As Stephen Colbert says in the cursed video below, “I’m not sure what I’m about to see, but I’m pretty excited about it.” Badly judged quip or terrifying insight into a depraved man’s mind. Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! These three teenage gothlings, Moametal, Su-metal and Yuimetal are the scariest thing to come out of Japan since that little fucker, Sadako Yamamura, crawled out of my TV set and scared the shit out of me nearly 20 years ago.
What seemed to be a bit of a joke has turned into a phenomenon. Their sweet voices exude childlike charm which is then meshed with metal and dark Japanese iconography. Musically, everything from Speed metal, drum’n’bass, Maidenesque guitars and even a bit of Ska is thrown at the pot. It’s all very interesting and slightly terrifying. The ultimate Eurovision group but they’re too good.
They could be a passing fad or as my better munki half says, “they could be the perfect house-band for Blade Runner.” Or maybe they possibly come from the imagination of William Gibson. Indeed, possibly forged from the depths of a room Bill Murray didn’t enter in Lost In Translation while he was leching on Scarlett. These psycho-brats are hanging around my brain like the tail end of a particularly stupid episode of Bell’s Palsy (goddamn Bell’s Palsy). The songs are so so catchy; catchy as when you catch yourself worrying about the fact that you are a grown munki listening to children screaming but of course the heavy guitars and furious drums makes it okay, yeah?
There’s an element of it that makes this munki think that they exist in the aftermath of Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy.” The creepy children of the creepy children of those creepy children of that creepy thing which shouted at the creepy lady for a little too long and little too creepily and she was only trying to get home, put the messages away and have a cup of tea and maybe a Jaffa Cake. Nevertheless, the fact that she was a survivor of Jonestown never entered the narrative.
Anyways or I mean what the fuck is going on when some kids from the Sakura Gakuin can’t take the normal route of just being in J-Pop, of just being into professional wrestling or just being (short) lifetime members of a horrendous death cult that live in a rainy but lush green forest. Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death!
Instead some creepy management group takes these cutesy girls and locks them into a 900-year contract, presumably ending with a fight against an ancient evil witch who can run up and down walls like a cat with dodgy anal glands AND a song or two or maybe even some Christy Moore or Richard Clayderman covers, I dunno.
Meanwhile, Su-metal endures being crucified on-stage four thousand times, always wondering to herself why the other two fuckers prance around the stage in a state of non-tied-to-a-fucking-crossage. Fuck you Constantine she thinks. A hooded cast of thousands surround her chanting their bizarre incantations while drunk Billy Dumbfuck and Mary Vomitonhertrousers prance around in the crowd and think they are having great craic and that this is probably wholesome and that everything is going to be okay, isn’t it? Isn’t it? A wailing crowd expects more and these kids sell fucking tickets. They play to bigger audiences than most, grimly being crucified every night and having uncomfortable conversations in another language with the worst humans on earth (music journalists). Sounds horrible, but fuck it, it’s better than my fucking job, so suck it up children of Oni!
I try to put this out of my mind and sleep, but disturbing dreams have overtaken me where scary little schoolgirls in cctv videos make kitsune signs with their hands while standing over me flashing torches, turning my world quickly into a manga nightmare. Wow! This munki is now on a fast motorcycle hurtling through the streets of rainy, downtown Kyoto, dripping red and black ink behind me. Terrifying Moametal shouts at me,
“Stretch-san, we need help (in Japanese, obviously, duh)”
“What? Why? I’m trying to get some sleep.” I help.
“Stretch! Look! (in Japanese, obviously)” says the other one.
I look out over the city and see through the blinding sunset thousands, no, millions of tiny godzillas (not Godzuki thank christ. Stupid Godzuki) slowly heading toward us, at the speed and creepy movement of Rex from Toy Story.
Yuimetal shouts, “I’ll take care of this (in Japanese, obviously, duh).”
Su-metal agrees to help and so does the other one, whatsername. They start throwing shapes and send giant clouds of hallucinogenic dust toward the army of little green godzillas. In unison the beasts let out a terrible scream and immediately start shuffling around looking for cigarettes, asking each other are they okay, fiddling with their jumpers, and completely overestimating the size of their tongues until they all die from panic attacks (something that could never happen, just in case any anxious gojiras are reading).
Su-metal goes Yay; freaky Moametal shouts cha; the other one just squeaks mad-loud like.
They raise an arm each and grip hands in a ceremonial celebration, or high-five. The crowd, arms aloft, roars. Lots of gigantic small lizards are sitting around, head-in-hands waiting to be collected. The rain stops. Night drops. Neon breaks out. Smoke raises from the grates. A dark moody man with three-day-old stubble drinks whiskey from a street bar. The happy girls squeal and wave at him. He does a wry smile, toasts the girls while internally wondering how much he would get for each.
I look on bewildered and they face me, after throwing a few more shapes. A naked gojira runs past screaming “AWESOME!” The scary schoolchilds close their eyes and bow. I uncomfortably begin to bow, when bang, they clap hands, and throw their ancient magic powders colouring me red, yellow, pink and in-di-go.
Blinded, tired and mildly irritated, all I can say is,
“So, you didn’t need me after all then.”
Poof, I disintegrate into a billion suns and wake up sweating and tripping major, major balls.
Did I learn any lessons? Yes, in terms of pubescents, leave well enough alone and if it doesn’t taste like tea, it’s not tea.