Versailles in 2007. From left to right: Teru, Jasmine You, Kamijo, Yuki, Hizaki
Versailles is a Japanese Symphonic Power Metal
band, formed in 2007 by vocalist Kamijo and guitarist Hizaki
, both of whom were already established musicians at the time. Alongside second guitarist Teru, bassist Jasmine You (formerly known as just Yuu), and drummer Yuki, they have enjoyed a fast-paced career. First self-produced on Kamijo's personal label, Sherow Artist Society, they were signed to Warner Music Japan in mid-2009.
As part of the Visual Kei
movement, Versailles makes use of elaborate costumes and stage performances as well as androgynous aesthetics
. Their particular theme is a mix of French aristocracy, which they use for their stage dress, and vampire mythos
, which influences the band's backstory. The backstory in question is fairly elaborate; the idea is that the band are the "Descendants of the Rose," a group cursed with immortality. Each member plays their own role, and many of their songs and music videos tell part of the story. The band takes extreme care with both their visuals and their music, and have stated on numerous occasions that they hope to become known all over the world. Kamijo has also criticised the VK scene in general, saying that too many bands put too little emphasis on the music when they should be paying both factors equal attention.
Versailles are unusual in the Japanese scene, as, within two years of the band's formation, they had already toured Europe and visited the US once. They also released their first album on iTunes so that overseas fans could buy their music easily. Gathering fans abroad is important to them, so they have done all they can to make their work accessible. Unfortunately, they ran into a hitch in the States when a solo artist also using the name Versailles attempted to sue them for plagiarism. They got around this by changing their name to Versailles Philharmonic Quintet for their future USA releases.
Versailles in 2011. From left to right: Masashi, Teru, Kamijo, Hizaki, Yuki
- Jupiter (Hizaki, Teru, Masashi, Yuki)
- Hizaki Grace Project (Hizaki, Teru, Jasmine You)
- Schwardix Marvelly (Hizaki)
- Crack Brain (Hizaki)
- Sulfuric Acid (Hizaki)
- Lareine (Kamijo)
- New Sodmy (Kamijo)
- Aikaryu (Teru)
- Sugar Trip (Yuki)
- Jakura (Jasmine You)
- Cosmo (Masashi)
The band went major in 2009, signing on with Warner Music Japan, and began to plan their second album and world tour. However, tragedy struck when, on August 9, 2009, bassist Jasmine You died suddenly and unexpectedly of an illness, the exact nature of which has not been made public. The album and tour were postponed and all live performances were cancelled. Versailles did not return to the music scene until October, when they played at the Visual Kei festival Vrock, with Matenrou Opera's bassist Yo standing in for Jasmine.
On September 4, 2010, they announced that Masashi was now a permanent member of the band after serving as the support bassist on their world tour; Jasmine You has been made an eternal member.
In early 2011, Versailles starred in Onegai Konaete Versailles
(Please Fulfill My Wish, Versailles!
), a variety TV Mini Series
which can best be described as "Versailles solves mundane problems with the power of Visual Kei
." They provided the theme songs for the films Vampire Stories: Brothers
("MASQUERADE") and Vampire Stories: Chasers
("Vampire"); Kamijo also produced the soundtrack for the latter.
On July 20, 2012, the band members announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus at the end of the year, releasing a Self-Titled Album
in September and doing a brief farewell tour in Japan before their final performance on December 20. The next year, Versailles' instrumentalists formed Jupiter
, a new band with a different vocalist, while Kamijo began to release music as a solo artist.Members:
- Kamijo: Vocals
- Hizaki: Guitar
- Teru: Guitar
- Yuki: Drums
- Jasmine You: Bass/Eternal Member (2007-2009, deceased)
- Masashi: Bass (2010-present)
- Lyrical Sympathy (EP) - 2007
- Noble - 2008
- JUBILEE - 2010
- Holy Grail - 2011
- Versailles - 2012
Not to be confused with Rose of Versailles
Tropes applying to Versailles and its members
- All Drummers Are Animals: Yuki himself averts this, although his role in the band's story ("The Warrior"/"Dark Master Yuki"—yeah, real subtle there) seems to play off this stereotype.
- Badass Cape: Kamijo often wears them. Teru and Yuki have worn these as well.
- Badass Longcoat: Kamijo, Teru, Masashi, and Yuki wear these very often.
- Bare Your Midriff: Teru, a rare male example.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Jasmine often claimed to be an alien during interviews.
- Black Cloak: Masashi, although his is flashier than these usually are.
- Call Back: An observant fan may notice that the "Rose" photoshoot◊ (for the band's 5th anniversary) is set in the same place as the cover◊ for the single version of "The Revenant Choir" (the band's first single).
- Cape Swish: Teru and especially Kamijo do this often.
- Character Tics: Hizaki is known for rapidly and repeatedly jerking his head around whilst playing guitar.
- Color-Coded Characters: Each member has a signature color (or colors, in Kamijo's case), which their outfits usually (though not always) reflect.
- Kamijo - Black and white
- Hizaki - Red
- Teru - Light blue
- Yuki - Dark blue
- Jasmine You - Purple
- Masashi - Black
- Companion Cube: Contrary to popular belief, there are four members of Hizaki Grace Project in Versailles, not three: Hizaki, Teru, Jasmine You, and Elmo. OK, so all that last one does is assault Hizaki and have its wicked way with toy pandas, and it's probably no good with instruments, but it's been around for so long it may as well be the official mascot!
- Cool Shades: The band members tend to wear these when they aren't in costume.
- Costume Porn
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: While all of the band members have managed to look rather feminine at some point, Hizaki is one of the most convincing crossdressers in the Visual Kei scene's history, and Jasmine You also pulled it off exceptionally well. They even look pretty feminine out of◊ costume◊.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Hizaki's role in the band's backstory.
- Everything's Sparkly with Jewelry
- Eyepatch of Power: Teru wears one for the "Rose" photoshoot.
- Fake Shemp: Jasmine's death during the production of JUBILEE resulted in Hizaki having to fill in a large portion of the basslines on the album.
- Flower in His Hair: Hizaki and Jasmine.
- Flower Motif: Roses. Lots and lots of roses. Roses on clothing, roses as props, roses as decorations, roses given to the audience during live shows. See also Something About a Rose and The Tragic Rose.
- Fluffy Fashion Feathers: Kamijo is fond of these, Jasmine You wore these a lot (especially in his hair), and most of the band's outfits have had feathers on them somewhere.
- Graceful Men Like Purple: Jasmine You.
- Gratuitous French: "Bonjour, honey~" may as well be Kamijo's Catch Phrase.
- Hair Decorations: Hizaki wears flowers in his hair; Jasmine wore flowers and feathers.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Kamijo often wears leather pants.
- High Turnover Rate: Hizaki seems to have this problem with entire bands...before Versailles, he was in Crack Brain, Schwardix Marvally, and Sulfuric Acid, amongst others, before founding the Hizaki Grace Project. He's also played support for Lareine and created a lot of solo material.
- I Am the Band: Inverted; the band, minus Kamijo, reunited and formed Jupiter, with a new vocalist in Kamijo's place.
- Impractically Fancy Outfit
- Improbable Hairstyle: Everyone has these, but special mention goes to Teru.
- In-Joke: Jasmine You = Alien. People who knew Kamijo from his Lareine days may also laugh over "Oh yes, my name is Christmas tree!"
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Teru.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Listen to Hizaki speak. You don't have to understand a word of Japanese to notice that he has a strong accent of some description. And seeing as he's from Kyoto...
- Kayfabe Music: They have a rather elaborate backstory, with each member of the band having a unique role, and many of their songs relate to the story in some way. However, they don't keep up the facade as much as most other "concept" musicians, and at times don't take their own story very seriously.
- Large Ham / Chewing the Scenery: Kamijo seems to have a lot of fun with his stage persona and often meanders into this territory as a result.
- Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Originally, Hizaki ("The Princess") represented Light Feminine and Jasmine ("The Witch") represented Dark Feminine.
- Mr. Fanservice: All the band members are this to some extent, but Kamijo seems to take the crown. They seem to be aware of this, too; it's the only possible explanation for the "Personal Edit Music Video of MASQUERADE" videos.
- Multicolored Hair: Teru (black and white/silver), formerly Masashi (black and red) and Yuki (brown and blue).
- Nice Shoes: They all wear platform-heeled boots.
- Nobody Loves the Bassist: Hugely averted with Jasmine You; he was one of the most notable names in the VK scene, and his death halted Versailles' career for several months. Since then, the band has been trying to make sure Masashi also doesn't fall into this trope—and it seems to be working.
- Of Corsets Sexy: Jasmine.
- Ojou Ringlets: Hizaki.
- Older Than They Look: Kamijo looks pretty good for someone who's pushing 40. Similarly, Hizaki and Teru look like teenagers despite both being in their early 30s. (Let's repeat this: Hizaki can pass as a teenage girl◊ despite being a 33-year-old man.)
- Only One Name: Everyone except Jasmine You.
- Peacock Guy: Jasmine.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Hizaki is the only band member who hasn't had these at some point.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Worn by Hizaki and Jasmine You.
- Something About a Rose: All of Kamijo's outfits have a rose on them, and most of the band members have had an outfit or two with roses on them (one of Hizaki's dresses in particular is literally covered in roses). Additionally, Kamijo always throws a rose to the audience at the end of every live show.
- Spiky Hair: Teru and occasionally Kamijo.
- Stage Names
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: Masashi is the tallest member of the band (185cm/6'0" without the heels), consistently has pitch-black hair, and is a Bishōnen like the rest.
- The Tragic Rose: A recurring theme throughout the band's backstory and in their music videos.
- Waistcoat of Style: Basically every member except for Hizaki, Jasmine, and occasionally Teru.
- Who Wears Short Shorts?: Teru is a rare male example who doesn't play this for laughs.
- Widget Series: Well, a widget band, being a widget in the widget genre of Visual Kei. Let's see—Hizaki resembling a woman, Jasmine You resembling a peacock covered in glitter, French aristocratic vampires (with Kamijo resembling Lestat to an almost creepy level), immortality, a running gag with a toy Elmo...and that's not the half of it...
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Teru has mostly-silver hair; Yuki and Masashi used to have blue and red streaks, respectively.
Tropes applying to Versailles's music, performances, and music videos
- Altum Videtur: The chorus of "Gekkakou".
- Audience Participation Song: Kamijo encourages the audience during live performances to sing along with most of their songs. "The Revenant Choir", being one of their Signature Songs, is a good example of this.
- Concept Video: "The Revenant Choir". Also "ASCENDEAD MASTER," but that only really makes sense if you watch the fifteen minute short film the band made to accompany it.
- Cool Mask: In the "MASQUERADE" video, for what should be obvious reasons.
- Creepy Child: In the video for "ASCENDEAD MASTER".
- Dance of Romance: Between Kamijo and Hizaki in the "MASQUERADE" video.
- Deliberately Monochrome / Splash of Color: Portions of the video for "ASCENDEAD MASTER". It's not completely monochrome, however, just very desaturated...except for the rose that Kamijo is holding throughout the video.
- Dramatic Shattering: Teru smashes a mirror in the video for "DESTINY -The Lovers-". The same video also has a non-glass variation near the end when Kamijo angrily throws a bouquet of roses onto the ground, scattering the petals.
- Dress Rehearsal Video: Every single one of the band's music videos. "Vampire" deserves a special mention for being made entirely of clips of the band performing on a stage in an empty room.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "Faith & Decision" has a seven-minute introduction before Kamijo finally starts to sing.
- Epic Rocking: "PRINCESS -Revival of Church-" (8:16); "The Love from a Dead Orchestra" (8:28); "HISTORY OF THE OTHER SIDE" (9:30); "God Palace -Method of Inheritance-" (10:30); "Faith & Decision" (16:27).
- Epileptic Flashing Lights: The entirety of the "Shout & Bites" video and parts of the "Aristocrat's Symphony" video.
- Everything's Better with Spinning: Every live performance and most of the music videos include at least one point where Kamijo, Hizaki, Teru, and Jasmine/Masashi spin simultaneously. Why? Because it looks cool, that's why.
- Frozen Fashion Sense: Made obvious in the "ASCENDEAD MASTER" video.
- A God Am I: "God Palace -Method of Inheritance-"; "ASCENDEAD MASTER"; "Gekkakou"
- Gory Discretion Shot: When Kamijo stabs the Woman in White in the "Aristocrat's Symphony" video, the camera immediately cuts to a red-tinted shot of her eyes. (Then, in the next shot, it begins to rain rose petals.)
- Grand Staircase Entrance: Hizaki in the "Aristocrat's Symphony" video.
- Gratuitous English: It's present, but used fairly sparingly, which is probably just as well, since Kamijo's pronounciation is, despite his best efforts...not brilliant. It is noticably starting to improve, though.
- Gratuitous German: "Rosen Schwert" ("Rose Sword").
- Gratuitous Italian: "SFORZANDO" (a musical term meaning "suddenly or strongly accented").
- Gray Rain of Depression: In "HISTORY OF THE OTHER SIDE" and "The Umbrella of Glass".
- Great Balls of Fire: Occasionally, although usually their costumes are the flashiest parts of their live performances.
- Grief Song: "Serenade." While the song was composed before Jasmine's death, the music video was released afterwards and dedicated to him. Additionally, "AFTER CLOUDIA", "windress", "Rosen Schwert", and "The Umbrella of Glass".
- Harsh Vocals: Very rare (and used sparingly when they do appear), but they do pop up occasionally, such as in "The Red Carpet Day" and "Gekkakou", among others.
- Hitler Cam: In "ASCENDEAD MASTER".
- Indecipherable Lyrics: Thanks to Kamijo's bad pronunciation, most fans don't realize that 90% of the lyrics to "The Revenant Choir" are in English until it's pointed out to them. His pronunciation has been getting better, which just means it's easier for English-speaking fans to find out that said lyrics don't make sense anyway.
- Intercourse with You: The aptly-named "Libido".
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Many of their more "vampire-ish" songs.
- Knife Nut: Teru in the video for "The Revenant Choir".
- Lonely Piano Piece: "EPISODE"
- Love Nostalgia Song: "AFTER CLOUDIA"; "SFORZANDO"; "Remember Forever"; "DESTINY -The Lovers-"
- Masquerade Ball: "MASQUERADE".
- Meaningful Funeral: The video for "Serenade".
- Metal Scream: Not particularly often, but still shows up in a few of their songs, including "The Red Carpet Day" and "zombie". The live version of the former has even more than the album version.
- Milking the Giant Cow: Kamijo has always been partial to a nice piece of stage, but he takes his wild dramatic gesturing Up to Eleven in the last couple of minutes of the "ASCENDEAD MASTER" music video. The rest of the band join as well—if they can get away with taking their hand away from their instrument for a minute, they do just that and make it worth it.
- Miniscule Rocking: "Threshold" (1:59) and "The Theme of Holy Grail" (1:25) from Holy Grail fit the first definition, being short by anyone's definition. "Reminiscence" (2:29) and "Sound in Gate" (2:36) from JUBILEE fit the second version of the trope, seeing as how Versailles's songs average about six minutes long.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally range from 6 to 8, with their Surprisingly Gentle Songs being lower on the scale, ranging from 1 ("Love will be born again") to 5 ("DESTINY -The Lovers-"). ("EPISODE", a slow piano ballad, isn't even on the scale at all.) Additionally, their live performances tend to be a bit harder than the album versions of the same songs, with Kamijo breaking out the Metal Scream in places that are just sung on the recorded versions.
- Nice Hat: Teru◊ and Hizaki◊ have these in the "Philia" video.
- Non-Appearing Title: The vast majority of their songs. It's easier to count the ones which do have the title in the song (see Title Drop).
- Obsession Song:
- Passive: "ANTIQUE IN THE FUTURE"; "PRINCE"; "PRINCESS"; "Flowery"
- Aggressive: "Beast of Desire" (really, with a title like that, what can you expect?); "Vampire"
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Or, in the case of "Gekkakou," Ominous Latin Growling.
- Other Common Music Video Concepts:
- "MASQUERADE" falls under Dance Hall Daze.
- "Philia" falls under Junkyard.
- Our Vampires Are Different
- Playing the Heart Strings: The beginning of "Serenade".
- Power Ballad: Per Power Metal tradition, each album has at least one: "Sympathia" on Lyrical Sympathy, "windress" on Noble, "Amorphous" and "Serenade" on JUBILEE, and "DESTINY -The Lovers-" and "Remember Forever" on Holy Grail. The Japanese version of "Love will be born again" is also one of these.
- Rearrange the Song: Two of the three B-sides on the "ROSE" single: a rerecording of "The Red Carpet Day" (essentially the same, only with better production values) and the Japanese version of "Love will be born again", which turns it into a Power Ballad.
- Religion Rant Song: "Judicial Noir" is a Type 2. "The Red Carpet Day" can be interpreted as a Type 1.
- Rock Me, Amadeus!: They perform a style of metal which has this built into its very foundations.
- Royal Rapier: Kamijo has one of these in the "Aristocrat's Symphony" video.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: In the video for "The Revenant Choir," Teru (with a switchblade) and Yuki (with a revolver).
- Shinigami: Referenced in "The Love from a Dead Orchestra" and "Shout & Bites".
- Signature Style: It's generally pretty easy to spot which songs were composed by Teru—his songs tend to be harder than Kamijo or Hizaki's songs and feature more liberal uses of Harsh Vocals and the Metal Scream. (Some examples: "The Red Carpet Day", "zombie", and "Gekkakou".)
- Silly Love Songs: In general, Versailles has two types of songs: songs about being a vampire and love songs. These sometimes overlap.
- Slow-Motion Pass-By: In the video for "ASCENDEAD MASTER".
- Society of Immortals: The Descendants of the Rose.
- Spiritual Successor: They're Visual Kei's answer to Nightwish and Within Temptation.
- Spoken Word in Music: "Sound in Gate" and the middle portion of "God Palace -Method of Inheritance-".
- Staring Through the Sword / Stab the Sky: Kamijo in the "Aristocrat's Symphony" video.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Love will be born again"; "EPISODE"; "Sympathia"; "Serenade"; "Amorphous"; "DESTINY -The Lovers-".
- Talky Bookends: The music video for "The Revenant Choir".
- This Is a Song: "HISTORY OF THE OTHER SIDE"; "The Nocturne of Love and Sorrow".
- Title Drop:
- "Shout & Bites"; "The Red Carpet Day"; "PRINCESS"; "MASQUERADE"
- "Shout & Bites" and "The Red Carpet Day" are both named after lyrics in "The Revenant Choir" (the latter also appears in "SECOND FEAR -Another Descendant-").
- Title Track: "The Theme of Holy Grail," which, for whatever reason, is actually the last song on Holy Grail.
- Together in Death: Implied in "windress".
Because I want to see you, because I want to hear your voice,
It seems I'll have to breathe my last breath... and stop.
- Translated Cover Version: The Japanese version of "Love will be born again", which also turns the song into a Power Ballad.
- Vampires Are Rich: In the "ASCENDEAD MASTER" companion film. Turns out that the Descendants of the Rose, besides being a group of immortal vampires, are also an immensely successful life insurance company. (Hey, they have to be able to afford those outfits somehow.)
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: ...yeah, pretty much. "Vampire" is probably the most obvious example.
- Woman in White: Appears in the videos for "Aristocrat's Symphony", "Shout & Bites", and "MASQUERADE".
- Word Salad Lyrics: "The Revenant Choir" is made of them. This is partly down to Gratuitous English, but Kamijo has also stated in an interview that, although he knew the English was rather off, he didn't feel that lyrics in Japanese would suit the rhythm of the song.
- Word Salad Title: "DRY ICE SCREAM!! [Remove Silence]".