Nightmare Fuel / Visual Kei

This page will be split into several kinds of Nightmare Fuel. Please avoid natter, remember to Repair, Don't Respond, and place your nightmare fuel in the correct section.

  • Live Performance refers to Nightmare Fuel onstage, whether a real incident (a band member collapsing or becoming ill etcetera) or a staged one (a faked collapse, a Scare Chord that wasn't in a song before).
  • Lyrics refers to Nightmare Fuel songs - please keep these Family Friendly.
  • Meta refers to Nightmare Fuel found in the scene. As any additions to this section will concern real people, please avoid rumourmongering. Only submit incidents/trends that have been proven and are known about by the public. (For example, if there is an interview in which an artist has talked about their drug addiction / anorexia / suicide attempt, fine. Add it. If there is not, and the only evidence that they have a disorder comes from an unnamed source or internet rumourmill, leave it off.)
  • Performance Video refers to Visual Kei performance video Nightmare Fuel. Again, keep these Family Friendly — no links to the videos in question if they involve sex, links to overly violent videos need a warning.

     Live Performances and Events 

  • Anytime an artist collapses, falls, or otherwise becomes noticeably ill or injured while performing live. Somewhat lessened if he or she gets up afterward or seems to brush it off, but most fans (and especially other artists) are well aware of what can happen, and watching someone getting hurt or ill is both worrisome and a reminder that it happens.
  • Many forms of Visual Kei, specifically Visual Shock and Eroguro Kei, tend to rely heavily on stagecraft and effects to produce shocking imagery. This is generally not Nightmare Fuel. Where the nightmare fuel resides is when you realize it's not blood squibs or makeup and that guy cutting himself onstage or otherwise performing self-injury is doing it for real. Kyo of Dir en grey is particularly notorious for this.
    • Faked collapses and falls can also have this effect, albeit for a shorter time, because there is that little bit of uncertainty, especially with artists who have suffered serious injuries onstage as well as who like to fake collapses for drama, of is it real this time?
  • Fan behavior at lives can definitely become Nightmare Fuel. While most fans are intelligent and respectful, there are some that are not. From groping the artists, to ripping out their hair or ripping off a part of their costume (or even something functional like a neck brace) to attacking other fans, it's all happened.
    • Attacks on fans and other concert goers might be less common nowadays due to tighter security measures in most venues and some artists explicitly prohibiting moshing or any form of disruptive audience behavior during lives, but that's just mainstream Visual Kei - the underground scene, being more connected with delinquent culture, is just as notable as the brocore / mallcore crowd for attracting Fan Haters, dimwitted thugs and hot-blooded wiggers who would attend live events in order to pick fights with other concert-goers.
    • Theft at live performances. While the great majority of theft isn't Nightmare Fuel but mere annoyance (e.g. you find the cash in your wallet gone but everything else left untouched, as happens in some venue thefts), theft of passports / air tickets / similar is a far more terrifying possibility for non-residents of the country (whether non-Japanese at Japanese venues, or Japanese or other foreign nationals seeing shows outside their home country). Gear theft is true Nightmare Fuel for bands that aren't rich or label-signed — while, say, X Japan, Dir en grey, or L'Arc-en-Ciel would have nothing to fear from having gear stolen (as it's insured and they have money to replace it even if it isn't), a small indies band or beginning act often does not have money to replace stolen gear or even to have insured it - meaning that the loss of their gear to thieves may well be the end of their career / end of their band.
    • Internet abuse / harassment / trolling of artists also gets a small mention here, because while it's not as overtly and obviously dangerous as meatspace fan behavior, it can get very viciously angry or otherwise troubling, and there are plenty of people that post everything from creepy stalker-like posts to engaging in behavior that qualifies as emotional and verbal abuse (e.g. trying to Trigger people into breakdowns or eating disorders or relapses, manipulate and threaten them, or spam them with insults) You might not think much of this, but just try to imagine opening your Facebook or Twitter and 20 to 50 percent of the comments (depending on who you are) are some form of abuse, insults, commentary about how you are doing everything wrong and need to break up your band and quit already, triggering comments about lost lovers or friends, comments about you being too fat or too skinny, encouragement to drink more even if everyone knows you have an alcohol problem, or the like.

  • Pick any song from Dir en grey's discography. Even the slower and more calm ones are Nightmare Fuel to some degree.
  • The GazettE's Taion is about the kidnapping, rape, and murder of Junko Furuta.
  • X Japan's Art Of Life is actually Fridge Horror Nightmare Fuel: it's Yoshiki's semi-autobiographical personal story of pulling through a horrific depression and its attendant overwhelming emotional pain. It becomes Nightmare Fuel when you read one of the interviews where he mentioned that it refers to an attempted and failed suicide.
    • Another one from X Japan is Rose of Pain, the story of Elizabeth Bathory.
    • Another X Japan one is Without You, especially to those who have been in the situation of either losing a loved one to death or almost doing so. The lyrics aren't necessarily nightmarish per se, but the raw pain of losing someone's love or close friend forever is.
    • And yet another is Sadistic Desire, both from the lyrics and the Fridge Horror that it is describing a serial killer and rapist attacking victims. It's arguably meant more as BDSM fantasy than as an actual Misogyny Song, but still...

  • The suicide rate among active or once Visual Kei artists, especially in the Japanese scene, is extremely high. While there have been no studies specifically proving this, anecdotal evidence of just how many current and former artists have died from suicide and/or who have attempted suicide and survived illustrates the problem. It's generally from a confluence of issues - Japan's already high suicide rate and backwards attitudes toward mental health, the frequency of alcoholism (below) and other drug abuse (especially combined abuse of alcohol and methamphetamine), financial issues such as debt and grinding poverty among artists who are just starting out or who are unsuccessful in the first place or who are the Fallen Creator, Gayngst for those who aren't just doing onstage fanservice with other men due to Japan's slowness to acceptance, Yakuza threats, and many, many other reasons. Some bands have had multiple members attempting or committing suicide, and many, many, MANY songs center around the theme - to the point where Visual is not a safe space for the easily triggered with themes of suicide.
  • The insanely high rate of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the Visual Kei scene. Combine Japan's already high levels of alcohol misuse problems with Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, and you have what is best described as an alcoholic nightmare. Almost all lives are held at bars and live houses which serve alcohol, many band meetings and networking events are drinking parties, everyone celebrates everything with alcohol. As noted in the main article, alcohol could be argued to be the lifeblood of Visual Kei.
  • While not as common as alcohol abuse, methamphetamine addiction. The drug convinces users they've reduced the need for sleep and rest (making impossible work schedules seem possible) and helps them maintain a low body fat ratio. It is one of the most physically and mentally destructive and addictive drugs in existence. The "reduction in sleep and rest" and "better looks" are basically drawn out of the bank account of the user's body and mind—eventually users will crash hardcore, and this usually results in a mental breakdown, the loss of physical appearance far faster than normal aging would produce, and many, many more horrific effects.
  • Vehicle crashes. Another common way to die or get seriously injured as a Visual Kei artist, especially in the Japanese scene. Many artists skimp on sleep either to maintain their job as well as their career or to work more or to play a demanding series of gigs or to get in the practice they need. As mentioned above, alcohol and alcohol abuse are common things among visual kei artists. Finally, for bands that are cash-poor, professional drivers and even well-maintained vehicles are out of the question, unless someone in the band happens to be a skilled professional driver or a mechanic. For many bands that aren't major arena acts, the most common thing to do to commute to and from gigs is to stick the least drunk/least sleepy/most wired up on speed actually licensed band member behind the wheel, and you can probably guess where this goes.
    • The risk of being involved in a vehicle crash doesn't even go away for major artists. In fact, it can become even worse, because they still drink heavily and now have access to faster/more expensive cars that are even less crash-friendly than touring vans or the like. One major artist (or his friend) was involved in an alcohol-related vehicle crash in 1997, though no one was hurt, and someone else from the same band has repeatedly been arrested for being a Drunk Driver and has only avoided a major crash via sheer luck.
  • The amount of body fascism present within the scene. The thinner an artist is, the more aesthetically pleasing he is generally seen to be, and fans will pile onto artists and other fans with incredibly venomous verbal abuse even for being at a normal weight, while some labels will actively refuse to work with artists who don't meet a certain standard for beauty.
  • Yakuza getting involved, at least in the Japanese scene. For artists outside of Japan, they may not even know or care how yakuza-infested Visual Kei can be, but in Japan itself, as in pretty much anything entertainment or business related there, you will eventually find yourself dealing with yakuza - whether for protection or because they are blackmailing you, or to buy your drugs, or in worse cases, because you are one yourself.
  • Hit your mid 30s or 40s? Think you're going to be okay since you haven't drank yourself to death yet, you haven't committed (or succeeded at) suicide, you've never touched meth, you're not anorexic or bulimic, you don't even drive or are a good driver, and you don't have the yakuza on your ass? Your own body may be your worst nightmare yet, as 30+ artists or former artists tend to contract cancer at a very high rate, because of the bevy of carcinogens and unhealthy practices being an active Visual artist or participant presents (especially in the 80s and early 90s when Everybody Smokes was in effect, and out of necessity in some ways even in The New '10s due to the toxicity of hair dyes and makeup, poor diets, and other factors). Current or once heavy drinkers/smokers and/or those in frequent close contact with vehicles or pyrotechnics (especially firebreathing or similar) or who spent a lot of time around hair products or a lot of time in heavy makeup would be well advised to seek regular medical checkups (and seek care in a place where they can safely mention their alcohol, drug, and tobacco consumption and their sexuality and sexual practices), keep aware of cancer symptoms and not dismiss them - especially for liver, lung, bowel, stomach, skin, and head and neck cancers.
    • As a special note to make this somewhat less nightmarish, if you are a young Visual artist or fan, you don't have to follow the paths of those ahead of you. Keep your drinking moderate or nonexistent, don't start smoking tobacco, be aware of whether your sexual partners have HPV or not (and possibly get the vaccine for HPV before you have sex), spend as absolutely little time around petroleum products and their fumes as is possible (and don't ever do stunts such as firebreathing that involve a petroleum product being held in your mouth), pay attention to the amount of carcinogens in makeup and hair products and try to reduce your exposure to them, and try to eat as healthy as you can on your budget.

    Performance Video 
  • X Japan's White Poem, is this if you find the combination of extreme BDSM (we're talking suspension hooks and blood-drawing whips here) and an acid-trippy ambience around it all nightmarish. The live is a bit toned down—into an actual BDSM domination scene, which isn't as scary if you're into femdom—but the PV is, while nowhere near as real, far more nightmarish.
  • ANY given video by Dir en grey. Almost all of their videos are not only NSFW, but Mind Screw, Paranoia Fuel, and this trope. Almost the only ones that aren't are live performance, and depending on how razor-happy Kyo gets... some of those are too.