Obligatory Ranking, Part 2
Okay, so in retrospect, it’s only fair that I answer my own questions on the Johnny’s ranking post I made last week. Tell you what, I’ll throw in some eye-candy too. You know you like eye-candy.
This time, let’s go in-depth. Why are my top
10 9 where they are? How much do the questions I posed (“Are the Johnny’s who are my favorites there because they have traits I’m looking for in guys? Or are they there because I’ve exposed myself to them to the point where they feel like close friends?“) apply to them?
In other words, this post is an excuse for me to hypothetically say “Yes, I would date you,” or “Let’s stay friends,” or even “YOU, we register to get married. NOW.” [/mandatory Johnny Kitagawa imitation] Ahem. Ah, the benefits of being in the age range or younger than the ones I fangirl over. For all that it’d be fun to imitate Kitagawa, I’m not ready to handle pedophilia charges yet.
01 Sakurai Sho (Arashi)
This might be surprising considering where he is, and how long I’ve liked him (Read: since I got into Arashi). But, I, uh, would never date Sho. Or marry him. (Fangirls, if you want to kill me for saying this there might be a problem with you. Just think of it as less competition for him and put the knives down.) I do think he’s a pretty amazing person, has quite the physical appeal, and respect him as an entertainer in all aspects (acting, singing, performing live, dancing, hosting shows, being a role model to the perhaps not-so-impressionable youth of Japan), for all that I want to collapse into fits of laughter when I hear him speak English. …wait, scratch that last bit – I actually do collapse into fits of laughter when he speaks English. Seeing him perform Can’t Take My Eyes Off You left me gasping for air.
I mean, c’mon, this guy finished university on the same time schedule as everyone else even when he was busy with Arashi work. And his body? He makes muscular look good – and East Asian men generally fail at this. (Trust me, I watch the Mr. Hong Kong Pageant and it’s as though three-quarters of the final candidates got by solely because they had muscles. Needless to say, they don’t look so good.) That he writes his own raps, even if I don’t always like the final execution at first, really sticks with me, because matching word play with a melodic rhythm for the sake of a pop audience can get pretty hard. Sure, he can’t do sports, but neither can I. And he’s a chicken – but when The Grudge 2 scares me, I don’t think I’m in any position to complain. All in all, he’s someone I could wholly look up to even if I were older than him. But I also feel that because of this same respect, being in any sort of romantic relationship with him would probably cause image-related stress. Also, his lines are just too cheesy.
So a belated happy 26th to you, Sakurai. You’ll never know the personal hell you’ve lured me into, or that you’ve taught me just how masochistic I am when boybands are involved. Lucky you. (Lucky me.) But please don’t ever ask me out (especially in English) or you might end up being charged with involuntary manslaughter.
01 Ninomiya Kazunari (Arashi)
Nino, on the other hand… would be forced to sign/stamp a marriage registration form if I ever got my hands on him. Okay, not really, I’d be nice and court him the proper way, even if it took a long time. But on the bright side, I fulfill his ridiculously easy requirements for marriage. Except the job part. But I can do that too.
I’m not completely sure what it is about him that has me thinking that way. I think it’s because I’d probably feel at ease around him. He’s not especially demanding, and I guess it’s odd but I feel similar to him. (True story: Once, one of my April Fool’s jokes involved telling people I liked them just for their reactions. Apparently I pulled it off convincingly.) Sure, he doesn’t always look good. In fact, half the time I think the stylists didn’t know what to do with him and just shoved him in some clothes so they could move on to putting lip gloss on Jun or something. But he makes up for it whether it’s being a prankster, someone with odd sensibilities, a gamer, someone who prefers to be alone, a tsukkomi (especially to Ohno’s or, in this hypothetical situation, my boke), or just being able to express himself in many ways. I must shamefully admit that in all of Arashi, in every situation I’ve seen them in so far, Nino’s the only one who’s been able to make me giggle like a lovesick schoolgirl. (You have no idea how weird that is.) The schoolyard bully of a tomboy in me would like to argue that Nino is not being beaten up because he’s so girly. The matchmaker in me argues that this same girlish part is exactly what makes him a good counter to me. The sole, lonely, not-delusional, possibly sane milligram of me tells everyone to shut up because it’s never going to happen and gets stomped out of existence. Poor milligram.
Ahem. In summary. I admire him, appreciate him, melt like the Wicked Witch of the West when he sings an acoustic pop ballad, and would never let him dress me up. Especially not after seeing the pink horror he put Sho through. What are you, crazy?
03 Ohno Satoshi (Arashi)
Because you can’t really have Nino without Ohno?
That is not a valid argument for a male harem no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately. Ohno’s another Arashi man who I would rather just stay friends with. Partially because when I think of a date with Ohno, it usually involves bars and I don’t like alcohol even if I’m legal in Japan. (Yes, I’m pretty certain I’m a college student, thank you.) Though I suppose I wouldn’t mind keeping him company at the bar, okama or otherwise. Or fishing. I guess I could learn to fish. Just pop on the headphones and waiting for a tug to the sweet sounds of Yanni. Arashi, rather.
Basically, Ohno has a likability that stems from the contrast between his personality and his abilities. He’s amazingly capable with things of an artistic nature, will work at whatever he has to do, and he seems most at ease when everyone gets along and tries to push any situation in that direction; but he has this neutral atmosphere (that doesn’t help the tired, stoned look he takes on about a third of the time) that leaves me wondering if this person is real. (Much apologies to Ohno-mama, but hey, you raised your baby that way.
And we probably wouldn’t have him any other way.) When he smiles, he’s adorable, yes. At any given time, he’s a blank slate – but then the next minute he’ll be getting laughs from something he pulled out of his… okay, perhaps not his ass, but you get the point.
While that same vapidness may work wonders for his entertainment career, though, I don’t think I could tolerate it in someone I was considering spending a lot of my life with. Let’s stay friends, okay? And go drinking sometime. Maybe in Ginza.
But y ou’re definitely staying to foot the bill, I don’t care how drunk you are, dammit.
03 Aiba Masaki (Arashi)
At the age of 21, he was peering into a magnifying glass and giggling with the full excitement of a 4 year old who just learned that his thing is called a “penis” and that girls don’t have it (Nah-nah-na~h). Four years later, he might not have the magnifying glass anymore, but he’s still the same.
That’s my excuse, at least. Aiba’s never completely grown up, and he’s been so lucky as to never have to on the television cameras. I don’t doubt that he knows proper decorum. When he’s introspective, he’s surprisingly spot on. And I certainly don’t mean to say he’s naive, immature, or stupid. But his cheerful “Let’s do it!” attitude and wacky range of ideas would definitely mean the times when my friends and I sit around drifting into boredom or being indecisive would be a lot less.
As long as he doesn’t suggest we go golfing. Everyone needs a friend like Aiba, especially with the focus on growing up from all corners of the world today. Sometimes, it’s nice to hang back at the fringe of childhood, and Aiba reminds me why.
I don’t always like his voice, and sometimes I think he looks pretty ugly. (I also think that half the time, all those fangirls crying “Aiba-sama would be an amazing model” don’t know anything about modeling. Not to say that I do, but I like to think I’m just a bit more qualified to talk about the subject after that painful year of modelling classes.) But his high energy antics and (subconcious?) willingness to sacrifice himself for the sake of a joke is great. All that said, while I wouldn’t be adverse to dating him, Aiba’s overall kindness to smaller beings would get annoying; especially since I’m not fond of children related to me. I’d be much happier to watch him roll with the boys and girls while sitting to the side. It doesn’t make him any less of a fun person, though.
05 Matsumoto Jun (Arashi)
Figuring out what to write for this boggled me for the longest time. I hated Jun, were always the first words to come to mind. How did he come to be tied with Koichi?
His face still doesn’t draw up the most pleasant of feelings. I’ve yet to like his character in any drama with him that I’ve watched – and usually, I don’t even make it past the first episode for any of his drama series. But I laugh long and hard when a kid takes the short end of the stick and pretty much jabs it into his eye. Even though I like how he’s forced his nasal tone into a manner that passes for singing whenever he’s got a solo line, he still can’t really sing.
But Jun’s an idol, and he knows it. Works it. Even when I hated him, I had to admit he was the best looker in Arashi. (At least now with Nino I can safely say looks aren’t too important when it comes to me liking guys.) If you find a non-candid image of him that doesn’t look good, then it was probably on purpose. He’s essentially the queen bitch of Arashi, but the other members all acknowledge that he works just as hard as the rest to do his job well. His ideas for concerts never even crossed my mind until I saw them in action at Arashi concerts, and for someone who’s not too fond of PDA, he still sees to it that his fans are left happy. While I’m not especially fond of old people or kids, I do think they deserve to be respected in their own way and he seems to believe in that as well. And the fact that he can cook and is pretty knowledgeable about food is a pretty big bonus towards me liking him. I like food, oh yes I do, preciousssssss.
Perhaps the day I’ll let go of the Jun hate once and for all will near. (I’m going to cry if several years of dislike is undone within 6 months, though. You hear that, hate? Last until March, dammit!) I don’t know that I like him enough to say I’d date him because bitchy gets very tiring very quickly in a relationship. But I do think where I am, we might be friends.
05 Domoto Koichi (KinKi Kids)
Oh, Koichi. How quickly you’ve fallen, and through no fault of your own. Well, maybe a little. It’s not my fault you were born in 1979. 8 years is a pretty big gap, even if I adore Terajima Susumu (who’s got a 24-year gap). Little wonder that the young’uns have ursurped your place.
Everything I wrote about him in that 5 Favorite J-Pop Men post still holds true now, 3 months later. (Okay, so Sho managed to surpass Koichi, as did most of Arashi, but shush. Let’s talk about Koichi as a person, okay?) To reiterate – in the span of a year, he toppled NEWS (whom I’d known twice as long – wait, does that mean I’m just really fickle with my men? Ouch.). His acting’s a bit over the top, his singing isn’t anything special, he’s not really charismatic or cool, and he’s a giant dork.
But he’s a good dancer, got a nice face and body, has fun doing what he does, and he’s a giant dork.
What appeals to me about Koichi first is his looks – what keeps me there is his behavior. He’s not really one of the young ones anymore, and he knows it, but he’ll joke about it. He’s rhythmically talented – watching him dance even when he’s not joking around with his fellow dancers becomes a pleasure. (Though I suppose I could do a bit less with the angsty looks on his face while he sings.) He’s singing songs where the sexual innuendo is much too prevalent one moment, and then joking about his thinning hair the next. He works hard at his work… but doesn’t even bother with getting envelopes or even a proper presentation when giving out New Year’s money. He emphasizes that he’s not so much an idol as he is a human without really trying. And even though it may be because he’s only in a duo rather than a group, he juggles all of it in moderation instead of abusing any one facet.
In short… I’d date Koichi in a heartbeat if given the chance. But in the face of a slightly younger set, I’m fine with being a friend, coworker, or even just a fan. And it’s not his fault at all.
07 Nakai Masahiro (SMAP)
Nakai would be the best drinking buddy. Ever. (Even barring Ohno’s amusing drunken calls.) Keep the laughs flowing along with the liquor, listen to his troubles and listen to him mock mine, and hey, even better if Ishibashi Takaaki comes too. We’ll knock back a couple cans of Asahi/Sapporo/Kirin/what have you, gorge on bar snacks, sing loudly and horribly, and scare away other customers with certain people’s rowdiness.
The problem is… I don’t like to drink (alcohol, at least. Tea and soda are totally fine by me.) and so having a drinking buddy’s pretty useless. But the above still completely applies. Nakai’s not in my age range, not so attractive to me (in fact, more often than not he reminds me of a family friend, which would make him as a dating partner even more disturbing), and someone whom I might actually feel a little stifled next to because he’s learned to become the sort of person who knows how to handle personality – it shines off him in waves when it needs to be, but draws back when it’s not the situation for it. He’s guaranteed to never be boring – and even if he can’t really sing or dance, I admire that same personality part of him.
By the way, the diminished image and amount of text alotted to Nakai should have totally clued you in that I’m going about this possibly the wrong way. But who cares? If there’s a reason we love Nakai, it’s not his face or his singing, it’s his loud personality. No arguments brooked.
08 Kusano Hironori (ex-NEWS)
Admittedly, I’m at a bit of a loss to explain how Kusano got his butt tied with Tsuyoshi. He’s only a year younger than me, but with my own (horrifiying) little brother I’m not sure I need him as one too. That he might be guilty for the underage drinking charge doesn’t exactly leave a good impression on me either – not the underage drinking, but the implication that he might enjoy drinking enough for him to recieve what basically became a 2-year punishment. And in fact, with the less news about him and NEWS’ little enough presence on shows of any sort other than to perform, he’s in a prime position to head steadily downhill on this ranking. But for now he’s 8th, and it’s only fair for me to work out why he’s eighth.
NEWS’ members, as has been said by non-fans or casual fans, don’t really have clear personality images of their own. In fact, it might be argued that what they’ve done is shuffle themselves into various “good boy” stereotypes. If I could imagine being friends with Arashi in real life, NEWS is more like the cast of a dating game. But that’s a topic on its own, and for now we focus on the youngest ex-member who reveled in his precocious little boy status, Kusano.
Kusano is by no means a genius. (If he were, he probably wouldn’t have been demoted into that “trainee” status.) But by the time of his activity hiatus, he had a defined role in NEWS. He was the rapper, he made the most use of sexual appeal, and he was the member of NEWS that the average Japanese male teen (presumably into American MTV) was supposed to identify with. He was styled ghetto (that faux afro from the 2005 Christmas performance of CHERISH on Music Station always hurts), performed hip-hop, busted the breakdance moves, knew how to ooze sex, didn’t mind having fun, and gave attitude. To the girls he could be a brother (impish, but sensitive), a temptation, and he was more often than not emanating confidence onstage. Confidence is sexy. He could’ve been the perfect male idol for the MTV generation, and then he got caught up in that scandal.
That only reminds us that he’s human. Not for getting caught, but for wanting to do what others do. The idol industry’s a tough place, sometimes you’re going to want – or even need – to drop the image. I’m not happy with Kusano or the result of his actions, but I can’t fault him. If he were my romantic interest, I would flirt with the idea of a relationship and maybe even do a date or two. But there’s no question in my mind that ultimately, he’d be a friend.
Probably with benefits.
08 Domoto Tsuyoshi (KinKi Kids)
Oh, Tsuyoshi. Even after 10 years in the business, he’s unpredictable. For all that the KinKi duo are often coupled together, who honestly foresaw that kiss on the lips? Koichi certainly didn’t (though he seems to have been scared of what Tsuyoshi might do after closing his eyes, but that only serves to prove my point).
Not to say that Tsuyoshi is spontaenous or isn’t; but it’s pretty hard to tell what he’s thinking. With everyone else on the list, you can hazard a guess and be somewhere near the mark. With Tsuyoshi, it’s the equivalent of playing darts – with the dartboard on another planet. He’s usually brooding, and then he’ll burst out to be a straight man to Koichi’s occasional bouts of stupidity. (The two are perfect foils, really.) Or he’ll be the odd comic relief himself. He’s undeniably hardworking and creative, and I suspect it’s the same quirky creativeness that endears him to people.
Which makes it even odder, because while everyone else in Johnny’s tries to make themselves personable, Tsuyoshi doesn’t. We’ve seen him be depressed, nonsensical, throw fits; and he’s not especially handsome either. He jokes around and fulfills his obligations, but more often than not he’s just there, unforgivingly himself, and closed off until he opens his mouth. Even Nino, voted as most likely to prefer being alone, puts in more of an effort to socialize. Tsuyoshi would much rather sit at home with his fish. In the dolled-up world of Johnny’s, these oddities turn him into the most human person – or perhaps the least.
Either way, Tsuyoshi becomes intriguing in his own way, a quirky companion that makes Johnny’s seem a bit less unreachable. I don’t know that I could be his friend, or date him, but he’s more of an overreaching presence that helps keep the dreamers dreaming.
Okay, this post done with. Surprisingly, ranking posts are quite dreary to do. They show up all the time, but they’re still horribly boring and full of BS. Honestly, why should I have to explain why I like who I like? Who even cares? What matters is that they have my support (and my delusional ramblings) and great for you if you don’t like them. ENOUGH OF THE RANKING POSTS, REALLY. (…says the girl who spends a week on one.)
Less bull next time.
I promise. I think. But my call for more Johnny’s-related blogs (with preferably less stupidity than mine) still stands.
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