You may have seen the news that, for the first time in more than four years, Osaka Shunkashuto* is losing a member. That’s sad for them! But it also rekindled a thread of discussion in Team chat last week about Syukasyun, about whether they are in fact still good or are now boring. I thought this warranted investigation!
Background: I loved Osaka Shunkashuto. During that formative I-want-to-hear-it-all period, my first exposure to them was the incomparable “C’mon!”. Of course I wanted to hear a lot more from them after that. Sure, the indie work wasn’t all hits, but that era of the group, doing fun rock covers and channeling throwback R&B and soul in a way that nobody else was while old boss Soezimax helped them develop gripping video content, they felt undeniable and inevitable.
You know who else loves Osaka Shunkashuto? Chris does. I recall that some of our earliest interactions were about the group, including during the period that I believe began in earnest only after they signed with Avex but maybe during the time with Fujiyama Project, which is when the shade began. Not from Chris; oh no, the man is a true believer. From me, you see, and I feel like my increasing frustration with the group that really began around the “New Me” single and definitely peaked with the SSFW album was perhaps a little too pointed and vocal, for Chris would chastise me for it. He would also insist that no matter how much kvetching I did, SSFW was in fact good and fun.
Nonetheless, this argument was broached against last week, when Chris asserted (no, I will not give you context) that if only we/I would give Syukasyun another chance (now, at least two years since I wrote them off forever), then we/I would see the truth. That this was asserted in the context of allowing that yes, the case was undermined by recent-est work, only served to embolden my commitment to the assertion that SSFW is boring. However, being the kind and generous and extremely handsome Maniac that I am, I deigned to quite literally hear the two competing arguments as to whether Osaka Shunkashuto is boring and then render a flawless, beautiful verdict that cannot ever be questioned.
Attending the Tokyo Idol Festival has always been on my bucket list. The primary barrier for me had been, having grown up in the Sonoran desert, a complete lack of tolerance for the humidity levels of Odaiba during Japan’s late summer. Hope was kindled in my desert rat heart when it was announced that TIF 2020 would be held in October when the heat and humidity is much less gruesome. This hope was, of course, dashed completely by the COVID crisis. TIF organizer’s decision to deliver the festival entirely online for 2020 has generated a new kind of hope. This livestream format gives many of us foreigners the opportunity to check “Attended Tokyo Idol Festival” off our bucket lists, even if the accomplishment will have a COVID-shaped asterisk next to it.
The hardest part of being a fancy idol blogger is definitely dealing with the disappointments. I’ve pointed out in the past to absolutely zero objection that, if we’re all being honest, a lot of the people covered in this space aren’t terribly talented, and the music, though it undoubtedly has appeal for someone somewhere, just isn’t all that exceptional — but those aren’t the disappointing things. What’s disappointing is when a project is cool and fresh and smart, and the idols have great individual talents that align perfectly with the concept, and it all coalesces into something really great … that then, almost always for bottom-line business decisions, get reduced to a soulless husk. That is disappointment, and it kills your want-to as a blogger.
All that being said, Osaka Shunkashuto, who once upon a time did this, have a new EP coming out next week, and they released an MV, and the song is from that FAIRY TAIL anime that most notably BiSH also contributed theme music to, and stupid me got hype about the release for a minute before I hit play and: Continue reading →
Well, maybe it’s going to be 2016 Week here at Homicidols Dot Com, what with the C-Style yesterday and today the reappearance of an old favorite that I’d all but given up on. Of course I’m talking about Osaka Shunkashuto!
What I’m about to show you is shocking. On the one hand, it’s by-the-gods Osaka Shunkashuto doing their bread and butter, a by-the-gods rock song with a delicious hook; on the other hand, it’s … well, it’s the theme song for an anime called FAIRY TAIL, aka SSFW’s new single, which is itself actually called “NO-LIMIT”:
I don’t know one way or another what drove the creative decision to sound more like what made SSFW such a must-catch in the first place, but I’m going to flatter myself and many others by saying that it’s because we complained a lot about pretty much everything that Syukasyun’s done lately, especially in the last year. Well, everybody except those handful of you who really liked “NEW ME.”
Also, this is apparently the best that Avex money can do for what used to be one of the hottest emerging talents in idol? Yikes. Maybe that’s why I’m hedging my emotional bets a little bit, though I’ll offer that, if this is the space where SSFW is going to live from now on, I can support that in full — they were always at their best as a fun, party-rockin’ kind of low-seriousness project, and hey, that’s exactly what this is! But damn, totally indie, self-funded idol projects (ahem) manage to creative much more dynamic content.
And yet, here they are on Avex, about two years removed from the jump from the indies to Fujiyama Project, so what do I know? Maybe it’s the spark they need!
This song is lame and boring and a waste of MAINA’s talents and it’s been way too long since they did anything half as interesting as their work with Soezimax. Other folks can do whatever they want and that’s fine, but I’m considering the group to be Weekender filler at this point.
Please at least try to be cool again, whoever’s currently managing what used to be one of my favorite idol projects.
I was going through some of the recent festival lives the other day, and did the smart thing and kept checking out the YouTube recommendations — how else to waste literal hours at work? — and I saw a familiar face. MAINA. You know, arguably the most talented girl in idol? Tiny little person, ridiculous dancer, more-ridiculous singer, capable of playing instruments and stuff? That MAINA.
Normally, where there’s MAINA, there’s Osaka Shunkashuto, who … did not really impress with their last release, but they’re legit until they stop being legit, and I happen to be a total MAINA partisan and will struggle to keep her and her group relevant (to me, at least) until they’re a full-on R&B outfit, which would be cool in its own way, but not really a thing for Homicidols.com.
Yeah, they released this on their app at least a week ago, and then teased out a download link on Twitter (and immediately deleted it), and I was starting to think that the video would never get a public release because idols can be cruel.
Due to an ongoing conversation with Kerrie about some stuff that we can pull into the Friday Fun series, I’ve had idol performance on my mind a lot lately, and, while this is a music website first and foremost, dance is a pretty big part of the idol experience, and the idea of loudols doing choreographed, athletic routines being a perfectly normal thing is probably an important step toward normalizing idol for the normies.
So! Last week, the Monday Match Game featured a hip-hop beatdown of epic proportions, as the original Koutei Camera Girl flat-out smoked Girl Zwei and Gal by a cumulative 2:1 margin, thereby earning the right to face off against Drei after they debut and get out some material. Good times!
That was a question of beats; this is a question of steps. And twirls. And stuff. And while there are plenty of idols who are good-enough dancers, there are those who flat-out excel at it and have the ability to move on stage and tell a physical story to the music. And among those, there are those for whom dance is the very center of their game.
This week’s participants aren’t just at the top of the world of idol dance; they have something very important in common, too. Yes, friends, this week’s Match Game pits dance-unit-turned-idol against dance-unit-turned-idol. In the red corner, hailing from Osaka and led by the soulfullest voice in idol, a former high school dance unit that added vocals and never looked back; in the blue corner, from some posh boutique that we aren’t cool enough to enter, a former pro dance unit that added vocals, immediately became a thing and is about to make their major debut.
Similar backgrounds, similar timelines and a whole mess of muscle control. When the lords of idol dance enter, only one will survive! Continue reading →