There Are Actual Kamen Joshi Graduations

Fans of the Mask can feel a little sadness, as a pair of long-time members of the Alice Project’s top units are out.

screen cap from the Idolmetal group on Facebook on the graduation of two Kamen Joshi members

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Check out This Line Live of Alice Juban’s Anniversary Show

This is short notice (I’m sorry for missing it; all credit to Straight from Japan for the tip), but Alice Juban‘s anniversary concert will be broadcast live on Line beginning at 5:15 a.m. EDT; if you’re down with the Alice Project or wondering exactly what that’s all about, this is a good chance to check in. Continue reading

It Feels So Weird to Call an Alice Juban Track ‘Nice’

And here we are, courtesy of Tara44DD, Alice #10’s newest release, a nice little rock ballad:

“Hanabira Hitohira” isn’t half as manic or intense as a lot of what we’ve had grace our ears lately, and that’s okay. Go ahead and give that a spin and try to deny the way the chorus bores into your brain! The truth is, ballads of various stripes have a long relationship with the Alice Project; “Genkidane” isn’t exactly a simple song, but it’s pretty much a ballad at heart.

Tachibana Anna Would Like for You to Fear Alice 10 this Friday the 13th

As soon as I saw the black masks, that was it.


Kamen Joshi’s Blowing up Today

The Mask Girls, Kamen Joshi, are not only 2016 Homicidols Corenament Final Four participants; they’re becoming a bigger deal all the time. Topping the charts is one way to do that, but so is getting how this whole idol thing can work for you, being visually compelling and musically addictive. Reader Tara44DD has been loading up Kamen Joshi’s profile comments, so let’s share with everybody and see if they aren’t prevalent in even more places right now.

Most notable is this Reuters slideshow: Continue reading

Literally What the Hell Is This?

Doop-de-doop, crawling through Twitter while the world comes down from the “Karate” high it got last night … Hello, what’s this?

There are thousands of emojis, but none can capture my reaction to this. Continue reading

The World’s Cutest Horrorshow: Kamen Joshi Fes

I’m ashamed of myself for not knowing about this before:

Kamen Joshi, the super group at the pinnacle of the Alice Project, is (obviously, given all of the context so far) holding a self-made festival. You should see my face. Continue reading

That Gachapin X Kamen Joshi Thing Happened UPDATED

Seriously? Who takes that down?

Thanks for sharing, @anna_tachibana!


There’s, like, so much color and fun on that stage at one time …

This Would Be a Fun Collaboration UPDATED

UPDATE: It happened.

Kind of had a double-take upon seeing this:

I don’t completely get why Alice Juban was hanging out (and posing for photos) with pretty great J-rock band Gacharic Spin, but it would be a fun show if they did something together. Continue reading

Alice Project

The adorable horror.

I was cruising around Japanese Twitter one day and caught a photo shared by I’m pretty sure Ohmura Takayoshi (from Babymetal’s Kami Band). It featured all of these idol-looking young women — little skirts, rainbow-colored super-Uggs, somewhat matching tops — wielding ridiculous prop weapons and wearing hockey masks.

“What in the ever living–?” I started to ask, as if I should have been surprised by anything at that point.

Not long after, I learned that what I’d seen were Alice Juban of the Alice Project, and then I started to see these photos of weapon-bearing horror movie characters in idol outfits just everywhere under the name Kamen Joshi, and I knew that I probably had to look them up.

How is this so epic? Also the first indie single to reach #1!

And thus began one of those three-day binges that really aren’t healthy.

Properly speaking, Kamen Joshi is a supergroup of … the Alice Project, hence the name of the profile. And this Alice Project stuff, despite being three primary groups and a whole bunch of minor-league-like units and subunits and one-offs and OH SO MUCH MORE that all performs as a regular daily thing at their very own PARMS Theater in Akihabara (that’s the nerdy district of Tokyo) and has a Daily Alice channel FFS (you can get a lot of it in English from this brilliant YouTube channel), has way more in common with itself than it does with anything else, so … it’s all going into one profile. Sue me.

Here’s Kamen Joshi in their much more natural environment.

I’ll cop to having a really difficult time figuring out the actual orientation of the Alice stuff, what with members promoted and demoted and a mass defection in spring 2015 that led to huge lineup shuffles up and down the Alice roster, and that’s okay. I’ll just keep listening to their music.

Let’s cut to the chase:

Kamen Joshi

The Mask Girls, as translated. Made up of the full membership of Alice Juban (Alice 10), Steamgirls and Armor Girls. There are like 18 of them, so I’ll keep it very simple: They make music that almost couldn’t be a more perfect mashup of the somewhat simpler mashups done by each of their constituent groups.

They’re exhausting. But great.

Alice Juban

A banner for Japanese idol metal horrorcore group Alice Juban 10 of the Alice Project

The mothership, so to speak. In the Alice Project hierarchy, if you’re in Alice Juban, you’re at the top of the heap (unless you lead one of the other groups … can I please stop trying to explain this?); if you lead Alice Juban like Sakura Nodoka does, that makes you the #1 Alice or something, so she’s accordingly also the leader of Kamen Joshi; likewise, if you’re the center of Alice Juban, you’re the center of Kamen Joshi like Tachibana Anna — that’s why she gets to wear the red mask and scare the crap out of you while leading a mass synchronous headbang.

Alice Juban is visually probably the most metal, what with the hockey masks and swords and chainsaws and whatnot; while their choral melodies are nice and reliably J-pop, they also veer pretty hard into some borderline power metal stuff.

What they sound like

Like a band that Avril Lavigne might have imagined back when people still thought she was cool and edgy and original and she probably had dreams of doing a metal band but definitely couldn’t because she was, is and always will be Avril Lavigne.

That sounds a little too damning-with-faint-praise. Let’s start over: Pop punk meets positive power metal meets a slasher movie.

You’ll like them if

You like Avril Lavigne! Seriously! Or, like, Switchfoot, or any one of those other post-Blink-182-we’re-punk-we-swear pop rock bands (stop being so disparaging). Fine. Do you like awesome, kind of heavy but still catchy music? That’s why you’ll like Alice Juban.

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The above, but more certain to come.

Leader: Sakura Nodoka

Sakura Nodoka of the Japanese idol metal horror group Alice Juban 10 and Kamen Joshi Mask Girls of the Alice Project

Center: Tachibana Anna

Tachibana Anna of the Japanese idol metal horror group Alice Juban 10 and Kamen Joshi Mask Girls of the Alice Project


A banner for Japanese steampunk idol group Steamgirls of the Alice Project

If Alice Juban is kind of like the music that you play while pretending to work on your car on a hot June afternoon so that cute special someone who just moved in across the street can see how awesome and cool you are, Steamgirls is what the two of you dance to when you go to U-18 night at the club.

But while Alice Juban goes straight for the horror movie vibe, Steamgirls is, fittingly, all steampunk, going with full-face gas masks and carrying literal smoking guns in their shows. The music is very similarly themed, with kind of a soft techno sound that blends together with the kind of metal that you play for your mom. It’s actually super enjoyable to listen to while exercising.

What they sound like

Dance music for everybody. Uncomplicated synths, catchy hooks, just enough programming to gain entry into a DJ competition.

You’ll like them if

Disney teen movies are one of your guilty pleasures. That’s not a joke.

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The above.

Leader: Kamiya Erina

Kamiya Erina of the Japanese steampunk idol group Steamgirls and Kamen Joshi of the Alice Project

Center: Kurose Sara

Kurose Sara of the Japanese steampunk idol group Steamgirls and Kamen Joshi of the Alice Project

Armor Girls

A banner for Japanese forest folk metal rock idol group Armor Girls of the Alice Project

Given that the Alice Project includes groups that are themed around the Wizard of Oz, milk, green slime and all kinds of weird stuff (I HAVE to see their theater in Akihabara one of these days), it should come as no surprise that one manager or another was probably sitting around one day and thought, “Hey, you know what we don’t have yet? A European folk metal idol group that dresses in armor and carries big fucking guns on stage.”

And thus was born Armor Girls.

I’m having a tough time finding live video of just Armor Girls (here’s kind of a crappy PV), but I think the music largely speaks for itself (they use part of the melody from “Ode to Joy” in here, plus what sounds like a banjo and fiddle … seriously). It’s … how to explain this song? How would you explain this to a person who could not possibly ever get YouTube? Bluegrass meets Celtic metal meets the end credits of an anime? They call it “forest rock,” which I guess isn’t inaccurate, but … ?

Basically, you can’t resist it.

A little (lot) more Japanese, but I’m sure that Wagakki Band is not pleased.

In baseball terms, Armor Girls fits within the Alice Project hierarchy like a WAR 1.5 utility infielder; they’re actually perfectly fine on their own, but there are more important parts of the team. But that’s how they’re positioned within Alice — coming at this from a “I like metal” perspective, they’re not second place to anybody, just doing things a little bit differently, like how you might love the crap out of Liv Moon sometimes and then want to raid a monastery while listening to Amon Amarth. And as utility infielders go, they’re honestly kind of a Josh Harrison or Chone Figgins, filler guys who wind up turning in MVP-caliber seasons (I am weird).

What they sound like

Honestly, this is like the most logical conclusion of the term “folk metal” possible, in that their songs are kind of metalish takes on folky tunes, notably from European and Japanese traditions, but I’m sure there’s more and I just haven’t heard it yet.

You’ll like them if

You have room in your heart for Wagakki Band, Tyr, Hank 3 and Negicco all at once.

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“Kokoroido” up there. What a song. Also this:

Leader: Kuroki Hinako

Kuroki Hinako of the Japanese forest rock folk metal idol group Armor Girls of Kamen Joshi and the Alice Project

So that’s the Alice Project in a nutshell. They’ll be all over the blog, I’m sure, so we’ll all get to learn plenty about them.


I’m not actually going to list this here; go to J-pop Idols for that: Alice Juban / Kamen Joshi, Steamgirls, Armor Girls