I figure that I’ve waited long enough to gratify your friend and mine, Mister Mister, who quite strongly advocated for this investigation while we were on the question of ska idols (and then laid it on thick!), and I just traveled a significant distance to watch my football team get embarrassed on their home field and figure, hey, let’s put some extra bright shininess into Sunday.
Also, for the sake of this exercise, I may have just broken my own personal idol portmanteau record.
Anima Animus PRDX is how Google translates the title, the Latin explaining the dual female/male aspects on the cover (and playing a little bit with “anime,” too, if I may be so bold). That’s Zenkimi, though; bright and shiny on the outside, simmering violence on the in. Their music sounds like id, you know, just unconstrained desire, emotions pouring out from the ancient, reptilian part of your brain. Continue reading →
And then they had their live debut, and BOY were a lot of people confused. Instead of a -core-riddled harsh idol project speckled with yami-kawaii violence, we got what sounded like a safe, contemporary-standard denpa-style pop song. I remember the Twitter chatter that day: Had we been had? Like, of course denpa makes sense because it’s so hot right now, but where’s the rock? Sanity did ultimately prevail and people seemed to reach a consensus agreement to withhold actual judgment until the debut EP, I.S.C.R.E.A.M., was released.
So what does I.S.C.R.E.A.M. sound like? What does ICE CREAM SUICIDE bring to the world? On to the review! Continue reading →
Niji no Conquistador are another unlikely candidate for good ol’ Homicidols.com, but they are fun and enjoyable on the strength of unrepentant denpahood, and I’m looking forward to their unintentional contributions to the Sister Site That Will Never Launch.
Nonetheless, somebody else in the idolverse had touted this song earlier in the week, and with good reason — we need a term for songs like this, because “pop rock” is best used on Daughtry (take that, Daughtry!). Rock pop? Sure.
Anyway, good luck getting this sucker out of your head:
As noted on the BiS profile, that greatest of idol entities went through not just three primary lineups, but sort of three identities along the way. First up was the “yeah, let’s do idol different” roster, followed thereafter by “out for blood” group of talented not-quite-amateurs, and ending with the “let’s create a damn legacy” version.
That is, the final incarnation of BiS was lousy with talented, ambitious young women who had mayhem as a permanent state of being on their mind. And among them was Kamiya Saki.
Following BiS’s breakup, the first non-Pour Lui project to kick off was actually Plastic 2 Mercy, a duo of Saki and Mizuta Mari. BiS fans were hugely optimistic about Pla2me, as the name was properly rendered, largely because of Saki’s obvious talent and on the strength of the group’s first single, “Unit.”
Saki and Mari had great chemistry and complemented one another well. So of course they had to break up.
Mari quit for personal reasons, and let’s leave that alone. But it meant that Pla2me was effectively defunct before they’d even had a chance to release a full album.
Because Pla2me was managed by former BiS and current BiSH mastermind Watanabe Junnosuke under the WACK agency, and WACK wasn’t going to just let a good opportunity go to waste, it was mere hours from Mari’s official departure that a new from-the-ashes group was coming together.
Period of Plastic 2 Mercy (POP) thus began, and …
Well, it’s been an interesting first few months.
We got a good look at POP at the 2015 TIF. They did their predictably chaotic thing, and … were kicked the hell out of the festival, along with BiSH. The official video (and to date the only one available EVER on YouTube, which is super rare) doesn’t show too much tomfoolery, but the members are clearly gassed for this song, so …
… the reports that they were stage diving, and they and the fans basically destroyed the stage, are completely believable.
Nonplussed, though, POP released their first album on the heels of their TIF performance, giving the mayhem something of a pro wrestling air, but a smart move nonetheless.
They also released the video for “Pretty Pretty Good,” which kind of put the whole why-are-they-wearing-garbage-bags look into perspective.
And, like the next day, Saki was kicked out of the group.
See, I don’t want to toot my own horn too much, but, when Saki was placed on indefinite suspension for her role in leading/instigating the TIF madness, I thought the whole thing felt like what in pro wrestling is called a “worked shoot,” that is, a manipulated reality that looks and sounds and feels very real, but is just as scripted and deliberate as any other “work.”
With that in mind, it’s worth pointing out that a lot of English-language BiS and POP fans were in an absolute froth over Saki’s apparent expulsion, and every time POP had an appearance, the speculation machine kicked into high gear. I can only imagine that the situation is about the same on the Japanese side.
When POP had their wargames event in October? (TGU | PIH) Some people thought Saki would be brought back in true puro fashion, to make the save with a chair or something. When POP played this festival or that televised event, people straight-up expected that Saki would be back for that thing.
And the more time that passed, the more pissed off people got. Totally, completely excited-about-this-group-I-love-Saki fans who had been completely behind Pla2me and POP back in the summer turned into anti-WACK ragers. The buzz, plus and minus, was real.
So when it was announced that POP was playing a show on Dec. 5, and that Saki might be able to rejoin the group for it, anticipation was raised …
… until the rest of the announcement said that she was going to have to reprise BiS’s 100km challenge that almost killed Wacky and led directly to the breakup of BiS 2.0 and eventually the whole damn project a year later!
Now, Saki just so happened to have run that 100km with Wacky and Pour Lui, and was the only person to complete it. She’s an athletic young woman in the first place, and obviously in good shape. There were reasons to be optimistic that not only would she successfully complete the run, but she’d do it with flying colors and rejoin the group that she basically founded and all would be well.
There’s also this:
This whole thing was so obviously a stunt that I still can’t believe that people didn’t cry foul over being manipulated.
I love it. That’s super-creative, low-budget marketing that was guaranteed to get press coverage and the attention of music fans. Attention is worth a lot in entertainment (Q rating, anybody?), even if the sales aren’t immediate, and being part of the news churn is a great way to force your way into the conversation and, presumably, sales market. The fact that so many people got the vapors about it since day one is just a testament to its efficacy.
WACK, you clever devil.
Did I mention that POP’s first real single went on sale on Dec. 8?
And what does Saki appearing in group photos and OH RIGHT HERE IN THE VIDEO tell you?
Anyway, that’s the POP story.
If not for WHO they are, I probably wouldn’t have been inclined to include POP on this site, but their BiS and WACK associations hinted at something unique, and it really is there, even if you can’t understand the lyrics — there’s a quiet intensity to POP, a gritty look at the world, an orientation toward music that’s not standard pop fare, but ugly feelings and violence and, well, did you see “Pretty Pretty Good”?
What they sound like
Euro-inflected J-pop, to be honest, or FAKY if you’re acquainted with non-idol J-pop. though “Happy Lucky Kirakira Lucky” is done in denpa style. Maybe J-pop currently being remixed by an MDMA dealer in Amsterdam because his squat’s hosting a rave this weekend and the fucking DJ canceled because Deadmau5 needed someone to fill in for that huge party in Barcelona and SOMEBODY HAS TO DEAL WITH THIS.
You’ll like them if
You always appreciated Lady Gaga and wished that she’d do a collab with ADAM or something; you collect bootleg David Guetta tracks; you’re a Dempagumi.inc fan and are just waiting for the day that Moga and Pinky take a darker turn.
I was looking for something new to listen to today, and of fucking course I got bored with most of YouTube pretty quickly and turned to Reddit and /r/KawaiiMetal, and I saw for the first time a group that I don’t necessarily think I’ll feature on this site, but may on the upcoming companion — ayumikurikamaki (あゆみくりかまき)
Just listen to this song and watch this video:
I am obviously a fan of idolcore. I am also an avowed proponent of denpa. This means that denpacore is basically the best damn thing in the world as far as I’m concerned.
And the relevants about ayumikurikamaki are like the most wonderful thing: A former DJ/hype duo that went with a bear theme, added a singer, have fans called hunters and do a bear-paw dance thing and a shows-only song that includes a circle pit? And look at them! They’re dressed as kawaii bears in basketball jerseys!
Currently, I’ve been at least temporarily proven wrong on this, but I reserve the right to yet be proven correct! But for real, if POP has gone denpacore, that’s also okey dokey.
I discussed in POP’s profile that their whole business with Saki was obviously a worked shoot from the beginning, and that point was driven home over time with the 100k thing and then photos and official Twitter … and today, Nov. 24, 2015, when this fun little video dropped:
Under ordinary circumstances, given what this site is all about, I wouldn’t include this video, and I’d start to look at POP with some serious side-eye, but:
I have a weird feeling that this is similar to BiS’s “Idol” video moment.
For the uninitiated, BiS was sort of a rising tide at the time that they were between the ashes of BiS 1.0 and the rise of BiS 2.0, and between the Brand-new Idol Society and IDOL iS DEAD albums. They were a trio, just Pour Lui and Non-chan and Yuffy, and there was a single coming! Yay a new single! And they released the video and …
This is how you troll people, people. BiS wasn’t going idol; they literally just wanted their fans to feel betrayed and enraged, and they wanted to create the kind of stir that they excelled at making. Sure enough, within days (if the Internet is to be believed), they’d deleted that sweet little ditty up above and replaced it with:
And “Idol” went on to be one of their most affirmative and defining songs. Because it’s great. (That video still scares the crap out of me.)
Is that what I think that POP is doing now? I don’t want to show my ass too much, nor commit, but I wouldn’t be surpised. “Oh, we just decided to go in a seriously denpa direction from now on.” I mean, seriously. As a denpa fan, I do like the song, though I think it’s a little derivative and way off base for what Pla2me/POP have done before. Since when has Saki in particular sung like that? And the outfits? And puppets? Try to be a little less on the nose, guys.
Given how easily a lot of fans were led around by the nose by WACK so far, this fits right into that playbook. The Pour Lui/Watanabe combo was always good for … not quite disdain for fans, but for making the fans kind of the butt of the joke, an additional meta-criticism of idol culture and the wotas who fuel it.
So it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see this video last right up until POP’s new single drops on Dec. 8, then disappear into the ether, and for that single to be like “Pretty Pretty Good” on amphetamines (in a good way).