Yunika Vision, the giant screen that wraps around the side of the Labi building across the street from Seibu Shinjuku Station in the heart of Tokyo's neon downtown, is the largest LED screen in Japan, and has been broadcasting music videos and concerts ever since it was installed in 2010. Hell, it even has its own website! Those familiar with Tokyo know that public viewing screens like this are pretty common in shopping and entertainment districts. Shibuya's famous Scramble Crossing boasts at least three of them, and in Shinjuku, just a block from Yunika Vision, you can find Alta Vision, which broadcasts all kinds of surreal, chirpy advertisements and informational videos at the east exit of JR Shinjuku Station. However, among these, Yunika Vision is unique not only for its size, but also for the fact that instead of running a string of very short videos, it regularly shows longer programs. Also, upon further investigation, we found out that the smartphone app which was advertised in conjunction with Buck-Tick's Yunika Vision debut allows the user to sync his or her phone to the broadcast, in order to listen to high-definition audio for the broadcast over headphones, thereby minimizing interference from traffic noise and other city hustle and bustle.
Though we've occasionally seen visual kei bands up on Yunika Vision while wandering through Shinjuku, basically, the music on Yunika Vision is the music that dominates the Japanese mainstream today - overproduced pop with no darkness, roughness, or individuality. These days, mainstream music in Japan is uniformly happy, bright, and upbeat. Expressing bad feelings is taboo, and the use of minor keys seems to be frowned on...so that's the real significance of Buck-Tick on the Yunika Vision screen: Shinjuku hasn't been forced to listen to anything as goth as "Ai no Souretsu" since the 80's! That, and the footage of Mr. Sakurai dancing around beneath a giant inflatable vanilla ladyflower being projected on the side of the Labi
a building is more meta than a metaform.
Also, it serves as another demonstration of just how loyal Buck-Tick's fanbase is, and how they've got a lot of secret fans who don't turn up at their concerts. When we arrived for the screening around 6PM on Friday evening, we certainly weren't the only ones there. A line of excited fans stretched along the front of the sidewalk on both sides of the street across from the Labi building, and once the broadcast got going, more came over to join us, including a few very serious-looking businessmen in suits, a dapper old grandpa, and a rough-faced man in traditional Japanese workmen's coveralls and kerchief who stared open-mouthed at the video of "El Dorado" for several long minutes before continuing on his way. Whether these people were long-time fans or simply intrigued passersby, one thing was clear: this broadcast was doing a good job of attracting attention.
Plus, folks, how much more Tokyo can you get than this? The mother of all LED screens blasts Buck-Tick into the neon night at the corner of Kabukicho...
...what's not to love?