Make of this what you will.
Anybody who’s ever spent much time online delving into the greater scene of things around Babymetal has undoubtedly crossed paths with Deathrabbits (Desurabbitsu — clever). Three girls singing death pop songs while their producer guy, Bucho, done up like a cyberpunk version of a stormtrooper, provides growls and screams and sometimes even cleans.
Make no mistake, though; Deathrabbits are a completely different animal than Babymetal.
I don’t think I’d be so on the nose as to say that they’re as deliberate a Babymetal knock-off as their death pop comrades Ladybaby, but Deathrabbits just so happened to form right as the Kitsune Warriors were starting to go from curiosity to legitimate conversation piece in Japan. The fall of 2013 must have been pretty interesting.
Now, the music: It’s death pop. For the uninitiated, just listen to Deathrabbits (seriously). Or Kiba of Akiba. Or Ladybaby. It’s not the most widespread style, but it does have its own adherents and accompanying scene. If you like the combination, knock yourself out.
So what’s the deal with Deathrabbits? Well, as mentioned, it’s three girls (younger even than Babymetal at a comparable career point) and Bucho. Emi sings lead, with Karin and Yuzu doing backups and smaller parts, and then Bucho screams a little and growls some and, honestly, his presence kind of ruins some of their could-have-been-better songs. It’s that kawaii-meets-brutal thing that takes Deathrabbits from just being a somewhat off-kilter pop group to full-on death pop.
Now, if you happen to like death pop (or at least the idea of it) already, Deathrabbits is probably right in your wheelhouse. If you listen to them and like them, you’ll probably like the other artists that fall under the death pop umbrella (it’s not a diverse genre), and vice versa.
But it is the Official Position of Homicidols.com that death pop is … eh. The smashing together of pop and more extreme music isn’t a guaranteed success, and the ground is already littered with idols who tried to make it work, and failed. Death pop, writ large, while quite often capable of a perfectly nice hook or riff, just tends to be one of the less good combinations. Emi has developed into a pretty decent singer, for instance, and here’s a good example of her making it work:
And then Bucho comes along and kind of craps on it, and the song stops working.
And no offense to Bucho! At least not for the music (the Waffen SS thing can piss right the hell off); he makes most of the music go, anyway, and is doing what he’s there to do. It’s what I mean about the combination not quite working — for every BiS, there’s a Gekidol (still holding out hope there, though).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the actually, genuinely bad thing about Deathrabbits, though, is the very deliberate conflation of the three tween singers with hyper-sexualized manga-like characters in the album and promo art. Kawaii is a thing that this site acknowledges, tolerates and occasionally celebrates when appropriate (hell, there’s a kawaiicore category on here), but this stuff goes way beyond kawaii and all the way to the really ugly, exploitative side of gravure. (You can look on your own time; not promoting that.)
None of which is really up to the girls, or at least not in a way that they can influence, and it’s also Official Policy of Homicidols.com to keep the focus on the performers and their music first and foremost, so it’d be pointless to wag a finger at Emi and Yuzu and Karin rather than evaluate them for their music.
So, in general, Deathrabbits is (musically) pretty inoffensive; if you’re into death pop, you probably do or will love them. If not, they’re worth at least a try. Plenty of people have dipped their toe into the Deathrabbits waters and come out happy.
What they sound like
Does “death pop” not describe it well enough? Fine. Consider a pre-nudity Miley Cyrus being spliced together with a bad deathcore band.
You’ll like them if
For death pop in general, you either need to have some point of contact to Japanese music, or a very curious mind. That being acknowledged, if you dig on J-pop and/or extreme metal, you’ll have that contact point with Deathrabbits. Otherwise, because it’s death pop, you’ll like them if you also like Ladybaby. Or if you think that Babymetal peaked with “Doki Doki Morning.”
“Idol Star Wars” (single)
“Koisuru Kisetsu” (single)
“Omatsuri Japan!! Kokuhaku Night” (single)
Dai Ichiji Usagi Taisen (EP)
“Usagi no Kimochi / Chuuni no Natsu. Ojisan no Natsu” (single)