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

These New Idols Ain’t Anybody’s Puppet: Marionet

Man, catching up on stuff has been hard! We’re now fully into idol’s busy season, in case you couldn’t tell, so every time that I think I’m going to be be able to catch up on several older items at once, nope, not happening, too much else going on. I’m not going to complain — in fact, I’m embracing it, because it makes things that I do try to catch up on either faster or in-geological-terms immediately that much more special.

One area for catch-up? New units. There are a lot of them! Many of them pretty good in fact! I must have a couple of dozen that I could be posting up and don’t just because there isn’t time for it all. In some cases, though, I’m making exceptions. Like, for instance, Marionet, who actually haven’t debuted yet, but for whom I’ll make an exception to the usual semi-rule because they’ve at least had the good sense to preview some of their music:

There’s another reason, though, and it’s that the roster includes one very familiar face: Continue reading

It’s a Crucial Time for a JOANJOAN Update

I’ve been sitting here with my finger twitching over this stuff from Yet Another of Maniac’s Favorite Recent Discoveries JOANJOAN for several weeks, and I really just can’t wait anymore. Plus, what I’m waiting for might not ever actually make it to fruition, and then won’t I be the one with egg on my face? And you’ll be the ones who probably didn’t learn some additional info about JOANJOAN because I can practically guarantee that you’re not following them yet!

So to preface, the really important news is that there’s this new digital single available:

It’s so up my alley that I may as well give it its own permanent address

I’m not sure that we’ll reach MV territory for it, hence the low-context post. Just trust me on this one — if you like your stuff digital and loud and idol, you’ll probably dig it. 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

The Literal Making of ANotheЯ

Zombie idols are all kinds of well and good. When you think about zombies as a meta-pop cultural thing, they can represent a whole lot of things — loss of self, relentless danger, apocalypse — and so are excellent vehicles for commentary. The whole being-eaten thing is scary on its own, you know? A skilled storyteller can take all of that in just about any direction you might like. So, applied to idol, you face a mess of possibilities, from mirroring wota back at themselves, to the transition from person to performer to idol, to the reduction of self to a mindless automaton.

Or maybe you’re just into the idea of literal living dead idols! It’s not like Dual Eye hasn’t gone in this direction before!

Anyway, ANotheЯ may have started off as just Luna doing surprisingly competent solo work, but the plan was always to have her a) shuffle through the streets of Tokyo at night and b) devour the living flesh of other girls so that c) at least some of them, rather than just being food, would become new members of ANotheЯ. It’s a pretty straightforward process!

We’d had occasion to see the results once before; today was the day to get into the creation of #3: 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

XTEEN What’s Next

So funnily enough, right after declaring my bearishness on XTEEN for all the world to see, they go out and update their membership rolls as of Ichica’s grad show and make it known that they’re not going anywhere thanks to a fresh release on the long horizon. Still bearish, though! Metal idol hasn’t panned out as well as punk. Nonetheless, if you want to know what’s up, John to the rescue.

XTEEN have had a few line up changes. Starting out as a 5 girl unit, they lost one almost right off the bat. Then they lost a couple members, gained one member. That was all cool, it happens. Now it seems we have lost another member, but we have gained a couple more. What is […]

via XTEEN – More Changes And Release Coming — Straight From Japan

Another A.N.otheЯ Has Arrived!

You can’t keep me from punning the hell out of this

Once upon a time, when literal flesh-eating zombie unit A.N.otheЯ was announced, it was im and explicit that there would eventually be more members than just Luna, the original one. The concept, see, was that this shambling Romero-derived corpse would, uh, shamble through Tokyo, biting the living. Yes, to feast upon their warm vitality, that’s important, but also because her bite would turn each victim in turn into a new member of A.N.otheЯ.

It beats auditions, I’m sure! /rimshot

Anyway, that finally got us somewhere, and now there are two zombie idols! Continue reading