Posted in Off Topic

The Awesome 5

This was initially the comment i posted in response to Arashi’s 15th Anniversary BLAST in Hawaii post by ojpy but found out that i could flesh it out still…

“When Sho said that — “Let’s go back to ’99!!!” — on MUSIC STATION last night, I wondered where I was on Sept 15, 1999, when Arashi debuted on a cruise ship in Hawaii.”

I am wondering about that a lot too: why didn’t i know them earlier, why didn’t i like them earlier? The former is probably due to JE’s ‘exclusiveness’ aka strict rules, while for the latter, it happened at the right time i guess? I first heard of Arashi through Hanadan (which i never fully watched btw) but only came to like them when i rediscovered them several years later. My first reaction was, “Ah, that Domyouji guy!” XD. I love everything about them now but am not sure if the-ten-years-ago-me would appreciate their antics then.

I feel that this Hawaii concert is another milestone in their career — they’ve grown from reluctant members to proud members of Arashi. I usually avoid concert reports so as not to get myself spoiled of any possible surprises but i hunted them down this time xp. And with the number of pics and videos circulating online, it’s as if i was there in person indeed. The feels are indescribable. I didn’t expect the members to be that emotional, but sometimes you only realized how far you’ve come when you stop and look back… Maybe that’s what happened to them; by coming back and performing at their debut place at this time and stage, 15 years of memories may flash right before their eyes, spurring the realization that they may have just come full circle… through high and low points of their career.

Looking at them now, it’s natural to think that they’ve always been popular; however, i read that they went through so-called dark years from 2000 to 2005 (though i believe i read somewhere that Sho(?) mentioned the tough times lasted until as far as 2006/7) with declining sales, doing late night shows (which i deem to be an undesirable timeslot), and performing to a half-empty venue, so much that they’re supposedly Johnny’s #8 group in terms of priority.

They’ve said it in different occasions that they didn’t shoot to fame immediately and there were times when they were unpopular… but looking at their singles sales history alone, it didn’t look that bad. Yes, there was a slight drop in 2000-1 which dipped further from 2002-7, but for the most part the figures were stable. Pikanchi double was the group’s lowest selling single to date albeit one of my all time faves but even the dismal first week sales topped the Oricon chart — and their singles have subsequently been on #1 streak thereafter.

They were also the main personality for 24 hour TV in 2004 — i don’t think just anyone can be the main personality for that yearly program — but reading about what happened behind-the-scenes teared me up. It also took them 8 years to be able to hold a concert at Tokyo Dome, and 9 in Kokuritsu. It was probably true afterall that the Japanese began to take notice of them upon their return from the Asian tour in 2006 — an ‘unknown’ idol group who managed to hold sold-out concerts overseas…

They had it rough, didn’t they? And what prompted them to be close to one another: because back then, they only had one another and that’s the only way they could stay afloat and keep going. Knowing that, i couldn’t be more grateful that Ohno, Sho, and Nino didn’t act on their intention to quit, that the agency didn’t give up on them, and that the members themselves pulled through. Being in a slump for half a decade is no joke, and the fact that they were able to rise against all odds and maintain to be on top for years and years afterwards is just… ;’)

5x15 BIH - Sho speech
[Hawaii concert 9/19/2014 — Sho’s thank you speech, source: amnosxmatsujun@twitter]

Add to that the fickleness of idolhood, with fans’ worst nightmares on news surrounding certain member(s) leaving, new member(s) coming in, group disbanding or going into ‘indefinite hiatus’ keep coming up every now and then, i’m beyond grateful that 15 years later, it is still these 5, showing no signs of slowing down. I don’t think even ‘grateful’ does my feelings justice.

And like that well-put fan quote: “I may not be there from the start, but I’ll support you till the end.” That sums up everything and that says a lot.

Back to the 2-day Blast in Hawaii concert(s) and the controversies surrounding the number of photos and videos circulating online post-concert. I basically agree with everyone’s opinions on the matter. I was happy yet worried. Arashi fans know how strict JE rules are. I totally understand their excitement and the urge to capture the moments for memento but also worry that it’ll affect how Uncle Johnny views international fans and deprive us of any other possible international concert in the future. I have yet to attend their concert ;_; and i think theirs would be more reachable and less of a dream if it weren’t in Japan or there weren’t a need for ballot.

That said, i couldn’t really fault them. It’s exasperating to see fans breaking rules, yet… that’s how i rediscovered Arashi — through (subbed) videos uploaded onto streaming sites. Without those, i don’t think i’d ‘know’ them till now, so yeah… a double-edged sword indeed…

Here’s hoping they will hold another AAA in near future, regardless how slim the chance is. Seeing how many individual and group activities they have, and how they have to pre-record their shows and still do a lot of filming while in Hawaii to make up for that, i can see why holding international tours is not their priority up to now.

I’ve been a self-proclaimed sixth member of Arashi for half a decade and counting now, but i am still surprised at how many new things i learn about them every single day. She — ojpy — also seems very knowledgeable and have a lot of things to write about the awesome 5. I enjoy reading her blog posts, duh. I also see that she and many other people get Arashi latest news/updates from twitter and tumblr. While i am not interested in tumblr at all, i’ve been contemplating for the longest time now whether i should open a twitter account for that reason. News/updates on Arashi is like my morning coffee, i need ’em to start my day lol.

Time to be familiar with tweetiquette and pick a username? XD

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I blog sometimes, gush ofttimes, snark all the time.

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