Versailles in 2007. From left to right: Teru, Jasmine You, Kamijo, Yuki, Hizaki
Versailles is a Japanese SymphonicPower 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
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 ofVisual 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:
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.
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◊.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)