TokyoGirls'Update

Quality vs Quantity: Idols Must Have Something Extra to Breakthrough!

2014年から2015年、アイドルは質の時代に
Quality vs Quantity: Idols Must Have Something Extra to Breakthrough!

Sponsored Links

The movement known as the “Idol Warring States Period” (Aidoru Sengoku Jidai) which began around 2010 has settled down, and the idol world has moved away from being a mere “boom” to an “establishment” in and of itself but, as we move from 2014 to 2015, two major trends have begun to assert their influence.
2010年頃から続いてきた「アイドル戦国時代」のムーブメントもだいぶ落ち着き、徐々に「ブーム」から「定着」へと向かっているアイドル界ですが、2014年から2015年にかけては大きな二つの流れを感じます。

The first trend would be of idols crossing over into the mainstream and no longer being confined to the preconceived notion of what an “idol” is. Looking at the success of Perfume, AKB48 (and the other “48 groups”), and Momoiro Clover Z, as well as last year’s breakthrough of BABYMETAL and Dempagumi.inc, in order to truly get one’s “big break”, it is necessary to become a group that surpasses the constraints of an “idol”. Whether it is through receiving worldwide recognition, or winning the support of those from various genres, it comes down to being able to attract a large number of fans, not just “the idol fans of Japan”.
一つは、いかに「アイドル」の枠を超えていくか。Perfume、AKB、ももクロ、または昨年大きく成長したBABYMETAL、でんぱ組.incといったグループを見ても、アイドルが本当に大きなブレイクを果たすためには、「アイドル」という枠組みを超えて外まで支持される存在になることが必要です。そして、そうした「アイドルを超える」存在になるためには、国外で評価されるか、異なるジャンルの人達から支持されるか、はたまたその両方か、いずれにしても「日本のアイドルファン」の層の外で、多くのファンを獲得することが必要になります。

For example, the group Dream5 was selected to perform at the 2014 NHK Red and White Song Festival (translator’s note: Kouhaku Uta Gassen, as it is called in Japanese is an NHK program broadcast live on New Year’s Eve and generally reflects the tone of the year) while groups like BABYMETAL, Dempagumi.inc., and Nogizaka46 were not invited. In the case of Dream5, they sang the anime theme song for the massively popular franchise “Youkai Watch” so they had a legitimate reason to appear (translator’s note: the popularity of Youkai Watch in 2014 lead it to be dubbed a “social phenomenon” by the Japanese media). As you can see from that example, some kind of external factor is necessary in order to cross over into the mainstream public consciousness. While there are countless factors aside from just working diligently contributing to a group getting a big break, it should be interesting to see whether or not such a thing happens again in 2015.
例えば2014年、BABYMETAL、でんぱ組.inc、乃木坂46といったグループを差し置いて、Dream5が年末の紅白歌合戦に出場しました。Dream5の場合は、社会現象とも言える大ヒットとなった「妖怪ウォッチ」の主題歌を歌っていたことが、紅白出場の理由です。このように「枠」を超えるためには、何かしらの外部的要因が必要になってきます。それは努力の結晶というよりも人事を尽くして天命を待つという類のものですが、そうしたチャンスを掴むグループが、今年も出てくるのかどうか注目です。

The second trend is how idols are shifting away from the “era of diversity” and towards the “era of quality”. The “era of diversity” can be best summed up by its alias “Idol Warring States Period” which is basically a period where it seems that “anything goes”. Taking advantage of the initial boom, large numbers of groups were formed and began their activities as idols. However, in the process of the movement shifting from “boom” to “establishment”, groups with vague or poorly developed concepts and/or inexperienced management encountered difficulties continuing their activities long-term. At the same time, upstart groups like Idol Renaissance and the rebooted Tokyo Performance Doll gradually raised the bar for what was accepted as a quality idol performance with their high-level performances that surpassed many of the groups that came before them.
もう一つは、アイドルは「多様性の時代」から「質の時代」に移りつつあるということです。「多様性の時代」というのは「アイドル戦国時代」の別名でもあり、ようするに「なんでもあり」の時代です。ブームの勢いに乗って、数多くのグループが結成され、アイドル活動を始めました。ただ、時代が「ブーム」から「定着」に移っていく中で、運営体制やコンセプトの曖昧なグループは、長期にわたって安定的な活動を続けていくことが難しいということもはっきりしてきました。また、東京パフォーマンスドールやアイドルネッサンスなど、活動期間が浅いにも関わらず、パフォーマンスのクオリティーが非常に高いグループが複数表れたことで、アイドルに求められるパフォーマンスのクオリティーの水準が徐々に高くなっていっています。

Idol Renaissance – “Hatsu Koi” (First Love) is a cover of the classic song by singer-songwriter Kōzō Murashita and the MV was filmed in a single continuous shot.

Tokyo Performance Doll – “Brand New Story” is the first single of the group that was relaunched in 2013. They are known for their acrobatic and energetic performances.

With this current state of affairs, in the next few years, it can be forecast that the number of idol groups in this seemingly infinitely expanding sphere will be divided into two groups: the ones going on “indefinite hiatus”, disbanding, or suffering the loss of popular members; and the ones that will be moving up the ranks on to the next accomplishment. As we transition from 2014 to 2015 and the world of idols matures from “boom” to “establishment”, it seems that it will evolve from an “era of diversity” to an “era of quality”.
こうした状況の中で、ここ数年、際限なく広がっていたグループアイドルは徐々に整理される方向に向かい、活動休止や解散、中心メンバーの脱退など、上を目指すグループと身の丈にあった活動を続けていくグループへの二極化の流れが広がっていくことが予想されます。2014年から2015年にかけて、アイドルは「ブーム」から「定着」へ、アイドル界は「多様性の時代」から「質の時代」へと変化していくことでしょう。

Sponsored Links

Related Artists : Dream5 Nogizaka46 AKB48 Dempagumi.inc BABYMETAL
Author
Yasuhiro Okada
Yasuhiro Okada

Editor/Writer – Co-author (with Shinshi Okajima) of “Group Idol Shinkaron” (Evolutionary Theory of Idol Groups), one of the first books to analyze the “Idol Warring States Period” (popular media term for the current idol boom in Japan). Author of the book “Idol no iru Kurashi”(Living With Idols), a collection of interviews talking about idols from the perspective of idol fans.

comments powered by Disqus