Panel 2: Showa Sparks! Japanese music in the 80s
Let me get this out of the way, first and foremost. With the nature of KuroCon panels being an anything goes type of thing, that means anyone can have a panel at KuroCon, just ask the moderators.
In this regard, this is a perfect example of “anything goes”. This one covers my favorite era of Japanese music, Showa.
A quick introduction to who’s behind this.
The name’s Ani, also known as Mira, a native of Vancouver who is a giant fan of Showa-era JPOP, or more specifically, 80’s era idol music so there will be no mentions of BOOWY or The Blue Hearts in this one. She is also the producer for Blue On Pink, which we’ll talk about later.
Ani then lists her top artists from that era from the big hitters such as Seiko Matsuda, Onyanko Club, Wink to some unknowns, in relation to international popularity, like Yoshie Kashiwabara and Momoko Kikuchi, who is only known within the city pop fandom. She also points out that in her opinion, Showa was the best era of J-Pop in general by which, I agree to a certain extent.
After that part, technical difficulties persisted throughout the rest of the show as for one, she tried to play a Wink video but no sound came out. I’d normally laugh this one off but I’ll give her a pass because of time constraints as well as this is her first time, ever, doing a livestream of this magnitude.
This is where we delve a little bit into Ani’s producer background. She pointed out that what made Wink stood out of the pack is their limited facial expressions, which makes them different from their contemporaries (until 1996, where they dropped the act altogether) and the similarities and differences between Showa and Heisei/Reiwa song chord progression as Showa-era songs tend to be funkier or leaning more into jazz elements of music, thus making it fancier than the much more bubblegum type of music that permeated from the mid-90s to present.
Thus, the creation of Twinkle, Ani’s Wink inspired cover band. She also dropped her Blue On Pink SoundCloud page and speaking of B.O.P., I didn’t realize until now that it’s an Akina Nakamori reference.
She then sang a demo of one her songs, which to be honest, the echo in her microphone made it a little better because it sounded like a post-Filthy Frank Joji song.
The panel ends with Ani promoting Blue On Pink’s Instagram page, albeit in a mirrored way.
In retrospect, this is the first and only time that I saw someone talk about Showa era stuff on a cosplay convention, local or otherwise and I hope more people do this kind of thing in the future because for one, there are people who are interested in this kind of stuff, it’s just not that many as the current scene is being overpowered by the majority who wanted the newer stuff over the older ones, not realizing that the old stuff can stand the test of time, sometimes, so kudos for Ani for “pioneering” that one.
The production gaffes can be fixed by having someone who’s more savvy in tech than you to help with the presentation but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this panel.