Japanese Idol Industry to be Dismantled after Insightful Critique by Westerner

Every idol unit across Japan announced mass graduations today after a scathing yet revelatory indictment was leveled against the entire industry via commentary on a Western website. “We had no idea our entertainment culture was so flawed and toxic”, said an industry spokesperson. Continue reading

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ATARASHII GAKKO!: Freaks, Out

ATARASHII GAKKO! dropped an MV for the new song “Freaks”, featuring Indonesian rapper Warren Hue and whole heya of sumo wrestlers.

Once again utilizing the square, Instagram-friendly aspect ratio, the members display mini-super powers as they battle sumo wrestlers in a battle to see who’s most goofy. Continue reading

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Let’s Discover Some Idols: SIPP (Super iDOL Pops Punk)

Brand new idol unit SIPP have introduced themselves to the world with, “dawn”, a startlingly brilliant debut single and MV. If you aren’t yet quite convinced that 2021 contains promise, here’s some definitive proof:

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Weekend Livestream Spotlight: IDORISE!! vs. Gyuno Fest – PIGGS, BURST GIRL, MIGMA SHELTER, CROSSNOESIS and many more

I haven’t done one of these in while since updating The Calendar and streaming idol lives every weekend has basically just become the routine. This weekend, however, seems a bit special as we have two festivals going head-to-head among other A-list options. To help sort through this plethora of premium livestreams, I thought we might want to talk this one out.

To kick off the weekend, IDORISE!! Festival is going head to head with the Gyuno Pre-Spring Festival but, unless you are huge DESURABBITS fan, round one goes to IDOLRISE!! Continue reading

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We Review Things: The Flowers of Passion – Episode 04

One of my favorite moments in The Flowers of Passion documentary series comes at the beginning of each episode where CHiHiRO of MERRY BAD END sings a subdued, acapella version of their song, “Restart”, while the opening credits roll. It is a mesmerizing yet imperfect performance and the delicate smile she gives the camera at its conclusion epitomizes, in miniature, the portrait the series attempts to portray: that while underground idol lacks perfection, it comes from an earnest and genuine place.

CHiHiRO, for her part, is kind of the break-out star of the series. Aside from providing the series’ opening theme song, she is featured in most of the episodes providing valuable access and articulate insight into the backstage workings of the idol unit she created and leads. Episode four, entitled, “Idol Grind”, focuses on the daily scramble of idol life and the long hours required to put those acts on stage while taking care of the other responsibilities and priorities in their lives.  Continue reading

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We Review Things: The Flowers of Passion – Episode 02

Episode 02 of Derek Vasconi’s documentary series, The Flowers of Passion was made available for streaming on Friday, and I dug into it almost immediately. 

The episode packs a lot into 73 minutes, giving us XOXO EXTREME’s thoughts on the history of idol and the difficulties of holding a place in it, some dramatically personal insight into what it is like to be 14th Generation Toilet Hanako-San, footage from a special acoustic set by NaNoMoRaL, and a behind-the-scenes look at LiLii Kaona’s creative processes including the birth of their incomparable tune, “Rust”.

This is all delivered via extremely candid conversations and intimate performance footage capturing the action both on stage and in the studio. So far, the strength of the series stems from the presentation of the interviews and performances largely without external narration or commentary. Other than the first several minutes of episode one (which we reviewed here), the only editorial context comes from infrequent captions that usually serve an introductory purpose. The end result is that what we see and hear is almost entirely the unfiltered thoughts of the idols and their management or production staff.  Continue reading

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ATARASHII GAKKO! Drop First International Single and MV

After their November announcement of signing with American multimedia platform 88rising, and their December participation in the DOUBLE HAPPINESS Global Holiday Festival, ATARASHII GAKKO! are continuing their quest for world domination with the January release of, “NAINAINAI”, their first international single and MV.

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Weekend Livestream Spotlight: RAY, SAKA-SAMA, Banana Monkeys and Many More at the (Free) Online YOIMACHI

I took a break from the Spotlight for the holidays but have returned to make sure you are aware of the (FREE!) Online YOIMACHI festival being broadcast across four YouTube channels this Sunday (JST). The line up is pretty mind blowing:

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Dan te Lion: The Hardest Working Unit in IdolRock

If, like me, you have spent the COVID crisis bingeing chika idol livestreams from Japan, then you have probably come to be familiar with Dan te Lion. When I started keeping The Calendar back in mid-July, they had just hosted Volume 35 of their Diffusion Φ Brightness Twitcast performance series featuring agency mates Chu Kiss RIP, KANARIA and recurring guests like ZOMBIE POWDER and (personal favorite) Lil na Valley. This past weekend, they broadcast Volume 61, which is a remarkable pace made all the more impressive by the fact that they typically perform two-to-three other shows each week on top of that.

Dan te Lion took a break from their relentless live schedule to drop a new MV on Tuesday that serves as the first single from their new album, [GO], which they then proceeded to drop on Wednesday.

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Yukueshirezutsurezure: The End of Not Secured, Loose Ends – Memoir of a Gunjo

I have been having a harder time than anticipated processing the disbandment of Yukueshirezutsurezure on January 2nd. I had previously survived the graduation of Shidare and, just over a year ago when Komachi, the final remaining original member (and my long-time kami-oshi), disappeared for over a month without a word, I assumed that she was nearing retirement herself. So, almost a year ago, I had begun emotional preparations for this prospective eventuality. Apparently I was not as effective as I thought. 

This is primarily due to when, half-way through 2020, Tsurezure released Paradox Soar, their freshest and most progressive album in years. On it, they explored new musical genres and, I thought, had well positioned themselves for a post-Komachi Tsurezure under the extraordinarily capable leadership of Mei Yui Mei. That album, on my short list for Best of the Year, buoyed my expectations for the group. These mislaid hopes meant that, when the imminent dissolution of the group was announced at the end of November, the crash of disappointment was from a much more traumatic height. Continue reading

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