Five idol acts attended NYC in the span of about six weeks: Cheeky Parade, Morning Musume 14, Miku, Babymetal and now Perfume. That runs basically the whole gamut of today’s Japanese visible idol scene north of indie. And if some indie JP idols dropped by NYC during the last 6 weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t know them. I didn’t even make it to Cheeky Parade’s free show at BCGC because *effort*.
And I think this is important. Japanese idols, the post 1999 kind of thing, is a maligned if entirely foreign creature. It’s too easy to liken them to boy or girl groups, because that’s what they are. But that entirely misses what makes idols the engines of Japan’s entertainment industry today. Too many geeks and nerds and “otaku” (US ver.) turn their noses to them. I’m not sure why there’s so much resistance for Americans against Japanese idols, but that’s how it feels.
In light of bringing the “Sharon Apple joke-making” types into the 21st century, here’s a not-serious chart that I made. Maybe it makes up for the lack of blog posts lately? Nah.
Google Doc: here
Let me annotate the list. The big asterisk I want to add is the “anime” thing. There are pics I can link to, but too lazy to do so. The other big disclaimer is that I’m ranking a concert I didn’t go, just saw pics. I’m sure Cheeky Parade is great (and so far from Youtube they look p. okay–this is like a PV based on their trip) but eh.
The chart has blue cells to indicate a “leader” in the category. As per above I gave all of them one point for their shows, even to the girls whose show I didn’t attend, because it felt fair. If you can count fast, you would note that MM14 and Perfume both has 13 blue cells, making it “objectively” my picks for the idol assault Japan brought upon NY this Autumn.
Babymetal is a great show that those blue boxes don’t highlight. It’s way cool. But you had to like it. Same with all the nerds who exhaled in estacy at Miku. It’s nice and otaku-friendly but ultimately those polygonal jaggies will run up against you. I guess she’s gone a long way but our favorite synth mascot still has room for improvement. And Miku will continue to improve even against Japan’s top idol acts. I mean, MM and Perfume…how much better can you really get, at least from this end?
The rest is cultural baggage that a simple live event can’t quite possibly export. In that sense a lot of the rows I left empty because there are no winners. Or rather, I am a winner for attending most of these, on my home turf. Idol is the future guys, get over it already so we can have more please?