Ladybaby is coming back to the ol’ USA. Such was the news that came out yesterday. Management of course tweeted about it, as did the host event, Anime Matsuri. I was like, oh man, you should blog a post for that! And then the messages started. Hoo boy, they were not good messages! People who know about things are displeased about this event and displeased about Ladybaby being at it! I of course am an ignoramus, so you only just now get to enjoy this sizzling take.
First, to recap: Ladybaby will be at Anime Matsuri in Houston in June. Are the members excited?
LADYBABY’s sort of surprise-springing this digital single on us, but I doubt that too many people are going to complain. This is a group that’s pretty much always done what they wanted, and damn the man, like they exist within this idol milieu but also somewhat apart from it. Frankly, more groups should probably operate that way!
I don’t have enough cultural context to make this work in my head, and would therefore appreciate some tutorial about why I’m wrong, but let me preface this by noting just how high my eyebrow arched when I looked at the description stuff and saw “KAWAII-DEATH” and “something something Showa era songs.” Like I don’t get entirely where they’re going with that, but … well, I presume that this is what that means:
Don’t take the title as flippant, friends: I was very limply trying to figure out what the heck was going on with this release because, you know, Ladybaby hasn’t announced a new record or anything, and nothing in the dang announcement suggests that it’s a digital single or anything. It took me a minute to realize, hey, this is from that single they released a little while back, the one with the Ladybeard collaboration, and they’re just now getting around to releasing video for it.
As a chronic procrastinator, I can relate. And as a person who can do math, I can see one thing from Oomori Seiko and then another and see a light bulb, you know? It makes its own kind of sense.
Ladybaby’s renewed, Rei-less form didn’t, I think, need to call back too hard to the group’s point of origin — it’s written all over everything they do, ever — but given that what seems like a fairly successful first release includes a third track, and hatchets can be buried and money made, it’s clear that we could all live our best lives if the updated roster could maybe get together with ol’ pal Ladybeard for an MV.
The trailer is here. I stared at my screen and contemplated whether to post now or wait; my dedication to the gods of chaos won out.
How long ago was the Showroom or whatever live recording of the newly reformed Ladybaby’s first single hit the Idolnet? It’s been a few weeks, right? I’d nearly forgotten about it save for those wondering aloud online if the release had happened (soon!) and if there was video (also probably soon!). Me, like how I’ve been avoiding the new PassCode single like the plague until something official arrives*, I stayed away from recordings of all types because I wanted one, pure, this-is-what-we’re-doing-now full-on multimedia assault. And today, Ladybaby finally delivered:
What a weirdly put-together song! The way that thing was going, I thought it was going to crescendo toward something other than an idol death pop kind of chorus; I also expected less … pick-me-up lyrics. The overall sound (minus the harsh vocals) reminds me of something that OG Himekyun Fruit Can might have done; structurally, is anybody going to get mad if I say that I thought of Kamen Joshi? Yes? Great. “Growly days” for the win, then! Continue reading →
So, Ladybaby, as you recall, began life with the Beard himself adding growls and screams and the like to what was usually otherwise a jangly mess of sounds from a drunken night in Akihabara. Sometimes a delight! Following his departure, though, the mechanical add-on harsh vocals seemed like some kind of rude joke; they got the point across, but with none of the pizzazz unless you’re very easily impressed.
When the group underwent its complete re-tool following the falling-out etc. between Rie and Rei*, one could be forgiven for thinking that the old way of doing things was going to be politely left aside. The piped-in death growls were kind of ha-ha cheesy at first, only to become just-plain cheesy in short order, to the point of ridiculousness, so songs that just skipped that whole bit and instead tried to actually be good songs, they were way more enjoyable; I mean, I know that people loved the hell out of “Pelo”, but I’m still overly partial to “LADY BABY BLUE”, which is as far a departure from “Nippon Manju” as you’ll find this side of a Negicco ballad.
Color me somewhat surprised — after Rei unceremoniously split and Rie started up on her solo project, I was among those who thought that Ladybaby, of whatever iteration, was as good as dead. Yes, this is idol, and humans are interchangeable parts, and Ladybaby management has been pretty cutthroat about personnel in the past, but still.
So then imagine how hard the coffee shot out of my face when I read this: