Is a few dozen people dancing without moving their bodies at all unsettling or tranquil? You be the judge.
Visual Kei, Japan’s own brand of glam rock, has entrenched itself as a part of the musical landscape of the country back in the ’80s and still has a following to this day. Like other forms of high-tempo rock, fans often express their support of the music through headbanging. Here’s an example with a video by 0.1g No Gosan.
It’s hard to see clearly in the video with all the lasers and whatnot but Visual Kei headbanging is nearly the same as other forms of metal headbanging, except for one unique feature: it appears to be extremely organized.
This can be more easily seen in a video taken by Japanese Twitter user Akki of the same band performing in what looks like a shopping center. In the clip, fans twirl their heads with wild abandon and yet stand so evenly spaced apart out of respect for each other’s personal space that you could plot parabolic equations on them.
あっきー (@akki8935) May 06, 2017
Personally, just watching that sea of spinning hair triggers a wave of ASMR relaxation, like watching a field of dandelions yielding to a summer breeze or someone manipulating a huge glob of liquid candy.
And that’s just looking at the scene as a whole. Peering deeper into the crowd there are lots of little stories going on, like the girl who stops mid head banging to get a towel out of her bag or the girl in the purple shirt in the fifth row who stops to fix her hair.
Maybe this sense of wonder is limited to me though, because reaction online was widely mixed:
“They’re going to get a concussion like that.”
“I do that at festivals too. There’s nothing wrong with it.”
“The circular motion is the way to go, maximum hair action.”
“I find a figure eight motion works best.”
“It’s creepy to shake only your head like that.”
“It’s normal in Japan when headbanging to move only the head but keep the body still. I admit it looks kind of odd.”
“I could drive my car through that crowd and get it washed.”
“It doesn’t really look like they’re having fun.”
“Looks fun, but I’m too old for that now.”
Based on comments it would seem a slim majority found the event to be more on the unsettling side, with a few comparing it to an episode of Kaiden Shinmimibukuro (Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Over Japan) titled Seiza Suru Kage (Kneeling Shadows).
But at the end of the day it’s all a matter of taste, and if it makes them happy then I say, “Shine on you crazy Visual Kei kids.” I just hope they all do their stretches before and after because there’s nothing “rockin'” about repetitive strain injuries. Seriously, my aunt gets them all the time and she’s the least rockin’ person I know.