Featuring a pro-wrestler flanked by two teenage girls, the ‘kawaiicore’ trio are making waves with their song about Japanese products
At first glance you might wonder if Aphex Twin traded in his white bikini for hair bows and hand maid cosplay, and his laptop for a metal backing band complete with Rocky Horror costumes.
This is, however, not Richard D James or Andrew WK gone wild with the lip gloss but Australian Richard Magarey, who began performing and living as Ladybeard in 2009 in Hong Kong and Taiwan before moving to Japan in 2013.
Ladybeard is trained in martial arts and stunt work, has been cross-dressing since the age of 14 (something known as "otokonoko" in Japan) and is now the focus of the J-pop/metal hybrid Ladybaby. Ladybeard –who reportedly identifies as a five year old girl – is already kind of a big deal in her adopted homeland. A pro-wrestler who also covers J-pop hits in Tokyo clubs, Ladybeard’s Asia-Pacific profile is already impressive, with a sell out DVD and a deal with costume makers Clearstone in the bag.
Indeed, it was the Clearstone boss who put Ladybeard in touch with junior idols Rie Kaneko (17) and Rei Kuromiya (14) to form the basis of what the singer calls "kawaiicore". It’s not a new concept, BABYMETAL have topped the Asian charts with their cute vocals over the thrash of a metal band, but visually, Ladybaby have created a facially hirsute first.
Their first single, "「ニッポン饅頭」 (Nippon Manju)" or "Japan Bun", has created a whole lot of heat online, stacking up over a million views in a matter of days. Check it out below.