My review of BiS’s Disbanding Live
BiS’s disbanding live was held on 8 July 2014 in Yokohama Arena. Notwithstanding the official information until even a week before the live that there had still been 10000 tickets unsold, according to my own observation 80% of the more-than-10000 seats in the venue were filled. In other words, by a conservative estimation there were at least 8000 attendees, which is quite a successful mobilization of fans (to an extent that includes even a Hongkonger like me).
I arrived Tokyo on 7 July, one day before the disbanding live, as well as the second day of BiS’s photo exhibition with the theme of “before-death funeral” held in Shibuya. I visited the photo exhibition partly to get myself ready for the live on the next day. In addition to a tiny mourning hall with BiS members’ photos (which replicates the setting of a traditional Japanese funeral), the exhibition also has six sex dolls, each with a member’s face, something we can also find from the cover of the Best Album Uryaoi. Such masochistic portrayals of death and sexual objectification are the BiS style which I always find appealing. The idea of “before-death funeral” had also been adopted in the venue of the disbanding live, where another mourning counter was set up for fans to express their “condolences”; multiple white lanterns and funeral wreaths could be found. Needless to say, such an interesting setup has attracted a lot of photo-taking.
Audiences were allowed entrance after 3:30pm, though the live would not have started until 5:30pm (and it turned out starting at 6pm). During that gap period Mitsuya (蜜矢), a new 22-year-old male singer sharing the same manager with BiS, gave his performance on the stage (this is not a bad opportunity to promote himself anyway). More interestingly, a special entrance had been made for those who held a low-price 2000JPY ticket. Fans had always been discouraged from buying this type of ticket; that special entrance also deliberately made the holders of low-price tickets feel neglected – the staff who received them looked like some impolite underworld guys and the passage towards the auditorium was placed with banana skins. These low-price ticket holders were again ridiculed by the host during the opening of the live. This kind of behavioural joke might have brought to the audiences another unforgettable moment of the evening. As a holder of a normal ticket (costing 6000JPY), I receive neither such “bad” treatments for low-price ticket holders, nor the privileges, given only to those who had bought a premium ticket, to behave as panic as BiS’s Researchers (i.e. loyal fans) in ordinary BiS’s lives. What was celebrating enough is that my seat was at least not among the farthest from the stage.
I was also glad that my seat was at the front side of the stage, though it was not quite possible to see BiS members’ face during their performance. Instead, I could see clearly how the crowd of the audiences surrounded the stage, which was especially epic when the live began with the nerve mass dance led by BiS and its three former members (Michibayashi Rio, who resigned in order to find a job and has become an office lady, even wore a formal suit to show her present status). This crowd mass dance alone made the live a worth-watching one, but this was only the beginning. After the first song BiS’s manager and sound producer came onto the stage and led the audiences to sing We Will Rock You together, celebrating the success of BiS in attracting the large amount of disbanding live attendees, perhaps also gaining time for the members to have further preparation. When the six members returned, it was an almost non-stop singing throughout the night, without any self-introduction and conversation with fans (which always occurred in ordinary lives), and only one three-minute break among the three hours of singing, from new songs to old songs. These hours were simply awesome, especially when it came to the second last song Reribi (レリビ), during which many of us ran and jumped around, followed then by the final song nerve (again), bring the live to the end with another stadium-wide mass dance.
It is noteworthy that despite being a live concert of a female idol group, BiS’s disbanding live had a surprisingly high female-to-male ratio, which is at least 3:7 according to my own observation. There were even two loyal female Researches with twintails wearing a school swimsuit to support BiS, who had it as the performing dresses for their debut single album PPCC. By the way, believe it or not, the girls next to me were more familiar with Wotagei (ヲタ芸) than I do, of which I don’t know whether I should be proud or ashamed.
The most controversial part of the night comes to be the announcement at the end by the manager about the next step of the members of the disbanded group. Basically except Tentenko, who becomes free from any artist contract and will perform as a DJ in rock events in august, everyone will continue to stay in the entertainment industry; some of them are even forming new idol groups. The news gave the audiences the impression that the disbanding of the group was not a genuine one. Worse still, it was then announced that a live performance by the “former BiS” would be held on the next day (9 July), of which ticket fee is 30000JPY, telling brutally to the world that the disbanding had been somewhat a gimmick.
Fierce criticisms are expected, and it is perfectly understandable that some fans feel deceived. Nonetheless, I just find everything above consistent with what BiS has always done (or at least since the second half of 2013, when I first knew the group), which is exactly to exemplify the bloodiest and most avoided sides of the idol industry through themselves being idols. From DiE and primal.2 MVs, the inhumane country-wide tour during which members had to sleep on a coach and eat only self-cooked rice, to emphasizing “10000 tickets unsold” to beg for support, BiS have just been consistent.
Furthermore, given the fact that each member will from now on develop a different career, BiS, the only GROUP that has attracted me, has disbanded in a genuine sense. The attractiveness of the BiS lies, rather than (purely) in the appearance or talent of one particular member, in the totality of the six members each playing their own role in the boundary-pushing group and the effects thus generated. If only members’ appearance is concerned, to be frank, except Tentenko I find no one really appealing, while there are plenty of other Japanese idols who are much prettier. I would admit that Tentenko was the one who first caught my attention on BiS and is now still my most favourite member, but there are much more in BiS without which I would not have flied to Japan for their disbanding live. Hirano Nozomi may have been most severely criticized for her appearance, but in my view she is literally the pillar of the group, not only because she is the only establishing member other than the leader Pour Lui to sustain the group, but also because of her rare skill among idols to make live consonance for songs. The wildness (in whatever meaning) of First Summer Uika and the dancing, cosplay, and auditorium diving of Kamiya Saki also bring to the group artistic qualities for appreciation. With regard to youngest, most junior and immature Koshouji Megumi, maybe she is not very talented a stage performer, but she has the affinity internally essential for a group. The tension-easing effect of her mere existence has contributed to the solidarity of the group, partly explaining why BiS have not repeated the desperate fate of having one member resigning after another. It is BiS with their final six members, most well-balanced both internally and externally, which are most appreciable; it is also BiS with these six members which have genuinely disbanded.
To those who like BiS more as a group than for a particular member, the disbanding is neither a lie nor a mere gimmick; the disbanding live on 8 July with more than 8000 audiences is an end, a really good end. Ending itself may be saddening, but BiS is thereby immortal.