversary
Today is K-kun's first year death anniversary.
The picture is from 2004 when he joined Moi dix Mois.
K-kun, as a matter of course, said "I want to make myself new!"
so by shaving off his hair on the side & his eyebrows, he became the Beast K.
By the way this wasn't a rash order of mine!
At that time, he wanted me to do it, saying, "it will be a shaving ceremony from the boss"
so I brought some barber's clippers to the studio. He came in with fighting spirit, didn't he!
He was pleased with the beast character himself,
and from then on he became the beast...
At that time, I thought in order to give him an even more evil atmosphere,
I said "What if you try to do white make up?" and I lent K-kun some white make up powder, but after applying the white make up, he told me "The white make up looks really good! It fits!"
The second half of the memorial video is from Darkness Theater because of that.
When I saw him, his eyes were a little scary, but it suit him and it was cool!
Up until now K-kun was the first person to call me "Boss".
In the very beginning it seemed a bit like a criminal and made me feel strange, but I got used to him calling me "Boss!" and I began to feel comfortable with it.
Really, when I think "This cool guy was by my side for 10 years" I feel proud.
Anyway, making the K memorial video this time, I want you to deliberately see the gallant figure of K-kun.
Naturally its a time we will never be able to return back to.
Anyway, I hope we can walk together into the future wrapped up in those memories.
Still, for those who say they surely wont be able to watch the K memorial video due to their feelings, I think its fine to do it in your own timing.
2015/05/19 (Tuesday) 00:00:00
Original entry on Mana's blog here
Speaking of K,
like I said, I don't want to make this entry too sad or depressing.
However, I did want to mention this:
I got into Moi dix Mois around the same time it was created, so I remember very clearly when K joined the band and even the same story Mana posted in the entry above when it was first written in the Madousho.
That was one of the first images I had of K and a memory that stuck with me throughout all these years.
K joined Moi dix Mois close to the time when Juka, Kazuno, and Tohru were leaving the band, so the first glimpse I remember seeing of him was the video footage of the first time "Unmoved" was played. It was cool because the image of Moi dix Mois with K seemed so different and exciting, so naturally I felt really enthusiastic about it.
The first album K was in was Beyond the Gate, and incidentally I began working on some deep research of that CD today (actually I guess it was yesterday now). I didn't want to post about it on here because when it comes to these kinds of things I would prefer to talk about my findings and thoughts after I have hit a concluding point, but since this album has a big relation to K, I thought I would at least mention that I decided to start translating the lyrics to all 7 Beyond the Gate songs.
For some this might not be particularly exciting news, but for those who like my translations, I hope you will enjoy it.
I already started working on posting the lyrics on my website, but so far I only have "deus ex machina" posted.
For those who want to check, please go to "Translations → Lyrics" on my website
I will be posting the lyrics to the rest of the songs as I finish them. A vast majority already have a lot of English in them, so I think I translating will go relatively fast.
"deus ex machina" is also already completely in English to begin with, so it may seem my choice to post those lyrics first comes from that reason, but to be honest thats not true. I chose it for a personal reason that I may or may not talk about in the future once I finish all the work and investigation I want to do on this album.
In the mean time, before ending the entry, I will leave the K memorial video Mana talked about on here for anyone who wishes to watch it again or for the first time.