For Hatsune Miku’s 10th birthday, Kenshi Yonezu wrote the turquoise-haired anime darling an apocalyptic song. “Suna no Wakusei” (English title: “Dune”) finds Yonezu, under the alias Hachi, programming the avatar for singing-synthesizer software Vocaloid to sing about a “desert planet” where life has eroded and “no grass will grow for the next millennium.” It’s seemingly more climate-change-centric than celebratory, all set over an unsettling mix of guitar and mocking cheers.

“It’s actually about the state of Niconico,” Yonezu tells The Japan Times, referring to the video-streaming platform once known as Nico Nico Douga. “When I revisit the site, it has a desert-like atmosphere and it’s so much different from before — in good and bad ways. It was for Miku’s 10th anniversary, but I couldn’t make it happy (so easily).”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.