Voting is closed! Congratulations to the winners: You’re moving on to play another day. Losers, you made a valiant effort, and we’ll roast you suitably for it. Here’s the Round 2 preview — voting begins at 0:00 EDT on March 23.
All of the results and stuff from Round 1 are recorded below for posterity.
- Babymetal, “Megitsune”
- The Spunky, “Rock ‘n’ Roll and Idol and I”
- PassCode, “Club Kids Never Die”
- Party Rockets GT, “Kasabuta”
- BiSH, “BiSH – Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni”
- Deathrabbits, “Koisuru Kisetsu”
- Screaming Sixties, “Only Place We Can Cry”
- Kamen Joshi, “SOUL”
The Spunky’s sudden charge to take the Punk Idols conference championship, plus Psybou Kanojo’s sudden mid-week retirement, sent the expected seeds into a tumble. The ultimate result: Almost total chalk. There was only one upset, Kamen Joshi’s smashing victory over You’ll Melt More!
The biggest loser, though, was idol metal, which got embarrassed: Fruitpochette put up a good fight against BiSH, only to fade late, and Necronomidol got a little too focused on a South Seas vacation against a very game opponent in Party Rockets GT. Yes, much like the old Big East conference, you felt that they deserved to have the most bids, but then they went and lost half of their representatives in the first round.
The biggest winners, then, were the punk idols. The Spunky may have needed a miracle run to their conference title to get here, but they won, and ultimately in convincing fashion over legacy entrants Himekyun Fruit Can. Screaming Sixties fought a brutal back-and-forth battle with Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da, with multiple lead changes and longstanding ties, but prevailed in the end despite a desperation heave by Kiminosei. In fact, had that final shot been made, idolcore would have gone a perfect 3-for-3 in Round 1 and had bragging rights over everybody going forward.
It’s not nice to kick anybody when they’re down, but:
- Osaka Shunkashuto, you were the poor 16-seed lamb being fed to the #1 lion. All things considered, you hung in there well enough that some of the other heavies in this bracket have to be considering their chances better than they’d hoped.
- Himekyun Fruit Can not only could have won; they arguably should have won. Who the hell are The Spunky, anyway? HKFC came in like a down-season Indiana, all legacy and cultural weight, and damn near rode their experience to victory, but their opponents’ youthful enthusiasm was too much to overcome.
- Yukueshirezutsurezure made it respectable, but everybody warned that they were still too young to deal with the pressure and a more veteran, athletic PassCode, and that was a good warning. Watch out in the future.
- Necronomidol actually led in this contest several times, but their hearts were never truly in it; New Caledonia was calling. Still, once more of their very good new album is available to share, they’re going to be a very tough out in future years.
- Fruitpochette are full of regret. Nearly everybody thought they had a title-worthy song representing them, but whether it was the distractions around Mina’s upcoming graduation or a no-mistakes kind of match against BiSH, they just couldn’t hang in there long enough. Their future is uncertain, but they have nothing to be ashamed of.
- Guso Drop seemed like such a sure Cinderella: They just missed the cut to get into the Corenament, then had their only other option taken away, but managed to earn a spot when Psybou Kanojo dropped out. Of everybody not in the Corenament, they had the most support by far. But when put in against the upstart Deathrabbits in what should have been a chance to show their mettle, the Gusos dropped the ball and wound up being trounced. Maybe it was the loss of Shion. Sure.
- Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da actually had a great draw in an early projected bracket, but ran into the Screaming Sixties buzzsaw in Round 1 instead. Still, they literally almost pulled off the small upset. Like their sisters in Tsurezure, they could be a powerhouse in the making.
- And finally, You’ll Melt More!, the one legitimately upset conference winner in the whole game. YMM led for substantial portions of the round, but again did the Mask Girls’s base of support slowly and surely take command. You’ll be back, YMM. Just don’t turn into the Pitt Panthers of idol.
A full head-to-head, including projections(!) will go up either Monday or Tuesday evenings. But based on what you see here, how do you see the rest of the Corenament shaking out?
Voting for Round 2 opens 0:00 EDT on Wednesday, March 23, and is open until 24:00 EDT on Sunday, March 27.
- Second round: Voting open March 23-27.
- Third round (semifinal): March 30-April 2.
- Final: April 4.
Round 1 Results
There’s way more in common between Babymetal and Osaka Shunkashuto than meets the eye. In Su-metal and Maina, these are two of the strongest lead singers in the game, and they’re both backed by members who are primarily dancers but can contribute vocals in their own right. “Megitsune” is one of the songs that made skeptics into believers; “Let You Fly!!” is part of Shukashun’s quick rise from high school dance unit to absolutely respectability.
The Spunky got here on the strength of a quick, overwhelming fan response; Himekyun Fruit Can are like the grand dames of idol rock and the leaders of the Mad Magazine outfits. To most fans outside of Japan, they’re both a little bit unknown, but that has nothing to do with whether their music is good. Because it is damn-hell-ass good. When pop punk meets pop rock, only one can be left standing, but everybody who sees the conflagration will feel pretty good about it later.
PassCode were, to me, the biggest surprise of the entire entry round — not because they aren’t awesome, but because I didn’t realize how well-regarded they are by fans. And they’ve earned that over going on three hard-working years now, blending digital hardcore with punk and chiptune to make one of the most distinct sounds out there. Yukueshirezutsurezure, on the other hand, debuted not even four months ago, but they’ve been on fire from the jump. Here we have distinct, definitive songs; PassCode’s “Club Kids” sounds like a Blink-182 song being violently taken over by Code Orange; “Kyousoukaichinari” could be just another sickly sweet pop song until all that hurt and rage burst forth.
It wasn’t a surprise that Yurumerumo! won out among the other alt-idols, but whether they even belong on this site is still a matter of debate … until you see this song, “Only You,” performed live, especially the performance with Hijokaidan that felt like it was tearing the club apart. For Kamen Joshi, it was a question of sneaking up the ladder over the full voting period, their fans making it work and showing in this song choice that they’re the ones listening — other songs by the Mask Girls are better known, charted higher, etc., but are any of them better musically than “Soul”? This matchup already feels like the aftermath of a car accident.
There are idol groups that have hardcore niche fans even inside the niche, and Party Rockets / GT are exactly that — not everybody knows them, and not everybody who does likes them, but they have a ton of great material and a good core of fans to match. As much as such a thing exists, they define “kawaiicore.” Fittingly, then, they’re matched with the Dark Girls, Necronomidol, the devil’s rejects, in the Heathers section of the bracket. “Kasabuta” is just a great hard rock song with an inspired video; “Lamina Maledictum” is murky, blackened NWOBHM that shows Necroma in their natural environment. Angels vs. demons; keggers vs. corruption; awesome vs. awesome.
Somehow, this virtual rock-idol all-star game is happening in the opening round instead of closer to the end, but that’s what makes this fun. BiSH have more than met the challenge of continuing BiS‘s legacy, but fans felt that “Hoshi ga …” is still their defining song. Up against them are idol metal’s solid #2, Fruitpochette, who worked the club and festival stages so hard that they’re about to lose a member to a bad kidney. Does the all-too-clever (dammit) “CleverDick,” all jazzcore and post-thrash dance beats, have what it takes to upset one of idolcore’s most defining tracks?
An accidental collision if there ever was one: Deathrabbits more than earned their way in by taking the DEATH POP DEATHMATCH play-in round from Ladybaby, but their reward is the sentimental favorite, the Corenament’s likeliest Cinderella, Guso Drop, who would have been added had the DEATHMATCH busted but needed circumstance and the sheer force of their fans’ will at the zero hour to make it here. Both proved that their fans are for real; when push comes to shove, though, is it the death-poppiest song available, or the most melodic hardcore, that moves on?
The very middle of the bracket is the worst place to be; not only are you matched up against your perceived equal, your reward is likely to be a heavyweight on the other side. The thing is, either of these songs could make a run for the title. Screaming Sixties made good on slow-burning promise when they unleashed “Only Place We Can Cry” on the world; Kiminosei followed a denpacore root sound with the shuddering, thundering “ShitEnd Placebo.” Both make you want to grab a shotgun, but for very different reasons.
Voting for this round is open until 24:00 EDT on Sunday, March 20.