Special Guest Editorial: I Am Part of the #Resistance Inside WACK

The idol world is buzzing with yesterday’s bombshell editorial published by @SalemBlack4Ever, an anonymous testament from deep within WACK’s administration. Here the editorial is reprinted in full with the author’s publisher’s permission.

I work for the Junnosuke Watanabe but like-minded idols and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

Sept. 6, 2018

@SalemBlack4Ever today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior idol in the WACK administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our followers.

Junnosuke Watanabe is facing a test to his leadership unlike any faced by a modern idol manager.

It’s not just Pour Lui’s recent exodus to Billie Idle Or that the community is bitterly divided over Watanabe’s leadership. Or even that the whole WAgg thing will lead to an further watering down of the whole alternative idol ideals which the original groups was based on.
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior idols in his own groups are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the Billie Idle movement. We want WACK to succeed and think that many of its groups have already changed the face of idol forever, I mean Idol is Dead is still as kick ass an album now as it ever was.

But we believe our first duty is to the wotas, and Watanabe continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our idols.
That is why many WACK idols have vowed to do what we can to preserve alternative idol while thwarting Watanabe’s more misguided impulses until he is out of the tour bus.

The root of the problem is Watanabe amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Watanabe shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by alternative idols: anti establishment, great use of alternative music influences but still having respect for the girls who are paid very little for performing the songs every day. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that WACK is now a management group to take on the likes of the 48 groups and the Hello! Project. Watanabe’s impulses are generally, let’s hire as many cute girls and release more songs which sound like “Orchestra” as possible.

Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of WACK fails to capture: BiSH are still a highlight and release the odd great track, Gang Parade are very popular and you can never say you are bored when following those 8:00 p.m. WACK announcements.

But these successes have come despite — not because of — the Watanabe’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

From BiSH, Gang Parade and BiS, idols will privately admit their daily disbelief at Watanabe’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, cruel and occasionally deadly ideas for ‘punishing’ the girls that have to be walked back.

“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top idol complained to me recently, exasperated by a post live wrap up at which the Watanabe flip-flopped on a major decision on which member gets swapped into another group.

The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around WACK. Some of his girls have been cast as villains by the wotas. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the tour buses, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but wotas should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Watanabe won’t.

The result is a two-track leadership.

Take group policy: In public and in private, Watanabe shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as Yasushi Akimoto of AKB48 and H!P leader, Tsunku, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded alt idol groups. Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the idols are operating on another track, one where groups like AKB48 are called out for their manufactured, mainstream blandness, and where idols around the alt idol genre are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

The bigger concern is not what Watanabe has done to alt idol but rather what we as idols have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

Pour Lui put it best in her excellent Youtuber videos. All idols should heed her words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great idol music sub-genre. We may no longer have Pour Lui. But we will always have her example — a lodestar for restoring honor to idol music through great music. Watanabe may fear such honorable idols, but we should revere them.

There is a quiet resistance within WACK of idols choosing to put idol first. But the real difference will be made by everyday wotas rising above politics, reaching across the sub-units and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: alt idol.

The writer is a senior idol in the WACK administration.

The Age of WAgg Is Upon Us

All right, when the heck was this thing announced, the WACK trainee unit? I don’t even remember. The last I heard of WAgg, jokes were being made at its expense, and that was (/checks notes) a couple of months ago at least. See, I don’t know if anybody ever really expected this thing to happen — WACK hasn’t tended toward things like trainee anythings, like ever, instead preferring to slide undeveloped talent straight into the mix. And yet, here we go!

The black eyes thing happens to make this lot look particularly alien

Kicking things off with a tour that commences in a few weeks, naturally. And without a shred of music or anything yet to their credit! Continue reading

HOLY SHiTS, Holy Shit

Oh, okay, now WACK has another mix-up group!

Download here

I totally misread the original tweet and thought this was a Chitti solo project for some reason. Instead, it’s another spin on WACK playing together for purposes of fun. In this case, TIF fun!

At the very least, it’s a fun tune, no? The lyrics are … the lyrics are interesting. And Chitti and Maika are featured. All is good.

WACK Wins by Having Nothing to Apologize For

All of my reactions to WACK news lately seems to be along the lines of “well, that happened.”

It all started on Friday, with this foreboding billboard atop Shibuya’s famous 109 building:

“We haven’t done anything yet, but we apologize in advance?”

Well, that’s ominous. Granted, I can think of many things WACK should apologize for, but this is now. Well, the future. Eyebrows were raised. Questions were asked. Just what exactly is this future scandal WACK have had to apologize in advance for? It got even worse when Watanabe tweeted out the words many a WACK fan dread; “Announcement at 24:00.” There was panic, theorizing (mostly from me) when eventually, the fateful moment came. Continue reading

Kerrie Is the WACK Idol Nostradamus

Well, that happened.

Much like the rest of the western WACK fandom, my feelings on this are complicated, but I think it can be summarized in three main points:

  1. Oh, Watanabe, please, stop feeding me so much Friday Fun fuel, I just made a WACK fun last week!
  2. Whatever happened to “I can’t handle more than four groups,” now you’re going to try your hand at running an entire UK Secondary School too? Good luck.
  3. CALLED IT.

Continue reading

Memorial Day Match Game: Special Tori-x-go Edition

It’s Memorial Day here in the USA, amigos, which in addition to military this-and-that (and gods help me, Rolling Thunder) means that it’s also National Hamburger Day, which means that it’s also Maniac Is Going to Eat a Lot of Meat and Drink a Lot of Beer Day. There’s solemnity, naturally (the whole memorial business), but also the unofficial start to summer, so ergo fun, and while I love me this site and idols and everything, I want to keep it light.

So what better way to do that than by resurrecting a stupid contest thing that people seem to enjoy! Continue reading

This Is the New-look EMPiRE in Action

Well that was fast. Practically mere minutes after announcing the new members of EMPiRE as new members of EMPiRE (stay tuned for tomorrow’s Weekender, as I am being too lazy to copy/paste between posts!), the joint WACK/Avex (WAVECKS) project dropped another new MV:

“Maniac,” I’m sure you’re currently saying aloud, “this is not a rock song.” It isn’t! But it’s a really nice pop song with some cool moves to it, so. I prefer to sit firmly in the middle when it comes to EMPiRE, always willing to share but cognizant of appropriate venue and all that. I’m sure that the intent behind the group was for Avex to monetize for themselves the crowd-pleasing capabilities of Team SCRACK (that’s WACK/SCRAMBLES, if you’re keeping score), but, for the purposes of a person just stepping into this bizarre Idolverse, I think they’re a good bridge act, too, by which their guilt-by-association with the older-school WACK projects can hook in the person who ordinarily would rather be in a circle pit and convert that person into the kind of person who gets into flame wars over the appropriateness of light sticks at idol lives.

Anyway.

Become Patron, Win Prize

Hey gang! If you love the stupid antics, half-baked theories and unnecessarily convoluted events of Homicidols.com, now’s a great time to become a patron!

What do you get? Ordinarily, not much! I usually ask the patrons for input on next things, developments and the like, because I frankly don’t have the time to get too wild with it. Patrons also get the sense of satisfaction that comes with providing some funds that make it easier to keep the site’s lights on!

But now, thanks to our incredible, unbelievable relationship with WACK, we have a great one-time-only giveaway for one lucky patron! Continue reading

A Very Special Collaboration between Homicidols and WACK

So ever-so-briefly, Watanabe himself tweeted this out earlier:

It was a mistake, and he’s since deleted it, but I may as well let the cat out of the bag now so that you all can get ready for the first official partnership between Homicidols.com and The Most Infamous Man in Idol. Continue reading

The WACK Expo Fallout: We Are All Incredibly Easy Marks

I didn’t watch the WACK Expo. After the thing had been announced, and the overall shape of the auditions made, it was pretty obvious how the whole shebang would be conducted and concluded, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I allowed myself to selectively enjoy the auditions from extra-afar, taking it all in via Twitter and the occasional side conversation; once my girl Trivago was finally, mercifully euthanized, I didn’t care enough to even do that.

When I woke up today, the event was all in the past. Things had been done, reactions had, tears shed, etc. Was Twitter buzzing? It sure was! Were the takes flying? They sure were!

And all according to plan. Like any good wota, this is our moment to MIX, to respond to the ainote, to play our part in the interactive ritual that is being an idol fan. We happily separate ourselves from our money to experience closely controlled environments of put-on cruelty and manicured triumphs. We call out the things that are bad or stupid, and hand over cash, attention and appearances of generalized support in exchange. We are all incredibly easy marks.

Anyway, what happened: Continue reading