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Tom Smith on a band taking heavy to the extreme

The band DEV PARADE, supplying the ending theme to Naruto Shippuden’s eighth box set, are Heavy. Their name sounds innocent enough in English, but when written in Japanese the DEV becomes ‘debu’, a pejorative slang term used to mean chubby, fatty and all other childish synonyms for the overweight – so directly translated into English, the band’s name can be read as the Fatty Parade. Charming.

The name is also an oyaji gag (literally ‘dad joke’, a pun packing high cheese content) of Def Leppard, the classic British rock group. Unfortunately their name is spelt Defu Repaado in Japan; DEV PARADE has exactly the same katakana, just arranged in a slightly different order and with an all-important couple of dots.  Hilarious, apparently.

Back in 2007, bulky guitarist Ugazin had spotted a rather large gap in the market. In a world where candy-coated pop and beautiful visual kei boys ruled the charts, there was a lack of artists that didn’t fit into the pop idol stereotype of slim, toned bodies. So, he took to the internet in hope of recruiting members for a new type of band, one that defied the apparent conventions of pop, and one that had only one rule:  no member can weigh less than a hefty 100kg (This is only fat if you are short! – slightly hurt, 104 kg Ed.)

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Ugazin was serious, too. The not-quite-debu-enough bass-player Taka found the advert and applied despite his meagre 95kg in weight, and was forced to bulk up before the group would even consider him. This isn’t a unit that proclaims to consist of Yokozuna-class musicians, the term used for Sumo highest rank, for no good reason. Collectively, they’re nearly 90 stone! In others words, the five members of DEV PARADE weigh as much as Morning Musume’s 12-girl line-up.

The debu theme continues in nearly every aspect of DEV PARADE’s activities. Their blog is as equally about food as it is music. Their meetings have been dubbed ‘meatings’ from the sheer amount of meat consumed during them. And fans weighing over 100kg qualify for the special debu discount for their live shows.

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It also explains the mysteriously ‘large’ figures that join the Naruto cast in dancing during the eighth box set’s ending theme. It not only features the group’s single ‘BACCHIKOI!!!’ (meaning “Come On!!!”) but also feature the band themselves boogying alongside Naruto and chums ! And there aren’t many artists who can say that.

Naruto Shippuden Box Set 8, featuring the Dev Parade single ‘BACCHIKOI!!!’, is out on UK DVD from Manga Entertainment from 27 February.

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