Idols, Music, and Books! Bookdol Union Report Featuring the Best Detailed Ever Idol Otaku Manga “Million Doll”

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Idols, Music, and Books!  Bookdol Union Report Featuring the Best Detailed Ever Idol Otaku Manga “Million Doll”

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On Augsust 15, an event named Bookdol Union was held at dues Shinjuku.

This new event was sponsored by diskunion who manages bookunion, a bookstore which specializes in music and culture books. During this event, idol writer Shinshi Okajima organized a talk show and live performance based on “Books, Music, and Idols.” For the very first show, Million Doll’s author Ai, Kokoro Shinozaki, and Aoi Yagawa, Yui Inoue, Rin Wada, and Megumi Koshoji from Maison book girl took the stage.


From left to right : Kokoro Shinozaki, Yui Inoue, Rin Wada, Megumi Koshoji, Aoi Yagawa

“Million Doll,” which is available on manga-based app GANMA!, is a manga that illustrates the perspectives of both idols and idol otakus.

Million Doll

Manga Million Doll

It currently has 2 published volumes by Earth Star Entertainment and even has an anime. The struggles of Itorio (Momona, Yurino, Rina), a local idol group born in Fukuoka Prefecture and underground idol Mariko are very detailed, but the appearance of idol otakus are just as apparent in this series. While Suko doesn’t go to concerts, she attempts to boost Itorio’s popularity by submitting information online and Ryu-san supports Mariko through original chants and product sales. The pride of these two otakus, whether online or in real life, to support their oshimen is an important factor in these idols’ stories.

Ai: Suko’s character setting is her proficiency in creating her blog. Like the setting, reading fan-made blogs and becoming fans of idols has been around since the past. Since the official updates tend to take a while to upload, otakus upload information much quicker.

Okajima: The underground idol performing in Shibuya’s DESEO is very realistic. Idol mangas usually have Akihabara as their setting.

Ai: That’s true.


Left : Ai, Right : Shinshi Okajima

Okajima: But in reality there are more idols in Shibuya than Akihabara. Shibuya is the actual shrine for idols. Aside from that, you also have chalift (bike lifting) and Yufu Terashima’s call. It’s amazing how realistic the details are.

Ai: When you draw out a manga, it tends to end with just the idol’s perspective, but in reality the connection between idols on stage and the fans is very close. What happens at concerts changes depending on the situation, like the order of the songs performed, and I thought that was something that hasn’t been illustrated before. When an otaku says “let’s aim for the top,” it’s just simple taunting, but from the people at the scene, it’s a dramatic moment. It’s not just words from a stranger, but the voice of someone who is always there and I wanted to depict that difference. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to draw out the call and response.

It seems like even for idols, Million Doll is very real. The story about an otaku trying to get at a female otaku (called Onna Ota Ota) got a lot of attention.

Yagawa: Yui-chan said if she was from was from Hakata, Itrio’s setting would super realistic.


Aoi Yagawa

Inoue: There were some stores I recognized….

Yagawa: There’s a character who looks like Yui-chan (Yurino of Itrio).

Ai: You seem like a yankee. Were you a yankee?

Inoue: No, it’s just my appearance (lol).

Ai: I wanted to draw Yurino’s former yankee personality. Like she looks like a yankee just because she isn’t careful with what she says. I’m from Itoshima, Fukuoka. It would be easy to interview from my hometown and there is a lot of passion for their local idols so I decided to base the story there.

Okajima: There’s a strong image of former yankees that became idols, but does that still apply today?

Ai: There are mountains and national routes so it is common to hear the sound of horns honking at night. Sometimes I think it’s the people who were a little late to the trend.

Wada: In the manga, there was a part where they could not afford costumes, but there are also people who do have the money. They’re always there so I wonder what they do for a living since there around around the time people normally work (lol)

Ai: I wasn’t sure if I should portray the careers as realistically, but many of the otakus that appear are freelancers who do what they love.

Okajima: But Ryu-san quit his job, right?

Koshoji: That’s right, there are people who quit. Like people who sell houses.

Okajima: From an idol’s POV, do you hate Onna Ota Ota (Female Otaku Otakus; male otakus who hook up female otaku)?

Yagawa: Of course, it makes me think “What did you come to see?” If there here to hook up, I’d rather them do it somewhere else (lol)

Okajima: I’m not in any position to defend them, but Ona Ota Ota like Aoi-chan too, they just also like female otakus. Is that still wrong?

Yagawa: The people who make an appearance here use dirty tactics so I don’t like them.

Ai: I’ve never had a Ona Ota Ota come up to me before, but once I went to a venue I was introduced to and left without buying anything and was told I have to make a purchase and realized this was the distorted perspective of Ona Ota Ota. But I didn’t experience anyone trying to get my Line ID or anything.

Shinozaki: I’m not trying to defend anyone, but not all guys are like that. Female otakus are also trying to take advantage of this situation. In a venue I’m familiar with, there was a cute young girl who was a omaitsu (an idol otaku who is always at the venue). She said she didn’t have the money to make a trip for local concert, so another otaku said he would take her and paid for her flight. I thought she was pretty sketchy and came off as more of an idol than us (lol)

When asked about her inspiration for writing Million Doll, Ai said “Real otakus aren’t written about.” This is something she came to realize because she herself was one of the otakus at the venue.

Ai: There are many interesting things that happen at venues. There are many edgy people, but there aren’t many people who try to leave that behind and it’s kind of disappointing that it’s posted on Twitter and gradually fades away. Even though there are people who can perform the fast-paced wotagei so flawlessly, it’s not talked about.

Okajima: It must have been stressful to see these idol-related works to realize there was something missing.

Ai: There was something bothering me about real otakus getting neglected. Because I am an idol otaku, I know otaku’s feeling like wishing to pay as much money as I can (lol), but those are not described usually and came up like I, otaku, was not there.

Okajima: That’s some tenacity.

Ai: It’s similar to the feeling of wanting to complete a collection. I want to complete the collection of different otakus.

Okajima: What does the future look like?

Ai: The number of idols will increase, and there will even be mainstream types. Mariko will change, Intrio will struggle. The number of characters will increase and the story will become larger and more similar to the current idol battle era. I think it’ll be fun to see it become closer to the idol culture of the real world.

Okajima: Koshoji-san, any last words?

Koshoji: I think there’s a reason we came to this stage. Please come to our concerts and give us an appearance on Million Doll. If we don’t make these kinds of appearances, we’ll disappear. We will provide various stories so please give us a chance!

After the talk show, there was a special gathering and Maison book girl performed.
It was very festive on stage, and the idol otakus watching were even more fired up. Why are the idols we support talking about us? At the same time, the situation they’re talking about is a very obvious thing, it’s just not talked about on the media. It was a mutual feeling among idols and otakus.

This talk show made us realize that the current idol craze isn’t just about idols, but how idols and otakus work together to liven up the scene.

img-bukudol-union-million-doll-23 img-bukudol-union-million-doll-22

Photo by Fuchizaki
Translated by Misato


Million Doll / Ai / Cho

Million Doll / Ai / Cho

Related Links
Book Union Shinjuku:
Maison book girl Official:
petit pas! Official:
Million Doll Official:

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Reiichi Narima

Writer, TV drama critic. Born in 1976. Writing in various genres ; TV drama, manga, anime, film, and idol. His representative works "TV Drama wa Johnny's mono dake wo miro" and "Character drama no tanjo TV Drama wo koshin suru 6nin no kyakuhonka".

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