This post is going to be a bit personal for me: in addition to being the (sixth) anniversary of the WordPress blog, the 18th was my tenth Cake Day as a netizen. (You can tell I’m a younggun and a bit of a nerd as I still care about such things.)
Ten years ago, I was still reeling from the cancellation of The Powerpuff Girls (ah, youth) and my musical landscape was getting saturated by H!P by the day. The Berryz were finding their groove, Morning Musume was fresh from Iida Kaori’s graduation but still had a buttload of members (more than now), and many of the “classic” acts (Melon Kinenbi, Country Musume, MM grads-turned-soloists, etc) were still around. The soon-to-be members of C-ute were still regular “trainees” as the H!P Kids and the Hello! Pro Eggs were in their infancy with one (Okada Yui) being promoted early on in their existence. (This also means the future C-ute member Arihara Kanna was still an Egg as well.)
So much has happened since then (most of which is covered in my two-part retrospective regarding my Morning Musume fandom) and I’ve seen idol trends come and go. I’ve seen the rise of AKB and my foolish thought that they would be a fad (especially given their pedigree). I’ve watched indie idols take the stage and idol acts of all caliber fight tooth and nail for attention and cred like wild animals in the “Idol Sengoku Era.” I feel old just saying this. It’s bad enough I struggle with an on-and-off existential crisis regarding my career and my place in life.
However, I stuck with idols for a reason and my fandom is going strong (though I really should try to memorize the faces of the new blood). Indeed, I considered “graduating” from the fandom “after the last Morning Musume member from my intro lineup left,” but now… I find it impossible. The 9th-12th Gen are just too fascinating to me and honestly, I hope to watch them on their journey. The same goes for all of the new girls that debuted over the past year or so. Name change be darned, I’m interested in seeing how ANGERME goes on with their days. I want to see how Juice=Juice moves along on their path. I want to know if Kobushi Factory can take to the challenge their etymology demands of them. I want to see if Country Girls can thrive and leave a legacy as lasting as their predecessors.
As a longtime fan, I’ve seen others come and go (all with very valid reasons, mind you). However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Very few (if any) of the current members are close to my age (and why should that stop me?) and I’ll experience a bittersweet taste in my mouth when former members inevitably get changes in their relationship status and even give birth to the next generation of idols (literally!). The atmosphere and the music has changed, but such is the way of show business and trying to survive the fickle princesses called the Idol Fates (and fans).
But ten years on, even after semantics change (this year marks a decade since I was introduced to a certain band), even after member lineups change, one thing is clear: I’m a forever fan. Even after the constant cries of Hellogeddon (and you’ll hear cries of it a lot in this fandom, especially when a member announces a graduation), even with the naysayers and antis, I’ll still be loyal.
Idols inspire me and my craft…
…and they will continue to do so.
Happy Cake Day to me and many more.
Until next time,