Kawaii metal (also known as idol metal,cute metal, or kawaiicore) is a musical genre that blends elements of heavy metal and J-pop that was pioneered in Japan in the early 2010s. A typical kawaii metal composition involves combining the instrumentation found in various types of heavy metal music with J-pop melodies and a Japanese idol aesthetic. Kawaii metal's lyrical topics are often less hostile than those of other heavy metal genres. The Japanese girl group Babymetal is often credited with the creation and success of kawaii metal. In addition to Babymetal, kawaii metal acts such as Ladybaby have also garnered media attention, as well as minor commercial attention, for performing songs of this genre.
Japanese metal idol group Babymetal are considered the inventors of the kawaii metal genre. Angelica Wallingford of City Times opined that Babymetal's eponymous debut album had pioneered the kawaii metal musical genre. Wallingford also defined the genre, and album, as a "mixture of varying genres including pop, rock, heavy metal, electronic dance music, industrial and symphonic death metal". A guest contributor at The Independent believed that the genre was a derivative of J-pop and various extreme metal genres, namely "speed metal, power metal, black metal, and industrial metal". While discussing Babymetal, The Sydney Morning Herald's Rob Nash opined that the genre consisted of "sugary pop melodies over thrash metal": Nash also believed that the group's song, "Awadama Fever" exemplified the genre, saying the song contained "slabs of angry guitar and undanceably fast breakbeats, while the girls [Babymetal] squeak about 'bubble ball fever' and chewing gum".
Discussing Ladybeard, and Ladybaby, Jake Cleland of The Sydney Morning Herald defined the genre as "saccharine pop with his heavy metal growling". Alex Weiss of Paper defined the genre as "hard rock with sugary sweet pop hooks". Weiss also used Babymetal's songs "Karate" and "Road of Resistance" as examples to explain the differing lyrical perspective between the kawaii metal and other metal genres, stating that kawaii metal songs "offer a perspective often missing from the hyper-masculine, aggressive lyrics usually present in most of the [metal] genre's hits". Felix Clay of Cracked.com also believed that the genre had less aggressive lyricism, citing the genre had lyrics about "pop music topics like kittens, chocolate, and fun".