So I found out Shinji’s and Rebel Cross’ debut singles released recently and I thought, hey why not buy them. Shinji and Rebel Cross are what you could call “virtual idols”, unlike vocaloid virtual idols where the voices are made from voicebanks these guys are actually voiced by real people, whose real identities are unknown for now (tho I can take a guess to who some of them are).
Theres 3 CDs, a CD for each single and the third CD is actually a dvd of the beta live performance they had in April. I bought my copy at HMV for 3,800 yen plus shipping, but sadly they’re sold out. I didn’t even know it was a limited item so I’m lucky I got it when I did 😆
The CD jacket covers are pretty cool, the gold and silver parts are reflective and the case itself opens up like a book.
So whats AR Performers?
I was thinking of writing up a post about it one day so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. AR Performers is made of virtual idols, Shinji and Reiji & Daiya (these two make up Rebel Cross). The AR doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Augmented Reality’ (tho its more like word play), it means Artist Republic and these guys are kinda work for Artist Republic Productions.
So far they’ve had a beta live performance back in April 16th 2016 and releases of their debut singles. The beta live performance is kinda like those holgram concerts Vocaloids do from time to time, so they use 3D Models of Shinji, Reiji and Daiya to do the performances/dance as a track goes on in the background.
Not entirely sure where they are heading with AR Performers but it might have concerts in mind, playing around with the idea of Augmented Reality and how the audience interacts with them and maybe they have a video game in mind who knows. I’m looking forward to more development.
The World Is Mine & THE KISS
So inside this CD case is two CDs, one for Shinji’s “The World Is Mine” single and another for Rebel Cross’ “THE KISS”. You get a set of lyrics too, so its got you covered. As I was opening up the case the DVD for the Beta Live Performance fell out but thankfully it wasn’t damaged before I could see it lol.
The illustrations for the CDs and the inner cd jacket seem to be of higher quality compared to promotional pictures they sent out to be used in magazines like B’s Log. Like I’m having a hard time deciding whether its an illustration by the main character designer/illustrator or if they improved the 3D Model quality and rendered them at a higher quality. Either way they look better than ever. Then again maybe they have two 3D models, one for lower resolution for the live performances and another for promotional stuff with higher quality rendering such as the CDs. Who knows.
The songs are pretty catchy. My favorite would have to be Rebel Cross’ “THE KISS”, I’m a sucker for those type of songs (would you call it rock? I’m not sure lol). Shinji’s “The World Is Mine” is mellow at times and pretty good too, esp with Shinji’s voice (which suspiciously sounds like KENN). Talking about virtual idols sounding suspiciously like people I know, Reiji (the one with grey hair and a fringe that covers his right eye) kinda sounds like the utaite Itou Kashitaro. As for Daiya, he’s a new voice I haven’t heard before but he sounds gr8 when rapping. The CD case nor the website has credits on who’s the real singers behind these guys, but I don’t really mind.
They’ve uploaded full versions of these songs online on their youtube channel so take a listen for yourselves! Please try not to download the songs illegally.
(If you wanna hear comparison between Reiji’s singing voice and Itou Kashitaro’s click here to hear Kashitaro’s singing)
Anyway the reason why I bought the CDs was just so I can support the creators. Its just my way of saying that I want to see more of this stuff, I’m really curious as to where this will go. Plus the music is gr8 and gets stuck in my head.
AR Performers Beta Live Performance
Good thing the DVD’s region is set to all regions so I could watch it on my TV and laptop, tho it looked better on my TV than my laptop so I’m sorry for the bad quality screenshots (even if its a few).
I was hoping it would be the whole live performance with fanservice and everything back in April but its just mainly higher resolution of the performance motions used in the beta live imposed on a slightly blurred out audience. I guess if I wanted to see the whole live for myself I should’ve just gone there myself (take a plane to Japan and everything) lol. Either way the image was clearer than the actual footage recorded for their youtube channel so you can see the smooth movement of the performance.
Speaking of smooth movement, they did a really great job with the 3D models. This aint no MikuMikuDance nor a Leopard Eyes MV 3D Model dancing quality, it legit looks like its motion captured and it all flows smoothly and nicely. So good job there.
Comparing performances, Rebel Cross wins again for it being so lively. I guess its because theres the two of them and they interact/bounce off each other really well while Shinji is hitori bocchi. I still cheer for Shinji because hes always teased by Rebel Cross and he’s kinda a loner and a dork with his long fringe. He likes to twirl a lot during his performance and I think its because of his background in figure skating & ballet so its interesting to see these characteristics being incorporated into their performances.
Its also interesting to see Daiya crouch down a little at times when next to Reiji because Reiji seems to be a little self-conscious about his height to the point he doesn’t disclose his height and tells off Daiya when he says Reiji is short. The duo of Daiya and Reiji is pretty interesting to see, like they’re kinda like brothers which is evident in their interviews and also in their performances. They even make fun of Shinji despite being part of the same production company lol.
You can find a digest of the beta live performance in this video (it has English closed caption for the talking segments so turn it on if you don’t understand Japanese):
Here you can see a bit of fanservice done by Shinji and Rebel Cross as well as my favorite moment where Daiya and Shinji were gonna shake hands but Daiya was like “lol psych” and left Shinji hanging. Like I would’ve preferred a dvd of the full thing despite being kinda pixely and low quality compared to the dvd that was given. I’ve never been to a hologram concert so I’m not sure if its better in person.
It also seems like the interaction between the audience the guys seem to live rather than recorded because Shinji wished someone in the audience a Happy Birthday and Daiya seemed to be answering questions so thats interesting. Like I’ve seen an example of this during one of the Persona streams where they had the 3D model of Teddie or Morgana and had the voice actor say lines live on stream as the 3D model responds to it (prolly with someone pushing buttons for different animations who knows).
Anyway its interesting to see what they’ll do with this concept. If they’re going to make a game of it where the players are at concert playing a rhythm game along with the song or something more about Augmented Reality like Pokemon Go, its most likely it’ll be on a mobile platform seeing that everyone has a mobile and its easy to take around with you.
Either way I’m looking forward to whatever they have in store for us.
Thanks for reading!