Idol of Character

"Special feeling"? Sure Danbooru taggers.

Writing about WUG over here got me thinking. In episode 10, the Wake Up Girls encounter a variety of other idol groups from the Tohoku region, including a gag style group that goes by the name of Demons of Oga. It reminds me of Babymetal a lot. In the usual “wheel of morality” way there’s a deeper message about WUG and idol groups in that week’s episode, which is about some kind of trait or essence of an idol group.

I’ve been thinking about this as it applies to not only actual idol groups like AKB48, Perfume or Momoclo and the like, but also groups like μ’s or 765Pro. What is special about each of them? And if the fans and the public ultimately define what these essences are for the group, how would I define it?

[It also makes me think, a lot, about the concert report I’m writing. I fear it’s going to get to ~14000 words at the end and I’m going to tack on another 5000 or something just for concluding thoughts. It’s safe to say my vacation to Japan may have exhausted me mentally and physically but it’s energized me in some other ways. So this post might be a bit like a safety valve in that sense.]

Getting existential about idols is sort of how I do idols. [This is also probably why I don’t do much idols, at all.] It’s like seeing those images of HK or SG Lovelivers bowing down before their goddesses and it makes you think. It’s like making a joke about the Ten Commandments. I’m not so sure if it is more appropriate to quote Key the Metal Idol or quote, I don’t know, Nietzsche. But it never really occurs to me to look at it from the opposite side of the poster wall–how does Bushiroad or Lantis or Bandai-Namco think about it? How does Gami-P feel when he has to put together an agenda for “third vision” planning meeting? Likewise, how does Eriko Nakamura feels when she shares a stage with her new-ish coworkers like Hasshi or Koroazu? Maybe that is something we can think about. Sure beats trying to get into Yamakan’s shoes–are we making gods or what?

The way I define 2.5D is probably different than how you define it. It’s definitely something I realize on my trip, and on twitter, and from all the Ps and Lovelivers and Oukokumin that I met. And it’s very interesting and mind-broadening, I guess. We definitely express our affection for these idols in very different ways. We not only internalize it differently (I wonder how do these companies internalize the idols they produce) but we might even perceive them differently. Kind of like how I still don’t appreciate Asami Imai nearly as much as the next guy. I mean I like her a lot more now that I’ve seen how she sets her presence on stage, in the flesh, but it’s… well, let’s just say she is a part of what makes IM@S very special to me. And it’s people like her that I think the idol world will not be able to reproduce. It’s the Mingosu and the Chiaking of the idol worlds that makes IM@S special. It’s why Nakamura is great. It’s people like Shikaco that adds a flair to seiyuu-idolness that gives it a sort of levity that isn’t so much manufactured as much as “oi we let you do this because I think nobody else is gonna.” And then you have people that falls in the gap, like Kido Ibuki. It’s these little things, to me, that defines the essence of these idol groups, even the fake ones like ClariS because at the very least they’re still brands.

Ultimately it’s the WUG-chans that will inherit the earth. They are true everyday girls. It’s like the chika idols that bust their butts on a daily basis trying to make it. But otaku like me just can’t be settled with that, can’t we? I need this artifice. It is to no disrespect, but such is the 2.5D way, where it’s not just a personal god, but an international, mixed-media intellectual property-based venture that revenue-shares, whose avatars can optionally be hand-drawn or fully computer-generated. You know, when it just takes too much time and resources to animate the old fashion way.

This is the Yamakan spirit. It’s a Sony. And to circle back to WUG, it’s a pretty nice artifice…and it’s not a Sony, go figure.

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