Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Harajuku Iyahoi

I’m really behind in my Kyary kyoverage. How behind? So behind that this video was already approaching 3.5 million views before I even noticed it. Anyway, alright, what do you folks think of this one?


My take? Visually, this is Kyary at her very best and could only be the work of the visual genius Sebastian Masuda. It’s a psychedelic black-light pastiche of Alice in Wonderland, Dr. Zhivago, Russian folk dancing, Japanese summer festivals, Harajuku street culture, and . . . aw forget it. You figure it out. I believe the Tempura kids are doing some of the backdancing.

Musically, I say meh.  Yasutaka Nakata is a Brian Eno level techno genius but I’m afraid this time he’s kind of calling it in. Lyrics? Judge for yourself at Kpopviral.

Kyary’s in a tough spot now for self-definition. The whole “Let’s be wierdly, funkily, colorfully cute and different in my dadaist celebration of eternal immaturity” anthem has almost reached shark-jump criticality. But it is so integral to Kyary’s persona, where else does she have to go musically? Naw, I think Kyary has to keep riding this one to the end, then transition to producer/designer/tv commentator.

Let’s give Kyary credit for an amazingly original repertoire.

Finally, the Kyary Kyuteness Quotient (KKQ). Freezing the frame at 3:32, I’ll give Kyary a solid 8.7 on this one. The light blue dress, braids and ushanka hat definitely do it for me.

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Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Sai and Co [[[[

Well, now! Kyary’s definitely getting her groove back with “Sai & Co.”

I missed this, which means I’m at least three months behind on my Kyary kyoverage.  (Hey, kyome on! Her previous video was “Crazy Party Night”, fer Pete’s sake. Don’t judge me!)

Yasutaka Nakata’s music here is bouncy and totally acceptable as a Kyary vehicle, even it it may not be up there with his best Kyary tunes. The visual work is superb, especially with the scaled figures, the kyolors, the set, the kyoreography, the overall imaginative explosion, and Kyary as giant stick figure manikin drummer. The pastiche of tropes suggest that Kyary’s going Pixar on us, though maybe not full Pixar. Think Toy Story meets Monsters Inc. meets “Babes in Toyland” meets Amazon Prime meets . . . Gravity? You decide.

And Kyary looks kyute! Especially in the knee length China dress for the ramen bowl dance at the end. Our International Kyary Kyuteness Index (IKKI) approaches “Fashion Monster” and “Furisodeshon” levels. You go, Kyary!

Lyrics in English, Romanized Japanese, and all Japanese can be found on tumblr here at kyarychan.

It must have been a challenge, given Kyary’s kyaracteristic wordplay, to make the translation work. “Saikou” is “highest” or “best,” but writing the title as “Sai & Co” (with the video working on a factory/shipping center premise) means that the “Co” also plays on “company” (Sai & Company, Inc.). kyarychan translates this as “The & best” in the lyrics . . . but that just plain doesn’t make any sense!

But let’s not get too picky. I’m not sure I could have done any better. Heck, I can’t even write Sai & Co properly in the title, because my theme (Vertigo) doesn’t allow ampersands; it turns them into turntables. I retaliated by putting in left brackets, which turn into falling men.

Be all that as it may, this is definitely two thumbs up! Welcome back, Kyary.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, the Ride

I’ve fallen behind on things Kyary, but now I’m obliged to report the opening of the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu XR Ride at Universal Studios Japan (in Osaka).

I confess I was getting ready to write Kyary off after her shark-jumping”Revenge of the Pumpkins” video, but Kyary once again rises like a Phoenix from the ashes. Kyary rules Kawaii.

Indirect Kyary News: Kawaii Monster Cafe

It won’t surprise readers to learn that the creator of this restaurant in Harajuku is the same person who produces Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s videos (Sebastian Masuda). In this case, I’d say that the restaurant concept is more on target with the kawaii weirdness than Kyary’s recent videos.

I get a Clockwork Orange meets Tim Burton meets Candyland vibe.

Has Kyary Jumped Her Own Shark Motif? &

“Crazy Party Night ~Pumpkin no Gyakushuu~” (The Pumpkins Strike Back). Alas, how the mighty have fallen. Is this the best that the one who gave us “Fashion Monster” can do for Halloween?!?!? Sigh. This is Kyary’s most dismally uninspired video since “Invader Invader”, though in this case the music is not as good.

Only diehard global Kyary fans will be able to defend this musically monotonous, visually unimaginative, thematically bland, indifferently choreographed piece of faux fluffery. The only good thing to say about the “crazy party night” (from the song title) is that it makes Dionysian revelry look so tedious that viewers may be drawn to the thrill of monastic life, plausibly leading to a net increase in holiness and virtue in the world. The video works (I am guessing) with the retro TV documentary premise of WNUF Halloween Special and features “jump” scares at the end that are startling only for their glacially awkward non-scariness.

The closest approximation to fame on this blog has been from my Kyary kyoverage, but I think I am ready to give all that up and move on, unless Kyary actually does something good . . . Come on, Kyary!

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Mondai Girl

Well, we haven’t posted a new Kyary video for quite a while. Whaddaya think?

I think the music’s boring, but the visuals reach acceptable levels of Kyaryan kraziness. Lyrics here at kashigasa. The song title means “problem girl” or “problematic girl.” A longer version of the video is coming out soon. This is Kyary’s first song to be used for a TV drama, the drama being “Mondai no Aru Restaurant” (the restaurant with problems).

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Family Party

This new Kyary song is also the ending theme for the new Crayon Shin Chan movie. You have to transfer over to Youtube to watch the video.

I can’t rank this song among my Kyary favorites, BUT it shows that she’s still got her head screwed on right (meaning, freakily askew) and is holding strong on the Kyaryan vision. I love the video. Special points for thematic use of cardboard, which for some reason is the strongest imaginative element here. Now, if only “Invader Invader” had had a video as good as this, I never would have gone through my dark period of Kyaryan doubt. As for the music, well, OK. You can’t really criticize it for sounding like computer game music, because it’s s’pozed to be computer game music.

We defer once more to Superhappyawesome to give us the translation of the lyrics, along with some good commentary. And we would be remiss not to include the Crayon Shin Chan dance cover version:

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Slow Mo

Kyary does it again. This is the song that was the background music for the ALOOK NEON glasses cm we featured earlier. (Sorry, the Toob here does not embed, so you will be redirected to Teh Toobs.)

I hope Kyary does a video for this because it will probably be a good one. Like “Yume no Hajimarinrin,” for which this is a companion piece, “Slow Mo” shows Kyary tacking in a new direction. Her producer and songwriter Yasutaka Nakata pursues here a kind of epic vibe that would do well as theme music for a Ghibli movie, or an Evangelion type clashing robots anime. A simple, climbing, soaring melody with seriously arresting percussive effects and instrumentation.

English translation, romanized lyrics, and original Japanese here.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Yume no Hajimarinrin

I’m seriously slipping as a Kyary blogger. This came out more than two weeks ago! It has now glided past 1.5 million views.

The words:
Blogger Super Happy Awesome does the honors here, with commentary and translation of the lyrics, given in English, Japanese, and romanized Japanese, respectively. I’ll go out on a limb and translate the song title as “The Begin-ring-ring of the Dream.” This is typical Kyaryan wordplay, combining hajimari (beginning) and ring ring: hajimarinrin.

The music:
On first listen, the music rated a bit low for me on the Kyaryan spectrum, coming off as kinda thin. On second listening, it acquitted itself, maybe not overwhelmingly, but enough. The trick was that I needed earphones to pick up the bottom half. The arrangement is surprisingly conventional, with little trace of songwriter Yasutaka Nakata’s trademark technopop. There is lots of piano, carrying on from where Mottai Nightland left off. The piano pounding creates a kind of driving, Elton John type anthem vibe. So, the thinness that I thought I was hearing was in fact Kyary’s voice, which is more than usually naked and unaugmented here. But that’s part of the plan . . .

The visuals:
The Kyaryan vision is not just up to par but develops a substantial and interesting new twist. This is “meta” level Kyary: she is openly, almost systematically referencing all of her previous videos (well, at least most of them, and certainly the important ones) as well as her modelling career. The visuals (and lyrics) deal with graduating, saying goodbye to previous incarnations, and looking ahead to something new.

It is probably no coincidence that Kyary is also majorly cute in this video, and cute in a womanly and much less girlish way. So, is Kyary growing up, moving past the perpetual arrested childhood of her established musical persona? Is she pivoting in an entirely different direction? As with all other things Kyary, we’ll just have to wait and see.