Rolling Girl

(Not to be confused with “Lonely Rolling Star”.)

I’m going to sleep and the real catch-up blog post is going to come tomorrow, but i gotta at least get this out first.

I’ve never been a huge Vocaloid fan, but perhaps it’s creeping up on me, just as Touhou did.  I’m still not the biggest Touhou fan at ALL, but I can at least appreciate it on a decent level.

In any case, I only -really- knew one vocaloid song before going to the Anime Destiny con (and still only -really- know that one), and that’s Rolling Girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kgsK1CNPWI

I remember randomly wanting to search for vocaloid/hatsune miku songs once and stumbling across this one, and being drawn to it from some combination of the intro, comments, and art style.

At the time, I thought it was cool–a neat song, and one with a message that I could somehow relate to.  But that was about it.

Today during the “name this vocaloid song” contest, when they started to play the Rolling Girl video I was happy, but I think mostly because I was excited to actually recognize a song.

But, then…during the long car ride home, Rolling Girl came up on Russ’s ipod.  I was happy again–yay!  A song that I know, and one that I know I like.  But then, somehow…somehow halfway into the song, I start tearing up.  I feel like crying, and I’m not even sure why.  Russ doesn’t notice–it’s very obvious and he’s about to fall asleep at the wheel anyways (we had to make a rest stop soon after this).  And I don’t break down, because i didn’t want to break down at that point and place.  But I felt it welling up there, and didn’t really understand.  It was so weird, because I didn’t even understand the lyrics, besides “mou ippai” (one more time), and I obviously wasn’t watching the video either.  But somehow the memory of what the song meant to me the first time kicked in, and combined with some mysterious, magical, unknown quality of the song and voice and struck something within me.

Tonight I went and rewatched the video and it happened again.  Stronger this time, I think, because of the animation.  The combination of sadness, frustration, and despair.  That speaks to me.  Not because that’s what I feel now, but because that’s what I have felt for a long time, and I remember very distinctly how painful it feels.

It’s also interesting though, to see the different interpretations of the song.  I think it’s a good amount of ambiguity; such that it relates to different people in different ways, and the message that it speaks to you is probably the one that is more meaningful to you.

What is the song really telling us?

Rolling Girl always looked at unreachable dreams
Making a fuss if you got inside her head and disturbed, disturbed.

“No problem.” Was murmured, but weren’t those words lost?
Fail again, fail again.
After ending your search for mistakes, it spins again!

Once more, once more.
“I’ll also roll today,”
That girl says, that girl says,
Playing her words with meaning

“Are you better now?”
“It’s still a ways off, I still don’t see the point. I’m gonna stop my breathing, now.”

Rolling Girl is at the end of the ruins, beyond unreachable colors
Overlapping voices with voices and blending, blending.

“No problem.” Was murmured, but those words were lost.
How are you going to turn out good?
Even the hill tempting me is making mistakes now.

Once more, once more.
Somehow I’m rolling.
That girl said, That girl said
Repeating silent words with meaning

“Are you better now?”
“Just a bit more, and you’ll see something soon. I’m gonna stop my breathing, now.”

Once more, once more.
“I’ll also roll today,”
That girl says, that girl says,
Playing her words with a smile

“Are you better now? It’s okay now. Let’s go, you must be tired as well, right?”
I wanna stop my breathing, now.

“Rolling” and “Lonely” are very similar in pronunciation; much more so in japanese than in english.  It could be coincidence, but I like to think that it’s not.

There is a “rolling girl”, who has some kind of desire that is not met.  And there is a cycle of repeating frustration.  “Once more”, and the animation of frustration combined with the “raw” and “dirty” black and white sketch animation expresses this to us.  Yet despite the frustration the rolling girl says “no problem”.

We should pay special attention to the animation of “Even the hill tempting me is making mistakes now.“.  The rolling girl runs, and runs, and runs, but then the boy stops her.  And as he embraces her, the world bursts into color.  Surely symbolic of -something-.  But what?

To some, the song might be about love.  An unrequited love, for instance, or a repressed love, between a girl and a boy, that in the end expresses itself truly–and then the world bursts into color as this love finally takes form.

Maybe it’s a song about a girl who doesn’t have the strength to keep on living.  It’s a song about her despair…she longs for happiness, and even lies “no problem”, but in the end she fails, and fails, and just wants to stop breathing…until the boy comes into her life and saves her…gives her a reason to live.

You might even think it’s a song about a girl who is victimized and abused–both mentally and, perhaps, physically, by others.  And in the despair, they want it all to end, but then finally someone comes along and helps them.

So how does this song speak to me?  Well, as with most songs, I don’t think there is always 100% match with any potential “message”.  But when I hear this song, I think of this:

 

The rolling girl is me.  And the boy is a girl that I am trying to reach out to.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific girl…I have several girls that I am like this towards.  Interesting how the genders are reversed, no?

The rolling girl has unhappiness in her life and can’t express these true feelings.  No…perhaps more accurate is to say that the unhappiness is -because- she can’t express feelings properly.  No matter what the instigator of a negative feeling is, if it is not expressed it has a tendency to build up.  And she can’t express things–she can only tell others that there’s “no problem”.

The fact that she’s “rolling” is meaningful in many ways.  First, when she rolls, she’s clutching her knees, like she feels vulnerable and fragile, in a fetal position.  Second, it means “lonely” and not rolling.  Third, things roll downwards since the problem is a self-sustaining spiral.  And she continues to “roll up” more negative emotion.

The images of rolling girl violently scratching and being enraged are not images that anyone sees.  No, they are the inner frustration that results from this situation.  For how can one be taken care of if one doesn’t express any of their feelings?

Pay attention to the first time “Fail again, fail again” comes up.  Rolling girl’s mouth is taped up.  She can’t express herself–she’s failing.  And the despair is what causes her to want to stop breathing.

The first time “I’m gonna stop breathing now” comes up is a very…interesting scene, that I didn’t think about at first.  Rolling Girl is choking the boy who has come to ask her if she is better.  Why would she do this?  It’s because she wants to be loved and taken care of by the boy.  She wants to be held; to be embraced; to be loved.  But being incapable of expressing those desires, she is left to frustration.  And deep inside, there is a seed of anger planted–an inward, repressed anger at the boy, because he’s not caring for her like she wants.

Also pay attention to her hand…is she clenching her fist?  Or…grasping for something that she never manages to attain?

the 2:00 minute mark almost seems to represent a specific time period in my life.  The despair has boiled up too much, to the point of breakdown.  Why is rolling girl covering her ears?  Because she doesn’t want to feel the anger towards the boy…but she does.  She’s angry at him, but at the same time, she loves him, and wants him to love her.  So the anger must be rejected.  It’s too hard; there’s too much.

Now I want you to really pay attention to something.  In the beginning of the song, at 0:24, and then again at 1:34, rolling girl and the boy are facing away from each other.  At 0:24 they are simply standing neutrally, but at 1:34 rolling girl is clearly undergoing pain.  But it isn’t until 2:43 that rolling girl faces towards the boy, with hand raised…she wants to say something.

The tears come.  And the boy embraces her.  “It’s okay now.”

The last image is of rolling girl finally closing her eyes.

 

This can’ possibly be “the correct” interpretation.  I don’t know if it’s possible that this interpretation can speak to any of you better than a different one.  But maybe it’s interesting for you to see what this song means to me and how I look and see myself in it because of my experiences and wants.

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