We Review Things: The Flowers of Passion – Episode 02

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.

What is remarkable about the series so far, and what makes it so valuable, is just how forthright and insightful these conversations are. The documentary doesn’t just go behind the scenes, but behind the veil. The Flowers of Passion is providing the Western world it’s most extensive access yet into the minds of Japanese idols and the creatives surrounding underground idol production. For anyone with an interest in indie/alternative/underground idol, this series will likely become required viewing.

After the lovely acapella intro provided by CHiHiRO of MERRY BAD END, episode two of The Flowers of Passion begins with Rin Kojima of XOXO EXTREME expertly performing a violin solo. The conversations that follow with the prog-rock idols and their manager are enlightening and I found member Moe Hiiro especially articulate. She speaks of how thankful they are to the idols who gave it their all, broke taboos and established an artistic environment where they are free to experiment. However,  while they now have the freedom to do whatever they want, she finds that it can be a struggle to find something that hasn’t been done before. 

The episode then moves to perhaps the most highly anticipated appearance in the series: that of grindcore idol (and homicidols dot com favorite), 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San.  Her inclusion does not disappoint. Not only does Flowers of Passion include incredibly rare video footage of an actual Hanako-San performance, but she is also extremely candid in her interviews. While she speaks about more standard topics such as how she came to adopt her onstage persona, she also unexpectedly veers into some very personal territory such as the difficulties she once faced trying to hold a regular job, and her father’s reactions to her chosen line of work.

For the true otaku audiophile, the most valuable footage in episode two is the section devoted to LiLii Kaona which intimately captures the creative process behind songwriting and production. It is especially significant as it covers the creation of “Rust” from the EP, KIYOKU (which just happen to be my respective picks for Best Song and EP of 2020)

We meet Mishima, LiliKoa’s producer, at the stage where he has completed the music for “Rust” but before the lyrics have been decided. The following scenes paint a complete picture of the process from song conception to recording including actual footage of the meeting where Mishima and the members, KOYUKI and YUKA, compose the lyrics and first discuss the song’s dynamic chorus.

  • Mishima: “For the chorus I want many voices… Why do you look so worried”
  • YUKA: “Whose voices? Are you trying to replace us?”

Although it’s a light conversation, it’s a thrilling moment to watch on film: these are the subdued discussions and deliberations that led to the creation of an electrifying chorus that hits with all the subtlety of a direct lightning strike.

In addition to these significant exchanges, episode two also contains dozens of small yet remarkable moments such as: XOXO EXTREME making last minute adjustments to choreography just as they are about to go onstage;  NaNoMoRaL’s Miku spilling the beans that Paseli’s mom buys all of his clothes; the toy microphone Hanako-San holds to mimic being onstage when in the recording studio.

The episode feels like it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. At least, it left me wanting more. I definitely wished I could binge-watch straight into episode three instead of having to wait a week. I hope it follows more of LiliKoa to their second one-man live and introduces the audience to the remarkable song that, “Rust” turned out to be.

If, like me, you have trouble waiting, LiLii Kaona just released the footage from their November one-man live on YouTube. Until next Friday, this will have to do:

The Flowers of Passion is available at the Idol Underworld website or via streaming:

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Let’s Check in with 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-san!!

Team Homicidols primarily lives on Twitter, so we have taken the latest banishment of 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-san from the platform pretty hard.  For her part, Hanako-san is still dead and communicating through the medium of Instagram where she is now somehow crazy about Kamen Rider.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEtlrh7nukV/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

She also loves sea otters. Check it out!

It is rather odd to see her not wearing any red and not a strawberry in sight. But what else has our favorite 444-year old youkai been up to? Continue reading

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14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San to Release New Album on 4/4

14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San will celebrating the anniversary of her death on April 4th by releasing a new album appropriately titled “Death Day” (『命日』).

https://twitter.com/14Hanakosan_red/status/1235214501923831808

If you can’t make it to the release event at HEAVEN’S DOOR, the 20-track album is available for pre-order at Idol Underworld.

Buy it or get murdered in the toilet.

Continue reading

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Twitter Suspends Hanako-san, Incurs 444-Year-Long Curse

Twitter has unwisely solicited the wrath of 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San.  This weekend, after having solved all other pressing matters plaguing the platform, Twitter suspended Hanako-san’s accounts. They now have only themselves to blame if employees suddenly go missing during visits to the fourth floor restroom at Twitter headquarters.

For a 444-year-old youkai like Hanako-san, saying, “I’m going to bathe in a sea of your blood” is simply her way of saying, “Hello.” Yet Twitter has apparently frozen her accounts for expressing her innocuous intent to kill us all.

She has since opened a new account, so please subscribe to @14Hanako_san.

Continue reading

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Tickets Are Now on Sale for the Most Indie, Idol and Infamous Tour in the UK

How conveniently named then!

Yes friends, the thing that you should be incredibly hype for if you’re able to go, and at least somewhat hype for just because it exists, is now something that you can officially purchase a ticket for, which you should undoubtedly do, and soon:

Continue reading

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Prepare Yourselves, UK: There’s Idols Coming to Town

The good folks at ORIONlive UK have been busy! Hot off the heels of announcing Metal Matsuri, they’re dipping into the idol well again from last year’s (what I gather must have been quite) successful Black Winds Over Albion tour and bringing 2& back to English shores, and this time with a couple of other (deeply disturbing!) friends:

Good. Lord. Continue reading

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There Is New Hanako-san Come to Curdle Our Blood

Speaking perpetually of acts too good to release so little new/er material that warrants slavish coverage (and/or haven’t become exhausting on principle!), our very own officially unofficial mascot of Homicidols Dot Com, the 14th Generation Hanako-san of the Toilet, performer extraordinaire and maybe Daemon’s new best friend, just kind of threw this one out into the world yesterday without fanfare:

What I’m guessing are the lyrics: Continue reading

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We Interview Idols: 14th Generation Hanako-san of the Toilet

This past weekend, our man Daemon hit up the East Meets West Music Fest; with Monsterpanda in tow as translator, he sat down with literally three of this site’s all-time favorite idols. Today, we have his report back from crossing paths — and surviving — with Hanako-san.

On the morning of the opening day of the East Meets West Music Fest, we are directed to a rehearsal studio that sits among the warehouses of industrial Anaheim. Far from Disneyland but about a mile from Chain Reaction, site of festival itself, the studio’s walls are plastered with photos of The Dickies, Agent Orange, Voodoo Glow Skulls and other indie icons of Orange County. Over a door with a hand written sign that reads “Control Room” is a doodle signed by Derek Riggs, the artist who created Iron Maiden’s mascot “Eddie”. While the place doesn’t exactly feel haunted, we are led through the door next to the control room to conduct a face-to-face interview with a blood-drenched ghost visiting all the way from Japan.

14th Generation Hanako-san of the Toilet is a 404 year-old youkai (ghost) who haunts fourth-floor bathrooms and performs as a solo punk idol. As she explains in the intro to her shows by holding up sign boards to the audience: “My head has been cut off. I cannot speak. But I can sing.” And sing she does in a brittle, child-like voice, but more significantly, she screams. Of all the harsh vocalists in chika idol, Hanako-san is perhaps the most natural screamer. Her screams are primal and ferocious and seem to come out of her more effortlessly than clean vocals.

Upon introduction to Hanako-san, she comes across as schoolgirl-cute in her signature red and white complete with a shiny red randoseru (the iconic backpack for Japanese schoolchildren). She is as unfailingly polite as any Japanese idol would be and often bursts into sincere giggles. The only indication that we are in the presence of something more ominous are her bandaged neck, blood-red eye and eyepatch, and the bloodstains patterning her white shirt and socks.

Hanako-san’s visit to America is not only the first time that she has been outside of Japan, but the first time she has ever been on a plane. My first question to her is to see how she is adjusting. Continue reading

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Let Me Help You or a Friend Go See Necroma, Yanamyu and Hanako-san in the Godly Flesh

The East Meets West Music Fest! You know what it is — NECRONOMIDOL, Yanakoto Sotto Mute and Hanako-san, in Anaheim in a month’s time, joined by a mess of metal bands and not-from-Japan idols for a two-day celebration of the collision of western and Japanese music, culture, etc. Yep, it’s peak Homicidols Dot Com:

  • Mission statement
  • Idol besties
  • Favorite idol thing ever
  • Unofficial site mascot

And I’m not even going! Circumstances collided in a perfect storm of things that preclude ol’ Maniac’s participation, which sucks mightily, but guess what.

Seriously, guess. Continue reading

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It’s Time for Another Episode of Queen of the Scene!

INT. DARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL RESTROOM – NIGHT

A few flickering candles illuminate the room, the light doubled and re-doubled by the mirrors above each sink. Two of the three stall doors are closed, but the third, the middle, is OPEN. SAKI (20) stands in a CIRCLE OF PROTECTION on the floor.

Saki: Hanako-san. Hanako-san. HANAKO-SAN!

The 14TH GENERATION HANAKO OF THE TOILET (eternal, also like 14) APPEARS IN THE OPEN STALL!

Hanako-san: Who calls!

Saki: It’s just me, Hanako-san.

Hanako-san: Oh. Why the theatrics? You have my LINE.

Saki: Maniac said that it’d play better this way.

Hanako-san: Oh, that guy. So?

Saki: Well, you know that I stole the Homicidols Queen of the Scene title from Sari while we were in the United Kingdom.

Hanako-san: I do at that.

Saki: And I know that you helped to arrange for that with your selflessness during the Corenament.

Hanako-san: Indeed.

Saki: Maniac told me that I’ll need to defend my title this week.

Hanako-san: I see.

Saki: Right. So, from what I remember, you were promised something.

Hanako-san: I was.

Saki: Can I ask what that is?

Hanako-san: Unfortunately, I don’t actually know what it is. Sister Jean was very cryptic about it. All she said was that “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Saki: That could mean anything.

Hanako-san: It could also be that she was just acting as a cypher for the jerk in charge and was using a well-known nihilistic idiom.

Saki: Well, do you think that you’ll be able to help me? I’ve only been the Official Oshimen for a few weeks, and I’d like to be able to continue.

Hanako-san: Prophesy is tricky, especially for toilet ghosts like me. Ask me to show you the blackest chaos of your psyche, no problem; I can’t see the future, though, only what’s possible.

Saki: It’s going to be a long week. Continue reading

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