Music / BABYMETAL

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/babymetal_oct_2012_3744.jpg
The members, from left to right: YuiMetal (scream and dance) note , Su-Metal (vocal and dance) note  and MoaMetal (scream and dance) note .

Originally a sub-unit of the idol group Sakura Gakuin, BabyMetal (also stylized as BABYMETAL) was formed by the members of the Heavy Music Club of Sakura Gakuin, under the concept of a fusion of "heavy metal and idol music". BabyMetal released their first single "BABYMETAL × Kiba of Akiba" in March 2012, reaching the 3rd place in the Oricon indie charts and number one in the Tower Records Shibuya weekly indie ranking. However, it wasn't until they released their second single, "Headbanger!!", that they became popular outside of Japan. The video went viral quickly and the sub-unit managed to become a stand-alone group. In 2014 they did a 2-day Budokan concertnote  and released their eponymous first album. The video for Gimme Chocolate!! was released just before the Budokan concert and promptly went viral, to the extent that non-Japanese mainstream media picked it up.

At the Budokan concert it was announced that the first chapter of the Metal Resistance was over, and BABYMETAL would continue their training overseas. Dates in Paris, Cologne, Knebworthnote , London and Los Angeles followed, along with opening slots for Lady Gaga. These went well enough that further dates in New York and Londonnote  were hurriedly arranged. During the Brixton show a new song Road of Resistance was performednote .

Following a January performance at the Satima Super Arena, 2015 was quiet as Yui and Moa concentrated on their final months in Sakura Gakuin. After their graduation dates both in Japan and abroad followed culminating in two nights at the Yokohama Arena. It was also announced that their second album would be released on 1 April 2016, with a performance at the SSE Arena Wembley the following day. This album, Metal Resistance, was launched with a significant amount of international coverage, including an appearance on the The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Further dates for 2016 were announced, with the final performance of the world tour set for the 55000 capacity Tokyo Dome.

Compare and contrast to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for a similar Internet phenomenon. Has an entry on the other wiki.

Discography

Singles

  • BABYMETAL x Kiba of Akiba (2012)
  • Headbanger!! (2012)
  • Ijime, Dame, Zettai (2013, the group's first major release)
  • Megitsune (2013)

Albums

  • BABYMETAL (2014)
  • Metal Resistance (2016)

Tropes that apply to BabyMetal

  • The Ace
    • Suzuka for singing. The creator of the group had been looking for some years for someone to train up as a metal idol. Then he saw Suzuka performing in Karen Girl's (age 11) and the rest is history.
    • Yui for dancing. Although the other two are no slouches either.
    • Moa for crowd engagement.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling:
    • Suzuka can be this to her sister, Himeka (of Nogizaka 46). In particular, has a habit of raiding Himeka's wardrobe whenever she feels like it.
    • On occasion, Yui's younger brother (On a radio program Yui's choice of 'death metal scream' consisted of 'get up, you lazy piiiiig!' - ending on a pitch that could stun bats).
  • Ascended Extra: They're even more popular than their parent group, Sakura Gakuin.
  • Audience Participation Song: Judging by YouTube videos, most songs during concerts have audience participation segments. Oh, and festival performances of Ijime, Dame, Zettai encourage a Wall of Death...
  • Badass Adorable: A large part of the appeal.
  • Badass Cape: During live performances of Akatsuki (a Suzuka solo).
    • For all three members in performances of THE ONE.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many songs contain the occasional English word or phrase, but the most notable example is their concert opener, Babymetal Death - a deliberate bilingual pun, since what they're actually shouting is Babymetal Desu (I am Babymetal), but the pronunciation of "Desu" is similar to the English "Death" - a fact not lost on the promoters.
    • "The One" has more English in it than Japanese
  • But Now I Must Go: Averted. Sakura Gakuin only accepts members under 15 years old, and when the current members reach this age, they must graduate. When Suzuka became 15, she left the main group, but the management made BabyMetal a separate unit, thus allowing them to be active. Yui and Moa graduated in 2015, so now all members are independent of Sakura Gakuin.
  • Child Prodigy: Yui and Moa were talented enough to join Sakura Gakuin at the age of 11 (and produce Doki Doki☆Morning one year later). And before Sakura Gakuin, Suzuka was in a group called Karen Girl's doing the opening theme of Zettai Karen Children. And that's not counting the other stuff they've done...
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: They use it a lot. Special mention goes to Suzuka's 16th birthday, when she was crucified.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to other idol groups.
  • Drum And Bass: "Awadama Fever" is this.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first song, Doki Doki☆Morning, had a more distinct "idol-like" sound than their following songs.
    • Doki Doki☆Morning appeared to have a very low budget (and most of that probably went on the music). The costumes used in the video were made up from a combination of the girl's clothes (and some from a staff member for Suzuka). The next video (as uploaded to Youtube) for Ii ne! shows them in the same costumes. The third video for Head Bangya!! sees them use the costumes that are recognizably related to their established look.
  • Excited Song Title!: Their song Ii ne!.
    • Also Head Bangya!! (or Head Bangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!)
    • Gimme Chocolate!!
  • Four Is Death: The Black Babymetal song "4 no Uta" ("Song 4" or "Song of 4", a song that uses a lot of wordplay surrounding 4's readings in Japanese) seems to refute this with a line in the chorus stating that 4 is not synonymous with death.
  • Genre Roulette: Fairly uniquely for a pop-metal band, the actual metal isn't tethered to a specific sub genre. It varies from Black Metal, to Melodic Death Metal, to Djent.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Moa and Yui's usual hairstyle. Suzuka started out having these too.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The musicians during their early years wore skeleton costumes in the music videos and while appearing in public. Except in Megitsune... where they wear long black wigs and masks. In reality, they were just faking playing to a backing track.
    • He Who Must Not Be Heard: When the musicians themselves (including the producer) get interviews, all they do on-screen is mumble and subtitles of what they're actually trying to say are shown.
    • Averted in concerts from 2013 onwards - they now have a live band wearing white robes and facepaint, composed of members of Japanese rock / metal groups. There's a semi-regular lineup, although members can be swapped out if they have availability issues.
  • Hime Cut: When they let down their hair, it resembles this style and given their genre of Heavy Metal, it makes quite the contrast with the trope's usual connotations of tradition and elegance. Suzuka plays it the straightest (figuratively given her leaderness and literally too), and she's done so in certain music videos such as Megitsune.
  • "I Am" Song: "Babymetal Death" is an extreme example, since pretty much the only lyrics are the group introducing themselves.
  • Iconic Outfit: Their outfits from Headbanger!!, featured in the picture to the right. Now used in most live concerts.
    • Also the early era musicians' skeleton costumes / loose white robes of the current musicians.
  • Idol Singer
  • Kawaiiko: Moa and Yui.
  • Kitsune: The main theme of Megitsune.
    • The theme of the group itself, with its fox sign. They're always seen doing it, such as in the image above.
  • The Leader: Suzuka. Also the Face of the Band.
  • Loudness War: Their music is all brickwalled and almost pure clipping from start to finish. This may be an intended effect though...
    • The production of the second album Metal Resistance is better than the first, although the dynamic range is similar.
    • The live albums Live at Budokan: Red Night and Live at Budokan: Black Night, mastered by Ted Jensen, are quite reasonable by modern standards.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Doki Doki☆Morning, Uki Uki ★ Midnight.
  • Mind Screw: What this idol group is to metal purists. Though many of them somehow like the group...
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: On average, a hard 6 to a soft 7, though "Megitsune" is a borderline 8.
    • "Babymetal DEATH" seems to go as far as a 9, with most of the vocals being death growls and metal screams and having nearly none of the super-happy cuteness factor a lot of their other songs have.
    • The second album Metal Resistance goes up to 9 in several tracks.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Combines the hardness and energy of heavy metal with the catchiness and appeal of J-pop and a Visual Kei-influenced sensibility.
  • Nerves of Steel
    • Karen Girl's did their final live performance at an anime festival at the Saitama Super Arenanote . Several years later the other two group membersnote  related that they were both extremely nervous before their performance. Meanwhile, Suzuka was snoozing in the dressing room and had to be woken up in time to perform.
    • You would expect most teenage Japanese girls to be more than a bit nervous when facing 50000 British metalheads at their first appearance in the UKnote . If they were it was not at all obvious...
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Ijime, Dame, Zettai (No, More, Bullying) is a strange example.
  • Rated M for Manly: The inversion of this trope is the whole point of this band.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Moa and Yui to a certain extent - Moa Red, Yui Blue.
  • Song Style Shift: "Iine!" has a Trap break near the middle, complete with hoodies, Gratuitous English, and Kanye West sunglasses. We are completely serious. Apparently it's done as a Take That to Swag Rap.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Ii ne! faces the same problem as Ievan Polkka. Three guesses on what that problem is and the first two don't count.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: At the beginning of the group the manager was trying to teach the members the heavy metal horns gesture. They misinterpreted the description and made the a 'kitsune sign' instead. The whole Fox God mythology of the group probably stems from this.
  • That Syncing Feeling: Early live performances were mostly lipsynced, with some live vocals blended in (quite common for idol performances). Later on Suzuka did more and more live, followed by Yui and Moa. The production of the LIVE AT BUDOKAN albums (2015) makes it very easy to hear that the backing vocals are confined to a few parts of the Black Babymetal songs (mostly parts with strenuous choreography).
  • Title Scream/Metal Scream: HEADBANGEEEEEEEEER!!!
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Suzuka's usual hairstyle.
  • Widget Musicians: Three Idol Singers mix pop music with Heavy Metal. It works and it's... it's totally awesome. Oh, Japan...
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Grade B when wearing socks. Averted in 2013 when the uniform used stockings, apparently again for 2016.

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