X Japan may be the biggest band in the world you’ve never heard of. But this brilliant documentary does a fantastic job of making you care about them regardless.
The team behind the Oscar winning documentary “Searching For Sugar Man” turns their cameras on this enigmatic Japanese glam/metal/pop band – a group that has sold over 30 million worldwide – following them as they prep for a sold-out Madison Square Garden show and delving deep into the band’s past.
The group’s first album came out in 1988 and over the course of several decades they have built up a massive following drawn to the band’s theatrical shows and earnest songs. X Japan has gone through some wild ups and downs, from selling out clubs, theaters and eventually stadiums worldwide, to firing band members and deaths; the group lasted from the early 1980s and split up for a decade in 1997. While a bulk ok the focus is on the band’s founder, drummer, songwriter and unspoken leader, Yoshiki, one of the more fascinating story lines centers on the singer, and his Yoshiki’s childhood friend, Toshi. Shortly before the band called it quits in the late ‘90s, he met the leader of religious cult, who ultimately persuaded Toshi that he should stop playing metal and focus on more spiritual music. Around 2006/2007, after a decade of not speaking to each other, the former friends met up, with some hesitance and decided to start writing music again. Toshi left the cult soon after and X Japan started back up again.
“We Are X” doesn’t shy away from the band member’s quirky personalities or the controversies and as a result gives a deeply compelling look at a global phenomenon that also somehow manage to still be under the radar to many. Regardless of your musical tastes, “We Are X” has a story that should appeal to just about anyone.
~ John B. Moore