The word kawaii could be applied to everything from Hello Kitty to Pokémon. It's an overtly cute, big-eyed aesthetic, a merchandisable gold mine and a celebration of adorability. The biggest crazes of the 2000s were heavily embedded within a Japanese kawaii visual style and it has found a steady resurgence within the electronic underground of the UK.

It's no surprise that the same children who squandered millions in pocket money on Pokémon merchandise and neglected Tamagotchis to the point of death, are now at the top of Reddit threads raving about the new honey drizzled Hannah Diamond single and sporting the similarly sugar-drenched latest Lazy Oaf collection. Albeit in smaller numbers now, it goes without saying that the capitalist introduction of kawaii culture to the children of the '00s has sparked a huge reaction amidst their timely coming of age. From PC music and Kero Kero Bonito's kitsch pop music and the eerie perturbing videos posted on Poppy's YouTube channel, kawaii's influence is larger than ever in internet counterculture.

"I think there was a coming of age with people like us, PC Music, Charli XCX and Bo En he comes from the same place as me. We are all a similar age and are references weren't going to see Orbital at raves (as much as I love that vibe) it's more just playing the N64." - Gus (Kero Kero Bonito)

It would appear that being attached to the word has given kawaii a somewhat skewed meaning. It now has the connections of the biggest crazes of the '00s on its shoulders and its transition into this decade has been polarising to say the least.

"I sometimes sing in Japanese and I think people automatically wanna connect that to kawaii. When I moved to the UK 13 Years ago, nobody knew what it meant it's just recently in the west when people have discovered the word. In Japanese kawaii it just means cute, but over here it has a lot more meaning." - Sarah Bonito (KKB)

The new wave of kawaii music is a rare Pokémon, more a Mew than a Weedle. Although huge in the underground, its mainstream crossover is hard to trace with the exception of SOPHIE, Charli XCX and Grimes. In fact, cuteness is hard to find outside of electronic pop music. Bands like Flaming Lips and Paramore as well as rappers Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty have all toyed with a semi kitsch aesthetic, but the anchor of alternative rock's prehistoric devotion to the straight-faced, man's man archetype stamps out sweetness.

"From our perspective, or at least my perspective, it was like we were making basically DIY music. But it wasn't like rock. It was informed by different things. It was almost a reaction to what we thought was a boring music scene at the time." - Gus (Kero Kero Bonito)

Setting themselves as diametrical opposite to everything indie rock stands for, by championing masculine subversion and embracing all things girly. Kero Kero Bonito and their associates shamelessly endorse modernism and shade it in pastel colour schemes glazed with high pitch vocals tied up slick yet grandly tacky production, contradicting the black and white filtered sounds and visuals which the guitar-driven underground is known for. As well as boasting personalities that are a binary opposite to the rambling tradition of the British frontman.

"We were reacting to those elements of that music. I don't wanna name any bands, but I think it's pretty obvious who I'm talking about but they were celebrating things that we weren't interesting us." – Gus (Kero Kero Bonito)

KKB's references harken way further back than just modern and cute squeaky electronics and poppusu stars like KOTO and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, admitting that they are heavily influenced by bands like X-Ray Spex, The B-52s, Strawberry Switchblade and The Slits. Early frontrunners in the rebellion against heteronormative male domination of popular music.

"When we started, it wasn't a wave of music as such. We were just doing our thing. We put everything we wanted to together and envisaged this little mixture. Its funny retrospect." – Jamie (KKB)

'Trampoline', Kero Kero Bonito's biggest single, is an empowering anthem disguised as a children's disco staple. At face value, Sarah is singing about something as quotidian as bouncing on a trampoline, using the motion of the jumps as a conceit for self-acceptance.

"People straight away wanna judge it ascetically, but it's far more than that. Someone might say one thing about Kero Kero Bonito and spend a bit more time on it and say something else. A good example for us is lyrics; It may come across like we're saying one thing but then it's actually something else, you know they're 'juicer' shall we say. Our music videos can come across as like as just like a sitcom, but then they're completely different." – Jamie (Kero Kero Bonito)

PC Music and their contemporaries are perhaps bigger social commentators with their output than it might initially seem. In an alternate dimension, both Hannah Diamond and Poppy could be pageant queens. They're almost unnerving depictions of hyper-femme tropes, but instead, they are true children of the internet age, characters it's hard to imagine existing outside the realm of a laptop screen. Poppy makes mind-numbing vignettes and eccentric would-be airwave infiltrators set against a white clinical backdrop. Diamond is more of infatuated teen devoted to plastic love interests whose wholesome in nature yet synthetically whimsical.

It would be reductive to frame these two as western versions of the revered Japanese Idol. However, it's perplexing that an artist like Diamond, who's never surpassed a million YouTube views performs in venues polluted by a frequency of screams to rival the likes of Bieber and Beyoncé.

"I don't feel this every day of my life personally, but I do suspect there is a cultural racism about the way people categorize Japanese pop music." – Gus (Kero Kero Bonito)

The consumer perception of J-pop is tainted as a pose to western pop with anything Japanese often seen as a mere gimmick. Take for instance the vast array of hit pieces published against Hatsune Miku as opposed to the overtly positive reaction to the Gorillaz. Both animated virtual artists yet the latter is hailed as ground-breaking with the former dismissed as a fad.

"People are quick to make assumptions. They maybe judge it against a different set of standards they would other contemporary acts like a rock band an African American hip-hop group or a white indie guitarist. People do come to it with a different set of standards it is what it is, but it's bold music and I don't blame people for seeing something in it that they don't agree with." – Gus (KBB)

The visual aura of these artists is almost quintessential to the understanding of the art. Sarah sees Kero Kero Bonito as "a world that each member plays a slightly different role in." Their reaches spread far and wide into almost every art medium, whether it be Hannah Diamond's glossy portraits of artists like Klein, Liz and Pixie Lott, to Charli XCX's clothing line on Illustrated People, even to Sarah Bonito's album artwork.

"The experience of Kero Kero Bonito is the experience of seeing the Kero Kero Bonito trampoline, which is the same as just looking at the screenshot of it on Instagram. Or even just listening to the song on the Spotify new music Friday playlist. You don't have to do all of those things, but there's value to it all." – Gus (Kero Kero Bonito)

"Ideally I wanna get to a place where I'm not only referred to as a musician, as I am also a visual artist." – IGLOOGHOST

Irish Born producer Seamus Malliagh aka IGLOOGHOST (whose latest dates are billed as an audio-visual tour) is kitsch in every sense of the word. His album Neo Wax bloom is simultaneously a virtual thrill ride and a grenade of flamboyant vibrancy. The pair of googly eyes seen in his music videos almost a mirror of the iconic ones associated with the brand Lazy Oaf which he can be seen in at most of his DJ Sets.

"I don't actually play video games at all really. I get bored too easily." - IGLOOGHOST

Malliagh's attention span is perhaps a trait that's reflected in IGLOOGHOST's music. The fluctuating rhythms and instrumental components of his music almost feel like a childhood sugar rush. This is perhaps evocative of 21st-century culture and the need for instant gratification. It is pop music for people who have short attention spans and cannot wait to reap out reward from music slowly. However, this is by no means a bad thing. There is so much shoved into every crevice of IGLOOGHOST's music, each track singularly surpasses your average pop album.

"There's been about a decade of very cold, grey, mechanical electronic music so maybe it's people's response to that. I don't really consider my stuff purposely kawaii or whatever though. I just make music and it happens to sound like that." - IGLOOGHOST

IGLOOGHOST is firmly embedded into the framework of underground electronic music. He first emerged in 2013 producing insane tracks for Kool AD. Critically and commercially, it's perhaps beneficial for him that his music falls more into the category of abstract IDM, or perhaps a sporadic version of 'post vaporwave'. This places him in the field of artists like Giant Claw and Nmesh. While channeling influence from Japan from his love of Japanese ambient music to Katsuhiro Ôtomo's 1988 classic anime, Akira.

Signed to Flying Lotus's record label Brainfeeder at just 18, Malliagh's presence in music is felt with the same energy and forward-thinking ideals that his youth would suggest. Rather than pining for the title of the "next Aphex Twin" or the "next Burial", like so many, IGLOOGHOST presents something completely new, which much like all musical revolutions of the past, is certainly divisive yet undeniable lateral .

Kawaii Japanese culture and its crossover to Europe and the UK, in particular, has not come without its criticism. In a 2014 article on Medium, it states: "Female J-pop stars produced by Japanese music companies are forced to subject themselves to the standards of kawaii." This implies that this is a problem exclusive to Japanese culture, and not already prevalent in the western pop music.

It remains unclear whether the scene in question is an homage or parody of the traits it amplifies. In 2017, the prospect of PC Music being a mainstream craze is all but redundant, instead, it's become its own form of subcultural cyber age musical tribalism.