Hi everyone. This is really hard for me to put into coherent words, so please bear with me if I get a bit rambly.
First of all, sorry for not updating in so long, my real life has been hectic, and I’ve had to study like crazy for the past month because I have to pass a really difficult exam so I don’t have a lot of free time.
However, that’s not the real reason why I haven’t updated in so long but rather the fact that I’ve been kind of upset with AKB lately :/
You see, I became a fan of AKB because I loved their music. Sure, I know it’s nothing particularly artsy or meaningful or whatever, but it was music that I could relate to, that cheered me up when I felt down and that I genuinely enjoyed listening to. However, things have changed a lot in the past 2 years, and right now AKB is a completely different beast from what it was when I started liking them.
I feel that the management or whoever is in charge of the group (I’m inclined to say Akimoto lol) doesn’t care about the music anymore, and I understand the reasons behind that:
1. The mainstream audience that is following AKB now likes them because a particular brand of bubbly harmless pop songs so they can’t alienate them by making them sing something else
2. CMs and TV shows are big sources of income, so of course the girls will be busy with those things, and the songs used for tie-ins have to be mainstream friendly as well
3. New stages are completely impossible at the time, not only Akimoto has way too much on his plate, but also the girls have a million different jobs to do because of their agency and the AKB related jobs on top of all of that so they have no time to learn 16 songs and dances.
4. To be honest, idols are not supposed to be about the music in the first place.
Even though I understand all of this, I speak from my personal experience with idols, and for me that experience is mainly based on their music. I enjoy the TV shows as much as the next person, but to be honest I barely have any free time, and I’m not going to spend it all keeping up with the TV shows which can be a little bit of a hit-or-miss thing. Also, my japanese isn’t perfect, I can understand about 70% of what’s said in those shows, but sometimes it’s too much of a hassle to strain my ears so much and rack my brain to get what they are saying.
The predictable single schedule doesn’t do anything for me, I hate it. Again, I understand the reasons behind it, and if there’s anyone who loves seasonal songs that’s the japanese for sure, so it obviously makes a lot of sense to have the sakura ballad – summer bubbly song – upbeat election song – cool autumn song and now apparently the janken single with a throwaway A-side. It makes sense, but I hate it.
I miss the times when I was super excited to find out what the next single would be about, when I would look forward to who would be chosen as senbatsu for the next single, what would the outfits look like, the dance etc. Right now it’s more like “Oh, it’s time for the Sakura ballad, I bet they wear a school uniform and have a dance with lame hand moves *snore*”
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade you know, I really respect the new fans and I understand that there are a lot of ways to enjoy the idols you like, and all of that is valid. But this is a blog, and it’s supposed to be about my opinions, and if they are negative opinions I’m torn, you know? I don’t want to be the party pooper, especially when so many new fans are getting into AKB for what they are now.
I don’t like overly negative fandoms, which is part of what I dislike about my Perfume and Kalafina fandoms to be honest. If I hear someone else complaining about why Perfume isn’t doing something completely groundbreaking and instead doing safe commercial stuff I think I’ll cry. Same with Kalafina, if I hear someone else dissing Hikaru and saying that Keiko should be the only one who sings anything in the group I’m probably going to bang my head against a wall, but it’s hypocritical of me to judge people on their honest opinions and they’re completely entitled to express them.
It’s weird because I find myself thinking “Why can’t they just enjoy Perfume/Kalafina for what they are instead of complaining all the time for things that can’t be changed?” but that’s exactly what I can’t do about AKB right now, and it’s conflicting.
I’ve always tried to keep this blog positive and fun, because when I first started it it was supposed to be for the new fans, and I wasn’t going to turn them down with a lot of negative stuff. I’m really sarcastic, snarky and negative in real life, and I was glad that I had a place where I could just be positive and happy and outgoing even if only for a while xD
But back then I was really excited and happy about everything that AKB did, I wasn’t ever faking anything! I was just so glad that I was following this amazing group of hard working young girls who were not afraid to be themselves and derp around and performed amazingly on stage all the time. My, my how things have changed! I don’t even know if this blog is good enough for new fans because I’m not into SKE and NMB enough so as to include them in my blogging, I don’t watch any TV shows regularly, I don’t even know who the kks are anymore because I have no time to watch their LODs and I basically don’t care about the direction AKB has taken now that they are popular. So what am I supposed to do?
I can’t fool myself anymore. The truth is that the last A-side I was personally fond of was Everyday, Katyusha, and my level of cared has plummeted so much that I haven’t even watched the PV for Ue Kara Mariko, and I honestly don’t care about that. When I heard the song preview I just wanted to laugh and hit myself at the same time, it sounds SO DAMN GENERIC. It sounds exactly like every Under Girls song of this year, and I’m sick of that. So I thought “I’m going to blog about Kaze ga Fuiteiru” but what was I going to say? That even though I loved the title track and the PV and the double center I hated everything else about it? That Gondola Lift was boring, Vamos was the most annoying song ever and the UG song was so generic that I didn’t even bother listeining to it more than once?
I could’ve done that, and it would’ve been honest, but I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, I don’t want to be the downer. AKB has been giving me hope and happiness for so long that I don’t want to let them go even if I pretty much dislike everything about their new concept.
So that’s why I haven’t blogged. Because I didn’t want to rip apart “KazeFui”, because I didn’t want to snore at “Ue Kara Mariko”, I didn’t want to rage at the stupid disgusting “AKBaby” thing. But then I didn’t know what to say, because I don’t want to be fake either, it’s very conflicting.
I had been thinking about giving up the fandom for good, because what’s the point in sticking around for something that frustrates you more than it makes you happy? But then yesterday I decided to watch the Team K “AKB ga Ippai” concert, and when they were singing the old single medley I remembered everything, why I liked them, why I supported them, why their music means so much to me.
I can’t leave the AKB fandom, because by now it has become an extremely important part of my life. I got ready for my first dates with my boyfriend listening to “Koi no Plan” I said goodbye to one of my best friends with “Aozora no soba ni ite”, I fell in love for the first time in my life with “Don’t Disturb”, I felt sad that I couldn’t be a bigger part of his life and listened to “Bird”, I figured out that I wasn’t getting my feelings across with “Iiwake Maybe”, I managed to stand up again and keep moving forward even though I was hopeless with “RIVER”. There’s just so much of me in their music, I can’t let go of that part of my life, and it sounds stupid because it’s just idol music but to me it means something else, and I’m not going to give up on them.
Sure, they don’t need me as a fan, because they have millions of people following them and they are probably richer than me and better at supporting them, but I want to stick by my girls and keep pushing their backs regardless. I guess that there’s still hope for me xD Team KII got a new fantastic stage, NMB are getting great songs for their singles, maybe AKB is next? I don’t promise to update daily or anything like that, but I do promise to be honest, and try to keep it real even if it’s not the most positive opinion in the world. It doesn’t matter that I’m disappointed with their music now if they can still wow me and make great songs that I like, and as long as that happens I think I’ll stick around