K-pop Idols – Resemblance to Anime Characters

I liked Korea pop music, and for a long time, I had been listening to music from the likes of Rain, Se7en, BoA, TVXQ, Big Bang, 2PM, 4Minute and a lot more. For those who had similarly followed the Korea pop music industry just as avidly, it’s easy to see that Korea pop music had evolved, it had turned into something.. different, both musically and physically. Gone were the days when your favorite kpop idols look more “ordinary” and down to earth, now they equip themselves with exotic makeups, bizarre hairstyles, and other surreal fashions.

The above picture shows how a typical kpop idol nowadays look like. Heavy makeups are applied to the face; including eye liners, toners and some possibly some others I’m not familiar with. His hairstyle is styled in a static, yet surreal look. Often times, these idols also dons bizarre, attention-grabbing outfits which would be extremely embarrassing to wear when walking around the streets. Most kpop stylists aim to make their idols having a very definitive and out-of-the-box look.

Back to the main topic at hand, I think one of the main factors in kpop huge fashion change is due to it’s influence on Japanese culture, or more specifically, anime itself. Of cause, I’m not saying anime is the main source behind this, but I feel it does play a significant role somewhere down the road.

Such uncanny resemblance!

Looking at the above pictures, the dreamlike appearance of kpop idols certainly resembles that of anime characters. Their major eye and facial makeups is a huge plus to the similarity, especially the way they style those long eyelashes. Their hairstyles which look more like wigs themselves, made it even more obvious.

Interestingly, the genres kpop music had also changed along with the idols’ appearances. While ballad and hip hop are more common genres kpop music affiliated themselves with, they now go with the more bizarre techno/trance trend, fitting accordingly to the sudden exotic and bizarre fashion switch.

If I were to make a more generic comparison, the current kpop is just like Japanese visual kei. As per wiki, visual kei is a movement among Japanese musicians that is characterized by the use of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always, coupled with androgynous aesthetics. Doesn’t that seems somehow.. familiar? The only difference is that visual kei focuses more on rock while kpop is more on techno. Indeed, there is no denying that kpop went down the same path too, using the same “unique” outlook visual kei possesses. They are an art, a fashion, yet, they are also music.

Shift in trends are always an interesting thing. Just what ignited the start of this trend? What happens to the old trend? Is the new trend so good that it can actually outperform the previous trend? I think this point can also be depended on how we perceive which is true or false. Certainly, everyone is now seeing the current trend as the real trend, the true mainstream music, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The surrealism of kpop fashion and the evolution of Korea’s pop music industry; pop changed, and so does kpop. At the end of the day, is this change influenced by anime? Not completely I would say, but it does contribute on quite a major portion of this change.

This entry was posted by Kai.

13 thoughts on “K-pop Idols – Resemblance to Anime Characters

  1. I just find K-POP idols stranger than what we are seeing with the Japanese counterpart. After watching Todd in the Shadow’s review of Gangnam Style by PSY (that become wildly popular in the last few months), I don’t know what to make out from Korean Pop music. Nothing in particular stands out about it except sounding very simular to American music along with the autotune stuff.

    But from the looks of it, it seems that the Korean idols are trying to outdo Lady Gaga or something.

    • That’s probably why visual kei is a fashion in an essence too, using heavy make-ups and stuffs. That’s what they are doing since day one but as for k-pop, they weren’t like this before, and the sudden switch is probably why it makes it so strange. And I always find mainstream music strange in itself, sometimes, a very generic song became a hit and sometimes, a very strange music (Gangnam Style in this case) became a hit. I’m not quite sure actually who started the techno/autotune trend but I remembered Big Bang was the one which started the electronic music with “Lies” at around 2007. I’m not sure if there was actually an American pop music which started that way before Big Bang had but in my case Big Bang was the first I heard and the trend starts from there. Though indeed, there’s no denying that K-pop is influenced by a lot of American music, and a few of them sounds familiar. I remembered G-Dragon was even rumored to be plagiarizing Flo Rida at some point.

      Yea, it’s sad. Of all the things they got influence from…

  2. Let me guess, Gangnam Style somewhat inspired you to write this article. No offense meant, but can be summed up as another, “Insert this entertainment medium here” was so much better in the old days type of article. There’s nothing wrong with that, mind you, it’s just that’s what it sounds like to me.

    • I didn’t actually said the new medium is bad or it was better in the old days, I just said it had changed, and the way it changed reflects that to anime characters.

  3. Pingback: Vocaloid Live Concerts in the West – A Different Interpretation | deluscar

  4. At first I actually found these changes nice and fresh. Of course, the overall feel surrounding these changes is, well, odd. But then, these are trends. No trend lasts forever. People will get sick of this, like how I myself am starting to withdraw from the mainstream music today. In the next years, there will be new styles to emerge, or probably the “old school” Kpop will be revived and the cycle begins.

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