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animefringe november 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
VISUAL AMBITION

He will leave you baffled.

He will leave you wondering if he really is a creative genius at work, or another Japanese crackpot with an ego the size of North Dakota. But even if you remain skeptical of his rather fuzzy sanity, there are things about Miyavi that are beyond any shadow of doubt.

His talent, his ambition, and his future.

Abandoning his original dream of becoming a doctor, Miyavi's foray into the overcrowded J-Indie scene came in the form of Due Le Quartz in 1999. At this time, Due Le Quartz was already an established visual kei band and Miyavi was known as Miyabi (while his cat was known as Miyabimaru!). Miyabi was DLQ's replacement guitarist after their original guitarist, Ken, left to join another band. He would remain with Due Le Quartz until the band broke up in September 2002.

Had Miyabi anticipated the break-up? Or was he planning his solo career long before any cracks appeared in the DLQ line-up? Whatever the answer is, one month after disbanding, Miyabi appeared from the ashes with a new name, a new public image and a first solo album called Gagaku.

Changing his name to Miyavi, he discarded as well his visual kei artillery of heavy make-up and leather costumes, replacing them with grunge wear, multi-colored hair and various body piercings. As if the shock of seeing a new Miyabi wasn't enough, there was his music to contend with. And for fans of DLQ, it was as far away as DLQ music as you could get. Miyabi and Miyavi were really two different public personas, worlds apart.

This obviously did not settle in very well for die-hard Miyabi fans, and many turned away from the newborn Miyavi. But like any other artists who did a turn-around from their old style, Miyavi soon garnered his own fans that found his offbeat music and style to strike a chord with them.

And now, a year after his debut, he has released one album and six singles, with an upcoming second album in December and a nationwide tour of 18 concerts beginning February 2004. Not only that, he also has a movie (yes, a MOVIE!) under his belt. Called ORE-SAMA, it was released in July 2003.

But enough of Miyavi's history, what is the man really like?

He does seem to project a sense of inflated ego. When asked who his favorite artist was, he replied it was himself. The name of his official website, o-re-sama, already reeks of self-importance. But is he really as conceited as he makes himself out to be, or is this just part of the eccentric Miyavi humor?

More Miyavi humor appears in his work. His newest single is called Coo Quack Cluck-ku.ku.ru, and contains a song called Merry Kanashimimasu, Death~Fuyu, Trauma, Zetsugyou, Gyakugire~ which translates to something along the lines of "Merry Sadness, Death~Winter, Trauma, Screaming, Irrational~". Then there are his music videos where you see him grinning like a cheshire cat, gallivanting around with hair color that constantly changes, and pulling off dance moves that only he can make to look cool.

His work passes him off as an eccentric joker with eye-catching style and an extroverted nature, but Miyavi has confessed to being more of a geek who's constantly surfing the net on his Mac and would rather be behind his monitor than around people. He also constantly updates his blog on his website.

One of Miyavi's lesser-known activities is that he models for Fotus, the company that does all his grunge-wear now, and Gothic Lolita Bible.

But, perhaps, the best description of Miyavi would have to come from the tattoo found on his right arm.
Tenjou Tenka Yuiga Dokuson.
"In Heaven and on Earth, there is only one of me".

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