“I pity the foo’ who…” – Wait, that’s me.
Johnny (and sister Mary) Kitagawa know exactly how they’re taking over first Japan, and then the world. Not only that, but it’s working pretty well. And spearheading the effort at the moment is a successful Arashi – they attack and latch on with ferocity, but they also subtly invade lives without their targets realizing it, and oh, pity the poor fool who realizes it too late. By the way – I accept pity orders, credit cards, and PityPal. Just in time for Christmas, please and thank you.
The deeper into Arashi fandom I go, the more I find out that they were wriggling their ways into my life before I even gave them any notice. I’ve recounted how I came across their early videos with PONY CANYON while looking up w-inds.; how PIKA☆☆NCHI DOUBLE was an inflight movie during one of my trips in Hong Kong; how Sho starred in the Honey & Clover movie, a series that perked my interest before it became popular enough for a movie; how Jun was host for Minna no Terebi (which I loved before it became Utawara Hot Hit 10 despite his presence)… wait, did I ever talk about that last one? Oh well, and now you know.
I also heard the news when Nino was going to star in Letters from Iwo Jima, because at that point I was looking up Japanese actors in American films, but back then I paid it no heed. Likewise, Aiba apparently slipped into the Kuitan drama special – and actually, for the life of my sister (yes, I’m sacrificing her), we can’t remember seeing him at all. We remember Kame of KAT-TUN being a random anorexic street punk near the end of the special, but Aiba’s face and Kuitan do not click. This disturbs us because we greatly love Kuitan in all its crack-filled ridiculousness, and so I will have to clear out another gig of space to make room for the special once more. Just for probably a minute with Aiba. Who made absolutely no impression on me at the beginning of my dive into Arashi fandom.
Oh, but wait, this just keeps getting better and better.
It seems like there’s a bunch of Arashi fans on facebook priding themselves about knowing of Nino before his Hollywood stint – something that I can’t really empathize with since Arashi finally endeared themselves to me several months after the movie’s release. Not that I’d really want to, but hey, someone’s gotta be the voice of the rational Japanese boyband fandom and explore the nastier side to counter all the H!P-related fanblogs. (I… clearly am not rational. Okay, I failed already. Stick the fork in me.)
Well, turns out I did know who Nino was before Yamada Taro Monogatari and also Iwo Jima. Y’see, I watched Ao no Honoo, my first Japanese movie (Waterboys and Battle Royale didn’t come until several months later), back in 2004 – I think three-fourths of the readers of this blog, presumably coming from International Wota, know it as the movie in which Matsuura Aya starred. And until recently, that’s all I knew about it too. I liked it well enough, burned it onto a disc for future watching, and moved on to two movies in which Goto Maki starred. (But for all this introduction to J-cinema involving them, no, I’ve never quite gotten into H!P. Watch, I’ll be hopping onto the bandwagon in a year or two if Arashi is any indication.) Um, surprise, surprise, guess who the male lead in that movie was. Face, meet palm. Head, meet desk. Brain, go splody.
It’s getting to be slightly sickening how they seem to be there every step of my dive into Japanese entertainment. I’m almost afraid to look into my past exploits for fear that they’ll be there. Taunting. With their grins and some pretty bad haircuts and STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT I WILL NOT BE SUCKERED AGAIN… who am I kidding? I mean, c’mon boys, at least Jun was blatant about it so I could openly hate him. The rest of you… this isn’t invasion or guerilla warfare or sabotage. It’s pure conditioning and brainwashing. (With a side dose of shampoo if that’s really necessary.)
There is one exception, though. Captain (Ohno) has been absolutely nowhere in sight (save for the aforementioned PIKA☆☆NCHI DOUBLE), but to be honest, that sort of scares me even more. How subtle has his workings been? When I finally find out his role in my past with Japanese entertainment, how deep or shallow will it be? He maybe a baby-faced artist, but he’s every bit like that skeleton who pops out in front of you in a haunted house attraction. You know it’s coming and you’re still freaked when it finally happens. Yes, scary stuff and I don’t agree. Shut up.
This has been an affirmation that I was doomed all along.
They’re talk show hosts, they’re singers, they’re dancers, they’re actors, they’re models. And they’re at their prime in Japan. It’s hard to turn a corner without crashing into them at some point, even if your interests lie a secure distance from boyband pop. That just means you’re less likely to join the fandom. Still seeing them is a different story. You can run, you can hide, but they will find you. Now start running, for all the good it will do you.