Friday, 26 September 2014

PV Analysis: DaizyStripper - 'G.Z.S.K.K.'

DaizyStripper was formed in Tokyo circa 2007. Made up of Yugiri on vocals, Nao on guitar, Rei playing bass and Kazami on drums, they performed earlier this year at Anime North, as covered here at Project: Lixx, The band has released 6 albums, the most recent bearing the song I'll be looking at the PV for today, their 17th single, G.Z.S.K.K. While they've recently announced the return of Mayu this clip is conspicuous in their output with his absence to be sure.

We see the band performing in an abandoned factory, or perhaps a warehouse in a wide shot. There's an ornate plate with a base set down in close-up, cut back to guitar-work underway and then a fireball flaring up in the plate. Some vintage film footage of explosions is framed by headshots of each band member, and then we see Yugiri jumping. We see more clearly amidst these quick cuts that the fireball is an apple on fire, though it's tipped over in this early part of the video we see it set right again later.

As the lyrics start, we see Yugiri start to sing and the band performing among an array of scaffolding in the space as before. There's a dizzying range of views on the band playing hard, a few shots of the flaming apple, and a quick bit of stock footage in black and white – there's a fallen man, what appears to be stags fighting and a woman and man in some kind of lovers' spat. The band shots continue in quick succession as before, following these clear symbols of conflict.

Another portion of stock footage shows soldiers in the field, a battleship and a boy clutching his head, screaming. As the conflicts shown here are militaristic, there's a clear escalation at play in the imagery surrounding the band so far. We're shown an assortment of shots of the band playing, in solo and all in frame together, and an effect of a film coming off the reels is used in this montage sequence, furthering a sense of disorientation.

The black and white footage returns at the 1:08 mark, this time with a skewed vertical hold effect and a shot that appears to be a man falling upside-down, though this may be a flip of a man jumping. In short order, following Yugiri singing we see a man appearing to wear armor striking another furiously with the same vertical hold skew. These combat sequences continue to pop up, surrounded by band footage up to around 1:25 when we see the stag/couple sequence as before.

The recurrence of the imagery breaks away in a mosaic, and breaking back to the band is shortly interrupted by a sky-scape. The sky appears green through dark gray clouds. Quick cuts of the band playing are interrupted in short order and the military sequence and explosions from before are replayed. Following another burst of band playing there's a jeep in mid-air and more of the couple fighting from before.

The juxtaposition of the interpersonal conflict of the couple with the political conflict inherent in military battle is a sharp one to make, perhaps underscoring the damage between lovers as more powerful than merely a social one. The boy shaking his head and gripping his scalp returns around 2:02, followed shortly by the burning apple from earlier. The lyric “I'm still looking for the answer” would seem to concur with the frustration felt by the boy.

As the band plays on, a shot of all the members in frame gets a filtration treatment, appearing slightly saturated. Around 2:21 there's some more insert shots of anguished lovers, and a tree crashing to the ground in black and white. The destruction turning environmental alongside the emotional pain again seems to symbolize a greater pain than personal. The tone shifts with a wild vocal point from Yugiri in short order.

More band shots are interspersed with the stag fight, and the band is seen in full in the frame once again. They're always seen rather far from each other in the shots they're all seen in, as though to convey some distance between each other akin to the conflicts alluded to in the stock footage. Yugiri is also seen in the scaffold area as well as in front of a grungy wall, shot from a lower angle.

There's a reprisal of the stock footage from before, followed by more of the band, occasionally with a sporadic reddish effect superimposed. A solo around the 3:20 mark sees a return to the flaming apple, consumed by fire fuller than before. A bass solo at 3:35 is followed by more stock footage replayed, and the apple all burned up, showing the plate bearing nothing but flame.

The destruction of the apple may symbolize a death of magic of
sorts, as in the end of relationships, as the fruit is often used as stand-in for mystical or forbidden fruit in numerous cultures. Although by the end of it the apple appears intact, owing perhaps to its mystical properties in the clip? This might counter any symbolism of its flaming demise, or suggest a cyclical nature to the conflicts we've seen over the whole of the video.

For the most part the fast cuts make the imagery hard to discern, but slowing it down and getting a better look allows for some context. The lyrics are slight and repeated, so there's not a lot of narrative present in there to correlate here. The titular G.Z.S.K.K. (defined here as abbreviation for 'currently happening' in Japanese) appears present in the performance aspect, but the stock footage is definitely not of the present. The clip is a quick-paced blend of colorful performance and stark stock images that shows DaizyStripper in a different configuration without Mayu, but still a compelling act thrilling fans the world over.

By Josh Campbell

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