Our first question is, how does one pronounce “WHY@DOLL”. Conventional wisdom would suggest “why – at – doll”, however both Japanese Wikipedia and my ssh client disagree: ssh why@doll
ssh: Could not resolve hostname doll: Name or service not known.
So in conclusion, in idol @, similarly to ☆ is silent and only ever present purely for aesthetic reasons.
Seeing something on T-Palette other than Negicco is great, as they seem to have recently lost a lot of their historically strong line up. Not that I dislike Negicco themselves, only their dead eyed middle aged fan base, but I am certain beyond a doubt that T-Palette used to manage at least two other groups.
The track at hand, Violet Iolite, is pleasant if a little unremarkable. Amongst the seemingly obligatory synthetic horns, the percussion and strings are somewhat reminiscent of disco. As something of a shock, the vocals are surprisingly competent, and neither girl seems to be attempting a (poor) impression of infantile voice.
Accompanying the song is a rather excellent MV featuring cook along instructions to make your very own WHY@DOLL cake. This is certainly leagues above recent confectionery themed efforts.
Overall, this track, whilst perhaps suffering a little for being somewhat generic, is fun and approachable. In a similar vein to Negicco, it is neither patronising nor leering, which in the world of idol, is a compliment.
Just when any reasonable person would think that AKB48 could not become any more hateful, an article on The Guardian reports that spin-off group Keyakizaka46 performed their Halloween concert garbed in uniforms with an uncomfortable resemblance to those of Nazi soldiers.
Fan of semi-naked girls and twitter user tmato30kcal produced this useful comparison image
The strongest point of comparison is undoubtedly the peaked caps with birds not unlike the Nazi Reichsadler.
I am uncertain whether to consider this a single (remarkably stupid) incident, or to take it as being indicative of a larger apathy to war crimes and ignorance of WWII in contemporary Japan. This is certainly not the onlyinstance of the veneration of Nazi military uniforms. Furthermore, Japanese relations with Korea and China are still strained on owing to the refusal of the Japanese state of acknowledge war crimes.
Producer Yasushi Akimoto managed to remedy the situation by explaining that he was not aware of the costumes doing precisely the kind of work he is employed to do. Lets all hope that in the future, Nazi uniforms are only worn by those intellectually and morally qualified to deal with the ramifications of such an act… Such as Prince Harry.
Like life itself, idol is transient. As of June this year, Especia ceased to exist as the idol unit with a hint of vapourwave and the anachronistic, but was instead been reborn as a (more) serious city-pop group. Expect less pandering, but the same stylised and excellently produced music. Is it not that which really matters?
Surviving members of the original group Haruka and Erika are joined by newcomer Mia to complete the trio. Thankfully, Haruka and Erika were always amongst the strongest vocalists in Especia. The notable exception being perhaps the best singer, Monari, who is pursuing a solo career.
Accompanying the refined lineup, and shift in musical direction, is an updated visual style. The brightly coloured relics of yesteryear have been relegated in favour of black dresses and veils. This, combined with the arid cover art, MV, and promo shots with bottled water lend the new EP, Mirage, a strong unified style.
Curiously, it has been decided that the lyrics should now be in something approximating English. For English speakers, this does not help comprehension. Regardless, if you appreciate good music, you should see this departure from idol as a positive.