A Fan's Worthiness: Which Idol?

An interesting topic, to be sure. And something that all fans aspire to be - regardless of the hobby. Just as sports fans will try to prove their worth and show off their knowledge about their chosen team, we wota love a chance to prove just how well versed we are in the charms of our idols and their groups. So well documented, in fact, are the lives of these girls that it's hard not to pick up little bits of information of their lives and their personalities. Of their favourite foods and bands. Of their little quirks and recurring jokes. Gaining a new idol is like buying a brand new product, complete with all it's features and faults - not just for the fans, but for the agencies who sell these products too.

And so, continuing our product analogy in the form of, say, electronics, just how do we pick out a model that suits us from the huge product range? Hello!Project alone have an impressive arsenal of what must be over 50 idols, both retired and current. Then you take the other major organisations, such as that of AKB48 and Johnny's Entertainment, each with incredible aresenals of their own. But this is only a small portion of the market. There are plenty of smaller agencies, idols and such. Since the industry began forming in the 60s, there have been thousands of bright, young idols for fans to choose from. And, unlike regular celebrities who are often locked into a specific industry such as cinema or music, idols are much more versatile in their uses. They can do movies and dramas, animation, music, gravure modelling, television and, in some cases, adult video - each industry bringing in millions each year. For this reason I put it to you that the Japanese Idol industry is, itself, a multi-billion dollar industry in and of itself - and is in fact one of the largest in the world.

It is, however, extremely dependent on the other entertainment industries in Japan. An Idol can still exist with no ties to the music industry, but this industry itself only provides the Idols. Without the others, such as music and film, an idol industry could not exist. Luckily for us, it's existence is an incredibly stable one, and seems to be holding up in the global recession better than most - meaning our idols are safe... at least until no longer profitable.

And so, back to the topic at hand, in such a broad market how do we choose the product we want?

Well this depends entirely on who the 'customer' is, and perhaps just how new to the market they are. For example, a person who doesn't understand photography or the product market for SLR cameras might base their choice on something like resolution - in terms of megapixels. While a decent megapixel count is certainly important for a camera, it's the whole package which is important. Something you can't really put a number on. In much the same way, a newcommer to the Idol industry who, for the sake of arguement, discovered Morning Musume through their music. They are much more likely to base their initial choice of favourite member based on who can sing and whose voice they prefer. Or maybe even just based on looks.

And so, by applying the rules of the music industry alone to the group, you find that deciding on a favourite member is rather easy. You pick the one you think looks and sounds prettiest.

However. If you, like me, have been a fan for a while and have an understanding of the industry, you'll note that it isn't quite as easy as that. In this industry you can't base your choice solely on vocal talent or looks, but also on character, likeability, acting ability, whatever. Most importantly, if you can't understand and relate to your idol then you can't develop that unique wota-idol empathatic bond that is so vital to survival in the world of Idoling, for both the Idol and the fan.

Some people even take an idol's popularity into account. Choosing popular members in order to insure that they have lots of other fans to discuss even the most trivial bits of information about their idol with.  Or some might choose idols who, in their mind, are less popular in an attempt to stand out from the crowd and support an idol that they feel deserves more. It's alot easier to stand out and prove yourself as a fan when there are less people around you to drown out your voice, right?

And that brings me on to the next entry: Proving Ourselves.


loveberryz said...

Nice discussion man :D I'm waiting for your next entry.

Liamers said...

another interesting read and I agree with ya that most newbies to the idol world would probably pick someone on aestethics. I suppose I might fit into the middle of the picking most popular and least category being a big fan of both Risa and Yurina, middle'rs of their respective groups, Airi on the other hand is an extremely popular member. I have based my favourites on Voice, looks and personality, though personality would probably be the leading factor. good insight into it all well done :)

Anonymous said...

The picture is so creeepppppy......


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