Maybe you like Coldplay and Beyonce and Bruno Mars and Left Shark. Those are okay things to like! But if the Super Bowl halftime show isn’t your bag, why not spend that time with some homicidols instead?
For the edification of new friends, these are BiS, Babymetal, Fruitpochette and BiSH. But there are plenty of performers taking idol and going in a harder, darker direction with it, so click around on the site, follow up on “The Artists” in the nav and leave comments to let us know what you think!
While there’s inevitably confusion about when the kickoff of the Super Bowl, Super Bowl 50, will be held, the fact is that the actual information has been put out there by the NFL, both the Broncos and the Panthers, and officials from both Denver and Carolina franchises, have all but announced exactly when the game will start.
But it doesn’t matter if you’re going to prop bet or just want to make sure that you don’t miss the kickoff of Super Bowl 50, because these girls can tell you exactly when kickoff of the Super Bowl will be.
While you wait for kickoff, which is definitely at 6:30 just like every TV station and website and everything else has been saying for forever, enjoy the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist and give this site a cruise-around.
The hard side of idol is a lot bigger than Babymetal. Exciting things are happening. Pay attention.
Pretty much my least favorite thing to have to deal with that deal with I must because there’s just enough of you people who like and encourage them that they probably aren’t going to just up and go away despite all of my prayers, Ladybaby, just dropped the video for … is this the second single?
I do a bit of snake-oil work on this site; I don’t actually love all of the things that I at least try to get excited about. I am, however, at the very least somewhat objective and, when the enthusiasm is genuine, I try to let that shine through so other people can be excited, too.
That being said, I want Ladybaby to fall into an active volcano.
Just like on their profile, honestly, it isn’t personal; Ladybeard seems like a very cool person, and Rei and Rie look like they’re having fun, and there’s a certain mindless fun to “Nippon Manjyu.” I just can’t with this.
Part of it is, yes, your friendly neighborhood Homicidol Maniac just doesn’t care much for death pop. But FFS, I never EVER stop a track before listening all the way through it at least once, and I still can’t get past 1:50 of this even on the fourth try.
The hope is that this is a constantly evolving website, with new posts on a regular basis and lots of discussion and updates as the idol groups profiled change and release new material (and, sadly, go kaput). I also want to add new profiles on a regular basis.
Here are some groups that I’ve found and rather like and think would make for good additions to the site, but have limited releases so far and/or little information available in English.
Creepy gothic metal as composed by Danny Elfman for a Tim Burton movie? Sign me up! But for real, the rest of their sound is much, much more akin to something you’d have heard in the glory days of thrash. It’s good.
In addition to having a name like a Final Fantasy boss’s big attack, this is some of the core-iest idolcore / idol metalcore out there. More, please. Plus, the band is actually recognized as part of the group, which kind of puts HATEGLEAM in a weird place as far as this site goes, but anti-idols fronting a metalcore band is pretty okay, I think. (I make the rules!)
Dark synth and some metal-like stuff. Honestly, Lolisyn confuses the crap out of me — they’re on their second full iteration after literally burying the original members on stage, and they have real-deal releases and stuff, but I can’t find them anywhere.
Edit: Nevermind about Lolisyn! Turns out that they’re disbanding for good in a couple of months. OH WELL!
Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da
That track right there, “ShitEnd | Placebo,” is on its own in the running for 2015 Debut Single of the Year. What starts off as kind of a digital popcore goes into a legitimate breakdown? And the group’s name is literally “It’s All Your Fault”? Come on. They’re like a gateway drug for Western hard rock fans to get into J-pop.
Plus, they have an album coming up! Given what we’ve heard so far, it could be almost anything, or possibly several everythings united by a lot of energy and a ton of self-loathing and anger.
*Make no mistake; a profile for Kiminosei is probably shortly forthcoming.
And that’s really just to start — there are literally dozens of groups sitting in my queue, and I’m sure that there are more that I don’t know about yet. Tell me who to cover; if you’re management, tell me about your group!
I’m a little bit glad that I waited to write this profile for Ladybaby to get a bit more of their stuff together, because relying on nothing more a little bit of info and this song wouldn’t have made for very much:
There isn’t a group in the homicidol pantheon that got a bigger, more enthusiastic rub from the Babymetal phenomenon than Ladybaby. Basically thrown together in 2015, this bizarre trio has been the subject of a surprising amount of buzz from Day One.
The first thing that people notice is the lineup: This isn’t just an idol trio doing death pop; Ladybaby has its more regulation idols in the form of Rei and Rie (I hope that was deliberate), plus the mutli-platform performer at-large, Ladybeard.
And who is Ladybeard? Why, just your standard-issue Anglo-Australian bodybuilding death metal pro wrestler who dresses like a kawaiidol. In fact, Ladybeard identifies as a five-year-old girl.
I won’t knock that. Ladybeard was working within the character for a good while before Clearstone (a costume company) came calling with the idea to put together a death pop unit with Ladybeard at the center. It was that idol-as-wrestler-and-screamer that was attractive to Clearstone in the first place.
Ladybeard is flanked by “real” idols, on the other hand. Rie has been idoling around for a little while now; Rei is already pretty accomplished first as the singer of the idol rock band BRATS (who, as a band, aren’t a subject of this site), and both of them were the 2015 winners of the MissID idol fan contest. In a vacuum, good for them! In reality, please read this post for why Rei’s position in this group isn’t just the story of a talented young woman, and why that’s a problem.
I won’t belabor it here, though, for this is a profile and the point is the music. Just please read it.
And what is that music? It’s death pop. Period. Punctuation mark.
Is it good? I’ll let you decide whether you think it’s good. The whole Anglophone idol world has treated Ladybaby as if they’ve accomplished anything from the second they went kind of viral with “Nippon Manjyu,” with the kind of excitement that even well-established groups have a hard time garnering. Personally, I’m a no.
“This is not a good song.” —Maniac in completely unobjective blogger mode
But Ladybaby is in a unique position. In the past, if a group shot that hard out of the gate, they’d typically burn out in a few months; instead, Ladybaby management is treating the interest with a mix of strategies that look to be designed to really catch on with Westerners now that Babymetal broke down that wall while keeping the local Japanese burn at a slower-than-usual pace. The fact that they went on a U.S./Europe tour with nothing but a single actual song, a TBD second single and a few covers testifies to that (and the fact that they could actually draw a crowd, especially when in Europe, testifies to the relative degree of success).
How much of that is due to people genuinely liking their music, liking them, liking Ladybeard, etc., remains to be seen. I will say this: This is a very well-managed group. They’re definitely geared toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, to take advantage of international interest in the country and its culture, and they’re already all over the music media, Asian cultural events, social media, etc. Smart.
As of this writing, Ladybaby had only just released that second single, “Age-Age Money,” and are somewhere in the process of putting together a full debut album, so keep an eye on them. The next big crossover group may already be here.
I will do things even more embarrassing than that dude who broke down crying at Babymetal’s success if Ladybaby outsells somebody like BiSH or PassCode in North America.
What they sound like
As with Deathrabbits, it’s death pop. Ladybaby, though, employs a bit of denpa style. The whole thing is meant to be a big ball of fun, and it is, especially if you can shut off your brain.
You’ll like them if
You like death pop in general, you like Deathrabbits, you like Babymetal, you like denpa and also metal. This isn’t well-charted territory.
So for reasons that aren’t particularly clear, like the entire J-whatever Internet world seems to be required to do or say something about Ladybaby. Why be left out?
Because death pop is undeniably a thing, and occasionally it’s a worthwhile thing, and Ladybaby is undeniably death pop, they’re profiled on this website. I also did it because SEO BITCHES!
But I’d be lying if I said that I’m particularly supportive of Ladybaby. I’d also be lying if I said that I just don’t like Ladybaby.
I don’t. There’s really no reason to. No reason to like them, honestly, but also no reason to hate them. I’ll just toss out some thoughts that I think are kind of important.
Ladybaby is real. When “Nippon Manjyu” and those intro videos were first making the rounds, I mostly didn’t believe that it was anything more than an absolute flash in the pan, but they just kind of kept going and pretty soon were doing shows in Europe and the USA.
Ladybaby is not worth your strong feelings. Little Brother has commented that the music is lazy, and it is, but it’s also inoffensively so (how many legitimate hits have consisted of like three chords just kind of thrown together?). The clean/death verse/chorus thing is done to death at this point, but that’s not an issue. It’s just, overall, lowest common denominator music. It’s not groundbreaking or challenging or threatening.
Ladybaby is not going to last for very long. I’m amending this position: Because more idol groups are being given time to breathe, and because there’s international interest, Ladybaby won’t exhaust itself for a while yet.
If you’re a Babymetal fan, you should be bothered by Ladybaby. Not because Ladybaby is any kind of a threat to Babymetal, but because Ladybaby is everything that idiotic tr00 metal fans have always accused Babymetal of being; by dint of being idol units, they’re both agency creations, and they’re both doing heavy music … and that’s it. It does feel weird to say that an idol unit put together by one of the biggest talent agencies in Japan paid its dues, but Babymetal worked their asses off for years to get to where they are, and Ladybaby … just kind of showed up and rode the wave that Babymetal (and Fruitpochette and Mugen Regina and Necronomidol and Party Rockets and Deathrabbits and etc.) built. This has happened innumerable times in the history of popular music, yes. But the little Ladybaby surge, crassly and unfairly (to everybody, honestly), just fuels the dismissal of idols who’ve done the work and built their success.
I do applaud the effort. It’s not Rei or Rie or Ladybeard’s fault that they got thrown into this; the girls are looking at being idols, both won MissID and both have real-deal careers outside of this; and Ladybeard is interested in making money being Ladybeard. And good for Ladybeard for finding a career with it, at least so far. The group’s official motto is about smashing boundaries, and Ladybeard does that in spades.
Most of what’s easily objectionable about Ladybaby isn’t really all that objectionable, but, this being a resource for Westerners, there is one thing that I didn’t know about at first and now kind of wish that I didn’t. Thanks to New School Kaidan, I learned that 14-year-old Kuromiya Rei, who I knew was a “gravure model,” was in fact the kind of gravure model that would (probably deservedly) get somebody thrown in jail in the United States. I can make a lot of cross-cultural allowances about certain things (obviously), but gross sexual exploitation of pre-teens isn’t one of them. The girl’s been exploited as an object of lust for as long as she could tie her shoes. That’s disgusting. Even just leaving that alone and giving Clearstone and Ladybaby management the benefit of the doubt, here’s video from the group’s NYC appearance:
Now, lots of homicidols do stage diving. Stage diving isn’t an issue. Having a 14-year-old in a tiny skirt stage dive is an issue: As just about any woman who’s ever crowd surfed can tell you, it’s a pretty gropey environment. That isn’t a secret. Throwing Rei (and Rie, who I think was 17 at the time) into that is poor judgment at best and ongoing sexual exploitation of a teen at worst, basically setting her up for assault even if nobody actually did anything. Idols of all ages deal with sexualization. That’s not a secret. Ladybaby isn’t doing anything that’s all that out of the ordinary. But the whole setup with Rei stinks. It doesn’t matter if she loves every second of it.
So, in short, it’s probably most appropriate to just kind of let Ladybaby go. As is ethically* required of me by virtue of their being profiled on this website, they will appear as appropriate on the blog, and that’s that. They’ll float around for a little while, get some niche attention in the West, and that’s about it.
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