22
Aug

According to Demo: LUMi & Spirituality


LUMi, one of the newest editions of Vocaloid
last year. She was released August 2017 by Akatsuki Virtual
Artists, the same people that worked on Project Daisy, the predecessor to the Vocaloid engine. But, when I saw LUMi’s backstory, her personality,
and her voice, I knew she would be the most spiritual Vocaloid in the entire roster. We have a lot to cover, going over Buddhism,
jellyfish, animals, lifespans, and the boundaries of life and death, on this edition of According
to Demo- LUMi and Spirituality. –
According to her backstory, LUMi is a turritopsis shrine maiden who has come to the human world. LUMi is set to become the Goddess of Shinkei
(literally means “deep sea”), a land on the seabed of Kamakura. In order to be considered worthy, she is undergoing
the test of transforming 1,000 of humanity’s ‘seeds of anguish’ into ‘seeds of hope.’ However, LUMi is fragile, and would become
paralysed if she were to take on too much of humanity’s pain. She has a wound in her heart from leaving
Urashima Taro and Otohime, her caretakers, which aches under humanity’s suffering. LUMi’s backstory ends with the question: “Can
LUMi overcome this trial and become a goddess…?” There’s more to her story, but I’m going
to go over this part first. A Turritopsis Nutricula is a small jellyfish
that can essentially live forever and ever unless it is eaten or disintegrated into oblivion. She is going to become the Goddess of Shinkei,
or the deep sea goddess. But the problem is Shinto, where Shrine Maiden’s
come from already have a Deep Sea God known as Ryujin, the dragon god. The thing is, in Shinto lore, sea turtles,
fish, and most specifically jellyfish are his servants or shrine keepers… exactly
what a Shrine Maiden does is it not? Ryujin is almost commonly known to be a war
god, protecting Japan alone, battling Korea’s navy. But, a tale also tells how the Jellyfish lost
their bones: Ryūjin, who wanted to eat monkey’s liver,
sent the jellyfish to get him a monkey. The monkey managed to sneak away from the
jellyfish by telling him that he had put his liver in a jar in the forest and offered to
go and get it. As the jellyfish came back and told Ryūjin
what had happened, Ryūjin became so angry that he beat the jellyfish until its bones
were crushed. Abusive to innocence. This would also explain LUMi’s caretakers. If she still has bones, then she’s not Ryujin’s
lackey, or has always done what she was told without angering the dragon lord. And seeing his massive anger and thrashing
in the face of aberration, probably makes her heart break even more for her fellow creatures. Speaking of her caretakers, Taro and Otohime
is a fairy tale detailing the congruency of Ryujin and LUMi. As the tale goes:
Long ago, a man named Urashima Tarō found a turtle on the beach being toyed with by
a group of children. He purchased the turtle and released it in
the ocean. Two or three days later, while he was fishing
on a boat as always, the grateful turtle came and told him he would carry him on his back
to the underwater palace known as Dragon Palace (Ryūgū). At the palace, the princess (Otohime) thanked
him for saving the turtle. After an unspecified number of days, remembrance
of his mother and father made him homesick, and he bid farewell to Otohime. The princess tried to dissuade him from leaving,
but finally let him go with a parting gift, a mysterious box called tamatebako whose lid
he was told never to open. When Tarō returned to his hometown, everything
had changed. His home was gone, his mother and father had
perished, and the people he knew were nowhere to be seen. Not remembering the princess’s warning, he
lifted the lid of the box. A cloud of white smoke arose, turning him
to a white-haired old man. Basically an allegory for being rewarded with
something nice isn’t always a good thing and has certain catches to it… especially
since Ryujin sounds much like a mob boss, and mob bosses have a track record of giving
you a gift and it exploding in your face! This is a very philosophical Vocaloid already,
but we aren’t even halfway finished yet! –
It has been said that the best words to describe Lumi would be Buddhism, Jellyfish, Shrine
Maiden, and Kamakura, but was supposed to be related to Bodhisattvas which I will get
into later. We are going to go through each of these words
that describe her starting with Buddhism. Buddhism is the true atheist religion and
do not worship gods or deities. But there are types of Buddhism that give
credence to gods and deities, but these are the four types of Buddhism:
Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Zen. Theravada is the most ancient and was the
one that said Enlightenment is spirituality, not gods or a master of one’s soul. That there is probably no spiritual realm
at all. Mahayana Buddhism is the first teaching of
Bodhisattvas, which are beings that work out of compassion to liberate other sentient beings
from their suffering as central devotion figures… which is exactly what LUMi is said to do. Vajrayana is the last three of the ancient
buddhisms. It believes that the physical and spiritual
realm co-exist and this is where Shinto rituals and chants came from. Zen Buddhism is far more prevalent today,
deemphasizing the rituals of study of books and stuff. Which is far more into the archaic form of
Theravada Buddhism. Now, Mahayana Buddhism is the sect that makes
LUMi’s backstory. You see, even though Shinto and other combination
religions have gods and deities like in the story of Ryujin, Buddhism is ultimately self
righteous. But now that we know what kind she is, we
can go into Jellyfishes… except we’ve already went over that. Now we’re going to go into shrine maidens. Shrine Maidens are upkeeps and beautiful ritual
performers for deity shrines in the religion. That’s basically all there is to it. Now we go specifically into Kamakura. At first, I thought it was the Kamakura period
in Japan back when she was released… but it actually means the Kamakura city in Kanagawa
Prefecture Japan. Kamakura is the home of the biggest Buddha
statue in the world and is home to very many shrines, as well as the shrine of Ryujin…
so there you have it! –
There are even characters in this Vocaloid’s backstory, known as a rival called ViNO… On August 14, 2018, former founder, Kaoru
Yoshizawa, tweeted that LUMi was meant to have a rival. This rival was known as ViNO. He was conceptualized as a male seahorse civil
officer who served Otohime, but had no official design. This information was revealed as Kaoru Yoshizawa’s
final contributions to the VOCALOID fandom. It should be noted that it was not explicitly
stated if ViNO was meant to only be a character from LUMi’s world or if he was meant to be
a VOCALOID product. So, that’s about it for backstory. Now, she was supposed to be significantly
made as a death being, since she can die and come back to life- as well as being cut in
half and become two beings… that will eventually merge back into one Vocaloid. LUMi herself is a massive partial carriage
of human emotional weight. She must take care of all of the people’s
ache for them to reach enlightenment. But for her, she’ll pass away if she takes
on too much empathy… which I can rightfully say that is true on all accounts. Justifying the need to be discreet in their
work, their emotions, their souls. For knowing too much about the world has a
common element of remorse for that knowledge. It’s hard to imagine what so much knowledge
can do to one’s mind, but if I know anything, it’s that empathy must be left behind if
you intend to grow into enlightenment. This may seem extremely evil in some cases,
but just know that both ends of the river are the same land. The land starting at is a desolate lack of
care of all mankind, while the river is the inherent empathy some lack, but on the other
side comes great knowledge, where the sight is much like the first side to an untrained
eye, but to the wise, to the ones that have waded through deep emotional turmoil, this
side is so precious and perfectly made, even though it is made of pure ash and decay. That is the whole of what Buddhism and enlightenment
is: knowing that all things pass away, new things will arrive, but all things go back
to where they once were, but the self is better for it. Enlightenment is not a sham, but it’s important
for everyone, whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, nearly all cults, as well
as atheism itself. Because I think we all can agree that no matter
what religion you have, enlightenment will make you a far better person. Even if your god is one of hate, there will
always be a god of love somewhere else inside of you, all you have to do is just redecorate
your inner soul to accommodate. Love is what enlightenment is, to all beings,
no matter the evil they commit. Forgiveness of oneself begins with the forgiveness
of all. And that’s a message that speaks to my very
spirit. So what do you think about LUMi? Do you like this side of her? Tell me in the comments while I say this was
for educational purposes only because LUMi has some extremely strict guidelines using
her image- so much that they are inherently striking down some renditions of fanart. Is this video fanart? Nope- it’s an educational video using LUMi
as a reference point and that can very well hold up in US Court since I don’t live in
Japan. [outro]

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