Friday, June 10, 2011

Feminism in idoldom, as inspired by Nishino Kana?

Being immersed in the world of idols often makes you blinds you to how strictly the gender lines are drawn in the idol world-- specifically, the female side of the idol world. Idols under the Hello! Project and AKB48 umbrella typically depict a very limited set of professions. When was the last time you saw your favorite idol depicted as one of the following-- a nurse, a waitress, or a stewardess? Chances are, every idol, most likely at multiple points in their career, will be shown as one or all of these people.

TL;DR: Feminism is a selling point when you're popular enough, especially if it makes your entire industry more mainstream and therefore more likely to attract positive attention, fans and customers. Therefore, idol groups like AKB who have a JE-like grip on the popular market should try to cement the idol footprint and pave the way a stronger idol presence later on in the mainstream market.

Yes, this is finally where the Nishino Kana bit of this article comes in. I found it to be a very eye-opening experience to see Nishino Kana stepping up to the plate as a role-model of sorts for her legions of female, teenage fans in her latest song, 'Alright' (watch it quick, before it's taken down)

How does this apply to the idolsphere? Comparisons and discussion after the jump.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

[REVIEW] Morning Musume- Only You

             Fact 1: Hello Project is not known for spectacular PV quality.
            Fact 2: Morning Musume’s “Only You” is perhaps the “only” exception to the rule in recent memory.

Friday, May 27, 2011

[Character Study] Drama is the best teacher- Taisetsu na Koto Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta

“Who am I? I am…” she smirks. Takes off her glasses. Whips her hair around. Gives unruly high school delinquents the all-knowing death glare. “I’m their homeroom teacher.” Anyone who has been keeping up with the Japanese drama scene for the last decade will recognize this rather iconic, episodic revelation on the part of Yankumi, Yakuza family heir and high school teacher. The subgenre of high school teacher-centered dramas are a perennial mainstay on the drama scene, with at least one of its kind cropping up every couple of seasons.
This subgenre of dramas often follow a tried and true formula: enthusiastic, doe-eyed new teacher (of possibly questionable background) turns up at a school full of weathered educational bureaucrats who would rather cover their own asses than teach. Said teacher goes on to hash and rehash moral spiel to their students for the next ten episodes, often in a self-righteous tone with a slap to the cheek (or a punch or two) thrown in for good measure.
This is the kind of teacher I am accustomed to seeing in J-dramas, and to be honest, a little craziness and zaniness is well appreciated now and then, and the first dozen times around, those cheesy inspirational speeches from GTO and Yankumi are more inspirational than cheesy. So imagine my surprise when I sat down to watch Spring season’s Taisetsu na koto Subete Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta (You taught me all the Important Things) and met Shuji Kashiwagi, the disciplined, honest-to-a-fault, and understated teacher. And quite honestly? One of the best of them all.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

[EVERGREEN IDOL?] What's in a name?

Today's J-Pop industry is as fierce in competition as it always has been, with veterans vying for the title of J-Pop Queen while upstarts battle it out in a fierce battle of strategy and popularity for the public's attention. Even idols at the peak of their popularity have the specter of a fall from grace looming in the back of their minds, as the AKB48 member Sashihara Riho revealed this week, much to the outrage of fans and shock of the public.

According to Tokyohive, Sashihara stated on NTV's "Odoru! Sanma Goten!!" that she believed AKB48's popularity would die down within a couple of years, and that everyone in the entertainment industry needed a special skill to survive with (going the Rina Nakanishi route, perhaps...? I kid, I kid.) And despite the controversy this stirred amongst the studio audience and netizens, one look at the cyclical nature of the J-Pop industry shows that Sashihara's pessimism is not unwarranted, if a little overboard.

After all, what artist or idol has managed to sustain their popularity for more than five years, tops? The typical go-to example of decline in popularity in idoldom is Morning Musume. Despite holding the record of highest overall sales for any female group on the Oricon charts, recent single sales hovered at no more than 40K. Meanwhile, in their Golden Era, the group pulled sales figures of over 100K regularly, quite parallel to AKB48's current success in dominating both the niche idol market and the mainstream Japanese consciousness. Now, the question of why Morning Musume simply fails to attract the public eye is a question that the idol blogosphere has ruminated over plenty of times, with the main theories falling under one of the following under the following categories.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

... and to many TRIUMPHANT RETURNS!

Just a quick placeholder post. To let y'all know that I have yet to perish in the massive backlog of shit-I-have-to-do before blogging. This year was my first year of college, and as that's slowly but surely winding down, I'll definitely have time to catch up with the J-Pop and K-Pop world over the next couple of months.

There are a couple things that need to be done-- mainly link and layout cleanup, and I will definitely get to that first. I'm scrapping (or at least pushing to the back burner) the story that this entire blog is founded on, and changing the blog name as well. It will, inevitably, have something to do with the URL. Or you can just all refer to me as Ai from now on, and we'll pretend I made this URL because that was my blogger handle. I'm not sure which yet.

Sure, I've been busy enough not to write anything for the last few months-- but I've been keeping a keen eye on all my Asian gossip sources, so I'm up to date and ready to kick off an awesome season of blogging. To those of you who have stuck around, let's all lean back in our beach chairs and prepare for some over-analyzation. I see fun times ahead!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

[Aidoru Kana?] Poll results, Extras and brief intro for n00bs =P

You know, you'd think with all this time on my hands, I would be blogging more and procrastinating less, right?
That SnN review I promised has been started, but since I KNOW I won't be finishing into tonight, I decided to post something else instead~ no jumps this time, so just scroll to your heart's content!

I feel like I've been neglecting the story side of this blog as of late, so I decided make an Aidoru exclusive post. Yes, I am aware I posted a chapter of the story just a few days ago, but two weeks without an update? Scandalous! (That, and I was very determined to have six posts in this month... yet that SnN review seems to be coming along rather poorly, so that will probably have to wait at least until Monday. So here's my infamous stalling post!)

For those of you who haven't been following my story (and totally should be, rawr,), here's a little rundown:
I originally created this blog to post chapters of the story "Aidoru Kana?" which focuses on the lives of three young people in the Japanese entertainment industry, all experiencing different dilemmas with their careers and their personal lives. Each character is based on an actual celebrity- the twelve-year-old idol is based on Kago Ai, former H!P frontgirl. Korean-turned-J-pop artist debutante Jae is based on Younha, who you may know for singing the third ending to the anime BLEACH. Hiro is "inspired" by Miura Haruma, purely because he looks delicious- the actor "Hiro" of in the story has nothing to do with his actual experiences in his career as an actor.

Okay, so the poll has long since closed- I set the end date at July 20th, and we have a tie between all three choices. That means I have to come up with a song for Azami's group, HA.NA. BI, and Jae's audition song, AND make a trailer for Hiro's drama? haha, two of three are already half way done.

-I've already written English lyrics to Younha's "Audition- Time2Rock" a little while back (I actually posted about this earlier too) but that project fell through for a while. I'm restarting auditions on Youtube and scouting for a singer, so that should get done fairly quickly =D.

-HA.NA.BI's song will be a S/mileage song (yes, the group from H!P). I've already got girls fandubbing it with me, so expect that out by August 10th.

-and while I don't have HIRO's drama trailer ready just yet (this isn't the trailer for his CURRENT drama, but rather the older one which originally skyrocketed him to fame), I do have another trailer ready for public viewing!

Azami's (12-year-old Ai Kago extraordanaire) trailer, focusing on some key points of her story, I pulled clips from Ai Kago perfs, interviews, and even let her W twin Tsuji Nozomi double for her in some scenes =P. Aren't I the stealthy one?


The subtitles are obviously fake, if you have any degree of vague understanding of Japanese- but I didn't want to spoil it for those of you who didn't before you watched, so I decided the disclaimer would go after the video.

Now, go read the gosh darn chapters, will ya? =P

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

[Aidoru Kana?] Chapter 8

The words blurred, swimming in front of my eyes as I wrestled with my fading focus. Squeezing my aching eyes shut for a moment, I did what I knew I couldn't- what I shouldn't- but I did anyway.