A work-related thing happened right around the time when I was going to go to Japan in February this year, and as a result of that I have no time to do much recreational stuff. Blogging had to take a back seat, because I just didn’t have the time. The day job deserves its dues. [That said I still put in some solid time in One For All this year and I’m not sure how it happened.]
A hobby-related thing happened right around the time when I was going to go to Japan in February this year, and as a result of that my mind is pretty much honed in a biblical, your-money-is-where-your-mind-is-also kind of way. If we think of idols as gods, isn’t this just the second coming of Shintoism? I feel the energy just sap right out of me.
But a part of that isn’t just Omo-san@ganbaranai, but also for the first time in a long time I feel a major squeeze between the various aspects of my life. Maybe I re-prioritized my tastes, likes and hobbies, but it kind of sucks to have to re-prioritize everything else too. It’s like being a new-born dad, except your waifu is also your daughteru, and in my case none of them are ships.
So as I begin to thought-dump 2014 into the open and public internet, hopefully for mutual benefit, let me just say that no matter if you did one or a hundred fan things, as long as you can go home with some sweet memories and as few regrets as possible, you have won at the game of life. At least, that is how I am modeling it personally. And it only works if you introspect, if only to know if you’ve actually won or not.
In years past, I have bouts of fervent obsession. It could be Type Moon or Sakura Taisen or IM@S, whatever. This year it wasn’t quite the same, partly because I have been pushed further to the limits, both in the brain and in the bank. When Yamakan’s new idol project hit the waves this year, I wasn’t ready.
Looking back to the past 15-20 years, the whole seiyuu-anime-idol concept has never been as perfect as the Wake Up Girls. They literally are the closest we have gotten in merging the three and the two. If my soul had a proverbial keyhole for that mysterious key that unlocks my life, it probably won’t shape too differently than what the WUG-chans are. At the same time, the masterminds behind WUG is purposeful in how they could unlock not just my heart, but my wallet too. For better or worse, they didn’t quite hit it spot on.
The problem is that these girls are closer to the 48G type level of talent. It’s not a problem as much as it’s not a flavor or inclination that I had acquired. It was pretty funny how I quickly honed in on Miyu as my oshi in that there’s some intangible quality about her that I like, on top of the tangible ones that I do. Maybe it’s how she evokes a sort of maniacal feeling that the other six don’t, and maybe that’s the issue.
To use an IM@S example, I am pretty close to a MD with an Oshi. In WUG, I don’t think I can go that far, 2D or 3D. It’s because that’s the 48G style.
Still, idle idol talk aside, the Wake Up Girls channels that “hey we are freshly plucked newbies, please be nice to us” thing really well. In their team blog (all 7 girls rotate to post daily posts) they talk about what seiyuu or promo work they’ve been doing, along with pictures and what not. It is similar in their (now) weekly radio show. WUGners cheer when Nanamin or Mayushi lands a job. We root for them as seiyuu and we root for them as idols, in that true sense.
For non-seiota, this is probably kind of a new experience, and it’s sort of the same thing for people now falling in love with the 2.5Ds in Cinderella Girls and Million Stars. For the long-time seiota, this is nothing new, but what is new is the meta context that now you can support WUG, which supports the members of WUG, which is distinctly different than supporting a role in a show.
Looking back, I fell in with the WUGchans and now I’m already kind of mellowing out. I think it isn’t that I don’t like them as much anymore–probably just the opposite. It’s more like I now realize if I want to be a real WUGner, I have to do all the WUGner stuff, and I can’t spare the full cash dollar amount, let alone the time and attention-span (if we think of attention span as a limited resource, like time and money). They just had their big event a couple weeks ago where WUGs and I-1 joint forces for a stage event. I couldn’t go. Next spring WUG will have their first big live (“big”) in 2015. I probably can’t go either, because I have an Aisute event ticket. That’s not even mentioning I don’t own all the CDs with Myu on it. Or the Blu-rays. Or that summer camp DVD they put out earlier this year (a must watch for all WUGners). I just can’t be arsed to own these things. I will surely pick up a Blu-ray of WUG vs. I-1 if such things became available, but the whole 48G-style fan run-around is way too hard of a mousetrap for me.
But I’m already in the middle of that trap. I applied for the WUGner fanclub. I listened to every one of the Wake Up Radio weekday shows (I loved the 10-to-15-minute format by the way) and most of the weekly ones. I watched all the namas. I basically consumed most of the recorded live content (probably just some older events in 2013 that I’m missing now, and the latest stuff). So it’s not for lack of trying. It’s just I am merely mortal and cannot transcend time.
Just like all this anime watching for me. Or the blogging that I still do. It’s all running up against the one big thing for me in 2015. In that sense, IM@S is a purifying force. I know I still watch at least 10 shows a season because I guess in the end I’m an anime otaku in the bones, and in 2014 anime is easier to watch than ever (more on that later in the series). But the other stuff I’m casually interested in? Is there a ton of friction? Do I have enough hours in the day to play all the video games I backed? Like I will ever finish Meruru LOL. (Thankfully I already got on top of Humble Bundles/Steam sales to not have a backlog I can’t live with.) It’s all about how to prioritize.
With the news that my favorite vaguely-related-to-IM@S-thing in 2014 is now getting together as an idol unit, Trysail, I’m sure something else has to give. Because I already gave up sleep.
Year in Review 2014: