I have seen jokes and memes on social media about how K-Pop groups, once they reach a certain level of fame, are subject to “forced collaboration.”
This is usually something along the lines of you know you’ve made it when your next big hit includes “featuring (some artist we’ve never heard of).” Of course, these comments bear no malice and are intended to be silly, as many recent collaborations have been fantastic (i.e. “On the Street” by j-hope and J. Cole). It is funny how fans point out how they know once you make it big, newer artists or older acts making a comeback and want to be part of what you’ve got.
That’s a good thing. However, no collaborations in any music genre have been as cool as when you collaborate with animated characters, both new and established. As we settle into the busy months of fall and winter, let’s take a break and enjoy some cool collaborations between popular K-Pop groups and animated characters.
NewJeans With The Power Puff Girls
When The Power Puff Girls debuted in 1998, they set the Cartoon Network on fire with their popularity, and NewJeans, who just debuted in 2022, did the same with K-Pop. Two months ago, NewJeans celebrated their second EP with the announcement of their official light stick and new music video for “New Jeans” turning them into their own Power Puff Girls! Just in time for the 25th anniversary of the original cartoon.
Enhypen and Pokémon
Last month, Enhypen released their video “One and Only” as part of The Pokémon Collective, a collaboration between Universal Music Japan and The Pokémon Company. The goal is to create a series of new music from various artists inspired by the “music and sounds” of the Pokémon gaming universe. This collective kicked off last year with a single for the young J-Pop producer imase. If Enhypen’s contribution is an indication of things to come, I am behind this collective all the way.
Stray Kids and Their Own SKZoo
Any STAY (Stray Kids fandom) member knows the official animal alter egos of Stray Kids, the cuddly SKZoo team. These animal mascots have been around since December 2020, and the first SKZoo version of a Stray Kids music video was in 2021 for “God’s Menu.”
They just keep getting more adorable, as they did with their newest SKZoo version of their single “S-Class.”
(G)I-DLE & Others and League of Legends
In 2018 the League of Legends universe introduced its own virtual pop group, K/DA featuring Madison Beer, Soyeon, and Miyeon of (G) I-DLE, Lexie Liu, Jaira Burns, and Seraphine. They put out several songs and their own EP in late 2020. Here’s one of their wild examples, with the song “MORE.”
BTS and Bastions
Even while BTS has been on an “official” hiatus, including two members currently serving in the military, they are continuing to print their own money with record-breaking solo projects, serving as brand ambassadors, and providing the theme song for the Korean animated series Bastions, that debuted in May of this year. The uplifting theme “The Planet” wasn’t nearly as popular as their mega-hit release for their 10th Anniversary Festa, “Take Two,” but it was still great to hear new things from the group as a whole.
Whoever your favorite artist is in any genre, it is hard to compete with the groovy cuteness of the likes of Power Puff Girls or Pokémon. I hope they keep trying, though, because there is always room for more of these clever collabs.