Nothing’s Ever Normal or Easy with Banamon

If I could compare THE BANANA MONKEYS to anything at all, it wouldn’t be a banana, nor a monkey. It would be a bottle of Diet Coke. A bottle of Diet Coke that some jackass decided to do the Mentos prank with, then also shook it a few times just to make absolutely sure it would explode in just the right way, once opened. Because, much like a shaken-up Mentos-implanted bottle of Diet Coke, the person/s responsible for THE BANANA MONKEYS is likely a huge jackass. Also, when THE BANANA MONKEYS open up with some news, a whole damn bottle’s worth of eye-raising mess just comes exploding and pouring out and it feels like its never going to stop, until, in the end, we’re left with just a big uncomfortable mess that’s going to be a pain to clean up.

So, first things first. As mentioned in the last Weekender, Karin has decided to jump ship, citing that the general insanity that comes with being a Banana Monkey was just too much for her to deal with. But wait! There’s more!

So, remember that time when newbie Miru left for unexplained reasons, only it turned out she was a “licensed chiropractor”? This is basically a more minor repeat. Minmin (who lasted far longer than Miru ever did) suddenly stopped showing up to events, eventually announcing her withdrawal effective immediately. She claimed it was due to studying getting in the way of idoling, but apparently, it was because she was a cabaret worker? Unlike Miru, whose profile was right there, I couldn’t find anything about it other than the news article talking about the next thing, so let’s just take that one at face value.

So, now Banamon are now three members down, will they keep going as a duo? Of course not, what if they jump ship due to secret side-jobs too? They’re holding a quickie audition! Continue reading

This Bird Has Flown: Avandoned Will Take New Form Again Next Year

Though Fall is my favorite season, there’s always a hint of trepidation it’s arrival. The sky gets a little gray, the days get colder and shorter, and naturally, we all know the Winter is approaching by the year’s end. And additionally for us idol fans, we find ourselves anticipating the upcoming new year, because we know good-and-well that some of our oshimen and favorite groups won’t be around by this time in the future, cause that’s what we’ve signed up for the when we got into this subculture.

Last Friday, a little precursor to the change of the seasons and the new year in waiting arrived: Kotori Kotao, the other half of the duo-era of Avandoned, announced that she will be graduating in April of 2019. In a statement, she explained that quite simply it’s too difficult to balance the intensity of idol work with her personal focus on art. This is something I find terribly relatable, so I can’t possibly take issue with it. Kotao joined the group in 2016, at which point Avandoned was closing its previous era with the departures of Nayuta and Konomi and rebranding the group as a trio. At that point I knew very little about her, but she certainly won me over very quickly, to the point where it became difficult to imagine Avandoned without her. As I got to know more about her, I found her endlessly fascinating and talented. 

Continue reading

The Darkest Possible Timeline: Sari and Hina Leaving Necroma

Dang.

Continue reading

The New Babymetal Single Is as Fitting a Tribute as We’ll Ever Get for Yuimetal

By now, you’ve probably heard the stream of “Starlight”, Babymetal’s first release in (/checks watch) two and a half years, good lord. There’s an MV, too, which we’ll get to in a second. First, though, let’s take these things in meta-chronological order and note: Yuimetal is officially out of the group:

Hot take to follow! First that MV:

And now to go ahead and reverse that order … Continue reading

Whither Alice?

Once upon a time (it was about five months ago!), I was showing ye olde website to a friend. You see, IRL Maniac isn’t always Maniac IRL, and not everybody in the social orbit is aware of this joint’s existence. I don’t exactly hide it — I’ve introduced myself at parties as “owner of North America’s finest J-pop website about punk rock girl groups” on several occasions — but nor do I flaunt it because, well, I know a lot of boring-ass people and choose to not cast my pearls before swine.

In the context of the tale, Friend in Question had heard me talking about a group* and was curious about the description, in response to which I ultimately produced my phone and did a little tour of the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist. As I expected, the original sheen of excitement wore off after a few minutes, but then this particular Kamen Joshi MV popped up and her enthusiasm was suddenly re-piqued.

She wanted to know why the members were dressed the way they were, why the masks, why the song sounded like “something from a Disney Channel movie,” etc. I answered the best that I could, which was interesting because I easily had the least to say about Kamen Joshi than about any of the other groups that I’d showcased. Friend in Question noticed: “You sound like you don’t like this one as much.”

“You know,” I said, “they’re kind of one of those things that you either feel strongly about or not at all.” Continue reading

What the Heck Is Going on with SHINGEKI?

I mean it, I have absolutely no idea. I’m very literally asking because I know that some of you guys follow them pretty closely, and while I happily take a professional passing interest in them, I am only one person and all it takes to go from In The Know to Confused As Hell is to miss a few tweets.

All I know is that the membership is all over the place. Graduations! Promotions? Something! It’s apparently all in here:

And they’re filming! Continue reading

Tying up Loose Ends and Saying Our Goodbyes to Anata Tsuyame

Fall doesn’t seem to be a good season for Tsurezure; last year in October, our beloved Cococo left the idol world. Her cohortmate, Tsuyame, stuck around as they were looking for a fourth member, seemingly becoming as much of a pillar of the group as the two founding members. And yet, here we are.

Anata Tsuyame, the braided brunette from Yukueshirezutsure has her graduation concert tomorrow night, September 7, at the Shibuya O-Crest. This news took everyone by surprise, and the shock was so great that I planned on writing something at the time, but couldn’t. Denial is a part of the grieving process, isn’t it? But there is no time for that anymore, as Tsurezure embarks on their new tour, titled Eclipse, in a mere 10 days.

How to honour Tsuyame’s two year tenure as a member properly? Continue reading

WTF BANANA MONKEYS!?

THE BANANA MONKEYS are truly one of the most cursed, yet fascinating idol groups happening at the moment.

Let’s get the good news out of the way. A new EP, Good bye, Hello, coming in just a few weeks!

Yes! Label is not bad is already a candidate for Album Of The Year 2018, and I liked their recent digital singles too, so I’m pretty dang excited about this. So much so that I haven’t even watched this trailer so my first reactions upon listening to the whole thing can be genuine (aka so that if I do a sleepy review of this it gets the kind of weirdness that this group deserves).

“But Kerrie”, I hear you cry. “Didn’t they add a fifth member recently? Why are there only four of them?”

Yeah, about that … Continue reading

The Never-Ending DOTS Evolution Prepares For Its Next Incarnation

Wow, it was a busy weekends for the dot-chans! First they had their (possibly) breakthrough moment performing at the Tokyo Idol Festival, basking in a quick brush with the mainstream at what’s the biggest idol event in Japan, but that wasn’t even all!

Not only did they perform at the big “corporate” idol event, they kept a foot firmly planted by their roots by showing up at the “Underground Idol Festival” (UTIF) and performed under that banner too! These girls and their management clearly understand where they come from and aren’t about to burn bridges with the chika circuit, and good for them.

And then, in addition to that, dot-chans then made another appearance, this time at Maker Faire Tokyo, where they rubbed elbows with another breed of artists: The technology-minded DIY creatives who enjoy tinkering with their own devices and inventions scratch built from one’s own hands. It was the perfect match for them, as the Dots utilized the fair to present their own forward-thinking efforts to develop new and innovative ways to connect idols with their fans. You may recall an article published here last here last year that showcased such new marvels as the “Five Senses Cheki” and the usage of heart monitors to enhance the bond between wota and their oshis.

The Dot-chans are still hard at work to raise the idol experience to the next level. Looking around Twitter, I found a few comments from attendees unfamiliar with the group expressing their newfound interest in the girl’s endeavors. Another success at bringing new faces into their fold!

Some photos from Maker Faire Tokyo…

And with all that flurry of activity, there was another equally important announcement that was revealed this week, perhaps one a bit more melancholy for some of their fans. Two of the chans are removing their visors and moving onto a new plane of existence, because Dot-chans do not graduate, but rather assume new forms in their own personal evolution. Continue reading

A Not-totally-last Song for Kimi to Boku, Tokidoki Melancholic

Go ahead and see if you can accurately tell me the last time that the much-more-easily-said-in-English Kimi to Boku, Tokidoki Melancholic got a singular, personal post on ye olde website. Like, without cheating. Because it’s been a while. Way back when, back when the group was first coming into being under an entirely different regime, I thought for a minute that they were either going to be this vanguard kind of act for really operatic goth metal lite, or some kind of mean joke.

And yet they persisted! I don’t know how many membership iterations they’ve been through, but the number is not one, nor do I believe that it is two. This, however, is the last for this round:

Continue reading