But Are BiS Beautiful Too?

I don’t really know what it says about WACK management’s faith in WACK is BEAUTiFUL when immediately after posting that music video they blanket it with the first MV by the all-new BiS. Perhaps… WACK really is SHiT?

Hey! Who the hell overcompressed the avi!? WATANABE! -shakes fist-

As with previous weeks, this song is also up for free download, so grab that while you can!

WACK is…Nice?!

We’ll get to the BiS MV in a bit…but first:

Yep, I basically assumed (and perhaps secretly hoped) that when the inevitable next installment came out, it would be “WACK is C-Word”.

But what a twist!

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We Review Things: BiSH | ‘CARROTS and STiCKS’

BiSH - CARROTS and STiCKS

Sitting down to a first listen of the fifth BiSH album, CARROTS and STiCKS, the big question is: Which BiSH will predominate? The brazen punks who got kicked out of Tokyo Idol Festival? The potential game changers who released a two-minute thrash punk single as their major label debut? Or the commercial idols who promote cell phones and sing anime theme songs?

We know the punk is still in BiSH as demonstrated every time they let Ling Ling center and she does the emotional equivalent of kicking your teeth down your throat. At the same time, it’s hard to give punk cred to a group that’s signing exclusive deals with Apple to restrict the digital distribution of their own music. I certainly won’t begrudge a person for making a living off their art, especially in the crap ass world of Japanese entertainment where the vast majority of power and profits are concentrated in the hands a few management moguls who are far less benevolent than BiSH’s boss-who-we-love-to-hate, Junnoske Watanabe. And it’s not like those of us who have climbed aboard the BiSH train can cry about genre, aesthetic or ideological purity anyway. Watanabe has never hidden the fact that he is punk in the same way that Malcolm McLaren was punk: thumbing the nose of a conservative society is good fun and all, but only if you can make a buck (pound or yen) doing it.

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So, BiS Disbanded, Again

Welp, so BiS just disbanded for a second time.

The initial announcement of their disbandment back in March wasn’t really given much coverage on Homicidols, since it also happened to collide with a gazillion other things both in idol and our personal lives, but I think the general reaction of the announcement was certainly one of anger, confusion, and betrayal. It came straight off the heels of the annual shitstorm that is the WACK audition, in which multiple members (and Trivago, back for more) were fired on the spot for what was ultimately a frustrating sideshow. The remaining members had finally had enough and called it quits, with Watanabe immediately holding casting calls for a third incarnation of BiS mere minutes after the previous audition had even ended. Looking back, it was probably a good thing that none of us were able to write about WACK EXHiBiTiON in the end as the resulting article would probably have just been a mess of all-caps angrish and thinly-veiled threats of revenge towards Watanabe. Continue reading

Can Anyone Be Ready for this BiS?

The people have spoken(?) and Watanabe has reaggregated BiS as a nine-member unit. Not one to do things halfway or with subtly, the infamous adult patient neglecter has endowed the group with their own “Bohemian Rapsody”, which is a whopping 11 minutes and 47 seconds.

Grab your coffee or tea and sit comfortably to take in this grandiose venture:

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Bully BULLY IDOL Bully

The title of this post in the spirit of the “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo” linguistic exercise. All lo; points to any who can identify the moral contradiction therein!

The fine* people at WACK bring you their staggering retort to BILLIE IDLE’s playful spin of a variety show appearance via MV:

I really wanted this to be shade, and not just because I wanted to do another “Shade or Not Shade?” post. The idea of there being beef — real, loud, public beef — between WACK and a bunch of ex-WACK idols operating in close proximity but ultimately asymptotically to is simply delicious. Alas, it appears that whatever likely complicated feelings held by one Pour Lui toward one Watanabe Junnosuke, and any of the same held by First Summer Uika or Hirano Nozomi by history or either of the Momoses by association, those feelings are likely mere complications when the chance to leverage existing relationships for potential financial gain are involved.

Bully.

*Here defining “fine” very liberally

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