Suna no Wakusei / Sand Planet / DUNE occupies an odd space within the VOCALOID community. Its undeniably a strange song simultaneously immensely comforting and incredibly disturbing. It is written by one of the greatest VOCALOID producers of all time a man whose influence on the community cannot be understated. Sand Planet is written by Kenshi Yonezu formerly better known by his Pname Hachi who is now recognized nationally and internationally as one of Japans musical superstars. I could laud Yonezus accomplishments and incredible influence but such recognition is easily found across a wide variety of other media particularly on the internet. Instead I want to focus briefly and uniquely on this one song and summarize if I can what it means to me. Describing Sand Planet is a difficult task and an even more insurmountable job is to try to explain its meaning. Meaning is such a difficult word isnt it? Most songs dont have the benefit of being accompanied by an interview with the artist and perhaps the the most important supporting character Ryo himself but this one does. Please read the interview PLEASE do if you like this song or just want to understand the VOCALOID scene better its easily found online and translated into English I dont believe I can link it here. In this interview Yonezu speaks of his motivation the NicoNico VOCALOID landscape to create the song when asked to compose the theme for. He notes: An image formed of NicoNico Douga itself slowly turning into a desert. Once I had that thought I realized it might be interesting to make a song that depicted the hometown of sorts I once dwelled in becoming a desert. It felt I should depict the current state of NicoNico Douga... or at least itd be fine if someone did that. I thought there would be meaning to me doing the song in that case so I accepted the request. What an incredible origin story and a bold one at that. Yonezu writes this song not because he thinks it will be wellreceived or popular but because of the meaning he sees in it. Now dont get me wrong. It might be the Hachieffect but DUNE is far and beyond the most popular VOCALOID music video of all time. At the time of writing it has over 65 million views on YouTube blowing away second place by a huge margin. Its an incredible song based on a genuinely important footing. And its one that is fairly easy to understand at first glance even Hatsune sings of the desertification of the VOCALOID landscape the parting of so many producers and references back to some of the influential songs and characters that created it in the first place. Its a story as old as time and one that doesnt take a superfan or a historian to understand. Before I dive too deep into the lyrics lets talk first about the visuals. This MV is STUNNING. The popular PV could have worked here but Hachi put together something genuinely beautiful and unique. VOCALOID is pretty much synonymous with bright colors and flashy visuals and DUNE doesnt fit this mold. The primary color palette used is earthy and muted with greys and browns forming most of the background. The characters are almost entirely quiet and subdued hiding their expressions behind masks. But its such a departure from so many other videos from the genre that its such an interesting joy to watch and its not hard to pick up new things even after dozens of times through the video. Without the song the titular character the backstory or the superstar artist this MV would be a piece of beautiful work on its own. The scenes under the tree of life are on their own level of dangerous nostalgic beauty. The song caught me off guard the first time I heard it but in a way that very few producers can manage. When Giga and KIRA released GETCHA earlier last year I listened it to it four times on repeat at 2 in the morning my time and immediately knew that it was a standout 2020 VOCALOID song. When I listened to DUNE for the first time I wasnt sure if it was a great song I wasnt even sure if it was a good song. I dont like rap or hiphop generally and the line caught me entirely off guard. Hachis Miku tuning while reminiscent of earlier successes struck me as raw and jarring. I absolutely adored the MV but the song was difficult for me to wrap my head around. But I just havent been able to stop listening. Every time I return I find more that I love about this song. Only the very best can pull off VOCALOID hiphop but I can confidently say that Hachi makes me a fan. The vocals rattling at first are just so incredibly welldone. Hatsune lyrics in my ear with a confidence and conviction that just brings you back. In the most important VOCALOID song Melt Ryos Hatsune sings with an emotion that brings you right into her deepest desires. In this second most important VOCALOID song DUNE Hachis Hatsune channels the emotion into a factual spoken word that shakes you deeply pushing through your feelings the same way that her hand cuts through the dust cloud in the opening scene. Its...gorgeous. And the lyrics oh the lyrics. Im pulling from the most popular fanvideo on YouTube but feel free to use your interpretation of choice. Hatsune sings of a barren wasteland and not one that shows any promise either. Its a true desert nothing can grow and nothing will within anyones lifetime. Its a curtainedoffspace not supposed to be accessed by outsiders harsh and unrelenting. Its not a place to grow a farm or start a family and the tone isnt a lament. Its simply facts. Only a fool would try to rebuild a desert so far gone. And its not hard to see the departing as death perhaps a reference to those producers who have passed on R.I.P.. Its raw and barren. But somehow in this desert life goes on. No cars or monorails no roads or thoroughfares just your own two feet taking you to the next place. How do you not go mad? Keep walking keep striving for your goals that are better described as broken dreams. Keep composing songs and putting up posters for the fans who are long gone. Man what a shock for the theme song of a packed Magical Mirai concert Its so contrary to what youd expect especially when looking at other themes like Greenlights Serenade another song I love which is about encouragement and pursuing through the difficulty. DUNE is nothing but the facts of a wasteland. And these facts are delivered to you without a single flinch. And now the most famous part of the song the references. I wont get into them the internet has done so exhaustively but Id like to focus more on the savior that DUNE Hatsune sings of. Who is this hero? Surely it couldnt be anyone other than herself? After all shes the leader right? The only one with any color in most of the MV? The one holding the apple under the tree? The answer is unclear. Surely we can reminisce about the past the green trees and sparking brooks that filled the preapocalyptic landscape but I dont think Hachi wants us to remain in the past. The rainbowcolored piano and traditional Hatsune are more of an ephemeral reminiscence than a realizable fact. So how do you respond? Well if you have dreams to pursue keep walking. If you want to remain wandering through the pathless desert Hatsune isnt going to smile at you and tell you itll be over soon. Boysdontcry right? Hatsunes 10th anniversary the very event this song was built to commemorate is a joke. Planting a new tree in the desert will just result in more death to be surely encapsulated by the encroaching sand. She tells you to set your heart if youre determined but in the same breath ensures you know the reality of growing where theres no water. And this is just too much for some people. Sure they might blend into the group now but when a decision comes they choose to go elsewhere. A fork in the road makes little sense when theres no road to be seen right? Well Hatsune wont cling to you and try to keep you with the rest. No its your life. You can relive your memories in a brief spin of nostalgia but ultimately you chose your own direction. Her emotions and yours are laid bare. Only the facts of the matter remain. Is there hope? Maybe. Some will argue that when others fall away others will wave and join for the first time at the top of the next hill. But the desert is as barren as before and Hachi makes sure you know that in the final scene. Do I watch DUNE for comfort? No. Ive never found it a comforting song. Do I watch it for its beautiful MV outstanding music and high dose of reality? Yes. Its such a wonderful song. PLEASE if you are a VOCALOID fan watch this MV and listen to this track. Its an experience to behold.
95 /100
6 out of 8 users liked this review