Old stories, Juliets, and really fun furitsuke. Today’s visual kei recommendation is Misaruka!
Music style: Softer rock, lighter vocals mostly without growls/screams, upbeat songs, ballads. Symphonic metal, with instruments typically associated with this style: harpsichords, organs, pianos.
Concepts(s): church related themes and imagery (the name Misaruka comes from ‘Misa’, from the Latin word ‘missa’, which evolved into the modern word ‘mass’, and ‘Ruka’ is the name of a revered holy person who wrote the Bible. Telling the “stories of old and good things”, with a mix of European history and fantasy.
Song themes: Fairy tales (particularly Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Mermaid), Shakespeare (‘Juliet’ is also actually the name given to fans) , many protagonists with various stories (Ariel, jealous witch, jester/pierrot). Their music is uplifting and comforting, and Rui has said with his own words of “You’re not alone. I’m here”, he wants to be able to “heal the hearts of everyone in the world”.
Visual themes: Tanbi kei sub-genre; costumes based on European historical eras, elements from historical military uniforms
Recommended if you like: Scarlet Valse, VAMPIRE ROSE, and other tanbi kei bands that are fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. Misaruka are a band that don’t take themselves too seriously, which sadly seems to be rare in tanbi kei, and can put people off the whole sub-genre. I would also recommended Misaruka if you like Versailles, as they are also tanbi kei and have a symphonic metal style.
Misaruka has covered songs by MALICE MIZER (月下の夜想曲/ Gekka no Yasoukyoku) and LUNA SEA (ROSIER), so if you like either of those bands, I’d recommend trying Misaruka’s covers.
Music available at: CDs are easy to find new or used at Japanese visual kei stores, and some are also available at CD Japan. Some releases are available on iTunes Japan, and also international iTunes stores (may not be available in every country, but you can still purchase via iTunes Japan using my guide to buying from iTunes Japan).
Official Online store: Their label Starwave Records has both a Japanese store and an international store. Some limited edition items are only available on the Japanese store, which only has cash on delivery as a payment method, so if you’re outside Japan and want an item that’s only available there, you’ll have to use a shopping service.
Recommended songs: Juliet, Reunion, Medousa, Unacceptable, Sin
Note: They now officially use ‘Misaruka’, but ‘ミサルカ’ (same name and pronunciation, just written in Katakana rather than Romaji) is still used by some people, so I would recommend searching for both when buying, particularly on secondhand sites.
Their furitsuke are very fun, and the furitsuke teaching videos with the members are fun to watch because as I mentioned earlier, they don’t take themselves too seriously.