Sometimes, even without the “dark” or “soft” appends, Miku’s voice is a beautiful fit for a somber mood. This week, in the choice between a fun song and a sad song, I chose Underwater Yowamushi-kun because of how well it encapsulates the feeling of a person suffering from depression. The lyrics combine a sense of drowning with Sylvia Plath’s famous metaphor for confinement, “To the person in the bell jar…the world itself is a bad dream.” Not exactly a bell jar, it is an upside-down fishbowl that traps the boy in this song in the PV below.
The “Yowamushi” in Underwater Yowamushi-kun is a word that means coward/weakling, and the main boy appears to be the “Yowamushi-kun” in this case. The song seems to be pretty blatantly about the thoughts of someone with a mental fatigue or most likely depression, and thereby someone depressed is a “coward.” Rather than being afraid in the negative, usual connotation of the word, the cowardly feeling is really not being able to believe there is hope. In the producer’s notes, there is a quote from the song, “If both worlds are just full of suffering, what’s the point of stepping out of this one and into yours?” Underwater Yowamushi-kun goes on to play out the emotions of someone both wanting to step out of his “world” created by depression, and yet not being able to hope for anything better.
Oa or “おあ” on Niconico, seems to be an unheard of and upcoming Producer, and Underwater Yowamushi-kun is his first listed Original Song. Uploaded May 16th, he managed to attract a good 6k views 2 weeks after release, which is not bad for a newcomer. Although the lyrics and the PV were created by someone else, what impressed me was the extensive amount of depth placed into the song. The combination of elements really help capture a melancholic mix of helplessness and longing for something better.
What is the most apparent at first is the detailed and smooth animation in the PV. Using the contrast of black and white juxtaposed scenes highlighted with blues visually represents the two “worlds”, the dark reality of his depression, and the reality where things are supposed to be happy, yet is cruel outside of the fishbowl of his mind.
The main character, Boy A, loathes the world because it is filled with “people continuing to point and laugh at others,” and pretends to remain detached. Society’s “judgments”, in the form of the rulers and TV screen symbols littering the PV weigh, him down. Avoiding that impression he has of reality, he refuses to change his way of thinking. The happiness of others around him seems to at first annoy him, and yet “that over-used oxygen gone stale” in his fishbowl reminds him of how lonely his situation is.
Yet in the second half, Boy A begins to express more of his sense of drowning, with bubbles pictured around him. The other character in this, Girl B, represents a figure from this outside reality, attempting to draw him out of his shell and find something to be happy about. Boy A resents her for how she lives life without any troubles. The line, “Trying to fill that hole inside, I crammed in the flower you gave me, but that’s just a thimble-full of water onto a raging fire of despair” may sound a bit dramatic, but it sounds like a pretty accurate description of someone honestly suffering.
It’s not an overly complicated PV, but the artsy and slightly abstract elements help make the story and sound come together. There is a lot of symbolism in the uses of the blue flower petals and blue splotches on the painting frame. I’m kind of partial to the conclusion that depression isn’t as easily cured as taking someone’s extended hand, but also that he should take a chance in believing her honest efforts.
The song is soft yet layered with a sense of longing. Miku’s tuning is done so that the notes finish in an admirably muffled vibrato, but her voice isn’t the clearest and does get a little buried in the instrumental. Underwater Yowamushi-kun doesn’t have the typically catchy beat that makes a famous Hatsune Miku song. Still, I love the poignant quality that demonstrates what a Vocaloid’s singing can achieve. Overall, Underwater Yowamushi-kun is likea hidden gem out of the flood of new Vocaloid releases.
-The PV renders the metaphor well.
-Lyrics are well written.
-Miku’s voice and the music work well in conveying the song’s tone.
-Not an unforgettable tune.