BiS (the name is short for "Brand New Idol Society") are an intense Japanese idol group, sort of like a dark and dysfunctional AKB48 in serious need of shock therapy and/or happy pills.
With ham-fisted promo images like the one below, it is initially kind of tempting to laugh them off, but BiS music – which is a mix of metal rock and more traditional jpop songcraft – continues to be oddly compelling.
BiS: voted "most likely to bring nail-studded bats to an idol concert"
I've written about before for the slow motion face-slapping fest that was their “GET YOU” music video and now, BiS is BACK, clad in "Who Killed Idol?" shirts and fake yakuza tattoos, with a wet and messy PV for the song “BiSimulation” filled with all manner of pained facial expressions and body fluids carelessly flung about. Watch below.
Is it all a deep and meaningful metaphor for the pain of being in an idol band? Has someone watched Battle Royale too many times? Does someone need a hug? Hopefully some explanations are forthcoming when BiS release their new album in March.
Band Ja Naimon! (the name means, "this is not a band") are not exactly like other Japanese idols...
The fact that these two girls -- Misako (black hair) and Kachan (brown hair) -- get down and sweaty during live performances while pounding out a wild beat on twin drum kits immediately sets them apart from dozens of other acts now working the circuit.
Having seen Band Ja Naimon! perform once before at a club event, I thought they were a joke, but lo and behold, the girls are signed to Warner Music Japan (home of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) and have a new single on Feb/6 with the song “Chocolat Love”.
The PV below is quite a doozy, complete with envelope pushing yuri antics, "megane moe" galore, licking inanimate objects, and a whole lotta sticky sweet Hershey's Chocolate Syrup everywhere. It’s almost as if they are anxious to make an impression!
About the only thing the video doesn’t play up is Band Ja Naimon’s goofy idol twin drummer gimmick, so I’ve attached a live video of the gals performing “Chocolat Love” below. Enviormentalists take note: No chocolate syrup was harmed during the making of this clip!
Pachinko gaming is a massive, monster-sized industry in Japan. Sure, the average parlor may just look like brainless zombies chain smoking and playing with flashing lights and little steel balls, but THAT GAME also commands 40% of the leisure biz in Japan, keeps millions employed (and addicted), and according to the BBC, makes four times as much profit as the rest of the world’s legal gambling combined. Still, you can never get enough promotion or free publicity…
Thus, game manufacturer Daiichi has decided to form an official new unit known as the "D Dream Girls" to represent the timeless magic and allure of pachinko...
Like every “unit” out there, D Dream Girls needs a gimmick or several piled on top of each other, and Daiichi has hedged their bets by decking out all six girls -- each of whom weighs in with a near 90cm sized bust -- with glasses and thigh high stockings for a look that is being described in official press materials as “neo sexy” (it kind of just looks like girls in glasses and thigh highs to us, but who’s complaining…).
Also, for good measure, each girl, carefully selected from a presumably grueling application process, has been assigned a spot on a sliding scale from “cutie” to "beauty" to “sexy” (below).
The D Dream Girls were officially unveiled by Daiichi on 12/13 at the press event for the CR Fire Dynamite King machine amidst much hype (below).
What's next for the D Dream Girls? Pachinko promotion and gravure modeling seems very, very likely. Hopefully a terrible song and PV are in the making as well. But until such a day arises, you may now stalk them all electronically via their official homepage and blog.
It is a period of Idol Civil War in Japan. And in the race to sweep up the scraps left behind by bigger groups like AKB48 and Momoiro Clover Z, b-level idols must either battle for attention with increasingly crazy gimmicks or seek safety in numbers by banding together via music collaborations.
Happily for us, there’s a bit of both strategies in the new music video for the song “GET YOU” which teams up two idol groups: the already extreme and now dunce-capped BiS (the name is short for “Brand New Idol Society” and their last record was called IDOL IS DEAD) and the clad-in-white, slightly more chipper Dorothy Little Happy.
In the clip, the two groups play the hardline fundamentalist version of rock, paper, scissors (aka jan kenpo) where the loser gets a big ol’ slow-motion slap in the face, and the result is one of the most painfully funny idol videos of all time. Enjoy!
BONUS! Sleeve art for the "GET YOU" single, which goes on sale 1/13 in Japan (slap not included with purchase).
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and her 2011 megahit PONPONPON video sort of raised the bar for models-turned singers in Japan. Nowadays if you want your song to get any attention, you have to make the most visually appealing promotion video you can, one that can target both web addicted otaku and magazine-flipping fashion kids alike or else risk getting lost in the deluge of PVs uploaded daily to YouTube.
Thus, 17 year old Popteen magazine model Shiina Hikari (nickaname: Pikarin) along with record label avex – have really hedged their bets by hitting all the buttons video for her debut single “Shinryaku Pikarin Densetsu☆” . This is less a simple music video and more like a shopping list containing multiple crazy costume changes, kawaii-guro styling (Look! She’s holding a human skull!), frantic visuals and editing, all capped off by a nose-bleed techno song by Vocaloid producer HachioujiP.
The cynic in me finds this all a bit too calculated to exploit the growing links between the fields of kawaii fashion and idol culture. Ditto the press release for the song, which makes a big deal out of how much of an anime fan Pikarin herself supposedly is (cue: fake geek girl debate).
No doubt there is a lot of crossover taking place between the realms of Shibuya, Harajuku, and Akihabara – which used to be totally separated until pretty recently, but my big question is: is this shift in Tokyo youth culture happening organically, or are a collusion of magazine editors, clothing brands, and record label pulling the strings? The correct answer is probably, “a bit of both”, but Pikarin’s clip bears big smudgy fingerprints of the latter camp.
Prepare to bang your head! The j-pop meets heavy metal idol unit BABYMETAL is BACK with a new song and music video: “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”, a hard rocking battle cry that translates to “No More Bullying”.
The track goes on sale January 9, but we can't imagine listening to it without viewing the very silly music video below, complete with expensive-looking hellfire, skeleton band, and a very puzzled looking beardie weirdy. If this song won’t stop Japan’s social problem of bullying…NOTHING CAN!