So Many Changes Through the History : “GALDOLL”, An Idol Group With Just 2 Fans
GALDOLL, a “Shibuya-Kei Girls’ Fashion Pop Unit”, is now a duo as a result of members dropping out, terminating contracts or simply stopped showing up. All of the original members from 2011 have left, and so did the majority of the fans except for 2. What’s on their minds? What do they think of the development? What keeps them from leaving?
GALDOLL: Who are they?
GALDOLL was a teenage “gyaru” idol unit, spawned from “Shibuya GAL’s”, the largest gyaru unit. The group debuted in March 2011 with 3 members: Ryoka, Juno and Nanaho.
However, Ryoka stopped showing up after a concert held in December 2012, but it was not announced until February 2013 that the group became a duo. In July 2013, Anan, Shipitan, Aiyu and Erika joined to make six, but the two members from the original line-up, Juno and Nanaho, quit in October of the same year. Then in December, Honyoka, Tapumi, Ayame and Kupechi joined to make 8.
But the departure continued: in February 2014, it was announced that Aiyu had been removed from the group; Erika stopped showing up in January 2015; Honoyka left the group in March 2015 and Kupechi went AWOL after a string of unexplained absences. Anan and Shipitan quit in June and August respectively, and as of October 2015, the only remaining members are Tapumi and Ayame.
The Two Fans That Stayed Behind
In his mid-30s, Mr. S, who works at a restaurant in Tokyo, has been a fan since the beginning. He was a Juno fan at first, became a Kupechi fan after Juno’s departure and is now a Tapumi fan. When asked what he thought about the continuous string of departures, he said, “I was definitely shocked at first. Maybe even angry, like, ‘Why?’ But then I got over it and would go ‘Another one?’ for the later ones.” He also said, “I wanted to know why they quit, but then it’s not like they would return to the group anyway. I was more concerned about how the remaining members felt, because they were probably more shaken than we were.”
When he was still a Kupechi fan, he sensed something was not right when he went to see the group perform live and had a bad feeling about it. His feeling turned out to be correct, because Kupechi did not attend the next live. “It was very difficult for me to watch the performance without her, so I left,” said Mr. S, “but it was incredible that I didn’t think about quitting. Since I was there from the beginning, along with Ryoka, Juno and Nanaho, maybe I am also part of the group and it means too much to me.”
The other fan is Mr. Y, who is also in his mid-30s and a salary-man living in Kanagawa Prefecture. He has been a fan since summer 2003, but still can’t quite get over the departures as he went from a Juno fan to Ayame fan. He lamented, “It’s feels kind of lonely, because live events are definitely more fun with more people.”
We also asked them what they liked about the group. Mr. S thought about the question for a while before answering with “It’s not really about how they wanted to become idols or sing in front of a crowd, but more about girls who admired the older members and wanted to change themselves. It’s exciting to watch them go through the learning process and eventually realize how fun it is to be on stage, and watch them develop slowly. The process was very slow, though.” As for Mr. Y, he said, “It’s not exactly an attraction, but I’m captivated by their growth because I’ve watched them since they were understudies and saw all their hard work. The fact that they were not very good made me want to support them.” He then added, “They were the first underground idol I went to see, and even though I’ve seen many more since, I think GALDOLL is the most enjoyable act.”
When asked about what they expect from the group going forward, Mr. S said he would like hear more people enjoying their live events, “like the kind that even those who stood in the back with their arms crossed would join in the fun at the end.” Mr. Y said he would like to see them improve their performances through dancing and singing. Mr. S also proposed that maybe the group could consider becoming more idol-y, because that might attract more fans. As a fan of 4 years, it’s easy to tell that he really loves the group.
“It’s heartening to know that they will always come see us no matter what,” said the duo, “they are like members of this group.” With the support of these 2 fans, who are like fellow members of the duo or even family to them, we look forward to the new future of GALDOLL.
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