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

82 thoughts on “Alice Project

  1. Pingback: Seriously, People, Stop Putting Everything in Relation to BiS | Homicidols

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  5. Hey Boss, the Youtube channel you linked to above, is a fan channel and not very consistent.A better alternative is the “Kamen Joshi Official” channel, run by Alice Project, which has their daily videos translated/subtitled.It’s about a week behind the “Alice Project Official” daily videos. Hope you find this useful.

      • I feel very fortunate that Alice Project gives us this much access to the girls. It keeps me fully engaged in between song releases and the insight into the individual personalities is amazing. Without both channels it would be nearly impossible to keep track of all their activities.

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    • Oh…… My…… God…… Let the Shitstorm begin. I doubt Maniac will touch this with a 10 foot pole. I,on the other hand say, “America…….Fuck Yeah”.

      • I have now watched that video six times and am no closer to being able to put coherent thoughts to it than before I knew it existed. Like, are they serious? Is it clever satire? Where did they get all the Trump stuff? I don’t know enough about the Japanese sense of humor.

        • POSSIBLE SCENARIO AT MANIAC MANSION : Our beloved site host opens his computer while enjoying his morning coffee. Discovers link with popular idol-metal group repping for American political candidate. As smoke exudes from his ears as the gears begin to spin at increased RPM’s, a few options begin to manifest themselves. OPTION #1: Ignore story all together, post something about BiSH. Option #2: Post story for possible increase in site traffic, while risking his own personal opinions being revealed. OPTION #3 : Close computer, go outside for the day and hope it goes away. What a conundrum LoL.

  10. Pingback: New Kamen Joshi Song Is Ridiculously Disjointed, Also Pretty Rad | Homicidols

    • Hello Char T Saki, thank you for sharing this interview with us. It’s great to hear the girls speak in this candid manner. They are growing in popularity day by day and we are very happy for them. We have not seen Kuroki Hinako for a while, was she injured? Also, we saw what appeared to be an updated Oricon ranking for the SSA DVD at #2, is this true? Thank you again for sharing this interview, we really appreciate it.

      • Hinako is currently absent in family circumstances. Last year, she was resting in chronic gastritis. Maybe it is prolonged.
        Perhaps, #2 would be a daily ranking at the first day, SSA DVD was launched. In the latest weekly ranking, it is less than #21.

        • Thank you for your help. We send best wishes for Hinako to return to Armor Girls. Also hope to see Kamen Joshi on Kohaku Uta Gassen at years end. Collaboration with Mikawa Kenichi may be helpful for recognition. (;_;)

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  12. Aaaannnnd for your WTF Friday, we have a Nationwide TV ad for part 3 of 10 for “Kimagure Underground”. A 10 part series, each episode is 30 minutes. If schoolgirl street fights is your thing, “Kimagure Underground” should be on your list.…………..We will refrain from sharing the video that was also released today, for it is way to hot for this site. Let’s just say that Kanon, Moa and Erina make the VS models appear average.The EX-MAX clip is at Alice Project Official YT channel if you so dare.

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  14. Pingback: Check out These Videos from Kamen Joshi’s SSA Show | Homicidols

  15. Another installment of WTF Friday. Anna Tachibana is appointed as “Vatican Eradication Ambassador” by Kanagawa prefecture police. Please read article with embedded Google translation. Apparently Google equates pervert/molester with the Vatican. TOO DAMN FUNNY. Star Jyan/Kamemen Joshi collaborative theme song was performed to give power to victims of abuse/molestation. It’s obvious they’re getting substantial recognition and may be poised to break out of the underground. Here is the article, use embedded Google translator, and news clip from Yahoo News.

    • Thank you Char T Saki, can you explain about Nodaka’s intro speech. We hear sad music in background and thought she might be graduating. To be clear, we have much respect, love and admiration for Nodaka for all the hard work she has done over the past 5+ years. We enjoyed the new song and the performance very much. Nice rock ballad.

      • Hi, Tara. Don’t worry!
        Nodoka is not yet graduating.

        This song ‘s theme is Nodoka. So, she says feelings about this song.
        If published in the English channel , I want you to check the full text in there.

        To summarize what she said:

        Idol can be only when young, but I was slow to start with the idol.
        It was opposed by the parents and around. However, I discarded all, and came from my hometown to Tokyo.

        Initially, there was nothing.
        I wonder may I have continued to idol? There was also time to doubt it.

        But now it is different.

        There is such lyrics;
        “Jibun no ibasho mitsuketa Itsumademo Idyllic”

        “Jibun … Itsumademo” means
        “I found my place . Forever and ever” in English.
        And “Idyllic” means Nodoka, in Japanese.

        Forever and ever Nodoka.
        I’m glad that other members sings this part.

        • Thank you my friend, we will look forward to subtitled version in the coming days. Funny that Nodaka mentions age, as we were discussing what the real definition of “Idol” is. That some define it by age, as in teen girls, While others define idol groups as a certain number of members, usually 3 or more. Of course as the genre continues to move forward, some of the older definitions will have to be abandoned. For Kamen Joshi , the average age is well beyond teen years, with only a few members that will turn 20yrs old this year. Maybe you have your own definition of “Idol”? Please share your thoughts if you wish, on the other comment page you see my name. By the way we understand that Alice Project formed a new unit “Akiba Kamen”, led by Sakura Yuki, along with some of the trainees from OZ/Pa-Ken. This is to encourage youth participation in political elections? Is this the new song you mentioned before? We noticed the date of June 20 announcement. Thank you for all your help.

          • New song, to be released on June 8th, is titled “JEWELS” that is the image song of the game ELSWORD.

            Akiba Kamen is a unit to encourage young people to vote.
            In Japan, there is a national election in July. And from this, the age of the right to vote has been changed to 18 years from 20 years of age.

            What is the Idol?
            That’s a very difficult proposition to answer …

          • Hello Char T Saki, Thank you for all your help. All the information you provide is very useful and most appreciated. We will be anxiously awaiting the new song and are certain it will ROCK. The question of what is Idol? From all of our research, we conclude the idol is “Alice”. Meaning, that much of the idol/pop/kawaii culture is derived from Lewis Carroll’s tales of Alice. Beginning with Shimizu Yuko citing that “Hello Kitty” is from a cat named “kitty” that Alice played with in a scene from “Through The Looking Glass”, and continuing in the idol fashion still seen today in its various forms. We have concluded that “Alice” was adopted as the idealized image of a proper young girl and therefore used as a role model, using music as a vehicle to promote these ideas. We would love to hear your opinion on the subject. Feel free to correct any conclusions we may have jumped to.

    • Well well, Miss Tara is on the ball today. We noticed that you used the term “legendary” to describe our dear leader Nodaka. Since you’re on top of the current happenings, may we offer some historical video that perhaps you might not have seen, which may support your proclamation. This footage is from May 2011 which shows, not only the girls headbanging to Slipknot as their intro, but notice that Nodaka (red), Asami (pink) and Reika (purple) all stage diving in party dresses and heels. FANTASTIC. Also note that even at this early stage the Destroyers were quite organized and when the whistle blows, that’s the signal to form ranks for the catch. Obviously the dives weren’t as sophisticated as the 30 ft running, 180 degree, corkscrew style dives that were later perfected, and of course Nanaka has since taken to a new level , but the stage railing may have a part in that hindrance seen here. Ya gotta start somewhere. ENJOY.

      • Pureful still have Slipknot as their intro music. And yeah, before the boat, the stagediving was the thing AP were selling themselves on. Err, dunno if you know, but Alice Juban was the original AP “supergroup”, combining Pureful, Prism, and Cherry Blossom together. Funny how then later on Juban became one of the groups to be combined together to form Kamen Joshi…

          • I’m becoming fascinated by this group, there’s something about those eyes peering at me from behind those masks that’s mesmerizing. How do you find these older videos? I search youtube but always seen to get the same videos from the last couple of years. Please help. Thanx

          • Easy. Go to the Alice Project Official YT channel, click the “videos” tab to show all videos, in the upper right corner there is a tab that shows “Date Added”, click that tab to show “oldest to newest”. It will reverse the chronological order and begin with video from Sept 2010. Good luck and be careful, there are some charming characters in this group that will suck you in and keep you engaged. It’s like a sort of long running drama with all the human elements that those who enjoy back story/ behind the scenes info will enjoy.

  16. Here is the nationally televised CM featuring members of Kamen Joshi. Once again, our dear friend Char T Saki has made it clear that the girls have been tapped to encourage youth participation in the upcoming elections.Similar to the ‘Rock The Vote” campaigns in the States. It’s obvious that Alice Project has mastered the art of PR, and is constantly placing the girls in highly visible positions. It seems that certain entities in high places have had their souls captured by the charm and charismatic ways of the Mask.

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  18. NEW SONG : Kamen Joshi scores the image song “JEWELS” for the newest, very popular online game “Elsword”. Armor Girl Mayu Kusunoki will serve as public relations ambassador for the promotion, as well as new game character “Rose”. Also appearing as new game character “Freya” is Steam Girl Erina Kamiya, both cosplaying their new characters in the promotional TV CM (both girls sporting blonde hair, blue eyes and big guns, HOT DAMN). Obviously there is no music video, as the game itself provides the visual. The track features a very up tempo foundation, along with a big, crowd pleasing, catchy, sing-a-long style chorus, that has become part of their signature sound. Another feature of their unique sound is the ubiquitous rap breakdowns usually provided by Alice #10 members Nanaka Kawamura and Yuki Sakura, which we assume weren’t featured this time for time constraints, but a couple of righteous guitar solos fit in nicely and kept the track time at a tight 3:45. Works for us, good job girls. TV CM: SONG 10:00 am EST is the usual time of their Daily Alice video drop which may give us a first live performance from last nights theater show.

    • See now this is the kind of work I’ve come to expect outta you. Detailed, concise, a little editorializing, with the proper links for the next reader to wrap their head around. Consistency man…………CONSISTENCY!!!Redemption for that shit job you did with “Star Jyan”?………………….Maybe

    • Thanks you guys for all the xtra info. When i first heard this song ,I was hooked by the chorus instantly. It’s been stuck in my head for days,but I wasn’t sure what exactly was going on. I know less than zero about video games but have heard of Elsword somehow. It’s super cool that they made the characters for Mayu and Erina. What other groups get to do that kind of stuff? This is the best site I’ve found that has this much depth and participation, this page in particular seems to have it’s own translator with alot of posts back and forth exchanging information, that’s pretty cool compared to some of the other sites I’ve seen which are ghost towns. This one is more like a forum rather than a one man blog. Kudos to the webmaster.

      • Glad you find it useful. As you can see by the massive amount of content they produce, it literally takes 3 or 4 people to just keep up with them. Notice all the cross promotions they’re involved with are with very creative entities in their own field, most creative people recognize talent in others long before the average fan does. No wonder they’re constantly being sought after to represent companies and Government agencies to be the face and the sound of their concepts/campaigns. They know talent and charisma when they see it.

        • I need you guys help. What is this? I get that Erina is the the spokesperson /ambassador for the event and this is the TV ad for it, but is this a concert or some kind of festival? Looks like a super fun event. Please help.

          • This event is a 2km run held in Shizuoka on 7/10. The participants will be doused with colored powders and gels at as many as 8 different “coloring stations” throughout the course. There are 7 different events in various regions of Japan. Several were already held in April and May. These type of events are becoming very popular in the U.S. as well, with 12 states and parts of Canada playing host. Part of the money collected is given to charity. Of course, what better way to promote the event in Japan than with the thoroughbred Erina Kamiya. With all her TV appearances,game characters created in her image, and overall notoriety, it’s easy to see why she is quickly becoming the recognizable face of metal/rock idols. Looks like a “rad” event.

          • Thanx you guys. I really appreciate your help.It’s awesome how the girls get to be in all these TV shows and commercials. They’re getting so huge, everybody I know loves them, and Erina is like a goddess!!!!

        • Did you all catch the new STEAM GIRLS song yet? It’s totally badass cyber/steampunk with an awesome looking band. One of the coolest songs so far this year by anybody. I’m guessing this is a first performance preview of the official release. Still sketchy on the title thanks to google. All I got is “Foreshadowing Recovery Topology”???? No worries, the song kicks ass. Alice Project has some of the best songwriters in the game and this one is so unique and fits perfectly with the Steam Girl theme.

          • The title is probably correct, something like that “Topology for Recover the Foreshadowing”.
            This song was written by “Cyber New New” (サイバーニュウニュウ), as a collaboration for the “NY@BRICK”.
            Partially it had been introduced in the Daily Alice 純血 #1216.

  19. @Glock: Thanks for the videos. These girls are the ultimate party group. I could totally see them sitting around in a bar after a gig throwing back a few shots.

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