Hogwarts, pirates and soldiers: Japanese girl bands role play to snag fans

The members of Japanese girl group Magical Punchline play schoolgirls at a magic school.
The members of Japanese girl group Magical Punchline play schoolgirls at a magic school.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB from YOUTUBE

Japanese girl groups are adding to their music videos the role-playing element of cosplay in a bid to catch not just the ears, but also the eyes of music fans in a saturated market.

Instead of dressing up like specific characters, as cosplayers do, these musicians style their groups and music videos after personas which include pirates, soldiers and schoolgirls at the Japanese equivalent of Hogwarts.

Magic Mania

In one music video by Magical Punchline, which features five members playing students at a magic school, the first entire minute shows the girls trying out spells.

One girl is shown levitating a banana-like item while another conjures up a piece of candy.

When the music begins, the five are decked out in short skirts and some sport ponytails done up with ribbon - a distinctly Japanese look.

The year-old group, whose members are aged 14 to 19, has released two mini albums.

Military Draw

If magic is not your style, consider the military, which is given the J-pop treatment by music group Tenkoushoujo Kagekidan.

Dressed in camouflage skirts and bearing toy guns, the girls sing and prance in their upbeat music videos.

Group spokesman Taro Momotani told the Nikkei Asian Review in a report on Saturday (Feb 11) that the idea was to make mixing media platforms easier by incorporating a military theme, "which is popular in anime and video games".

The seven-member group was formed in November 2014, according to its site. The girls are aged 16 to 24.

Sea Trades

Other groups that have jumped on the wacky group bandwagon are Tsuri-bit - a fishing-themed girl group whose members are aged 15 to 18 - and Smile Pirates.

The latter, Japanese female "pirates" who came on the scene in August last year, have done as many as 100 live shows, reported the Nikkei Asian Review.

The four members are all 22 years old, according to their website which is peppered with treasure maps and compass motifs.

For them and the other themed groups, the real treasure lies in a loyal fan following amid a sea of prosaic performers.