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Your little sister's J-Pop has never looked so brutal. note 

"Leave it to the Japanese to find a way to make fuckin' death metal cute."

Originally a sub-unit of the Idol group Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal (also stylized as BABYMETAL or BabyMetal) was formed by the members of the Heavy Music Club (Juonbu) of Sakura Gakuin under the concept of a fusion of heavy metal and Idol music, now known as "kawaii metal". They are known for their energetic live shows, which feature intricate yet fun choreography mixed with soaring vocals from lead singer Su-Metal, backed up by a quartet of some of Japan's top metal musicians. Officially, they claim belief in "The Fox God" who brought them to metal and uses them as conduits to spread its message of "love and joy through metal" across the world. Instead of the standard "devil horns", they use a modified "kitsune" sign (seen in the photo at right).

In reality, Key Kobayashi (known as KobaMetal), a producer at the Amuse talent agency and a longtime metalhead with connections in Tokyo's underground metal scene, discovered Suzuka during her time as one of the Karen Girl's. Realizing her potential, he decided to form a group around her once she joined Sakura Gakuin, figuring her unusually powerful voice would be a good fit for metal. Yui and Moa were chosen as backup due to their unique chemistry – the same reason they were often featured together during Sakura Gakuin – and also their smallness, as Koba liked the idea of Su being flanked by two tiny girls.

During the three years Babymetal existed as part of Sakura Gakuin, they released singles apart from the main group, as well as music videos on Youtube. Their first major single, Babymetal Χ Kiba Of Akiba, ranked unexpectedly high on Japan's Oricon chart and quickly led to the girls playing shows at progressively larger venues, people taking to the unusual mix of Idol-pop vocals mixed with heavy metal riffs.

In 2013, when Suzuka graduated from Sakura Gakuin, Babymetal was spun off as an independent unit in order to keep Su as lead singer. For the next two years, until their own graduations, Yui and Moa performed as members of both groups. Sometimes this resulted in scheduling conflicts.

Beginning in 2012, sporadically at first but permanently from 2014 on, the girls are backed while touring by the Kami Band. While its lineup is not fixed due to availability issues, some of its members are almost guaranteed to be onstage at live shows.

Babymetal has toured the world – that is, North America and Europe – every year since 2014, and sold out almost every venue they have headlined. The girls hold several records in Japan and elsewhere as the youngest group to play at [insert venue or show here]. They are to date the first and only Japanese group to headline London's Wembley Arena, as well as to perform on American late-night television during The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are also the first Japanese act to make it onto Billboard USA's main Top-40 list since 1963 with their second album Metal Resistance.

In addition to their headline shows, which can range from the stripped-down (most of their foreign shows plus 2017's Five Fox Festivals) to the incredibly elaborate (Budokan, Yokohama, Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima), they have also served as opener to several bigger acts they have met and sometimes become friends with during their travels to various music festivals over the years. This includes Lady Gaga, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Korn. They have also collaborated with DragonForce (with whom they are close), and Rob Halford of Judas Priest. The undeniable musical chops of the Kami Band coupled with the professionalism and pleasant personalities of the girls has led to the group earning the approval of many of the top names in metal and hard rock.

Babymetal, like any band, has also suffered setbacks, most notably at the end of 2017 when Yui was forced to pull out of Suzuka's 20th birthday concert due to a still-undisclosed medical issue from which she, as of mid-2018, has yet to fully recover; plus the unexpected accidental death one month later of Kami Band lead guitarist Mikio Fujioka. Since then, the group has adopted the mantra, "Just Keep Moving Forward".

As to what the future holds for Babymetal? Well, Only The Fox-God Knows!

The group also provides the theme song for the Unikitty! cartoon.

Compare and contrast to Kyary Pamyu Pamyu for a similar Internet phenomenon. Has an entry on The Other Wiki, as do all three girls. More info about the girls themselves can be found on the Character Sheet of their former parent group, in the 2013 (Su) and 2015 (Yui/Moa) Graduates sections.


Discography

Singles

Albums

  • BABYMETAL (2014)
  • Metal Resistance (2016)

Tropes da o!

  • Alter-Ego Acting: In multiple print interviews, Suzuka has referred to Su-Metal as almost a separate person inhabiting her body, allowing her to accomplish things she never could as regular Suzuka, and that it was only around the time of Tokyo Dome that she felt she was able to gain some control over Su-Metal so they could progress in tandem. Officially, the band's management says that onstage, their "Metal" personas take over as the Fox-God guides their movements.
    • Not nearly as clear-cut with Moa or especially Yui. Yui may not be a Shrinking Violet onstage like she is off of it, but she has said she wishes she could reach Su's level of persona.
  • Animal Motif: Foxes.
    • Most prominent is their version of the heavy metal horns, the Fox sign, which is the traditional fox hand gesture in Japan.
    • Their backstory is that they are chosen by the Fox God to unite the world through their music.
    • Several album covers (e.g. Babymetal Χ Kiba of Akiba and Megitsune) feature foxes on the cover, and foxes appear a lot in their stage design.
  • Ascended Extra: They're more popular than their parent group, Sakura Gakuin, especially outside Japan. Although Babymetal's popularity has gotten some international fans interested in Sakura Gakuin. It is amusing to see English comments on SG music videos from avowed metalheads trying to reconcile their "metal street-cred" with their enjoyment of a group of young girls singing and dancing to upbeat J-pop. Amusingly, this is exactly what Yui said she hoped would happen. Some examples:
    - excuse me while I PUNCH A FUCKING WALL to get my Manliness back!!!
    - Now I have to burn down 27 churches to get my metal cred back.
    - Dammit! I'm going from Babymetal down the Sakura Gakuin rabbit hole, like others warned. Next thing you know I'll be buying their nendo CDs. Help me!
    - Now I'm questioning my toxic way of life and want to be more friendly.
    - I keep a porn tab open while watching Sakura Gakuin in case my parents come in. It's easier to explain.
    - Nothing beats trying to explain to my mom that this is what her metalhead son listens to.
  • Audience Participation Song:
    • In the album, "Ii ne!" has a part in the middle where the band rap to Trap Music. In concerts, this part is where they engage in call-and-response with the audience, shouting out the venue or city name.
    • Before "Ijime, Damé, Zettai" is performed, a short video is played, commanding the audience to form a Wall of Death.
    • When entering the final chorus to "Karate", Su-metal will give the command, "Everybody jump!" Most of the time, everybody jumps.
    • During live performances of "Road of Resistance", as can be seen in the music video, the band often extends the "woooah" part for the audience to sing together on Su-metal's command. Before the song starts, she performs a hand parting gesture to signal everyone to form a Wall of Death.
  • 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 「ベビーメタルです!」 ("I am Babymetal"), but the pronunciation of desu is similar to the English "Death" - a fact not lost on the promoters. Or the girls, who will sometimes say "death" when introducing themselves as an intentional pun – Moa in particular likes to do this.
    • "The One" has more English in it than Japanese. The international edition of the song is entirely in English. This is now the version performed even in Japan. The original bilingual cut is only on Youtube and the domestic (Japan) releases of Metal Resistance and The Trilogy.
  • Catch-Phrase: When asked something they cannot (or not allowed to) answer in interviews, their go-to answer is "Only the Fox God knows". Fans shorten this to OTFGK in Reddit and other online forums.
  • The Chosen One: Their backstory is they're chosen by the Fox God to unite the world through their music.
  • Coordinated Clothes: All three girls' costumes are a metal take on the Gothic Lolita fashion style, complete with fancy hair decorations, petticoats, and poofy dresses.
    • Yui's and Moa's outfits are perfectly mirrored – Yui's glove is on her right hand, Moa's is on her left. Several of their dance moves also mirror each other. They make the Fox-Sign mirrored too – Moa's is left-over-right; Yui's is right-over-left.
  • Creepy Cool Crosses: They use it a lot, both during big shows and in The Merch. Special mention goes to the "LEGEND 1997" concert on Suzuka's 16th birthday, when she was crucified in front of what appeared to be a giant statue of the Virgin Mary, which promptly shattered. Since that concert, Su has been crucified no fewer than four times.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to other Idol groups, when they were still a subunit of Sakura Gakuin.
  • Drum and Bass: "Awadama Fever" starts with an electronic drum-and-bass rhythm which then melds into industrial metal riffs.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Their first song, "Doki Doki☆Morning", has a more distinct "Idol-like" sound than their following songs. Doki Doki☆Morning's MV had a very low budget – and most of that probably went to the music. The costumes used in the video were made from a combination of the girls' own clothes plus some from a staff member for Suzuka. The next video, "Iine!", shows them in the same costumes. The third video, Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!, sees them in costumes that are recognizably related to their established look.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The monsters in the video for "Distortion" look like something that would not be out of place in the Upside Down.
  • Epic Rocking:
    • "Ijime, Damé, Zettai" from the Self-Titled Album (6:07). It also has the toughest choreography for Yui and Moa. This is why it was usually used as a show-closer prior to Metal Resistance.
    • "Road Of Resistance" – 5:17 on the album, but usually much longer when performed live due to Su's love of call-and-response.
    • "THE ONE" from Metal Resistance (6:29). When paired with its companion song "Tales of the Destinies" (5:35), as on the album and at Tokyo Dome Red Night, the spectacle is over twelve minutes.
      • The version of "THE ONE" performed at LEGEND S was an eleven-minute epic by itself.
  • Excited Song Title!: They have a few…
    • Their second song, "Iine!"
    • "Headbangeeeeerrrrr!!!!!"
    • "Gimme Chocolate!!"
    • "YAVA!"
  • Four Is Death: The Black Babymetal song "Song 4", which uses a lot of wordplay surrounding the readings of "4" 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 subgenre. It varies from Black Metal to Melodic Death Metal to Thrash Metal to Nu Metal to Progressive Metal to Djent and beyond. As a result, this site categorizes them under Avant-Garde Metal.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Moa and Yui wear pigtails and their style is darkly girlish/feminine. Suzuka wore this style until 2012, when she switched to the single high-set ponytail seen in the photo above.
  • Good Girls Gone Bad: According to the video shown at and prior to the Budokan concerts, Yuimetal and Moametal were corrupted by a trickster sprite to become the greedy girls in "Onedari Daisakusen".
  • He Who Must Not Be Heard: When the Babybones backing band and the band's producer get on-camera interviews, all they do is mumble and subtitles of what they're actually trying to say are shown.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen:
    • The musicians during the early years wore skeleton costumes in the music videos and while appearing in public. Except in the "Megitsune" MV, where they wear long black wigs and masks. In reality, they were just faking playing to a backing track.
    • Averted in concerts from 2013 onward. The girls are backed up by a live band wearing white robes and facepaint, composed of members of Japanese metal groups. There's a semi-regular lineup, although members can be swapped out if they have availability issues (or one dies). Every fan knows who they are, though the members are not allowed to talk about their work with Babymetal (BOH has broken this command at least once to praise the girls).
  • Hime Cut: When the girls 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 straightest (figuratively, given her leadership, and literally too), and she's done so in certain music videos like "Megitsune".
  • "I Am" Song: "Babymetal Death" is an extreme example, since the only lyrics are the group introducing themselves. The word "death" is a homophone of the Japanese desu which in this context means "I am".
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • Their outfits deriving from the video for "Ijime, Damé, Zettai", featured in the picture to the right. An updated version is used in most live concerts.
    • Babybones' skeleton costumes are easily recognizable by the fans.
    • Loose white robes & corpsepaint for the Kami Band.
  • Idol Singer: All three members were members of the junior Idol group Sakura Gakuin, and the band itself started out as one of several clubs (sub-units) within that group. When Suzuka was set to graduate Sakura Gakuin in 2013, Babymetal was spun off into an independent unit so that the project could continue with Su as lead singer. They are sometimes still called "Idol Metal" or "Idol fusion metal band" by the media.
  • Instrument of Murder: Su's microphone in the "Megitsune" music video contains a dagger.
  • In the Name of the Moon: They have introduction lines and pose they use during interviews and award ceremonies. For those unfamiliar with the ritual (such as public officials), this may be confusing.
    (said in turn while holding the fox sign) "Su-metal DEATH! Yuimetal DEATH! Moametal DEATH!"
    "We are... (posing as shown in the top image) BABYMETAL DEATH!"
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Even though the band's official logo is and has always been in English, Word of God says the correct pronunciation is its kana rendering – ベビーメタル (beh-BEE-meh-tahl) – to preserve its pun on "heavy metal". Su was visibly annoyed when an interviewer mentioned most people still pronounced it "BAY-bee-MEH-tal". Ironically, the English narrators of the band's interlude videos tend to use the latter. So does Su when speaking in English.
  • Kayfabe: Enforced in two ways.
    • Since graduating Sakura Gakuin, the girls are always referred to in print or on video by their stage names. Even when they were still the Heavy Music Club, their stage names would be used when talking about Babymetal. Nobody has interviewed Suzuka Nakamoto since 2013, or Yui Mizuno and Moa Kikuchi since 2015.
    • The girls' handlers apparently have a Long List of topics considered off-limits to interviewers, especially non-Japanese ones. This results in the trio never breaking character on camera. Although given the extremely limited range of things that can be asked, there's not a lot of character to break. On the other hand, the girls still usually give genuine answers to most questions they can understand and can answer. (the tell they're not is if they answer "Metallica" or "Only the Fox-God Knows!")
  • Kitsune:
    • The main theme of "Megitsune" (literal translation: female fox/vixen). The song itself insists on the distinction: as they explain it, when a woman catches a guy's fancy and she turns them down, men often call her "megitsune". If she turned them down because she wants to lure them in further and is really just playing hard to get, she's the traditional kitsune, who were after all famous for turning into women and seducing men. If she turned them down because she just simply has no interest in them from the start and no means no, she's not seducing them so she's a megitsune.
    • As described in Animal Motif above, kitsune features prominently in the band's lore and visuals.
  • The Leader: Suzuka, as the oldest girl and lead vocalist. She's also the Face of the Band.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than most heavy metal bands. To wit, one of Amon Amarth's songs was about the fated clash to the death between Thor and the World Serpent ("Twilight of the Thunder God"), one of Judas Priest's songs was about the circumstances that lead people into a life of crime ("Breaking the Law"). What is Babymetal's most popular song about? Chocolate. note 
  • Loudness War: Their inaugural album is brickwalled and almost pure clipping from start to finish. This may be an intended effect though, as even the vinyl versions are like this.
    • The production of the second album Metal Resistance is better than the first, although the dynamic range is similar.
    • On the other hand, the live albums Live at Budokan: Red Night and Live at Budokan: Black Night, mastered by Ted Jensen (longtime collaborator with Yoko Kanno), are quite reasonable by modern standards. So, according to reviews, are the "Fox Festival" Blurays from 2018.
  • Lucky Charms Title:
    • Doki Doki☆Morning
    • Uki Uki ★ Midnight.
  • Money Song: "Onedari Daisakusen" ("Begging Strategy") offers practical advice to teens on how to extract extra pocket money from one's father with a well-timed shoulder-massage/flattery combo. Said flattery include praising him for his hard work and ultimately declaring that one wants to be her father's bride (obviously in a Like Parent, Like Spouse sense, not Parental Incest). Audiences have been known to make it rain with fake money whenever this song is performed.
  • Music for Courage: "Road of Resistance", made in collaboration with DragonForce's Herman Li and Sam Totman.
    Our hearts are one.
    If you believe in your way,
    go on the way even without a path!
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Combines the hardness and energy of heavy metal with the catchiness and appeal of J-pop and an aesthetic taken straight out of Gothic Lolita and Visual Kei.
  • Never My Fault: The second verse of "Sis. Anger" is about how Moa and Yui hate guys who are never serious and make excuses for their failures.
  • Oni: "Catch Me If You Can" is about a hungry Oni who wants to eat the girls, who spend their time during the song playing hide-and-seek and basically trolling it. note 
  • Power Ballad: "The One" and "No Rain, No Rainbow".
  • Producer: Kobametal, real name Key Kobayashi. A lifelong metalhead who always covers himself with a skeleton costume for interviews, although plenty of photos of him out of costume exist.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: The title for "Ijime, Damé, Zettai" is written in katakana and punctuated to invoke this – 「イジメ、ダメ、ゼッタイ」. Rendered in English as "No More. Bullying. Forever."
  • Punny Name: The band's name plays on the Japanese pronunciations of the words "baby" (bēbi) and "heavy" (hebii). It didn't hurt that the girls were 12 (Su) and 11 (Yui/Moa) when the project began.
  • Pretty in Mink: Black Babymetal wore what looked like fur-lined coats in the Legend 1997 performance of "Onedari Daisakusen", due to its greed-oriented theme… and also the concert happening four days before Christmas.
  • Rated M for Manly: The inversion of this trope is the whole point of this band, by having three cute girls performing aggressive music traditionally associated with masculinity.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Explicitly name-dropped in the lyrics to "Catch Me If You Can".
    "Aka'oni-san, Ao'oni-san: Suteppu, suteppu (one, two! one, two!)" {Red Oni, Blue Oni, take your steps. 1, 2! 1, 2!}
    • In addition, Yui and Moa often have this sort of vibe onstage and during interviews – Moa (Red) is outgoing and emotional, quick to react; Yui (Blue) is comparatively restrained and reserved, rarely speaking unless spoken to and often slow to react.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The video for "Distortion" has a red sky over the ruined city.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: "Megitsune" explains how women, especially Yamato Nadeshiko, are actresses who are adept at hiding their true feelings and should not be underestimated. Literally invoked in the music video, where Su's mic contains a dagger.
  • Song Style Shift:
  • Spell My Name with an "S": "Iine!" 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, Koba was trying to teach the girls the heavy metal horns gesture. They misinterpreted the description and made a 'kitsune sign' instead. The whole Fox God mythology of the group probably stems from this.
  • That Syncing Feeling: An unusual entry for a group now known for doing nearly everything live. But this wasn't always the case.
    • Early live shows 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, as well as Su's predone harmonizing.
    • The very first Juonbu performance from November 2010 sounds double-tracked – Su is singing live over her own predone vocals a few times.
    • Su has a weird tendency to invert this. She has a history of mouthing lyrics even when she isn't meant to be singing. The full-group dance of "Motteke! Sailor Fuku" from that same 2010 show is a good example, as is her duet with Rob Halford nearly six years later where she mimed his part of "Breaking The Law".
      • Yui has also been caught on camera doing this. So, hilariously, has BOH (the bassist).
    • Many fans complained that the dubstep remix of "Headbanger" at Legend 1997 was playback. However, it is the only part of that entire 80-minute concert where Su didn't sing live (not counting death screams), and she sang the song live later that same concert.
    • The official videos on the band's Youtube channel using concert footage give off this vibe, as oftentimes the studio track replaces the original live vocals. "Gimme Chocolate!" is a good example, so is "THE ONE".
  • Title Scream: Happens at the very end of "Headbanger!" And also in the middle right before the bridge.
  • Twin Tropes: Intentionally invoked with regards to Yuimetal and Moametal. Koba's original vision for Babymetal had always included "Twin Fairies" dancing around the lead singer. This is why their outfits and many of their dance moves are mirrored.
  • Uncommon Time: Given the group's forays into more esoteric subgenres of metal, this was bound to happen.
    • "Tales of the Destinies", the group's stab at Dream Theater-style music, constantly switches time signatures and tempo at the drop of a hat. It's such a complicated song that many wondered if it was even possible to perform it live. They did so at Tokyo Dome Red Night.
    • TOTD's companion song, "THE ONE", is mostly in 12/8 (or a fast 4/4), but the bridge mixes it up being mostly in 6/8 with a single fast 4/4 bar thrown in every fourth measure (or 4/8 depending on how you count it). The tempo also subtly changes.
  • Widget Musicians: Three Idol Singers mix pop music with Heavy Metal. It's very weird and very Japanese, and… well, it works and has gained quite a dedicated following.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Features heavily in the song "Megitsune" (vixen, female fox), which says that girls and women nowadays are forced to reembrace the aspect of this archetype that is about keeping a calm front and going on despite turmoil even though the turmoil here is internal rather than external (or as they put it, "smiling on the outside, crying on the inside").
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Grade B when wearing socks. Non-operative when their costumes employ stockings.

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