It’s back again for 2016 – welcome to this year’s first episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert!
It’s time to check out some more nugu k-poppers!
Not very long ago I wrote up a Kpopalypse music video drinking game. The purpose of this game of course wasn’t to get you all drunk (although cheers to those who did and I hope the hospital is letting you go home soon) but actually to highlight some of the unconventional visual oddities that k-pop video directors hold dear. Of course I couldn’t include absolutely every quirk of k-pop MV making, because if I had been all-inclusive you drinkers would all be dead, and I don’t like getting sued for other people’s stupidity. It’s okay though because Nugu Alert can pick up the slack and deal with some of the more oddball stuff in this and future episodes.
One category that I really could have used in the drinking game but that I kept away from for public health reasons is PLUSH TOYS. K-pop videos have an obsession with plushies, and I kind of understand. Many years ago when I was a drummer in a punk band I used to play those “skill tester” claw games (back when it was actually a legitimate skill test, before the newer rigged machines) and I’d use them as filler material for my bass drum because they were lighter to carry and thus more practical for touring (plus cuter) than the heavy blankets other drummers would use. Of course I got constantly called a faggot for daring to showcase my plushie-filled kit, but then people would routinely call me a faggot anyway for all sorts of reasons (even when I was fucking their girlfriends) so just one more reason to be called a faggot was no big deal to me. Nowadays I don’t drum in bands anymore and I have a cat so I just buy my cat plush toys instead, but I do understand the appeal of the iconic plushie so it’s time to take a look at how k-pop treats plush toys.
Super high-budget k-pop MVs from flashy agencies with money to burn will have sentient plush toys that actually do stuff, often to advance the story. The latest example of this is Gfriend’s “Rough” which uses some sneaky puppetry to make teddy abandoned at the bus stop come to life:
However nugu groups can’t afford that sort of caper, they probably couldn’t even afford the money to pay the extra to manipulate teddy with his hand. Nugu groups have got to take matters into their own hands when it comes to inserting plush toys into the drama of their drama music videos. Please enjoy the following examples straight from the bowels of nugudom. Usual Nugu Alert rules apply:
- Less than 20,000 hits on official channels
- International k-pop fans largely don’t give a fuck
- Kpopalypse gives all his fucks
Let’s do it.
Hexe ft. Plug Galaxy – I Must Be Crazy
This video from Hexe and Plug Galaxy [insert pegging joke here] features some woman doing the usual moping around her apartment, pining for a lost love that she still sees in her delusional fantasies. The “phantom boyfriend/girlfriend” is a pretty common theme in k-pop music videos but you don’t see it on the far end of the nugu spectrum a whole lot due to the time-consuming camera trickery needed to set up such a shot, so good on these folks for giving it a red hot go and the results do look pretty good. Early on in the video the hot plushie action is introduced with our female protagonist in bed at 0:39 looking at fap pics of her ex-boyfriend while her toy bunny looks on and they have a heartfelt “moment” together (girls, do you really do this?). Of course she has to manipulate the bunny herself and act like it’s alive because there’s no budget for CGI/puppetry here, they already blew all the cash on the “ghost” scenes. As the video continues you see her hallucinate/remember several scenes with the young man, plus her talking to another weirder looking older man with long hair (not me btw). At 3:00 the shocking truth is revealed, the creepy older guy has been stalking her and pines after her. Then at 3:30 he appears with two more bunnies in tow and it’s revealed that he’s been using his army of microdot-infused sentient plush toys to spy on her phone interactions and feel her up by remote control/astral projection while she sleeps and dreams of her ex-boyfriend. Presumably he’s deceased, no doubt a casualty of shit music disease after having listened to Hexe practicing this shitty song one too many times.
YouTube views at time of writing: 4369
Notable attribute: female protagonist using the reflection in the piano’s upper panel to be a pervert in a moment of unflinching true-to-life student-teacher realism at 1:44
Nugu Alert rating: high
Rebro – Return
People have been tipping me off about nugus Rebro for a while now, so I thought it was about time that I finally featured them in Nugu Alert. Rebro aren’t actually completely nugu at least as individuals, they’re a little-known sequel group to an older more successful classy-sexy concept group called 5tion, featuring a couple of their principal members and presumably also the same financial backing. Their song isn’t too bad though, both looking and sounding a bit like a cheapo version of BigBang’s “Lovesong” but of course without the spontaneous combustion of scenery and exploding cars being dropped from cranes because that shit costs money. Instead we get a girl walking across the desert with her favourite stuffed teddy bear, that she carelessly drops in the dirt because she’s an ungrateful little brat who doesn’t look after the toys her parents give her. Poor neglected teddy gets the short end of the stick in this story, as the girl spies Rebro’s video set in the distance, and notices that the cracked earth that makes up their dancing space represents an OH&S tripping hazard. Not wanting to see her favourite k-pop group have to cancel schedules for knee reconstruction surgery, the girl throws teddy back in the dirt and goes to fetch her watering can to moisten the earth and give Rebro a safe space to bust out some proper boy-band dance moves instead of poncing around in the desert waving their arms like a bunch of preachers on acid. Of course Rebro’s dancing doesn’t improve which makes the girl cry so in the dying seconds of the video she says “fuck it” and watches an old 5tion MV instead where at least they move around a bit more normally even if the song is garbage.
YouTube views at time of writing: 3411
Notable attribute: girl growing up during the video a great metaphor for how 5tion’s fans all grew up and don’t give a shit about Rebro
Nugu Alert rating: average
Kim Doe Hyun – Satbaman
It’s one thing to have a plushie in your video but trot singer Kim Doe Hyun has taken things to the next level and infused his entire body with the spirit of the plush toy, weighing in with an impressive Shindongesque girth. In “Satbaman” Kim Doe Hyun’s crush rejects his advances and then she quickly gets abducted by a domestic violence prevention unit for her own safety and whisked to a secret location before he can return to retaliate. Undeterred by this action Kim Doe Hyun sharpens up his martial arts skills and gets down to the business of reinforcing his patriarchal domination using the secret technique of judo jump-cuts. The power of plushness infused into his flesh, the weapons of the brave domestic violence intervention officers break harmlessly across Kim Doe Hyun’s soft man-meat, leaving them powerless to stop him from entering the curiously low-budget women’s shelter and reclaiming the object of his deranged obsession with minimal effort. Clearly a violent alcoholic who knows no limits, Kim Doe Hyun then swiftly passes out at the bar in a stupor after his revenge rampage. Although the pro-domestic-violence message in the video is quite disconcerting and may prove understandably confronting and unpleasant to many viewers, for those with the mental fortitude to look past the music video’s plot Kim Doe Hyun’s clingy white man-boob-enhancing top and bulge-highlighting red shorts should provide all the soft squishiness anyone could need.
YouTube views at time of writing: 6866
Notable attribute: has a behind-the-scenes version, showcasing even more explicit ballbag shots without the towel in the way
Nugu Alert rating: extreme
Thanks for reading another episode of Kpopalypse Nugu Alert! Not many readers actually read these, so consider yourself special – and know that Nugu Alert will return in the future with more nugus!