That’s right, I don’t think we’ve covered virtual idols yet!
Well, everyone give a round of applause to bacci on twitter for introducing me to this curiosity last night:
when will you Togawa/Urbangarde/Necroma/etc nerds will get hype to Ikigusare? https://t.co/1DwOdxFeKk
— bacci・おぼえていますか (@Baccibloo) September 5, 2018
As an avid fan of all three of those names listed, how could I not give Ikigusare a chance? So, going into it blind, I can say … yup, that sure was an excruciating yet somewhat enjoyable experience of three Sega Saturn-looking girls singing about eating hamsters I just sat through!
From what I’ve gathered from bacci’s thread and a quick dive into their website (that’s equally as outdated as their sound and graphics), Ikigusare (イキグサレ) are horror-themed virtual idols produced by Namaichirou Yamamoto, who does the music, and Tosatsuhiko Ichinose, who works on visuals. The members themselves are three CGI mutant girls conveniently named after the number of eyes they have; You’ve got Ichigo (the cyclops), Nigo (the two-eyed one) and Sango (the one who I initially mistook for Two-Faced from a certain Tomodachi Life stream).
I was surprised to find that Ikigusare have actually been going on for quite a while (their first YouTube video dates back to 2014) and have 12 albums to their name as of writing. (Update: A look on their blog finds that Ikigusare has actually been ongoing since 2005, possibly making them the longest-running act to be featured on this website!) And they’re still going! In fact, their most recent “live” video was uploaded just a few days ago:
Most of Ikigusare albums might be a little difficult to get your hands on outside of Japan as they’re event/mail-order CD-Rs, but you can download mp3s from their first three albums (and even a couple from their newer ones) for free on their site, if you’d like to decide for yourself if buying the remaining nine is worth the hassle.
As for learning updates on the group’s activities, Yamamoto’s twitter also acts as the official group Twitter of sorts, so give them a follow and subscribe to their YouTube too. It’s a shame Ikigusare has been pretty much unheard of outside of Japan until now, but hey, now we can spread the word of this weird little virtual idol project.