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

Reaping what you sow: The Flowers of Passion, Episode 1 Reaction & Review

It’s not every day that we get new long form content from the underground idol scene, especially now that we are in this whole sanitary disaster. So it was with great curiosity that I rented Derek Vasconi’s first episode of his documentary series Flowers of Passion.

Derek Vasconi has made his mark in the idol scene through several ventures: he organized the East Meets West Music Festival, and went on to create the idol merch website Idol Underworld, which aims to make idol merch more accessible for overseas fans, as well as producing original merch, like the many idol exclusive photobooks. Idol Underworld also has a sister site called Cheki World, a second-hand market to allow oversea fans to sell and trade their covetable idol polaroids. Flowers of Passion is his first foray into film and his first documentary. 


The hour long episode, first of a series of five, seems centered on the production and self-production aspect, as well as the historic roots of idols. It revolves mostly around Asakura Mizuho via Bellring Girl’s Heart & Saka-Sama, NaNoMoRaL, Usakura Beni from avandoned, and finally, Merry Bad End.
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Weekend Livestream Spotlight: NaNoMoRaL, MANACLE, Canary, NECROMA, and HimeKyunFruitCan Turns 10

This is a three-day, holiday weekend in Japan with the observation of Respect for the Aged Day on Monday. I can’t think of a better way to show our great esteem for the elderly among us than with some chika idol livestreams. There are lots of options on The Calendar, but here are our top recommendations:

Two of the best units going, NaNoMoRaL and Shihatsu-machi Underground, start off the weekend with the latest installment of the beyond excellent Tribu .pre live series over on Twitcasting.tv.

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NaNoMoRaL Return With A Little MV And A Lot Of Heart..

The producer/singer duo of Amamiya Miku and Paseli-chan are one of the most active groups on the scene, playing tons of live shows and finding time for the occasional CD-R release to keep their flow of creative output fresh-faced and continuously evolving. Their group, NaNoMoRaL still remain one of the great stand-outs of a saturated scene, because they pursue their own vision and eskew the easier paths to more conventional success as an idol unit. This gamble pays off for them, at least on an artistic level, as they consistently make excellent, powerful music with lots of heart and courage!

The CD-R is a single song “Donen Shizuru” (I hope I got that right.) and it’s very much a continuation of one of the more unique and distinctive sounds to be found in idol circles. And as an extra treat, Amamiya stars in a low-key DIY MV to share the song with the world at large…

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NaNoMoRaL Grace Us With an MV, a New Song, & Lots of Feeling…

The power duo NaNoMoRaL have been charming us with some really terrific music since last year, with their debut EP “Nisan ka Tanso” being one of my personal favorite releases of 2018. When you combine Amamiya Miku‘s raw, emotional vocals, and terrific stage presence with Kajiwara Paseli‘s tech wizardry and secondary vocals, you have a group that’s proven themselves to be a unit worth watching.

I feel like 2019 could be a highly eventful year for these two, so it’s welcome news to see their first true “MV” finally released, and it’s for a new song at that!

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We Review Things: NaNoMoRaL is Long Overdue For a Heaping Ton of Glowing Praise…

I feel like a bit of a wrong has been committed in that NaNoMoRaL hasn’t gotten a proper write-up on this blog, but it’s most certainly not Maniac’s fault. They’ve been on the Homicidols radar nearly from the unit’s beginning, but I kinda-sorta called some claim on this group, and then sat on it far longer than they deserve. But the honest-to-goodness truth is that the reason for that is because I feel strongly that the group is so good, and it’s debut EP is so excellent, that I really wanted to think about this and get everything right instead of just blabbering like a giddy little fanboy. 

NaNoMoRaL is a duo made up of Amamiya Miku and Paseli-chan. Amamiya is remembered by a lot of us by her stage name “Natsuki” from her time in Avandoned. Natsu left that group in late 2016 and reappeared shortly after in the far-more traditional idol unit Emoquru Scoop (currently renamed EMOP), and then later still, announced she was leaving to become a solo act. But in actuality, she was working with EMOP’s producer, who happens to be Paseli-chan, and so, NaNoMoRaL was created! (Hope you’re taking notes on this.)  Continue reading