Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and her 2011 megahit PONPONPON video sort of raised the bar for models-turned singers in Japan. Nowadays if you want your song to get any attention, you have to make the most visually appealing promotion video you can, one that can target both web addicted otaku and magazine-flipping fashion kids alike or else risk getting lost in the deluge of PVs uploaded daily to YouTube.
Thus, 17 year old Popteen magazine model Shiina Hikari (nickaname: Pikarin) along with record label avex – have really hedged their bets by hitting all the buttons video for her debut single “Shinryaku Pikarin Densetsu☆” . This is less a simple music video and more like a shopping list containing multiple crazy costume changes, kawaii-guro styling (Look! She’s holding a human skull!), frantic visuals and editing, all capped off by a nose-bleed techno song by Vocaloid producer HachioujiP.
The cynic in me finds this all a bit too calculated to exploit the growing links between the fields of kawaii fashion and idol culture. Ditto the press release for the song, which makes a big deal out of how much of an anime fan Pikarin herself supposedly is (cue: fake geek girl debate).
No doubt there is a lot of crossover taking place between the realms of Shibuya, Harajuku, and Akihabara – which used to be totally separated until pretty recently, but my big question is: is this shift in Tokyo youth culture happening organically, or are a collusion of magazine editors, clothing brands, and record label pulling the strings? The correct answer is probably, “a bit of both”, but Pikarin’s clip bears big smudgy fingerprints of the latter camp.
But the real question is…are you not entertained?
This article originally ran on Crunchyroll News