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Music / Paradox Live

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Gonna show you the dope world.

Paradox Live is a multimedia project made by GCrest (100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams, AkaSeka, Hoshinari Echoes) and Avex. The series has an emphasis on Hip-hop and Rap.

The series takes place in the near-future where rappers perform with items made of a special metal called 'Phantometal' in a new music movement known as 'Phantom Lives', said to be massively popular among the youth. 10 years ago, a top group named 'BURAIKAN' performed at Club Paradox, only for the club itself to close down and BURAIKAN disappearing. Now, 4 teams have been invited by the mysteriously revived Club Paradox to compete to be the top rap group with a prize of 10 billion yen awarded to the winner and a chance to challenge BURAIKAN.

The first album, titled 'Paradox Live: Opening Show' was released on February 12th 2020, featuring the debut of the 4 groups: BAE, The Cat's Whiskers, cozmez and Akanyatsura. The 1st Stage Battle started on 31 March 2020 and ended on 20 March 2021, where cozmez was declared the overall winner. During the Dope Show live concert on 20 March 2021, a new shuffle unit project which mixes the 4 groups around was announced as well as a stage play series that will begin in Fall 2021.

On the series' 2nd Anniversary livestream, the new season Paradox Live: Road to Legend was announced for a 2022 release - a new Phantom Live season to be hosted by legendary rap duo BURAIKAN, the season not only brings back the original 4 units, but also introduces 4 brand new competitors - VISTY, AMPRULE, 1Nm8 and Gokuluck.

You can check out Paradox Live in both avex and the official Paradox Live Channel. All songs are available worldwide through Apple Music and Spotify.

On May 25, 2022, an anime adaptation was announced. The anime started airing on October 3, 2023, with 12 episodes.

Beware of possible unmarked spoilers, especially for those who have only listened to the first part of the Drama CD series or only watched the stage and anime adaptations.

Compare Hypnosis Mic.


While winners are marked as spoilers, the lineup of each release can also serve as spoilers. Read at your own risk.

  • Paradox Live Opening Show (12 February 2020) - The debut album, featuring BAE, The Cat's Whiskers, cozmez and Akanyatsura with their team introduction songs.
  • Paradox Live Stage Battle (2020-2021) - Grand Winner: cozmez
    • "DESIRE" (31 March 2020) - BAE vs cozmez. Winner: BAE
    • "JUSTICE" (8 May 2020) - The Cat's Whiskers vs Akanyatsura. Winner: Akanyatsura
    • "PRIDE" (29 July 2020) - BAE vs The Cat's Whiskers. Winner: The Cat's Whiskers
    • "FAMILY" (2 September 2020) - cozmez vs Akanyatsura. Winner: cozmez
    • "LOVE" (27 January 2021) - The Cat's Whiskers vs cozmez. Winner: cozmez
    • "VIBES" (24 February 2021) - BAE vs Akanyatsura. Winner: BAE
  • Paradox Live Exhibition Show (25 November 2020) - The interval act, featuring all 4 teams with new songs and 1 collaboration song each with ISSA, Michell Kazuma, SKY-HI and Koda Kumi.
  • Paradox Live 1st Album "TRAP" (31 March 2021) - The franchise's 1st full-length album compiling songs from Opening Show and the stage battles up till Pride and Family while adding new songs; 1 for each unit and Rap Guerrilla, the series' first 'All-Star' song.
  • Paradox Live 2nd Album "Live" (21 July 2021) - The 2nd full-length album from the series compiling the Exhibition songs (except for the collaboration songs), the Love and Vibes stages battles and brand new songs including new songs for BURAIKAN and the Paradox Live winner, cozmez.
  • Paradox Live Shuffle Team Show (Vol.1) (29 September 2021) - The 1st 'Shuffle' album where the cast are grouped into 'shuffle units' consisting of members from all 4 units.
  • Paradox Live Shuffle Team Show (Vol.2) (27 October 2021) - The 2nd 'Shuffle' album which continues from where the 1st volume left off.
  • Paradox Live Opening Show-Road to Legend- (30 March 2022) - The start of a new Phantom Live season, with the original units BAE, The Cat's Whiskers, Akanyatsura, and cozmez, along with the legendary BURAIKAN and new units VISTY, AMPRULE, 1Nm8 and Gokuluck.
  • Paradox Live -Road to Legend- (2022-2023) Grand Winner: BAE
    • Round1 “FATE" (27 July 2022) - BAE vs. AMPRULE and The Cat's Whiskers vs. 1Nm8. Winner: BAE and The Cat's Whiskers
    • Round1 “RAGE" (31 August 2022) - cozmez vs. VISTY and Akanyatsura vs. Gokuluck. Winner: cozmez and Akanyatsura
    • Consolation Match "SHOWDOWN" (01 February 2023) - A special round of the Road to Legend battles, featuring BURAIKAN and the new units who lost in the first two rounds VISTY, AMPRULE, 1Nm8 and Gokuluck. Winner: Gokuluck
    • Round2 “WILL" (26 April 2023) - BAE vs. The Cat's Whiskers. Winner: BAE
    • Round2 “TRUST" (28 June 2023) - cozmez vs. Akanyatsura. Winner: cozmez
    • Final "REVOLUTION" (18 October 2023) - BAE vs. cosmez vs. Gokuluck. Winner: BAE

This series contains examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The story is set in a world similar to the current era, but with the added use and research on Phantometals.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The anime ending. Phantoms of BURAIKAN appear and lead Kanata to become a victim of Phantometal erosion, who in turn unknowingly affects everyone else in the venue. While everyone was saved in the end, Yasha was not revived.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The stage play keeps the songs from DESIRE and JUSTICE, but turns its events into Noodle Incidents as these were just mentioned in passing in the play. This includes Kanata stealing Allen's Phantometal, and Yohei being an old member of the Suiseki group.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance: Haruomi appears in episode 1 of the anime.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: BURAIKAN is not physically present in the stage play. Their exclusion means that Nayuta's situation isn't explained or expounded upon. Nayuta still jumps off the roof, but what happened to him afterwards, how he reunited with Kanata, and the reason that he doesn't recognize Shiki is unknown. Nayuta and Shiki also end up reconciling at the end of the second stage play, without Shiki even questioning why Nayuta acted like a stranger in their prior encounters.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • VISTY calls their fans "Stella", which means "star".
    • AMPRULE calls their fans "insects", which is more insulting than affectionate. But this is played straight in "Nobody But Me", in which Dongha expresses his true feelings with regards to their supporters.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • There's SUZAKU the Phoenix.
    • The Cat's Whiskers is pretty self-explanatory. Hokusai is also associated with cats. Put them together in a shuffle unit, and this gives birth to Akan Catsura.
    • cozmez are represented by a pair of snakes, but are also associated with sewer rats.
    • BURAIKAN are a pair of dragons, with Yasha being the gold one and Shura being the silver one.
  • Ascended Extra: The ramen shop owner at Raimentei turns out to be BURAIKAN's Shura.
  • Audience Participation: The overall story of the drama CDs are affected by the winners of each battle, which means the audience has the power to shift the story towards their favorite units.
    • It's frequently mentioned that Akanyatsura has 6 members: Iori, Zen, Hokusai, Satsuki, Reo, and the listener(s).
  • Audience Participation Song: As protocol for performances while the COVID-19 outbreak is still occuring, viewers of Paradox Live on Stage The LIVE are instead encouraged to cheer on each team by waving penlights according to the choreography which is taught by each team before proceeding with the song. BAE has "F△Bulous", The Cat's Whiskers has "MASTER OF MUSIC", and Akanyatsura has "OUTSIDERZ -Akanyatsura is Justice-".
  • April Fools' Day: Every April Fools', the official site features "Paradox Love" a Otome Game concept with romance-able characters.
    • 2021 has "Romance is After the Phantom Live", follows the same setting of the drama CDs.
    • 2022 has "Eternal Illusion With You at the Legendary Club", wherein the characters are hosts at a club called CLUB paradox.
    • 2023 has "Bringing You a Traumatic Youth", a High School AU where the characters are students and teachers.
  • Battle Rapping: The main premise of the series. Each group invited to Club Paradox are pitted against each other in a round-robin style matchup, with each team going up against the others at least once.
  • Big Entrance: In the anime's Opening Show, BAE arrives in a helicopter due to oversleeping. While they think it's over-the-top, there isn't any other faster way to arrive at Club Paradox.
    • The same episode also shows the BAE members going to university in a limousine.
  • Call-Back: Quite a few unit songs reference the songs from previous releases. For example, BAE's usage of the word "BaNG" in later songs, "Where they at" and "Get it" appearing in cozmez's later songs, Akanyatsura frequently referencing their verses in "BAD BOYZ -Akanyatsura Underground-", etc.
  • Canon Foreigner: Paradox Devil, who serves as the Mr. Exposition for the anime.
  • Catchphrase: VISTY's greeting starts with "Oha-VISTY!". This is a nod to idol culture in which groups have a unique phrase to introduce themselves with.
  • Cast Herd: The original main character roster had 14 people. With the addition of the new units, this increased the characters to 29.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: As expected of a GCrest series.
  • Character Blog: As part of the 1st Anniversary, the cast gets their own twitter accounts where they tweet about their private lives as well as their thoughts on the then-upcoming Exhibition Show.
  • Chromosome Casting: All the main characters are (biologically) male. The only females introduced are minor characters who are family members (voiced but without illustrations).
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Expect the rap lyrics for each and every team to include this.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each group has a colour to represent them in merchandise and marketing.
    • BAE is red.
    • The Cat's Whiskers is blue.
    • cozmez is purple.
    • Akanyatsura is yellow.
    • BURAIKAN is gold.
    • VISTY is pink.
    • AMPRULE is green.
    • 1Nm8 is white.
    • Gokuluck is orange.
  • Connected All Along: In the Exhibition CD dramas, all 4 teams are heavily implied to be connected to the Phantometal research group Alter Trigger:
    • The Yeon conglomerate, whom disowned Hajun from BAE, is a sponsor for Alter Trigger, as is the Suiseki group, owners of CLUB CANDY, where Anne, Iori and Zen work.
    • Alter Trigger tried to buy the land that Bar 4/7, Saimon's bar, is on.
    • Nayuta from cozmez signed up for their experiments as a shady part-time job, and the same may be true for Ryu.
    • This is lampshaded by Zen, who thinks that the 4 groups came together not by coincidence, but because of their implied connections to Alter Trigger.
    • Later on, it's revealed that Ryu is from the same experimentation facility as Rokuta and Itsuki.
    • Kei was previously part of VISTY. He only joined VISTY so that he could search for his long-lost brother, who was kidnapped. This was later revealed to be Rokuta. The VISTY members are also acquainted with Hajun, who works as a model.
    • Yohei was previously part of the Suiseki group with Iori and Zen. Zen and Yuto were former colleagues as police officers, who were investigating the Suiseki group and its dealings.
    • On a lighter note, BAE attends Saimon's lectures at university while Shiki, Hokusai, Satsuki and Reo go to the same school, though Shiki notes that he rarely sees the other 3 due to them attending at night compared to him studying in the daytime. Ryu is also familiar with them as beside being friends with Hokusai, he picks up Shiki from school.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Every character has a specific trauma, which forms a basis for their rap career. They are forced to relive that particular moment, called a "trap reaction", as a side effect of using their Phantometal when performing.
  • First-Name Basis: People in the same team call each other by their first names, with the exception of the younger ones (Shiki and Ryu calling Yohei and Saimon as "Master" and "Boss", respectively, while Akanyatsura all call Iori as "aniki"note .
  • Fun with Acronyms: Both in and out of universe, The Cat's Whiskers is also referred to as TCW, and Akanyatsura as AKYR. BAE stands for Before Anyone Else.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: Kanata and Nayuta, whose visual difference is only the length and the way they style their hair. Even their fashion is similar. This is a plot point when Nayuta suddenly disappears. Kanata worries he might be mistakenly targeted by the guys Kanata got into a fight with because they have the same face.
  • Idol Genre: With the introduction of VISTY, an idol group. Their songs are Lighter and Softer as compared to the other units as well.
  • Lucky Charms Title: Every BAE song after the first three fall under this: "FRE△KOUT", "P△R△DISE", "F△Bulous", "BErmud△ Tri△nglE", "W△vin' FL△g", "We △re The Future", "G△L△XY∞", and "Ch△mp1on".
  • Only in It for the Money: The motives for cozmez and The Cat's Whiskers for winning Paradox Live; The Cat's Whiskers to buy the land from Alter Trigger and save their bar from closing, cozmez to buy a permanent home and seek better medical treatment for Nayuta.
  • Pretty Boy: Hajun is specifically described to be a Bishōnen. This also applies to the members of VISTY and Kei.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Club Paradox was revived in a single night, which is lampshaded in-universe to be something that is impossible. Anne comments that the Yeon Conglomerate might be able to do it, but Hajun denies the possibility. Though the conglomerate's involvement in Paradox Live doesn't erase the possibility that they were also involved in its revival.
  • Second Place Is for Winners: All new units (unsurprisingly) lose the Road to Legend matches in 2022. Later on, a new CD for Consolation Match "SHOWDOWN" was announced to be released in 2023 with VISTY, AMPRULE, 1Nm8 and Gokuluck, but also featuring the legends BURAIKAN.
  • Special Guest: For the Exhibition Show, ISSA, Michell Kazuma, SKY-HI and Kumi Koda were brought in to collaborate with BAE, The Car's Whiskers, cozmez and Akanyatsura respectively. All 4 artists are coincidentally part of the Avex label themselves.
  • The Power of Friendship: In the anime, BAE, The Cat's Whiskers, and Akanyatsura pull Kanata out of his Phantometal erosion by rapping about this and overcoming their own traumas.
  • Trauma Button: Each and every one (with the exception of Ryu, Chisei and maybe Nayuta too) has one - barely mentioning it or going into proximity of the place where said button is located makes them frantic. They also form the basis of the trap reaction that is the side effect of using Phantometal.
  • Yakuza: The Suiseki group, wherein the members of Akanyatsura belong to. Yohei used to be part of the group as well. It's later revealed that Oyaji used the group's funds for Alter Trigger's research.