Got busy with real life (school, work and sleep, that is). Sometimes it’s just easier to tweet my stream of unconsciousness on pop culture than blog about it. But here I am.
I just finished rewatching Arashi’s Beautiful World. The more I watch it, the more I am impressed by the production values. The first time I watched it though, I felt there was nothing new and it wasn’t as goosebumps-inducing as 5 x 10 Anniversary Tour, by far, still my favorite Arashi concert. This is not to say though that Beautiful World is without its merits. It shows the growth of Arashi as performers and their willingness to try new things.
In fact, this is very obvious in the second half of the concert when they open with a series of gritty, sexy numbers. Sexy Arashi. I ain’t complaining. But it got me to thinking… it was very K-pop. The choreography, the production, even the costumes. There was no kira-kira in there and it was refreshing to see.
But polished, gritty and sexy that portion may have been, Arashi looked disconnected from their audience. If you’re an Arashi fan, you will know that their power is in the way they connect with their audience. They may not dance and move like Korean idols, but who needs that in them when there are more than enough groups out there who do that?
The reason why Arashi is successful is because it is the sum of its parts. Each member has his own character. I find this ironic in a Japanese group because Japan is such a homogenous society and there definitely is nothing homogenous in Arashi. There is Ohno and his arts, Sho and his newscast, Nino and his games, Jun and his twin Domyouji and Aiba and his pets. Even their costumes reflect their personalities. They’re the same patterns and fabric but they will have different cuts. Those are just some of their distinguishing factors but you get the idea.
So to put my thoughts in context, I don’t think Arashi will work as a group in a Korean setting. And this says a lot considering that they are under Johnny-san, whose heavy-handedness in everything is well known. The reason why they are this solid despite their different personalities is because they are allowed to be different. I can’t imagine them practicing before the mirror in the studio trying to perfect their dance steps until they move as one, no finger or hair out of place. Or behaving as one. I can’t even… especially when you have a DoS like Matsujun and a brat like Nino.
Imagine my relief when that entire segment was over. Sure, I can stare at sexy Arashi zutto zutto but I don’t like them because they are “hot” as how many would prefer their idols. I like them because they bring a smile to my face no matter how bad my day is, because I can see how much they love their work and enjoy it. The day that these boys no longer enjoy what they are doing together is the day that Arashi will cease to be Arashi. And as a fan, I hope that never happens. That they continue to discover new things together, grow up together and grow old still making countless of people smile and laugh.
I often hear artists spout what I otherwise think as bullshit, that the reason why they do what they do is because they want to make people happy. But watching Arashi makes me realize it’s true after all.
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