So Berryz has gone on an ‘indefinite hiatus’. And I’m in an introspective and honest mood. So here is my last official blog post before I leave the idol fandom.
This was the first video that got me hooked on the idol fandom: Koi no Jubaku, or Love’s Spell.
Something about the intense seriousness of the girls, their close age to mine, the slightly punk/goth get-ups, and the screaming crowds just grabbed me and didn’t let go for a good long time.
I’m not sure if I will ever entirely wake up from this spell that Berryz cast over me long ago. I can’t say I even followed Berryz over the years, so this post’s timing is entirely coincidental. But this is goodbye, and it’s been building for a while now.
Why am I quitting?
I don’t entirely know. I could give a lot of reasons but none of them really ring true – I’ve grown up, I don’t feel as idealistic anymore (though I still appreciate idols and the positivity that they stand for), I don’t have as much time as I used to (I do, I just have other hobbies now…), I feel like I don’t know any of the girls anymore (I could get to know them…), I’m no longer the same age so it doesn’t feel the same, but mostly I just haven’t paid attention to idols for the past year at all and I don’t miss it much at all. I think now is a good time to say goodbye before I feel so distant as to not say anything at all.
But why did I get into idols in the first place? Because they inspired me, because I admired these pretty, talented and hardworking girls, because the live concert atmosphere was intoxicating even from a computer screen, and because I was basically the same age as these girls.
I had no close female friends for a long time, and idols, in some way, helped me grow up and keep in touch with my feminine side as I went through a maths-intensive high school (aka: almost all boys), suffered through an engineering program in university (aka: almost all boys again), and finally learning to have the courage to quit and pursue different passions.
Idols helped me realize, in a highly competitive and perfectionist university environment, that even kind of sucking at what you do was perfectly alright and admirable as long as you worked really, really hard, because working hard and working a lot will eventually produce results. (At the very least, it’s better than nothing.) Idols helped me become a more positive person, and to not take things too seriously. Idols helped me realize that it’s not a competition between women–that for every girl out there, or close to it, there will be somebody who can be her die-hard fan, even if she doesn’t have mass appeal. That you don’t have to be at the absolute top to be appreciated. But a bit of healthy competition and working hard never hurt, either. That it’s OK to put effort into your appearance, that even amazingly attractive people do, and that it’s OK to feel insecure and tired and still want to achieve a lot.
So here are a bunch of my favourite idol performances and pictures, in no particular order and the reasons why:
Chisato’s solo event and solo show, because she is so talented, and finally got the recognition after working hard to promote herself. I learned from her that self-promotion is a fine thing. (And that equipment malfunctions happen even to pros!)
Queens of H!P – when you get a couple of top performers together, with an awesome song and fantastic attitude you’d get something amazing.
I just love their singing, and the song is so emotional. I love how emotional idol music is. And I love how over-the-top Tsunku’s lyrics are, sometimes.
I love when H!P does power rock, I love how C-ute has evolved as a unit over the years to be this lean, performing machine, and I love how fierce the girls in this are. Imo their best single ever.
What kind of weird intro is that anyway? Does anyone still remember Melon Kinenbi? I just thought it was cool that these older girls were kicking around being idols…
In retrospect, they weren’t very old at all.
Remember when Matsuura Aya was popular for all of like two or three years? And how amazingly gorgeous and talented she was? I must have fallen in love to this song I don’t even know how many times. It’s so fresh and innocent and full of hope.
And now for some photos, because I too, like idols because they’re pretty.
Koharu was so pretty.
Yuuka wore it better.
And Sayumi is the prettiest.
Thank you all for the support over the years, and for coming along with me in my journey as I’ve tried to figure out my idol fandom. It’s been a great one.