You guys are crazy. Absolutely crazy. And not just the regular group of weirdos — who are the hundreds of people who swooped in over the last couple of weeks to vote for their favorite songs and artists? Amazing. I’m literally touched.
As we learned, Kamen Joshi was just too much for anybody to handle; once the Mask Girls themselves got involved and asked their legions of loyal fans to intervene, their victory was basically ensured. BiSH, who are rapidly approaching untouchable status in their home country, probably won the Western portion of the vote, but their management didn’t provide the same kind of support as others, and they fell.
In our make-up consolation round, The Spunky made an effort to get the fans out, and they were able to turn the tide against Screaming Sixties, who I think won the vote among site regulars but definitely got a nice boost from some of them, too — catchy is catchy, kids.
And to think that we got there when a single fan of a presumed finalist, Deathrabbits, took it upon himself (yes, he’s been ID’ed by now) to do a bit of auto-voting. Contrary to both the spirit and the rules of the Corenament as that was, it got the death pop bunnies eliminated, and they took Babymetal down with them. Of course, the Kitsune Warriors were already well on their way to losing to Kamen Joshi fair and square; the DQ was just a formality.
I think most people know Kamen Joshi on the strength of their 2014/15 work, before the big roster overhaul but while they were starting to blow up. That music is nice, whether by the mothership or Alice Juban / Steamgirls / Armor Girls on their own (I personally love Armor Girls). But then they started to step up their game, and the horrorcore vibe is strong with these ones.
Truth be told, their victory was a slowly developing round-by-round shellacking of all that stood in their way; by the time they got to BiSH, only a herculean effort from the idolcore runners-up was going to stand a chance. “SOUL” proved to be popular on its own, and the way that their fans talked about them (in bulk!) in the comments during the final wrinkle of the final made a very compelling case for everybody to explore more of the Mask Girls’ music and think about a visit to the PARMS Theater.
BiSH fought every inch of the way, literally; they were actually beaten by PassCode in the entry round and had to wild-card their way through some serious heavies to get to the semifinals, where they made a good match against Deathrabbits until the cheating started.
Oddly, BiSH was probably going to be the runner-up to whoever they matched against. The BiS family hasn’t seemed to have caught on in the West nearly as well as some others. It’s like people can respect them and yeah, I guess that’s a pretty good song, but they aren’t clamoring to buy their stuff. Which, given the remove from the BiS/H cultural context by dint of living not in Japan, probably has something to do with it.
The Honorable Mention
The Spunky were the Corenament’s breakouts. Not a small percentage of people commented that they’d never even heard of them until we started, and then they couldn’t get THAT DAMN SONG out of their heads. Folks, you wonder why I usually stay away from pop punk.
This isn’t to diminish The Spunky at all, or how their management and fans embraced the Corenament as a way to build exposure. If anything, they’re a lesson to others: People will pay attention to what you’re doing and selling if you give them something to pay attention to.
Anyway, it’s third place this year, but goodness knows what the future might hold.
We all know deep down that a switch thrown to turn on the Babymetal corner of the Internet would have ended this competition in a heartbeat. The Reddit community alone thrives on destroying polls. So I didn’t make any effort to reach out to Reddit or Newswire, and even deliberately obscured what this was so one of the biggest bands in the world right now would have to stand on their own six feet while going toe to toe with a diverse range of idol groups.
Now, strategy and alliances and the like notwithstanding, the fact that Babymetal probably wasn’t going to get out of the semifinal can’t be looked at as anything other than a disappointment. Of course, they’ll be back next year, ready to tear this thing apart.
I guarantee that nobody gave Deathrabbits much of a chance at any point. Even a lot of their self-professed fans find the whole thing a little ridiculous. But that’s what made it interesting when they crushed Ladybaby in the DEATH POP DEATHMATCH, then fought tooth-and-nail, round-by-round, until they ran into a very game BiSH in the semifinals. They too may have won that match and then had a puncher’s chance in the final, but That Naughty Fan ruined it for everybody.
Deathrabbits have new music coming soon. The Deathrabbits Army may prove to be impossible to shake.
It was looking like a pretty boring, predictable end to the Corenament until Twitter user @char_tee_saki noticed the game and, long story short, told Kamen Joshi’s leading members about it. Before anybody knew what was happening, there were enough custom tweets and retweets and mentions to fill a middle school science class. All of a sudden, at the urging of the Mask Girls themselves, we had ourselves a competition.
Why a fan? Because the site is about the music, but it’s ultimately all about us, what we like and share and tell each other about. @char_tee_saki did exactly what everybody should do and let their friends and followers know that cool things are happening, and here’s a place to learn about it.
Also earning votes: Phillter for translating some important stuff; my wife for going out of town and giving me free time to manage the last weekend.
Wait Til Next Year
I don’t think anybody expected the #13 seed to win it all, and that’s fine. What it means, though, is that Kamen Joshi’s going to have their hands full with fighting off contenders all year.
The odds-on favorite again has to be Babymetal. They’re going to spend the year playing massive shows, winning awards and making tons of money and fans.
But we’ve seen that PassCode is right on that cusp, too. BiSH is blowing up. The Codomomental sister groups, Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da and Yukueshirezutsurezure, both made big moves already this year and could add a very creepy, heroin-addicted kind of vibe to next year’s podium. The Spunky are developing a nice thing for themselves and fear no one. Screaming Sixties could well be about to release the idol version of London Calling. Groups we’re just getting to know, like petit pas!, could be incredibly tough outs. Groups that don’t even exist yet could be major spoilers.
Some of the rules for next year’s Corenament will be different, and some of the mistakes made this year will help me make better decisions about what to design and how to design it. If you’re curious, just ask.
But congratulations to the winners and near winners, shame unto those who try to cheat, and thank you to all for taking part!