It’s been a long time since I posted on the “Thoughts” section, but recently there was something that crossed my mind, and I thought it would be interesting to share.
As I wrote here, on last Sunday I went to Ikebukuro Sunshine City, to participate in the commemoration event for the release of the new album NEO FANTASIA from my favorite singer Chihara Minori.
Honestly speaking, I think it was quite a fun event, and it feels that everyone really loves her! Not only singing, she also speaks really well in front of her public, and interacts a lot with everyone, which I think it’s a very strong point in her.
Also, I think her staff chief Mr. Saitou has a very good presence.
But here goes the point of this post. The fans.
It’s widely known that the kind of “idol” fan, maniac, otaku, or whatever you want to call it, has quite a particular behavior. First of, there is a special concept for the word “idol” in Japanese. It refers to a particular type of singers, who might be related to anime or not, and mostly are associated to the J-POP music genre. This definition clearly differs from the original English one. An idol is simply someone you admire, someone that has a positive influence over you, right?
While I don’t like inserting myself on this group, the other day I talked with a friend who explained me that the word “otaku” doesn’t necessarily carry a negative meaning. It only means you are really into something, which applies to everything, not only anime and manga. For example, people that really appreciate football and watch a lot of games and are really into the news around it, would be called “football otaku”.
Or so I thought. It somehow makes me face the word with less distaste, but I still don’t like it that much, as I myself make some kind of distinction from “normal fans” to “extreme fans”. The later ones are what I think it’s the instant image most people have of otaku.
Concretely speaking. On the event, there was a handshake session with Chihara Minori, a rare event where everyone obviously wants to participate (I did as well). On the day of the event, the new album was on sale starting in the morning, and you would receive a free ticket to the handshake session if you bought a copy of the album.
There were three versions of the album for sale. One came with a BD of a previous live event (approx. ¥6000), another one came with the same live event but in DVD media format (approx. ¥5000), and the third one was only the album CD (approx. ¥3000). So, you could watch the mini-live for free, but if you wanted to have a handshake from Minorin, it would cost at least ¥3000.
Not existing a limit for the number of tickets one could get, can you imagine what happened? That’s right. It’s just what you are thinking. While in the waiting queue to buy the album, I happened to hear the guy in front of me saying that he already had got 6 tickets, and this would be his 7th one. So, at least, he spent ¥3000×7=¥21 000. Am I the only one who thinks this is stupid? I mean, ok, you love her, but I mean… getting in the line 7 times to buy the album and get yet another ticket, and then getting in the handshake line 7 times to greet her (what do you say 7 times anyway?). It kinda feels like riding a roller coaster again and again. But the truth is, she is actually a person, not an attraction. I think the behavior should be somehow different.
As there were a lot of fans, each greeting would last for about 5 seconds, so this guy got 35 seconds (separated by queueing, of course). I heard from a friend that in some idols’ events, they automatically make the calculation of how many tickets you have, and how many seconds you earn, so you get them all at once, without the need to queue again. I don’t know what name I should call to this kind of “marketing”, lol. One thing is for sure. It made me think twice about the “number of copies that a singer sells”… You would normally associate it to the same number of fans, but it might be completely different.
Is this how money should be spent? It’s none of my business, how people spend their money but… I mean it’s difficult to point something bad here, but it just doesn’t feel quite right… I wonder what time they arrived the place, lol.
Paying for the fan club to receive news, special items, access to fan-only content and events, it’s completely normal and I recommend it! But this… It’s kinda dreadful… The guys in the front rows of the priority area (for the first ones to get the tickets) were kinda scary, looking at Minorin with strange starving-looking eyes, and they would have weird gestures and behaviors between them, as if it was some kind of culture (my bad, it actually is).
However, I was glad to see that there were normal fans like me smiling and waving at her, singing her songs, applauding, and having fun in the very pleasant event it actually was! Hope to go again soon!