I’m an idiot and accordingly stayed up to watch the WACK Exhibition on Niconico Douga like a crazy person, and I did it because I wanted there to be some kind of fireworks coming out of the nearly-a-week-long WACK auditions.
For once, I was not disappointed!
Here’s your very brief recap: BiSH is WACK’s crown jewel; and also completely heartless, because while everybody else was literally sobbing, they were horsing around; Kamiya Saki only exists for Watanabe to treat her like shit; if you ever wondered if massive nuclear reptilian kaiju had feelings, wonder no more. Oh and a whole bunch of other stuff related to the auditions and exhibition and aftermath after the jump.
The biggest takeaway, like ultimately the most meaningful takeaway, is that Watanabe Junnosuke is a terrible, sick genius. You don’t have to like the man or like what he does to appreciate the level of game that he’s playing on what sometimes feels like !the entire world. I honestly believe that there’s a time coming up, probably sooner than we realize, when he or WACK or a project will announce something completely ludicrous — a WACK draft! somebody finally snapped and killed Pour Lui! first idol in space! — and we won’t know whether to believe it until the
crime scene photos hit the Internet, or if we should go all-in and start buying every piece of merch in the official store. The man is a true puppeteer.
In this case, he created what was basically a way to test-drive talent live over the Internet with fans as the focus group, got to explore how people react to sudden misdirections, continued to be a masterful behavior shaper, got more of the existing talent’s dynamics understood and oh yeah made complete bank out of the experience. It doesn’t even matter that there was more distance running (there will always be distance running).
I won’t bother with a recap of the Exhibition. Well, not a real one. This is the show:
- Watanabe announced the program, more or less, and that “Orchestra” had been transferred back to BiSH
- GANG PARADE performed and were well-received
- BiS performed and were well-received, and they were practically doused in makeup for some reason
- BiSH performed and of course brought the house down; “Orchestra” was the unofficial theme song of the event, because of course it was and also because of reasons
- Then the fireworks
Or go ahead and watch it:
Go to about 1:27:20 for the SHOCKING CONCLUSION
After the performances, the surviving auditioneers took the stage and introduced themselves and genuinely seemed terrified, which is understandable because Watanabe will have a human flayed on stage at some point before he retires. Then came the current groups, all stretched out together, a family but also separate.
Then then came the announcements. Why BiS needed to have new members, I don’t know, but it is what it is:
Nozomu Hirano & Megumi Oshoji were announced as new members of BiS at WACK EXHiBiTiON.
— Tokyo Girls' Update (@TGU_JAPAN) April 2, 2017
After the new members were added to BiS, it was time for Watanabe’s shocking ace in the hole — through winning competitions over the course of the auditions, the groups has come into (and re-lost) possession of one another’s songs, and now there were going to be by-god-almighty member swaps.
From GANG PARADE to BiS went the original Pla2mer Kamiya Saki, and in return went Aya Eight Prince. The Discord room was full of people beside themselves at that news, but thank goodness for Twitter and TGU, which cleared up that the situation is only until September (Watanabe’s tweet calls it a “rental period”; I’m guessing there’ll be another ridiculous stunt for a chance to go back).
There’s also, in conjunction with Avex, a new WACK project on the books, specifically Project aW, made up of … christmas, where the hell are their real names?
— 渡辺”プロミス”淳之介 (@JxSxK) April 2, 2017
We’ll find out. More auditions will follow. The auditioneers from this round of activity were I guess humanely euthanized after the show and aren’t considered eligible. More general info in this Natalie.mu story.
One could be forgiven for seeing the entire week-long exercise as extremely cynical and exploitative. It sure was! You could also be forgiven for seeing that, as Garry pointed out last night, Avex’s black wings cast a shadow over everything, even when protecting one of their own (BiSH, who were easily the “losers” of the week but were rewarded for it).
Just a little over a year ago, at the moment when BiSH released FAKE METAL JACKET, WACK looked vulnerable — a project that people were still figuring out (major debut aside), and one other that seemed to be perpetually lost in the woods. In that time, they brought back a living legend and rebooted the old flagship under her, saw the replacement rise to legitimate stardom, got GANG PARADE figured out (maybe, finally), and now they’ll be debuting a new project with Avex support, deepening a business relationship that seems to be working out great for everybody who isn’t the actual talent, and maybe even them, too.
And we’ll lap up every second of it.