It’s a hard road to become a successful pop idol group these days, especially in Japan where the AKB48 divisions have a stranglehold on the market. What’s left of it generally goes to the Korean invasion. When the pop scene reaches a peak like it is at now, it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish one act from the other.
Every day when you flip on the TV or thumb through a magazine there are gaggles upon gaggles of young girls and guys with almost identical clothes, hairstyles, songs, and dances all vying for your attention.
Applying the Tony Montana formula of success to idol groups; you got to get the attention first. Then when you get the attention, you get the fans. Then when you get the fans, you get the money. The girls in Alice Juban (Alice Number 10) are doing just that in a way that would make Scarface proud – with chainsaws and hockey masks.
This underground self-proclaimed metal idol group has developed a live show that can’t help but turn heads. By incorporating Friday the Thirteenth inspired attire and implements of death into their routines they are well on their way to defining the new genre of “horror pop” (OK yes there was Thriller, but that was only one song, hardly a genre).
As Rocketnews24 is always on the cutting edge of new genres we have a rundown of what makes Alice Juban an unparalleled act in the idol game.
Elements of Alice Juban’s Horror Pop
- Jason Masks and Weapons
In what must be a first for an idol group, these girls don goalie masks partway through a routine at which point they do a dance move that seems to simulate starting a chainsaw. Other times they can be seen holding axes, sickles, and various other tools suitable for maiming. Pretty gutsy in a business where a cute face is a always top priority.
You can’t be called a “metal idol” if you don’t headbang, and these girls do it. However, it’s more of a pop dance move than what you might imagine. The audience also gets in on it with the same enthusiasm as the group.
- Stage Diving
A move that is universally frowned upon by pop acts world-wide, Alice Juban has stepped outside their genre again by intermittently throwing themselves off the stage. A staple of rock acts everywhere, crowd surfing gives a pop group an unprecedented closeness with their fans that a hand-shake or wave doesn’t quite match.
Although there’s a ton of singing and dancing to be had, the group spices things up with occasional magic tricks. In keeping with their image, these aren’t Siegfried and Roy Vegas acts. These are quick and dirty little illusions that are more fun than tigers, puffy shirts, and creepy stares.
Being Unique is Everything
An Alice Juban show is heavily planned to be as unique as possible down to every last detail from the song arrangements to the stage directions by veterans of the business. New ideas or props are brought in everyday to be considered. The costumes and headbanging have come from this process and continue to grow. The results are the metal idols that we know today.
Much like the original Jason these girls have a laser focus set on killing the competition by being as exceptional as they can in every way.
It’s a proven formula as every generation has had their costumed musical heroes, from Alice Cooper and Kiss, to GWAR and Slipknot. But this may be the first time it was done in such a traditionally clean-cut musical style.
Performing with Fans Not to Fans
- Sea of Fans Perfect for Surfing
Just like the fans carry crowd-surfing members of Alice Juban in the shows, the group as a whole enjoys reliable and hardcore fans. It’s a good thing too, since one wrong step jumping off a stage can lead to heavy injuries. These girls must feel confident in their fans, though, the way the hurl themselves off the stage suddenly. The fans reciprocate by working together to carry them to safety, just in time for another one to jump off. In fact to ensure the ladies’ safety, the fans have developed an extra-strength system of interlocking arms known as the “Yagura” (a Japanese type of scaffolding tower used for festivals).
- Stage Diving was Inspired by Fans
The idea for Alice Juban to stage dive was actually an audience member’s suggestion. During a talk with the audience, the girls asked for suggestions to distinguish themselves from other groups.
“How about jumping off the stage?” one fan yelled.
The group was reluctant to do it but the audience was already sold on the idea and unwilling to let it go. They continued to beg them saying “Come on! We’ll support you! Jump!”
Finally the girls broke down and took the plunge. Since then they have cemented a strong relationship between performer and spectator where audience members can feel like a part of the show.
I was able to get a behind the scenes look at Alice Juban rehearsing for a show. It’s a very strict practice session and you could cut the tension in the studio with a knife. Again and again they meticulously went over their steps to get it right for showtime. A lot of these girls have been training to be an idol since they were young children.
Hearing all this you might expect some heavy metal music being performed but this is solid pop music loved by millions with just a touch of hard beats to give it that extra edge. If you get a chance check them out, I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like Alice Juban.
Photos and Video: Rocketnews24
Follow us as we watch from rehearsal to showtime
▼They have to repeat it until they get it right.
▼Suited up for battle… I mean the show.
▼The goalie masks make a huge impact.
▼Spontaneous magic tricks further set Alice Juban apart from the herd.
▼A group of super-fans known as the Happy Army reflect on the show.
▼Here we can see the “Yagura” technique of crowd surfing, probably exclusive to Alice Juban shows.
[ Read in Japanese ]