Goodbye BiSH: A Retrospective

BiSH officially disbands today, June 29th, following their last live at the Tokyo Dome. Like the members in their final official portrait (see the banner image above), the most commercially successful unit in the history of WACK ends their existence virtually unrecognizable (other than Atsuko’s glasses) from the fierce punks with all the naïve promise in the world who were booted from the 2015 Tokyo Idol Festival. While our attention on BiSH has waned over recent years as their music leaned more and more mainstream, our affection for the group and it’s multi-talented members has never wavered. Unfortunately, neither has our disappointment that BiSH, in their eight years of existence, never performed an overseas live.

It is hard to not to fantasize about what could-have-been with a BiSH that didn’t sign to AVEX and subsequently focus the entirety of their attention on expanding their appeal at home at the expense of international ambitions. But then again, a BiSH that didn’t sign to a major domestic label could not have evolved into the significant force in J-Pop music, fashion, and culture that they ultimately became. As Cal reminds me: 

“BiSH ARE one of the most popular groups in Japan with a diverse range of punk and pop rock songs who changed the world for the better.”

So as BiSH draws to an end, we will sideline our disappointments and instead celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of one of the most successful units in alternative idol history whose music and influence have made an irrevocable impression on the genre.

The BiSH Influence: By the Numbers

163 : Articles Posted on Homicidols

That is the third-most of any other unit behind only Necronomidol (175) and  Yukueshirezutsurezure (185). 

Homicidols’ BiSH Archive

 11 : Homicidols Best of the Year Awards Won

2016 – Best Performance (Less Than Sex Tour Final), Performer (Aina the End), B-Side (“Earth”), Song (“Hountou Honki”), Album (KiLLER BiSH), and Idol of the Year.

2017 – Best B-Side (“Help!!”), Surprise (Release of GUERiLLA BiSH), and Song, EP and MV (“GiANT KiLLERS”). 

Six : Nominations for Best Alt-Idol MVs of All Time

Voting on the final rankings is open until Friday, July 7: Vote Here. These are the nominees in alphabetical order.

Two : Entries in Homicidols Top 50 Idol Albums of All Time

# 5Brand New Idol SHiT

 

# 20KiLLER BiSH

NiNE CHERiSHED MEMORiES of BiSH

9. The Guerrilla Release of THE GUERRiLLA BiSH

On November 4, 2017, BiSH fanclub members clustered along the shores of the main canal in Dotonbori, Osaka for what had been vaguely described as an announcement by the unit.  Livestreamed around the world, a barge flying black sails and a BiSH flag floated into view blaring the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song and announcing the imminent release of their heretofore unmentioned second major-label album. Smoke then started pouring from the barge along with the opening chords of “Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni” as the members burst from the lower decks, launching into an impromptu, waterborne concert and kicking off WACK’s continuing tradition of guerilla releases.

8. Jpop Verzuz:  BABYMETAL vs. BiSH 

“My fondest memory was probably the way my entire corner of twitter rallied together for the BiSH vs BABYMETAL J-Pop Versuz event expecting to get absolutely steamrollered, going in all guns blazing anyway and somehow actually winning. When I think of BiSH, I think of good friends to this day.” – FarFromSleep

7. The Release of “Orchestra”

The emo, prog-punk ballad about love and innocence lost would spawn an entire sub-genre of alt-idol music in it’s wake. The song was divisive among fans upon it’s release as many feared it signaled BiSH’s turn away from it’s punk roots in pursuit of more pop-friendly territory. While those fears proved to be correct, the tune has endured as one of the most influential and signature songs of the genre. 

6. Ling Ling Accidentally Wins a Pro Wrestling Title

https://twitter.com/ddtpro/status/1493170479808790528?s=20

Which she later lost to an apple.

5. MOMOKO GUMi COMPANY  Casually Chats about Vaginal Discharge

“One of my first exposures to BiSH was watching the livestream where Momo showed her discharge rag. As you all know I’m drawn to chaos so I immediately got hooked” – Kerrie

4. “NON TiE-UP” Converts Unbelievers

“When I was doing a course at community college I was friends with a K-Pop fan, and I really liked NON-TiE UP when it came out. She didn’t like it until she called me drunk once at like 1:00 am and said, ‘No. I fully understand now. They’re queens. Licking tits AND jerking off! They GET IT.'” – Cal

3. “Shakai no Rule” Breaks Universal Laws

“My fondest memory of BiSH is probably related to “Shakai no Rule”. My ex is way more of a Aina fan than I ever will be, but it was fun to share my hobby with him via BiSH, you know? Anyway, I don’t remember which one of us found out they were doing an ending theme for this anime we never heard of, and yet, it was simulcast and subbed on Crunchyroll. So we check out Heybot to see the ending in situ, not expecting much of a children’s anime made to sell toys. What we found was one of the most chaotic post-modern masterpieces of comedy to grace television. It is WILD. It also happens that “Shakai no Rule” absolutely slaps, so every time I hear it, I think of the good memories of Heybot and that previous relationship, with a killer soundtrack.” – Papermaiden

 

2. BiSH Gets Kicked Out of TiF 2015

In 2015, the organizers of Tokyo idol Festival had put in place strict rules against lifting and moshing. Units whose fans were prone to such behavior, such as those from WACK, where warned to ask their fans to behave. BiSH, who was less than a year old at this point and didn’t have a lot of songs in their catalog, had adopted the old punk trick (also extensively used by BiS) of playing their best song multiple times to pad out their gigs. Aware of this, TiF organizers had also asked BiSH not to repeat any songs during their set.

Since asking a punk NOT to do something is effectively a command to do that very thing, BiSH kicked off their debut on the first day of TiF with a Smile Garden set consisting of back-to-back performances of “Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni” while their fans responded with lots of lifting and moshing.

BiSH was asked to not return for the rest of the festival.

While the official PV (below) was scrubbed of all offending fan behavior, the full, unedited footage is still out there. We know what we saw.

1. BiSH Triumphantly Returns to TIF 2016 and Effectively Destroys the Main Stage

After being unceremoniously booted from TiF 2015, one of the big questions was, “Would BiSH score a 2016 invite to the penultimate idol taiban?” After being scooped up by major label AVEX (who TiF is understandably unable to say, “No,” to) the question of an invite became academic and shifted to: “What kind of shenanigans would BiSH be able to get away with at TiF when backed by a major label?” 

We found out with the rest of the nation as TBS broadcast the 2016 TiF mainstage live on Japanese television. In reference to the restrictions imposed on them one year prior, BiSH launched into a six-song set list that consisted entirely of back-to-back performances of “Hoshi ga Matataku Yoru ni, ” and stopped giving a fuck around rendition four.  It was peak BiSH.

Feel free to share your top memories of BiSH over on the Homicidols Discord server.

What’s Next?

  • AiNA the END and Cent Chihiro Chittiii will both pursue their solo careers.
  • Ayuni D will continue with her band project, PEDRO.
  • Momoko Gumi Company will continue to pursue her writing career with her second novel being published in July. 
  • Atsuko Hashiyasume will pursue a career in acting.
  • Ling Ling (undisputedly, the best member of the unit by any meaningful measure) has not been specific about her plans. Whatever they are, they will most likely not involve birds. 

If you need some group therapy to help weather the loss of BiSH, check out this thread and consider participating in the campaign.

Re:BiSH?

A competition has been held over the past few months to cast the successor to BiSH. Tentatively titled,  BiSH THE NEXT, the group was recently revealed to be called, BiTE A SHOCK.

The members will be revealed on July 1. If you have a VPN and Hulu, you may be able to watch the broadcast live.

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