The album Do Vocaloids Dream of Doomsday Birds? by sasakure.UK is no doubt an excellent classic Vocaloid album. If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and listen to it now. One of my favorite songs from this album is “For Campanella“, sung by GUMI (lyrics). It’s a simple song with a catchy yet somber tune about the loss of a loved one, based on the story of Night on the Galactic Railroad. The story is about Giovanni, a socially outcast boy, and Campanella, the only boy his age who is his friend. They take a journey by train through the Milky Way, but Giovanni comes back to realize that Campanella has died, drowning in a river. I think there are different ways to view the song: either it’s a direct expression of Giovanni’s feelings in the story or the allusion to the story is used to invoke the background of love and loss, without actually supposing that the characters are the same. Either way, the basic theme of mourning the death of a loved one is the same.
The song itself sounds rather sad and reading the lyrics gives a direction to that sadness, but, for me, the PV really ties the whole thing together and drives home that emotional impact. First, I’d like to point out that the imagery of the video flows excellently with the sound of the music. The main visuals are straightforward and pass at a viewable pace, with the tempo of the song, but quicker, sketch-like images and words pass over with the flavorful sounds that dot the song. They act as flashes of memory and feeling, which pass momentarily, in the way that the narrator might feel and recall them as she thinks of Campanella.
We see GUMI’s repeated attempts to send her love to Campanella, only for them to fail. This is something you can hear in the lyrics, but, again, I think the visual aspect adds to the song. Her emotions are sent out, but it’s not just that they don’t reach, they fall to the ground to lay there or they drift off aimlessly. I think it’s a striking representation of the void left after the loss of someone dear: the feelings of love are still there, but they have nowhere to go.
Finally, the narrator builds a spaceship to put all of her emotions on, but she has always known that she cannot reach him. This persisting feeling of loss is a sad enough ending on its own, but the interpretation I find from the PV makes it sadder for me. First, note that in the bridge, she says, “now I’ll go meet you” in a more serious talking voice, knowing that she can’t reach him and knowing that he is dead. The build after this shows flashes of images from her memory, taken from the story of Night on the Galactic Railroad: looking at the galaxy from the train, the bridge over the river, and a funeral. She knew she could never reach him with a spaceship, but she was going to meet him anyway, because in the story, the train takes passengers to the afterlife in the stars, which is where he has gone and where she is going. At the end of the video, she sees his image, and turns around hopefully, only to see the door. A door that leads to the stars, and to death.
Obviously, this is my interpretation. Perhaps the video is not meant to imply suicide and I’ve gotten it all wrong. Even so, the song and PV stir me so well that I must say this is one of my favorite PVs. The audial and visual features work in concert to tell a beautiful story of tragedy and loss, drawing from my own emotions to bring me to sympathize with the narrator’s pain.
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to share your opinions and recommendations!