Noteworthy

Chuo Dori On The SDN48 Announcement, Bikkuri Project on S/mileage

Is There a “Right Way” to Disband an Idol Act? – Chuo Dori
A Late Opinion on the S/mileage Results – Bikkuri Project

Following up on the weekend’s two big announcements are a couple of essays from the silverbacks of the wotasphere – the old-timers who’ve seen a great deal, written a great deal, and whose opinions carry particular weight for it.

CK is well known in the wotasphere for his trips to Japan and his special dedication to SDN48 and especially Meetan. We would be remiss to not have his opinion on the matter, his expertise is particularly relevant. Knowing CK to be laid back and easy goimg, it’s still surprising to find him relatively… unfazed by the news. The title of his post asks an intriguing question, one whose answer seems obvious given the awkwardness, frustration, and anger raised by the SDN announcement.

But as he lays out his thoughts, we can better understand both CK’s attitude and the nature of the question. For starters, he is finding a great deal of evidence to suggest that management has more in store than just ending SDN48 outright. There is no proof positive at this point, but enough circumstantial to keep one hopeful and waiting to hear further developments.

Second, and probably just as crucial, CK acknowledges that many of the current SDN idols – including his favorites – are at late stages in their idol careers and ready to move on to other things. He then goes on to consider what kind of post-SDN futures Meetan and Chaki would likely face, showing that there may not be a “right way” to end an idol group but there is damn well a right time for an idol to end that part of her career.

Next up is Celestia of Bikkuri Project. Like CK, Celestia has spent a good deal of time in Japan and attended a good many idol concerts. (And if memory serves correctly, CK and Celestia actually met up once to attend a show together.) Like CK, she is also a longtime blogger who has built a sizable body of work and a distinct point of view over the years.

And while she’s joining late on the responses to S/mileage’s new full members, her own stature regarding H!P blogging earns our attention as much as CK’s on matters AKB48. Her take on the matter is pretty strsightforward: only two of the four S/mileage sub members deserved to make it through to full membership. She states her reasons, the one that I find most compelling being that “S/mileage is quite a high quality idol group” – that is, the original four have set a high standard by which all future members should be judged against. And for Celestia, two of the girls simply do not make the cut.

Celestia’s been great about pointing out the home truths about the idol industry and especially Hello! Project, and has never suffered lightly those who argue for fairness and equality in what amounts to a hugely commercialized popularity contest. One does get a sense that her call on S/mileage is as much about looking out for the long-term future of the group’s brand, of keeping the standards high because that’s what fans expect.

Oddly enough, it also makes me think of how S/mileage must contrast against the flagship, Morning Musume, who are known for their “project girls” and emphasizing how the ordinary can become extraordinary with enough work. Perhaps this could be a way for the group to have distinguished themselves, to basically say “No Aikas Allowed”. But it looks like that can no longer be possible…

We’ll find out soon enough if there’s more in store for SDN48 or if all four new members of S/mileage will deliver the goods. I’m sure the wotasphere will have more to say as these topics progress, and that CK and Celestia will continue to have opinions worth considering along the way.