Episode 02 of Derek Vasconi’s documentary series, The Flowers of Passion was made available for streaming on Friday, and I dug into it almost immediately.
The episode packs a lot into 73 minutes, giving us XOXO EXTREME’s thoughts on the history of idol and the difficulties of holding a place in it, some dramatically personal insight into what it is like to be 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San, footage from a special acoustic set by NaNoMoRaL, and a behind-the-scenes look at LiLii Kaona’s creative processes including the birth of their incomparable tune, “Rust”.
This is all delivered via extremely candid conversations and intimate performance footage capturing the action both on stage and in the studio. So far, the strength of the series stems from the presentation of the interviews and performances largely without external narration or commentary. Other than the first several minutes of episode one (which we reviewed here), the only editorial context comes from infrequent captions that usually serve an introductory purpose. The end result is that what we see and hear is almost entirely the unfiltered thoughts of the idols and their management or production staff. Continue reading
Good morning! I hope you’re all healthy and safe. We here at Maniac Mansion and the small circle of people we see have been pretty lucky, all things considered, and of course Team rocks on; if you or people you care about have been affected by any of the umpteen major problems facing the world at this very moment, I hope all ends well, and I hope you can get some enjoyment out of the things we blog about — we only do it because we like it, and we keep doing it because we presume that other people do, too!
But speaking of such things, if you remember earlier in the week before Bernie Sanders memes took over the Internet, there was this whole thing with sea chanteys. I guess people are actually making money off of them and goofy videos! I find youth culture inexplicable so anything is possible! While riffing on this with first my brother and then Fiancee, I got very nostalgic for the handful of great everybody-sing-along moments at various taverns over the years, just when the mood was great and the musical performer/s really had the room and not even the most cynical dickhead in the place (usually me!) could withstand singing with strangers and smashing glasses together and acting like a movie scene. And I vowed that should the day come when we can all pack ourselves into a pub while the town’s only successful busker plays folksy covers of Top 40 hits from 15 years ago, then by the gods I will be there as often as possible and I will sing loudly and buy rounds for people I don’t know.
So, so tired of this. Continue reading
BURST GIRL, who it should not surprise you at all are a resident favorite here at Homicidols Dot Com, fairly quietly dropped themselves a new song the other day via MV and streamers, and we all had ourselves a nice react in Team chat and even talked about timing it to come on the heels of the ATARASHII GAKKOU post to take advantage of the (measurable and noticeable!) influx of traffic based on that group’s engineered international breakout. Why we didn’t do it yet is, uh, I’m pretty sure my fault, so get the hell out of my face.
Anyway, “Saiteihen Romance”:
After their November announcement of signing with American multimedia platform 88rising, and their December participation in the DOUBLE HAPPINESS Global Holiday Festival, ATARASHII GAKKO! are continuing their quest for world domination with the January release of, “NAINAINAI”, their first international single and MV.
In the most predictable move ever, MAMESHiBA NO TAiGUN got their major label debut on Avex and oh boy is their first major album just as cute as you’d expect from a group who’s name is akin to “puppy horde”.
All right, let’s get back to Discovering Some Idols, shall we? I feel kind of badly that more than a few of these groups that I’ll wave in front of your face did in fact debut at points in the past and some of them are pretty good so they’re never be eligible for the kinds of major awards that can make or break an idol career, but that’s okay. We’ll enjoy ’em on their merits anyway!
And what merits! Friends, I introduce you to AKIARIM (Twitter), who are … okay, so you know how there was this global outbreak of a potentially-deadly-and-even-under-the-best-of-circumstances-difficult-to-treat pathogen and, you may recall, it kind of got a whole lot of things canceled in the early parts of 2020? Yes, like almost a year ago? Okay good. So that’s basically AKIARIM, who if I’m following the timeline correctly were like, hey, we’re a cool group with some talent behind us and some resources and we’re debut– well okay, let– WE’LL JUST DO IT LATER THEN. And so began their life in earnest a few months ago:
Well this turned out remarkably well, didn’t it? ZOC is … actually, I have no idea how to preface this. If you know ZOC, you know about all of the ZOC stuff most likely, and if you don’t know ZOC you may wonder why we like to talk about them. I find them an interesting between-the-lines act, as one would probably expect from a subversion-minded Oomori Seiko-led idol unit on a major label during this particular era, but it may well be the Seiko fact that keeps the whole thing from hilariously unraveling, as to say that one is a thing and then to be it are two very different things.
Anyway! New single, double A-side(?), out today but a couple of days’ existence for the two MVs in support, and as the title implies your own personal satisfaction mileage may vary depending on your a) taste and b) relationship toward the ZOC thing:
It’s not every day that we get new long form content from the underground idol scene, especially now that we are in this whole sanitary disaster. So it was with great curiosity that I rented Derek Vasconi’s first episode of his documentary series Flowers of Passion.
Derek Vasconi has made his mark in the idol scene through several ventures: he organized the East Meets West Music Festival, and went on to create the idol merch website Idol Underworld, which aims to make idol merch more accessible for overseas fans, as well as producing original merch, like the many idol exclusive photobooks. Idol Underworld also has a sister site called Cheki World, a second-hand market to allow oversea fans to sell and trade their covetable idol polaroids. Flowers of Passion is his first foray into film and his first documentary.
The hour long episode, first of a series of five, seems centered on the production and self-production aspect, as well as the historic roots of idols. It revolves mostly around Asakura Mizuho via Bellring Girl’s Heart & Saka-Sama, NaNoMoRaL, Usakura Beni from avandoned, and finally, Merry Bad End.
Well this was originally going to be a different post about not all of the things in it, but some of the things, yes, which is an excellent lesson in why it can be good to wait — completely unintended consequences of the thing you didn’t even mean to do can work out!
Which brings us to GRATIA-ALA, for whom I’ve always had a nice packet of love tucked back in the chika-reserved corner of my heart, but from whom we don’t always get a ton of media. Well, friends, let me tell you that we are currently in a glut — yes, a glut! — of GRATIA-ALA video, and I see no reason to further forestall getting into that.
The first, the most recent? My personal favorite:
Good morning! Or I hope it’s good. This might be the start of the last weekend of our lives — according to just one of the raving lunatics who are suddenly goddamn everywhere, the Rapture is coming on Wednesday, and the only thing the end times theologians seem to disagree on when it comes to the faithful being bodily assumed into heaven is whether it happens before or after seven years of hell on earth, and regardless of the timing thereof everybody who is not bodily assumed into heaven is in for the literal apocalypse. Given how great things have been going lately, I wouldn’t rule any of it out.
But yeah, things are tense here in the National Capital Region, and if it were feasible to go anywhere I’d probably do it. I haven’t been able to concentrate for spit the past 10 days or so, in fact, nor have I been sleeping. So, like, enjoy this Weekender for what it is, for it is about all ol’ Maniac can muster!
That Sounds Dire