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Beyond Senpai. The music and culture fanzine. Made by fans for fans. For features and content contributions contact:

Meriken Chiwawa: ‘It’s time for girl punk bands now!’

A new punk band has arrived, so girls, let’s do it flashy!

Fans of the ‘fancy animal’ punk band Knuckle Chiwawa can look forward to a new all girl punk outfit headed by long time punker and legendary front woman Shibakuzo Rei-chan.

Now, Meriken Chiwawa has become a separate unit with Rei-chan on vocals, Yamada Oi on guitar, and Hitsuji on bass. And these girls are ready to bring some fresh and flashy punk rock onto the scene.

Rei-chan has been active in the underground alternative scene in Japan for over a decade, most recently with Knuckle Chiwawa, releasing music and touring extensively with them since 2019. However, she tells us ‘It’s time for girl punk bands now!’

Gritty, fast and in your face, we can expect Meriken Chiwawa to tear up the stage with their explosive live performance. Releasing first single “Shibakuzo no Theme” back in April 2023, Yamada and Hitsuji officially joined the ranks a month later making Meriken Chiwawa a 3-piece.

Rei-chan, Yamada and Hitsuji joined Beyond Senpai to chat about the debut of the new unit. Lets do it flashy!

Continue reading Meriken Chiwawa: ‘It’s time for girl punk bands now!’

YOSHIKI-World Tour With Orchestra Press Release



LOS ANGELES, CA / MAY 16, 2023 – Japanese rock artist YOSHIKI’s highly-anticipated 2023 classical world tour was announced at the GRAMMY Museum® on May 15.

During a press conference attended by U.S. and international media, YOSHIKI – composer, classically-trained pianist, rock drummer, and leader of rock bands X JAPAN and THE LAST ROCKSTARS – revealed details of the upcoming tour, titled Yoshiki Classical 10th Anniversary World Tour with Orchestra 2023 “REQUIEM”.

Continue reading YOSHIKI-World Tour With Orchestra Press Release

‘Even if it’s different, I won’t let Satanic Punish deteriorate’ – An Interview with Bokuga Sakura

Come April 29th, the stages of Japan will darken with the promise of a new era for Satanic Punish, who will go through a major lineup change with the graduation of Legendary Members, Webshiki and Himeno Usagi. After making their debut in March of 2020, both Webshiki and Usagi created an image and sound for Satanic Punish that is undeniably theirs, but after three years with the group, both are ready to pass the baton and allow Satanic Punish to flourish under a new system.

Now, new member and soloist Bokuga Sakura will be joining the front lines of Satanic Punish alongside fellow member Mana Manomu – who joined the group at the tail-end of October 2022 – and crafting her own image within and for the group upon her official join date, which begins on April 29th, 2023.

Continue reading ‘Even if it’s different, I won’t let Satanic Punish deteriorate’ – An Interview with Bokuga Sakura

TsuShiMaMiRe: ready to rock

Tokyo punk rock legends TsuShiMaMiRe are set to send their British fans wild with their first ever live show on UK soil.

With a history spanning more than two decades, Mari, Yayoi and Maiko are ready to bring their eclectic punk rock style to the Lexington, London, on June 14th. After 20 full length releases and multiple live performances worldwide including an incredible 15 US tours, the group has made a name for themselves on the live punk circuit.

Formed back in 1999, the trio have not only toured and recorded extensively, but also went on to establish their own record label, MOJOR RECORDS, in 2010, where bassist Yayoi’s solo project FERRET NOISE can be found.

Continue reading TsuShiMaMiRe: ready to rock


After what seems like forever, BABYMETAL have returned bigger and better with their new concept album The Other One. Just Panda gives her professional kitsune opinion on the new release.

After the long period of being sealed away, Sumetal and Moa-metal are back, with new music, new live performances and a new concept album.

I have listened to the new record on repeat since its release, and wow, what a record! Su’s familiar vocals are all there, but the music is on another level. Heavy and light in the same breath, the production is out of this world. This is a mature sounding BABYMETAL, and I’m not mad about it one bit. All the chat online about the lack of the old kawaii style is rampant amongst the hardcore fans, and I totally get where they are coming from. But Sumetal and Moametal aren’t the little girls of Doki Doki Morning anymore, they are evolving into their new era, and I think The One should embrace this new sound.

Metal Kingdom has all the traits of a BABYMETAL opener, big vocals and the ‘whoa whoas’ that the crowd can join in with. This is one of the 5 released singles prior to the album release, with an MV featuring the live performance from January’s Makuhari Messi shows. I loved the dramatic costumes, they fit well with the song and have all the qualities of a BABYMETAL set opener, and I would expect this to be the live opener for the foreseeable. Loved it.

Devine Attack-Shingeki– was the first release after the ‘unsealing’ of BABYMETAL. A heavy djent focused track, there’s a nice build up during the verse before the big chorus. As a lover of the dance music scene (I’m musically eclectic) I found this track to be quite the jam. I know a lot of fans weren’t too please with the dance driven focus of this track, especially as its the first one we’ve had in over two years. But hey, this is BABYMETAL, they like to come back with a bang.

The concept of light and dark are featured throughout the record, and none more so than on Maya. This track almost blasted my ears off! That noisy opening riff is ridiculous and reminded me of some of the newer Slipknot releases. That super heavy guitar and bass with thundering drums was complimented by Su’s soft vocals on the verse before a quality melodic chorus. We get some Moa vocals in the chorus, too, which is most enjoyable. Lots of fans have been saying this is the heavy track they were waiting for, and for the heavier wanting fans out there, they won’t be disappointed. It’s definitely a highlight for me and one that I hope makes it onto the upcoming tour.

Another stand-out track for me is METALIZM. Heavy and dark with a driving beat and eastern inspired guitar licks, this is probably the track I have listened to most. Su does a great job with the vocals, and I love the repetitive chorus, another one for the fans to join in with. Again, the theme of light and dark is clear in this one, with the vocals brought forward in the mix with that heavy riffage supporting. It took a few playthroughs for me to realise that this is one hell of a track. The heaviness and eastern style work really well together. The writers know this from the success of Shanti Shanti Shanti, a crowd pleaser that’s been on the touring setlist since its release. I have no doubt this will be a firm favourite with the fanbase.

The most recent release, Mirror Mirror, has a real cracker of an intro. Those progressive technical metal guitar riffs and broken time signatures before a demonic breakdown are delight from a prog-metal view. Su singing in English doesn’t bring much to the track, I always prefer her vocals in Japanese. Again, there is an enjoyable blend of light and dark on this track, one that the fans have been talking about a lot. The chorus is in perfect contrast to the verse. It has that delicious BABYMETAL quirkiness that I feel is missing from the rest of the record.

Now, there’s been some talk within the fanbase about this next track, and I would say it’s 50/50 love or hate. And that’s Time Wave. The intro gave me heavy Blood Stain Child vibes; and I am all for that! Electro trance fused with metal, you can’t help but want to dance to this track. The chorus is big and bright, with a real J-pop feel to it. I would like to hear more of this style, I think it works well for BABYMETAL. I hope they bring this one on tour. *dances*

Monochrome has to be a solid favourite for me. When they released it as a single and the incredible stripped back performance on The First Take, this song has all the uplifting feels I had been waiting for. It has a proggy guitar opening, which still keeps that trad BABYMETAL feel that leads into what I believe to be Su’s best vocal performance of her career. That rise in the chorus she manages with ease. You can hear how her voice has matured on this track, and it brought a tear to my eye on the first listen. I really enjoyed Moa’s vocals on the chorus, too, velvety and brightening. Yes, she is featured on a few times on the previous tracks, but I did enjoy her part on this one most. It’s a crying shame she is not featured more vocally, something a lot of fans have been very outspoken about. And quite rightly so. The fact that she seems to have been pushed further into the background and seems to be no more than a dancer, Koba, you are missing a trick here. And you’re not listening to the fans. But that’s a whole other article, right?

Ok, I can’t just sit and review this album without mentioning the high-quality sound of this record. The production and musicianship are above and beyond all the previous BABYMETAL releases. It seems that the writers really got to show off their skills while composing this record, and the post-production mastering is by far the best sound I’ve heard from them. That musical talent should not be hidden away in the lore of BABYMETAL. These musicians and composers are world-class. Each track is deliberately sprinkled with tight solo guitar, and you can tell they have had a lot of fun running up and down the fretboard with creative arpeggios and licks. A joy to beholden.

There’s so much gatekeeping in the metal community, particularly from overseas metalheads who like to pipe up on Twitter and Facebook posts. ‘That’s not real metal’ they write. It’s so frustrating as a fan and lover of music to see this because I know they are missing out on some quality music. Perhaps a small part of me thinks it’s their loss, and I can keep this enjoyment to myself. But music should be shared and enjoyed and embraced. And part of me feels sad for those who just want to shout down BABYMETAL because it’s not what they are used to.

I digress.

The Other One is, by far, the best record BABYMETAL has put out. The album is coherent, and each track blends to the next with purpose, something that was lacking in the previous METAL GALAXY release. I think they have succeeded in producing a concept album, and it fills me with metal joy. Thematically, the idea of light and dark is well incorporated throughout, not only from track to track but within each track. It’s a pleasure to the ears. Tracks like Believing, a heavy progressive metal track featuring wild arpeggios and time signatures dappled with bright vocals, and Light and Darkness, an uplifting rock ballad of sorts, have all the qualities of a grown up sounding BABYMETAL. I enjoyed the mix of the more classic prog metal with the new djent, almost dance vibe. It works. They made it work.

Final track The Legend has all the emotional feels that we got when The One was released. Featuring soft vocals, bright chord progressions, and even some jazzy sax playing near the end (anyone else get Ghost Papa Nihil vibes here?) I felt this an appropriate ending to the record. And I’m guessing this will be what we get to end the live shows on the upcoming tours. And what of it? (Is someone cutting onions?)

With two upcoming solo shows in Japan before embarking on tour as support to Sabaton, and tours of Asia and Australia to come after, I have no doubt BABYMETAL will return to the UK for a proper tour. The fanbase can hopefully look forward to the return of Avenger Momoko Okazaki, who toured as support alongside Riho Sayashi and Kano Fujihira during the METAL GALAXY shows. And with Fox Day just around the corner (at the time of this publication), will we see Momoko become a full-time member of the new era of BABYMETAL?

Only the Fox God Knows?!

I will be at the London show in April, and I look forward to hearing some of the new tracks live. See you there, kitsunes!

We are The One. 

BABYMETAL return to the UK April 2023 on tour with SABATON.

The Other One is available to purchase now.

Photos and artwork from the official BABYMETAL Twitter.

To support BABYMETAL

I am Crazy, Crazy, Crazy for The Long Goodbye’s Music

Review by: Kelly

One of the things I like most about Idol music, is that it is varied in its sound, and there is something out there for everyone. Whether it is a pop-rock tune or a smooth groove that hits the sweet spot, Idol music is a mixed basket of delight, and the gift that keeps on giving.

Yet I think we sometimes forget that J-pop is more than the ‘pop’ that its name eludes to. When we look at the word ‘pop’ – myself included – we consider it to be generic in sound, bubblegum to its core and the most sugar-coated tune to ever grace our ears, when it is anything but. Sometimes, we simply have to remind ourselves that J-pop as a genre has layers, much like onions (or an ogre named Shrek).

Continue reading I am Crazy, Crazy, Crazy for The Long Goodbye’s Music

Mugen no Plume Fly on New Wings in their Debut Mini-Album (Review)

Review by Kelly-Mae Matt

In this ever-growing world of Idols and music, it comes as no surprise that there are new groups to discover at every turn. Whether they are downright cute or ready to blow your brains out with their vicious death growls, there will always be something there for us to discover as we walk down this path as Japanese music fans.

In my most recent ventures on YouTube, I happened to stumble upon Mugen no Plume by pure chance, and was pleased to realise that they are right up my alley in regard to their sound and style. Cute and orthodox in every sense of the word, I’m aware that this group won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but they are right up my alley in regard to their sound and style.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I have found myself almost instantly enamoured with the group. Yes, I will still hold a candle toward the NECRONOMIDOL’s (R.I.P) and Satanic Punishes within this world, but there is something about the glittering lights and pastel dresses that inspires me as a fan and listener.

And boy oh boy, don’t I feel motivated right now thanks to this group and their adorable music! So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty, and talk about Mugen no Plume and their debut mini-album.

Continue reading Mugen no Plume Fly on New Wings in their Debut Mini-Album (Review)

PLANCKSTARS Set to Overtake London for their BUTTER DOG SUMMIT Tour

It’s time to practice the fan calls and break out the penlights, because the first alternative Idol live event for 2023 has been secured!

PLANCKSTARS – an seven member idol group from Hiroshima, Japan – will be descending upon the UK this January 22nd, 2023, as a part of their first One-man Live World Tour, which has been creatively titled the BUTTER DOG SUMMIT.

Continue reading PLANCKSTARS Set to Overtake London for their BUTTER DOG SUMMIT Tour

Carnage Society: The artwork that makes the music. An interview with Yu-ki Iwata.

The creativeness of music takes many forms, from the audible to the visual. And the artwork presented to us on our favourite record sleeves tell just as much of the musical story as the songs themselves.


Illustrator Yu-ki Iwata, known as Carnage Society, is one of the creative souls who works alongside bands and musicians to bring to life those album artworks.

Working as a freelance illustrator since high school, Yu-ki has worked on artworks for many prominent metal and visual kei artists. And more recently, with influences from death metal and grind core, Yu-ki has developed their style further, fusing kawaii and gore to create the original character GORE-GIRL.

Yu-ki joined Beyond Senpai to tell us more about the creativity involved in being an illustrator.

Continue reading Carnage Society: The artwork that makes the music. An interview with Yu-ki Iwata.

With DEARDEVIL: The Final Interview

As November draws to a close in the coming days, so does the final chapter in DEARDEVIL’s journey. With a final performance set for November 22nd, AKANE, ARARA and RISA will take their final bow together, before walking backstage and into a void of the unknown.

Of course, this does not mean that this is the end of the members and their individual journeys as performers, but is instead the beginning of a new chapter in their lives and careers, and wherever that path may take them, the fans will be there to cheer them on.

Continue reading With DEARDEVIL: The Final Interview