No one single thing in the past week got me as excited to acknowledge a YouTube notification as this. I love DAIDAIDAI, have championed them from their birth (two years ago!), have eagerly waited for a chance to completely immerse myself in their soundscapes, the kind of thing that really only works when you’re seeing a live, rather than catching up on clips from fans’ cameras or the errant MV. And today, a pro-shot (of sorts). It feels like victory.
Hello friends! That was, uh, that was quite an ending to the idol week, wasn’t it? And not even the lowest point, in an ethical or moral sense. I don’t want to be that guy, but as both a Yui wota (original oshi, no less) and a clear-eyed realist with a heart of stone, I’m enjoying the reactions to her graduation. For every rational response, there’s at least one other person fomenting conspiracy theories from whole cloth so hamfistedly that I — yes, even I — have to applaud. I even thought about doing a copypasta kind of post, but I don’t have the energy.
Nonetheless, yesterday was like an acknowledgement by the Gods of Idol that it’s a different world now. It’s felt that way for some time; the possibility of there being no Babymetal, or of Babymetal being a completely different kind of animal, basically seals the edges from lingering attempts to argue for any appreciable difference between idol that is loud and idol that is not. Where idol goes, idol does.
Potent lesson, no?
Well, I don’t know about you all, but autumn is probably my favorite time of the year, and I have a huge ol’ project to get to on what might be the last Saturday of the year to have sunlight past 6:00 p.m., so you go play the Fun and then get Weekendering, and I’ll get cranking on a few other things, and we’ll all be happier for it. Deal?
This is an awful story, and it’s a predictable one, as is the response to it by mainstream coverage:
There is nothing good in this piece. Nothing good about the idol industry, nothing good about the conditions, and nothing good about fans. Not doubting it speaks the truth; but as always, the picture is painted with a very broad, all-encompassing brush. https://t.co/ZMiRaSFYaN
I love idols. Most idol agencies do right, but sometimes less than savoury management companies get bad press. I think we can appreciate entertainers, the entertainment industry in general and support our favourite artists while simultaneously seeing unethical practises.
So on top of it already being busy season in idol, there have been some fairly major happenings afoot, and I am not yet just behind on all of the stuff, I am now behind on stuff that’s happened in the last couple of days. Some it’s going to have to wait! What won’t? BILLIE IDLE, for they are queens and deserving of all of our rapt attention and respect and … oh, people didn’t like this? What?
It has been a roller coaster of a morning in the alt-idol breaking news department, but nothing is so welcome after the official departure of the original alt-Oshi than an international guerrilla release by Yanakoto Sotto Mute.
(Update: I have been informed that today’s release was first announced on YSM’s Twitter earlier this week and that I am not a true fan of the group.)
It’s already available on iTunes so why are you still here?
Once again proving their designation as the Perfect Modern Idols , Yanamute’s unexpected album drop comes with the promise of an EP per month in the run up to Christmas. “Stain”, the first track on this morning’s surprise offering, is a stunner, so these are not b-side offerings but chill-inducing, A-Grade material.
So if this morning’s big news had you crying into your coffee, thanks to Yanamute we can now face the weekend with smiles on our faces. Happy freaking Friday!!
Last week, while I was trying to catch up on sleep, you shared your own sleeping experiences!
Whenever I wake up in the night from a dream, I grab my phone & type notes of whatever fragments I can recall, & then go back to sleep. So I have pages of weird & often funny dream ramblings I typed when I was half-asleep. Here’s one with BiSH & OyaHolo in it.. #DreamingIdolspic.twitter.com/Go0dzagkHA
By now, you’ve probably heard the stream of “Starlight”, Babymetal’s first release in (/checks watch) two and a half years, good lord. There’s an MV, too, which we’ll get to in a second. First, though, let’s take these things in meta-chronological order and note: Yuimetal is officially out of the group:
Once upon a time (it was about five months ago!), I was showing ye olde website to a friend. You see, IRL Maniac isn’t always Maniac IRL, and not everybody in the social orbit is aware of this joint’s existence. I don’t exactly hide it — I’ve introduced myself at parties as “owner of North America’s finest J-pop website about punk rock girl groups” on several occasions — but nor do I flaunt it because, well, I know a lot of boring-ass people and choose to not cast my pearls before swine.
In the context of the tale, Friend in Question had heard me talking about a group* and was curious about the description, in response to which I ultimately produced my phone and did a little tour of the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist. As I expected, the original sheen of excitement wore off after a few minutes, but then this particular Kamen Joshi MV popped up and her enthusiasm was suddenly re-piqued.
She wanted to know why the members were dressed the way they were, why the masks, why the song sounded like “something from a Disney Channel movie,” etc. I answered the best that I could, which was interesting because I easily had the least to say about Kamen Joshi than about any of the other groups that I’d showcased. Friend in Question noticed: “You sound like you don’t like this one as much.”
“You know,” I said, “they’re kind of one of those things that you either feel strongly about or not at all.” Continue reading →
I know! You’d think it’d be easy. I can think of bad puns right now, but none of them are even oh-Maniac-chuckle-chuckle funny, and that’s the lowest level that I strive for. What’s the point of being a fancy idol blogger if you can’t make people acknowledge that they ought to awkwardly laugh for the sake of the wild-eyed madman screaming at them in HTML about things?
Anyway. Still, no idol news of note this morning, so let’s keep plumbing recent weeks’ unpublished drafts and see what happens. Like, for instance, a new-enough group that has notably been popping up in lots of photos with other idols but is yet to generate much of a following — NEAR!
Interesting! What else do you have?
I’ll take it! This isn’t actually a new unit, per se, given that they debuted like way back in the spring, but a 2018 debut is a 2018 debut, damn it, and I’m the boss here. They’re the “most confident idol,” is the angle, which probably means that they’re basically walking ganbare fists but would be way more fun if “confident” were more along the lines of “kept in confidence,” which would allow for all kinds of neat interpretations, including my preferred epithet of NEAR as human embodiments of the Keep of Secrets from OG Warhammer (remember Warhammer!).
But naw, let’s keep it sane-ish and just say that they remind me of 969 in good ways.
For a smaller, less-followed unit, NEAR produces a ton of media to take in, so make sure to follow them on Twitter and YouTube for the goods. For instance, of the girls just celebrated her birthday in a video that looks like it was produced by Lein on a day when she really wanted to keep the demons at bay but couldn’t quite hold them all the way back:
Has anything interested happened in the Idolverse yet today? I suppose that depends on your perspective. However: No. Not yet. There are apparently announcements to be made later, and that’s great, but I want to blog a post right now. Good thing there are so many new idol groups to catch up with!
So remember a few weeks ago, in the Weekender, when I was like “ex-BiS tongue piercing Nakayama Yukiko did an idol group”? It happened! Unveiled last week! They are Kimi no Mawari (Twitter). This is the teaser for them: Continue reading →