KAMIJO // Behind the Mask (3/3): OSCAR

Bonjour! (I promise this is the last time I’ll use this opening. For now…)
In order to prepare you for KAMIJO’s upcoming European tour “The Anthem” we’ve already shared part one and two of our “Behind the Mask”-series, and now it’s finally time for the final: part three.
In part one we covered the “Symphony of The Vampire” EP, in which KAMIJO tells us the first part of the story of Louis XVII, covering the French Revolution, the death of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, his encounter with the Count of Saint-Germain, and his friendship with Ludwig von Beethoven.
In part two we discussed the events taking place on the “Sang” album, in which KAMIJO tells us about Louis’ ambition to create an ideal world with the help of “emigres”, which are deceased bodies who have been given his special blood. These bodies generate electricity, which are supposed to help combat the global energy shortage this world is suffering from. However, there are a lot of questions about the ethics and morals in using the dead for the benefit of the living, and Louis starts to doubt the Count of Saint-Germain.

“Sang” is not the end of the story so far, however. We still have the album “OSCAR”, which was released in 2022.
On this album, Louis is still in the United States (he traveled here during the events of “Sang”), and Napoleon has been introduced as a new character in this story. There are quite some events happening on this album, so I hope you’re ready for this last part of the series.

Let’s go!


“An era ends. I never thought you would do it with your own hands.”

“OSCAR”, like “Sang” before it, also doesn’t have a historical introduction, or a large video version to accompany it. There is a music video for “SHADOW OF OSCAR” that came with the album, and a music video for “Behind The Mask” that was released as it’s own single more than a year before the release of the album. This unfortunately means “Behind The Mask” will be ignored as a music video in this review.

This album does however contain songs from the “Eye of Providence”, “TEMPLE -Blood sucking for praying-“, “Symbol of The Dragon” and “Persona Grata” singles which were released in 2019 and 2020, which again means that some of the events taking place on this album are already hinted at in these singles, but since we’re focusing on the main albums only, that’s what we’re going to do with this review as well.

Much like the previous parts, this series is heavily focused on the story KAMIJO tells us through his works, and far less on the music accompanying it. Which is why I will not mention the music or composition aspects very often – you know by now what style of music you can expect from KAMIJO, right? Much like the previous parts in this series, “OSCAR” is also no exception to that rule. 😉

The story of “OSCAR” picks up almost immediately where “Sang” ended, starting with “AGENDA”, which is lead by a piano taking the center stage, and KAMIJO delivering the lyrics to this song in Japanese. Contrary to “Sang”, “OSCAR” features mostly Japanese lyrics. There are only two songs on this album which are mostly sung in English, but we’ll talk about that a little later. “AGENDA” serves as a sort of introduction to the album, referencing back to the events taking place on the previous album without mentioning them directly. “There was someone who knew both the past and the future. People called him a devil and erased him from this world.” Who exactly this is referring to, I’ll leave up to you.
It also produces the question this album is all about: “Who is Oscar?”

Following immediately is “Habsburg”, which you might recognize as the family name of Marie Antoinette, Louis’ mother who was executed by the guillotine during the French Revolution.
While the lyrics don’t speak about any events directly, the chorus of this song is quite interesting. “Have mercy on the cursed blood. Reclaim the stolen throne. With the evidence left behind. Revolution now.”
With the events described on “Symphony of The Vampire” in mind, it very much appears like this song is written from the perspective of Marie Antoinette, right before her execution.

Next up is “SHADOW OF OSCAR”, which is also the music video for this album. The music video features KAMIJO and his supporting musicians in what we can now describe best as a “classic KAMIJO style” visually speaking, but it doesn’t give us much information in terms of the overall story.
The lyrics don’t tell us that much either, surprisingly. Despite “SHADOW OF OSCAR” being a really good choice as a leading music video for this album, it’s still one of KAMIJO’s familiar, romantic style love songs that only lightly touch on the story of Louis, with lyrics like “No one can live alone, like the moon and sun shining in the dark night” and “I can walk alone, a person who commits such a crime, realize the mistake” standing out among the otherwise contrasting lyrics of light and darkness, mixed with feelings of love and of course roses.


Even though “Symbol of The Dragon” was not the first single in this series that was released, it is the first one to appear on this album. “Sang” already introduced Napoleon Bonaparte and the battle for Waterloo, and the lyrics of “Symbol of The Dragon” are absolutely composed with this in mind. Showing the event from the eyes of Napoleon leading his army. “A messenger sent by a devil who treats wounds” illustrating the instructions of the Count of Saint-Germain. “Playing defeat and backing down, to pass the throne to the future king.”

“Rock is dead? No! No! No! No!”Beautiful Rock’n Roll” delivers exactly what the name suggests on an instrumental level. While not having the same impact as “Vampire Rock Star” on “Sang”, it absolutely has a similar vibe that will no doubt attract listeners to it, and I don’t doubt for a second that it will be a very popular song during live shows either.
The lyrics don’t give us much information relating to the story of Louis, but with the elements of rock’n’roll and vampires in mind, one could make some vague connections here if they really wanted to. It’s also one of the songs that is sung mostly in English.
“Beautiful rose is, “Never ending rock’n roll”, rock is not dead yet!”

As you know, we’ve named this three-part series “Behind the Mask”, and from the very start we said that we’re well aware that KAMIJO has a song with the same name in his discography. If you were hoping that we picked this name because of this exact song we unfortunately have to disappoint, since we were aiming for a different meaning than the one portrayed through these lyrics. 😉
Behind The Mask” is once again one of KAMIJO’s love songs with a sad story being told through it’s lyrics. Rather than speaking from his own point of view, KAMIJO appears to be singing for a woman, who might even be a love interest. “If you’re crying inside that mask, I’ll lead you to the world of dreams and hold you close.”
Again, “Behind The Mask” doesn’t appear to be a part of Louis’ story – or at least not for as far as I can see based on these lyrics and the overarching story. Something KAMIJO is very good at is writing love songs, and this track solidifies that once again. “When we put our hearts together that we can’t tell anyone, the mask shatters without making a sound.”

The same unfortunately can be said for the next track, “fairytale”. Much like “Mystery” and “mademoiselle” on “Sang”, “fairytale” has nothing to do with the overarching story, and adds another tick to KAMIJO’s collection of love songs, this time with a more fairytale-like theme, much like the name suggests.
“When I turn the page, the needle starts moving, get lost in your story, about before we met, I’m staring at you from a little distance.”

“An acceptable person, especially a diplomatic representative acceptable to the government to which they accredited.”
While hidden in KAMIJO’s familiar love-song style lyrics, “Persona Grata” actually is a continuation of Louis’ story. The more theatrical introduction of the track might suggest this already. Surprisingly, it’s also the last of the singles released before the album, but it appears as the second of the set in the tracklist here.
The lyrics are not very direct, but speak about an organization with an enigma, and a Fallen Angel who can’t breathe under control. “Before I knew it, I had become complicit.”

At this moment the information from KAMIJO’s very own Synopsis-page lines up with the events taking place in the lyrics, but you do need both to understand the full story behind his works since the lyrics alone are far more suggestive and poetic. Unfortunately this page has been removed from KAMIJO’s website by now, so I’ll summarize it as much as possible before we continue:
Evan didn’t miss the appearance of the Count in the media to promote “emigre”, and after his failure with Napoleon’s blood, he changes his target to none other than the Count. Approaching him with a deal to exchange Napoleon for the Count, the Count agrees. The deal ends in a shootout where Christopher’s boss Carlson is shot and left unconscious, but with the help of Napoleon (who escaped from the Crimson Family on his own) further damage was prevented.

The Count went to the White House to report the series of events to the President, but was captured by Evan instead, where his blood was finally taken from him. He is given the vaccine that nullifies the anti-aging process, resulting in the Count passing away one month later.
Evan continues his research with the Count’s blood, this time trying to obtain eternal life, but he ends up failing again. The Count was not an “OSCAR” either.

Faced with severe energy shortages, people around the world were craving “emigres”. The people are in despair because the death of the Count has made it impossible to realize “emigre”.
Louis, the true “OSCAR”, appears in front of these people and saves the world.

I’ve jumped ahead by adding the conclusion to this summary already, but we still have several tracks to look at. This is also the point where this series gets surprisingly difficult, because a lot has to be “assumed” or “speculated” based on the poetic style KAMIJO presents his lyrics in. I will do my best though, that I promise you!

Starting with “Eye of Providence”, which was the first of the singles released between “Sang” and “OSCAR”. It’s also the other track sung in English, with no Japanese included in the lyrics.
Based on the synopsis, “Eye of Providence” might illustrate Evan’s actions and research for eternal life, if you keep the story in mind while listening to the lyrics. “You are mysterious creatures, you are uglily beautiful, see your own evil self in the glass.”

TEMPLE ~真夜中に咲いた薔薇~” (TEMPLE ~Mayonaka ni Saita Bara~ // The rose that bloomed at midnight) is the second single that was released before the album, but the last one to appear in the tracklist. “TEMPLE” honors it’s name through the lyrics by describing a rose that bloomed in the middle of the night. “I loved those I touched with thorns, even if it’s a tragedy, someday the light will shine through.”
If these lyrics suggest Louis looking back on the events that have taken place with the Count or not is impossible to say for sure, but the lyrics suggest hope, even if the moon disappears.

The title track of the album of course is “OSCAR”, and it would be weird if this wasn’t part of Louis’ story, right? “It’s human nature to resist the price of loss.”
It’s probably safe to assume that the Count of Saint-Germain has passed away at this point based on that sentence alone. The lyrics are also written from Louis’ point of view, which is blatantly obvious once you see the lyrics themselves. Louis, despite all of his reservations he had on “Sang” (which were the whole reason for the Count of Saint-Germain to step forward in the first place) slowly pushes these doubts aside. “If I come forward, the history of the royal family will end. The stars in the night sky are shining, that this is my destiny.”
The true “OSCAR” has finally been revealed. “I want to be surrounded by people’s love, if you accept me. I am OSCAR.”

Avec toi ~君と共に~” (Avec toi ~kun to tomo ni~ // Avec toi ~with you~) is one of KAMIJO’s favorite tracks on the album (according to his recent interview with Asianstyle.cz), and if you know anything about KAMIJO it’s easy to see why. It’s once again one of his hopeful, poetic ballads dripping with love. This entire series Louis has spoken about how he wants to create a world based on love, and “Avec toi” very much reflects this wish. Throughout this entire series I have been quoting you snippets of the lyrics for each of these songs, but there is no way I can make a “snippet” for this one, so instead, you are getting the chorus and a verse, just because of how much they reflect what Louis has been trying to express this entire time.
“I’ll walk with you, even if it has no shape. I don’t care, believe me. I’m sure I’m here. Please let me know. Have you received it? Can you hear this feeling in your heart? Can you hear me? I love you forever.”

Closing off the album is “NOBLESS OBLIGE”, which literally brings this entire story to a full circle.
This album started off with “AGENDA”, and the composition of “NOBLESS OBLIGE” is definitely similar to the point where you immediately feel like you’ve been sent back to the start of the album. But the lyrics refer back all the way to “Symphony of The Vampire”, speaking to the boy behind the bars in the temple tower.
Throughout this series the replacement boy has been referred to various times, sometimes along with Louis in the same song, but this time it appears that it’s only Louis himself who is being referred to. The human version of Louis, that is, not the vampire who is still alive today.

Additionally, “NOBLESS OBLIGE” also circles back to the composition of “Throne”, the final track on the “Symphony of The Vampire” EP.
KAMIJO has referred to this track as the “8th movement of the Symphony of The Vampire”, and there is absolutely no way I can deny this. This track absolutely feels like it belongs on the EP that was released in 2014, despite it being released much, much later in time.
“If you were in this world, if I’m alive somewhere, I want to stare at this beautiful sky together, Dear XVII.”



From the moment I finished “Sang”, I knew “OSCAR” would be the most difficult release in this series. And boy, was that an understatement! In all honesty, this part took at least three times as long to research and write as the other two parts combined, mostly because of how “muddy” the tracks on this album actually are. The story of Louis is definitely in “OSCAR”, but there are a lot of other tracks that seemingly have nothing to do with Louis directly included – or that’s what I believe, at least.

KAMIJO’s own synopsis for this album is also relatively short, which means it’s more difficult to separate the events described and link them to the tracks on “OSCAR”. Like I said in the conclusion of “Sang”, this means there might be inaccuracies in all of these articles. But the only person we can ask for more clarification is KAMIJO himself. (And believe me when I say that I would love to pick his brain on this subject if I’m ever given the chance to do so!)

After the events of “OSCAR” Louis will return as king, warmly welcomed by the people of this world – according to KAMIJO himself in our recent interview. I’m personally looking forward to see how the story of Louis continues from here, and I hope you are too!
For now I hope you enjoyed the three parts of our “Behind the Mask” series, and who knows, there might be a part four in the future!


雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind Arlequin.
She originally started the project in 2009 as a photographer under the name of Arlequin Photography, but developed an interest in journalism and translation ever since. Because of these interests interviews and reviews were added to the project, until it eventually hit the limits as a "photographer" in 2021, and Arlequin Magazine was added to the mix.

雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker with a graphic design degree, which means she is also the main person behind Arlequin Creations.
After all these years she is still the main person who does interviews the interviews and live photos that you see on Arlequin, but also a large chunk of the reviews and behind-the-scenes work and communication goes through her.

She speaks Dutch and English on a native level, but also understands Japanese and German.

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