While new Vocaloids always cause a stir in the community, the new mysterious v flower or “flower” (deliberately un-capitalized) was a recent bombshell that dropped virtually unannounced into the Vocaloid3 ranks.
Released by YAMAHA Corporation, flower bypassed the standard marketing tool of teaser demo song releases and box art shots. It was a smart ploy by the company to go straight to HoneyWorks for promotion, who with their large retinue of hits such as Suki Kirai, manage to generate buzz with whatever they release. This has proved the case, as their debut song of choice Detained Teacher already has 100k+ views on NicoNicoDouga and 90k+ views on their Youtube channel. The video itself was uploaded on April 17th.
So far, not much is known about the new lady v flower. In fact, her gender is questionable. Many niconicodouga users commented things such as “I thought flower was a boy at first whoops.” Looking at her design, it appears she is meant to be depicted as feminine but can suit a variety of genderless roles. Her defining symbol is the musical base clef, and the color tones of black and white match her “cooler” J-rock fashion style. She clearly stands apart from the usual line of pop-inspired, virtual diva-esque Vocaloids. Surprisingly, she was actually designed and drawn by HoneyWorks artists.
The greatest source of “official” information has been HoneyWorks’ comments on Detained Teacher’s video, which state that v flower is “a charming female vocal with a powerful androgynous-sounding voice.” Her powerful, sharp voice is meant to suit rock songs and not be drowned out by BGM, unlike many other vocaloids. It is also noted that she can shout to sing and suits faster tempos, introducing lots of possibilities.
Let’s see how Detained Teacher (イノコリ先生) sounds and looks:
The song and PV uses characters from HoneyWorks’ “Confession Rehearsal” series, which is a compilation of stories between a group of classmates told through light novels and songs. Without getting too much into the story, Detained Teacher focuses on the blonde-haired student Serizawa Haruki and his interactions with his sensei/teacher. Haruki has previously appeared in other songs, most notably “First Love Picture Book”, but is not usually the main character, and the teacher’s character (named Haniwa) was never featured previously.
The title translates better as “Detention Teacher”, but the NicoVideo channel uses the word “detained.” This creates the double meaning of the song, because the teacher is mentally detained even as he puts the boy, Haruki in detention.
The song uses the refrain, “Class, do you all like your teacher?” while everyone raises their hands repeating, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” The only one left dissenting is Haruki, and he receives a detention each time, yet refuses to give in. It becomes obvious that this is the teacher’s method of singling out Haruki for reasons he does not understand. Haruki is portrayed as a bit of a punk, although he considers himself “grown up…I think” and easily solves the rubix cube Haniwa, the teacher, hands him that he was puzzled by as a child.
The PV is drawn manga-style in black and white, and is actually less sketchy than some of the other PVs in the series. However, it does lack moments of full color spread images that helped visually break up the monochrome.
The key moments in the PV that allude to a past relationship between them. Haruki does not properly respect Haniwa-sensei because as a child, he knew Haniwa as his older brother’s friend. Similarly, Haniwa treats him as if he was still a child. Haniwa helped him with schoolwork and seemed more like an older brother figure, which is why Haruki says it isn’t a typical student-teacher relationship. His yell, “I hate your guts!” refers to the treatment he is suddenly receiving now that Haniwa is acting superior as his sensei.
In quick flashback moments, it is revealed that Haniwa sees Haruki’s brother in Haruki, who had drowned from an accident at the beach one day. His own inability to reconcile with his loneliness causes him to take it out on Haruki. In the end, Haruki confronts him about it and tell him “Welcome home” so they can “smile together again.” Fans predictably cried, “This is BL!”, even though it portrayed a refreshingly different kind of friendship.
As for the music itself, it has a light rock beat to the usually cutesy and cheerful pop theme most of HoneyWorks releases. This matches the song’s deviation from the usual school romances the Confession Rehearsal songs have been about. The initial tuning of flower’s voice demonstrates her rock song potential, and the spunk in her voice makes it believably match the viewpoints of both males. With a guitar-heavy instrumental, flower’s voice is proven clear and expressive of the song’s balance of light-hearted interactions and “detained,” longing feeling. Listening to the tune alone, it includes many variations on the chorus and is both cool and catchy.
Overall reactions to flower are very positive, with fans enthusiastic about a new powerful and genderless voice. v flower’s release date is set to May 9th, with more information soon to follow.
– Great tuning for v flower’s unique sound.
-Well-drawn PV and interesting backstory for both characters.
-Strong overall debut for v flower, appealing to both light rock fans and conventional Vocaloid fans.
-Lyrics are pretty straightforward and not standalone in explaining the story itself.
-Lack of color art in PV (though otherwise succinct visually).
-Does not explore flower’s range and more intense rock abilities overmuch.