Before idol groups like AKB48, Japanese glam rock—called visual kei—was where it was at. In their latest music video release, “air rock” band Golden Bomber revisits some of the genre’s most iconic looks.

Visual kei is a style of Japanese rock music that first appeared in the 80s, most notably attributed to X-Japan and bands like Buck Tick, D’erlanger, and Color, partially influenced by Western glam rock in appearance.

Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, early visual kei artists sought out different ways to express themselves through music, look, and theatrics, and by the mid-90s artists from the genre, such as GLAY, Luna Sea, and L’Arc~en~Ciel were consistently making a mark on the Oricon charts (Japan’s version of the US’s Billboard charts). Together with the arrival of bands like Malice Mizer, Dir en grey, Kuroyume, and Penicillin, colorfully dyed hair and gothic and lolita fashion became synonymous with the visual kei image, and more and more visual kei bands began to pop up onto the Japanese music scene until visual kei’s popularity began to wane in the late 90s, often attributed to the death hide, solo artist and ex-guitarist of X-Japan.

But miraculously the genre has been given a slight jump-start after X-Japan and Luna Sea announced reunion tours around 2007, and “air rock” band Golden Bomber found major commercial success with their single, “Memeshikute”, and further cemented their popularity by releasing a music video parodying Japan in the 80s before its economic bubble burst.

Now they’ve moved on a decade with their latest video for “Yokubo no Uta” from their number-one hit album, NO MUSIC NO WEAPON, glorifying and poking fun at the visual kei movement that vocalist Sho Kiryuin says has had a profound influence on him and his musical career.

▼ The first half of the video is based on Malice Mizer’s Bel Air music video, with Ex-Malice Mizer guitarists Mana-sama and Kozi portrayed by Golden Bomber’s (air) guitarist Kyan Yutaka and drummer Kenji Darvish.

▼ Bassist Jun Utahiroba is a spitting image of Lareine’s bassist, Emiru…


▼ …while Sho Kiryuin is some kind of hybrid of Lareine’s vocalist, Kamijo, and ex-Malice Mizer vocalist Gackt.



 ▼ Sho imitating Kyo’s signature look from Dir en grey’s early years.


The video makes reference to a whole slew of popular visual looks and MV themes common among bands, wrapping up with the members dressed up as Malice Mizer again.



Of course, it wouldn’t be a visual kei MV without a token white girl. (Though we can’t really blame her for trying to run away.)


Golden Bomber made headlines in last year with Yutaka Kyan starring as Tamahome in last year’s Fushigi Yugi musical, and hopefully this video is the first of many new promising activities for the band in 2016.

Source: YouTube/zanyzapofficial (1, 2)
Top/feature image: YouTube/zanyzapofficial
Insert images: YouTube/zanyzapofficial, YouTube/edwin0002ful, YouTube/J-Rock Inside, YouTube/mapacheKAO, YouTube/, Pinterest, wikia/Visual Kei Encyclopedia, edited by RocketNews24