K-Pop: K/DA

Promotional image of (from left) Kai’sa, Akali, Seraphine, Ahri, and Evelynn. Copyright goes to ‘League of Legends’ and ‘Riot Games’.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Of course, with my interest in K-Pop and animated franchises it was only a matter of time until I became acquainted with K/DA. Recently, I’ve been looking into supporting and becoming a fan of female gaming characters that aren’t from Overwatch. I’ve made a couple posts about D.Va in the past, and then recently all of the allegations about Blizzard Entertainment hit. And while it’s pretty clear that many of the things detailed in those allegations happen in many companies in the gaming industry, it still doesn’t excuse Blizzard’s reaction to all of this. Women have been treated awfully in gaming communities, both behind the scenes and for simply gaming in general, for ages. It’s simply atrocious and completely sexist. So, I decided to look at more female driven projects that gaming companies have done that have more women behind the scenes. And K/DA being a product of ‘League of Legends’ is a perfect example of a female driven gaming marketing with plenty of women also behind the scenes. What’s more, they are actually created to be a K-Pop group. Can you tell why I’m excited? This ticks off so many boxes of so many of the things that I love! So let’s get into what makes this particular group stand out.

Virtual Band:

A lot of people are hesitant when it comes to virtual bands or virtual musical groups. These all consist of animated and fictional characters that do not exist, but still put out music. I can see why people are a little afraid. If you take people out of music you take the soul out of it. I think that’s why I have personally always been hesitant to become a fan of things like Vocaloid, for example. But I have always been fully supportive of actual bands or groups using fictional characters to switch out people behind the scenes and switch out the sound of the music sometimes too. This is most famously done in the group ‘Gorillaz’, which consists of one or two major members who are in charge that switch out other members in the group and front as the same four animated characters the entire time. Because all of this is being handled and done by actual people, this is a concept that I’m all for. And I think being a previous fan of ‘Gorillaz’ is really what made me less hesitant to like K/DA.

The Making:

K/DA consists of four characters, two of which are usually voiced by two of the members of ‘G-Idle’ and two who are voiced by American singers and songwriters. In one of their most recent releases they also brought in a Chinese singer. While the company refers to this as K-Pop, this groups seems to have more international implications to it. But yes, their sound is definitely based in K-Pop. On a different occasion, some of the characters were voiced by the members of the girl group ‘Twice’. And most recently the American singers have changed. This allows a lot of people to participate in the group without having to actually switch out members. And all of the virtual members have personalities of their own. During interviews they hire actual voice actresses to voice the girls instead of celebrities, which is a move I love. With the voice acting industry starting to have less jobs for actual voice artists because of the mass hiring of A-list celebrities in those roles instead, it’s amazing that they are also including voice actresses in on this. There are so many women behind the scenes working on this group. Women were also consulted on which characters should be a part of the group and what their personalities should be. ‘League of Legends’ really did consult women every step of the way in this process since they were creating a girl group. And, to top all of this off, when you see the virtual avatars of the characters performing, they are also based off of the real performers. All of the performers voicing them singing-wise, also do the choreography for them using motion capture. All of this has a human hand in it, there’s nothing that they tried to skip over when it comes to quality.

The Members:

Here we go! Remember when I said all of the members have their own personalities despite being voiced by different people at different times? This is what I was talking about!

Ahri- She is the leader, main vocalist, and center of the group. A nine-tailed fox with blonde and pink hair who has a high interest in fashion. She enjoys tea and just about everything in the fashion design world, and is one of the more outspoken members in interviews. The singing voice for her is done by G-Idle’s Miyeon as well as members of ‘Twice’ and her voice actress is usually Laura Post.

Evelynn- A lead vocalist who is known for her rich vocals and creepy looks. She definitely has more of a bad attitude and she has been seen serially dating many celebrity men who are suddenly never heard from again. The reason why she hasn’t debuted before this is because she finds it difficult to get along with people. Her singing voice is usually Madison Beer, but she has also been taken over by Kim Petras and, most recently, Bea Miller. Her voice actress is Mara Junot.

Kai’sa- She is the main dancer and vocalist for the group with a more punk look. Seriously, her major role is dancing and choreography and she is passionate about those things. She’s also the quietest member of the group and more likely to keep to herself. She is a world traveller and can speak many languages as well. Her singing voices are Jaira Burns, Wolftyla, Aluna, and Bekuh BOOM. Her voice actress is Natasha Loring.

Akali- She is the main rapper, lead dancer, vocalist, and the wild-haired maknae. She is definitely most known for her rap. She’s the most popular member of the group and the most outspoken during interviews. She often mixes her experiences with martial arts and her experiences with rap to create her sounds and performances for MV’s. Akali is also a gamer. Her singing voice is Soyeon from G-Idle and her voice actress is either Laura Bailey or, more recently, Krizia Bajos.

Seraphine- This is the character that they seem to be bringing on if they need guests, and I love her so much. She most popularly appeared in “More”, and has done several covers of K/DA songs by herself. She’s an influencer with a sweet and cute personality and look, who wants to become a K-Pop star one day. Maybe K/DA could be her way in? I guess we’ll have to see if they bring her back. Her singing voice is done by Lexie Liu, a Chinese singer, in the single “More” and Jasmine Clarke on other occasions. Her voice actress is Michele Panu.

The Music:

They haven’t had many releases yet, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of what they have released. Their music videos in particular are super well done. My favorite song is “More” though I also highly recommend “POP/STARS”. They definitely have a more badass vibe than anything else and their songs really reflect that.

This group has performed live with the singers performing alongside images of their characters for events. And these characters are actually playable in “League of Legends’, though some of these characters are more controversial in gameplay than others. Each character has a unique personality that also ties into the game. So if you’re a gamer who likes the group as a K-Pop group, you can play as your favorite member in the game too. While there are some people who are unsure about this move from the company, I think it’s amazing. I love that they created a massively female driven project in an industry that is notoriously unkind to women. Women should not be asked useless questions to prove that they have actually played a game by men who assume that women couldn’t possibly understand. And women should not be treated like objects in the workplace of this same industry. I think having a female project done in conjunction with major gaming is a long time coming, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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