Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear Johnny's

This has probably been some time coming but I do not think I can really consider myself a Johnny's fangirl anymore. These days I find myself more frustrated with the agency and rarely feeling excited about what is going on with all the groups.

A part of it is just how hard it has become to keep up with groups from the agency. Even though Johnny's has gotten a little better about not being as controlling with the image of their idols it still feels like they are a decade or more behind the rest of the Japanese idol agencies. The fact that there is so little you can find media-wise without having to resort to piracy has become off putting, especially since the some of the sources that are out there are so protected you have to put in so much work just to look at magazine scans or a short video clip. And I am someone who does not mind paying for official products and releases, but that gets so expensive so quickly I have to limit myself to a few of the groups I really like. This means the chances of me being able to give other groups a try become slim to none. I feel guilty about that as there are so many groups that are hard working and talented that I am passing up on because of that.

Another part is that the whole drama from the factions within the upper management and how it all played out left a sour taste in my mouth. The whole thing did not help the agency as it created divides with groups when one of the big selling points to Johnny's for me was the fantasy it was all one big happy family. Then it got so messy when Iijima Michi ended up leaving and SMAP more or less getting the ax for wanting to support the manager who had been with them long before they became popular.

Honestly I wonder what the future for Johnny's is going to be as there are plenty of signs that the strangle hold they once had for the Japanese male idol industry is waning. K-pop may not be as big as it once was in Japan but it is easy for those groups to get past any blockages Johnny's might have thanks to the K-pop male idol groups that paved the way during the last Hallyu wave in Japan. EXILE and their related groups figured they could get around any issues by labeling themselves as a performance group rather than idols. Then there is the voice actors that are tied to idol-themed properties that have them perform as idols for special lives, as well as the fact that voice actors have always come across as a certain type of idol for some time. And I have recently noticed boy idol groups from other agencies, though I think it is mostly just Amuse, getting drama roles and commercial deals without having to pretend to be anything but idols. All of which are much easier to follow, especially for international fans.

In the end I got into Johnny's with NEWS and as long as that group continues on I will remain somewhat invested in the agency. If just as mostly a NEWS fan. I still do like Kis-My-Ft2 and TOKIO but I am more passive with following them than NEWS. And I do still await in hope that SixTONES debuts (Praying that Tanaka Koki's recent arrest is not going to ruin things for his brother Juri there). But outside of that no other group has maintained my interest, especially as I have been moving on to other fandoms. And it helps that those fandoms I do not have to jump through hoops just to enjoy.

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