This post will cover the next six monthly ‘tribute’ pages Yomiuri Shimbun dedicates to Arashi’s 20th year debut anniversary. See the first six here.
May 2019 Edition: All the BEST!! 0626
The festive mood is reignited in this issue. We had been expecting them to release a ‘best of’ album this year, since they didn’t record an original album last year (and neither this year), but despite a few passing comments, there was no confirmation as to if or when it’s going to happen… until the bomb was dropped with this spread.
The picture itself is great; i love the composition, the sitting-on-stools pose, the fitting tie-less suits, and the gradient background. But what made us jump out of our seats was the line below it: “All the BEST!!” with two exclamation marks, 0626 which most likely pointed to the date of release, and the barcode which redirected us to the J Storm page of the then-upcoming release.
Johnny & Associates isn’t a tech-savvy agency and has been really conservative with its talents’ management and promotion, so this move is not only unexpected (yet a pleasant surprise indeed) but can also represent its first steps into embracing the digital era.
We knew the June spread would be out on the album’s release date, but Yomiuri decided to do the count down with us by dedicating a small corner of a page on its 23rd, 24th, and 25th copies depicting the printing, packing, and shipping process of the gifts.
These small touches definitely heightened the excitement… until June 26 arrived.
June 2019 Edition: 5×20 All the BEST!! 1999-2019
It’s D-day: the delivery day.
Here, the members are surrounding the parcel dressed in the checkered suits used for the album’s shoots, smiling. The pale pink background color matches that on the RE cover. I guess this shot can be interpreted in two ways: Arashi are the deliverymen of the presents or they are the gift themselves. It was a nice imagery either way.
And to be fair, 5×20’s packaging does resemble gift boxes. They’re all pretty, especially LE1 which is shaped like a chocolate bar — or a Tokyo Station omiage, according to Jun. (See the previews here.)
I love every bit of this picture, ’nuff said.
July 2019 Edition: 嵐、20回目の夏。
There seems to be no special date on July, but this issue wasn’t out on the 3rd day of the month as usual but on the 20th instead. It might coincide with the line that reads “Arashi’s 20th summer” but some pointed out about July 20 being an International Friendship Day or that it was the first day of summer break in Japan. Okay, now that makes sense.
The pose is standard, but i like how refreshing they look in casual wear. It’s colorful enough for the season although may not be loose enough for the weather. I mean, Sho is still in cardigan and Jun still wears layers, come on!
August 2019 Edition: 暑中お見舞い申し上げます
Arashi lounging around at a ryokan in what looks like their homewear reminds me of their past Kirin CMs or My Girl’s PV. The scenery always exudes warmth, comfort, and amiability. They are regarded as superstars or national idols, but they’re humble individuals who still have boy-next-door aura in them, which is apparent in shots/situations like this. So while there might not be anything special or significant in this issue, it is actually among my favorite spreads.
(Note: the caption is a common midsummer greeting, it seems.)
September 2019 Edition: Since 1999 嵐
This is a sentimental issue, because September 15 is the date they held a presscon on a boat in Hawaii and declared themselves as Arashi. It was an eventful day, though it might be exactly be a happy day for all five of them. Three had wanted to quit and one managed to be there because he had a passport (wherein Ohno thought it was a reward vacation and Nino was seasick), but despite what might have happened thereafter, here they are, still standing together as 5 twenty long years later. They have been “Arashi since 1999″* and that (lineup) will never change no matter what.
In this spread, the fivesome are surrounded by strings of photos from their debut year. A fellow fan pointed out that there are 39 of them in total; read in Japanese, 39 is ‘sankyuu’, a homonym for ‘thank you’. Ugh.
(*it is their exact 20th anniversary issue, but i appreciate how there’s no “-2019” in there, as in there’s no end to their journey, if you get what i mean.)
October 2019 Edition
I thought the October issue would be out on the 16th to commemorate the release of 5×20 All the BEST!! CLIPS 1999-2019, which contains all 63 of their PVs — plus 9 more from their albums or single in the LE copies — but nope. There’s no words or captions in this one, and it’s kinda weird that Aiba is that much taller than Sho, but i guess the message is loud and clear: This is Arashi. A quintet. Led by Ohno.
And with this, Yomiuri has printed 12 full-page ads of the group since November last year. There may be something for next month, their CD debut day, though i’m not sure how long more we’ll get to enjoy these monthly appearances. But one thing for sure: it is definitely both an honor and a privilege to be featured on a national newspaper for one full year. Everything else is a bonus.
~ images are taken from various twitter accounts ~