Chapter 11 ~ 2001
A boat sets off towards an unknown destination
2001 started with something rather strange; the official L'Arc~en~Ciel website allowed fans to vote for their favorite singles for an upcoming "best" collection album. 1,500,000 total people voted throughout Asia for their favorite songs, and among them, "flower" received the most votes. The album, "Clicked Singles Best 13", released on March 14th, contained the 12 most voted for songs and one new song that was played at the end of TOUR2000 REAL, "Anemone". Because fans didn't vote the same way in every country, the release of Clicked Singles Best 13 came in three different versions: the Japanese release, the Taiwan release, and the Hong Kong release. The Japanese version only had "Lies and Truth", the Taiwan version had "snow drop", and the Hong Kong version had "finale". Other than those songs, the tracklists remained the same.
At the end of March, on the 28th, the band released another PV collection, "CHRONICLE 2". This one contained the PVs for the album REAL and for their new song, "Anemone". After this, attention surrounding the band seem to settle. The band itself was being rather quiet.
May brought something interesting. For members of LE-CIEL, yukihiro held an event in Shibuya club asia called "acid android in an alcove". It is the first time that one of the members of L'Arc~en~Ciel would perform perform their own solo songs... but certainly not the last time.
It is also during this month that Sony Music decides to try to help the band go international. "Clicked Singles Best 13" was supposedly released in the United States in this month, but never made it to record stores. LarcUSA.com opened up and asked fans to join in a "Street Team". All of the effort was in vain, however, and nothing was ever accomplished from this effort.
On June 20th, a video for "CLUB CIRCUIT 2000 REALIVE" was released, called the same thing as the tour. It was their performance at Zepp Osaka. This video was an interesting release, because as already mentioned, this tour is stunningly different from their others. No playing to a huge audience; just the band, in a small venue, jamming away to a rowdy crowd of fans.
July finally brought a new song. L'Arc~en~Ciel was approached to make an ending theme song for the FINAL FANTASY movie, "The Spirits Within". Laruku made the song "Spirit dreams inside", a song by hyde with entirely English lyrics. While it appeared on the end of the soundtrack, it only played at the very end of the movie, the last song during the credits. Thus, it did not bring them many new fans, since few people waited to hear it other than current fans.
A Japanese version of the song was released as a single on September 5th, called "Spirit dreams inside -another dream-". The c/w was simply the English version of this song. The PV for this song did not actually feature the band members, but mostly just clips from the movie it was for. As it turns out, we really wouldn't be seeing them as a unit for a really long time.
Under the name TETSU69, tetsu had released a double A-side solo single titled "wonderful world/TIGHTROPE" on July 18th on his own record label SPROUSE, before "Spirit dreams inside -another dream-" was released. It reached #5 on the Oricon chart, meaning he wasn't able to rake in the success that L'Arc~en~Ciel could, but he was no slouch on his own either. "wonderful world" was a bright, pop tune, while "TIGHTROPE" was a more serious rock piece.
tetsu wasn't the only one pursuing solo works. On September 27th, yukihiro made a song for the "Devil May Cry" video game, and released it as a single: "ring the noise". His unique techno/rock style is not the most mainstream, but this single reached #9 on the Oricon singles chart anyway. His popularity from Laruku obviously paid off. Both he and tetsu, after these initial releases, remained quiet however. This single was released on Ki/oon records.
Shortly later, in October, hyde also debuted as a solo artist as HYDE. His debut single, "evergreen", surprised fans. It was a very light, delicate song, nothing like what his band had ever done before. Nonetheless, it reached #1 on the Oricon, proving that HYDE had the most power as a solo artist out of the group. Unlike yukihiro or tetsu though, he released music steadily. The next single, "Angel's tale", came out under two months later on December 12th. Like "evergreen", it was another soft song, with gentle singing. Both of these songs HYDE had released under his own label, "Haunted Records", under Sony Music Japan.
Thus 2001 was concluded. L'Arc~en~Ciel started the year in a whisper and ended dead silent. Only two new songs had come out. yukihiro, tetsu, and hyde had all started solo careers however, the tetsu and yukihiro seemed to be stalled by the time the year was over. ken had faded into the past, and scant was heard from him at this time. Fans of the band ended 2001 wondering what had happened in the past year.
To Chapter 12...