Tuesday, April 6, 2010

More on being an idol fan/wota...

I originally wrote this in response to a comment by Yonasu on this post, quoted in its entirety here:

"Honestly I couldn't care less about the agencies behind the idols. I like certain idols of H!P, and I like certain idols in AKB, they live together in harmony in my world. But my favorites are from H!P and that will never change since they've had many years to grow on me.

My all time favorite is Eri Kamei, and whatever happens to H!P she will always remain my favorite^^ And my favorite from AKB is Atsuko Maeda (although she might not even make the top 10 of my overall idol faves). I consider myself an Eri wota, I guess, but really I don't need a title, I just care about loving whoever I love :) People are free to hate on me and the idols I love, I really couldn't care less about that either, haha.

In the end, this discussion is really the same stupid thing as arguing about Windows and OS X. Just use and love whatever you love, why should you care about what someone else likes? It doesn't make any sense.

Peace out."

However, my comment ended up REALLY long (I basically ended up rewriting/updating the original entry Yonasu was responding to) and there were some things I said that I felt warranted another post, so here it is. I was responding specifically to one paragraph in his comment.

"In the end, this discussion is really the same stupid thing as arguing about Windows and OS X. Just use and love whatever you love, why should you care about what someone else likes? It doesn't make any sense."
In the example of Mac vs Windows, I agree completely. It's just an OS...find what you like and use that, screw what everybody else is doing. In fact, the "OS wars" is one of my least favorite things to talk about...ditto for the video game "console wars".

However, with idols, we're not dealing with something so trivial. The difference between idols and just about every other hobby out there is that there is a relationship with living, breathing people here. Supporting your favorite idol is not the same as supporting your favorite video game company or band or OS developer or whatever because supporting those things does not explicitly express love for another human being. For me it is not just entertainment...I am truly invested in my idol, as much as I would be invested in someone I know in real life, if not even more so. I suppose for most gaijin idol fans it's difficult to take it that seriously...after all, most of us never really have the chance to build a "real" relationship with these girls because they obviously live across the world (or, at least, in a different country :P). If everyone could have the opportunity to go to FC events and talk to the girls one on one, shake their hands, etc on a regular basis I get the feeling things might be different.

But here I am, living in America, and I still take my relationship with my idol as seriously as I would were I able to interact with her regularly. I want to be the best fan I possibly can for her sake.

Going back to what you asked, I care about what other idol fans like because I want them to be the best possible fans for these girls as well. Honestly I don't particularly like being the person pointing his finger at everyone, but it aggravates me when I see the approach many Western fans have. These girls deserve more devotion than that.

And that's not to say that Western idol fans are not passionate. Many of the people I've met really do love these girls a lot. However, as I said earlier I feel that the relationship between a wota and his/her idol is very real...and I don't feel it's appropriate or respectful to have relationships with more than one person at a time.

I don't mean that you can't like more than one idol...I like all the members of Morning Musume - some of them a lot - for different reasons. But Aichan is the only one I love, and the one I consider to be MY idol. I have only a casual interest in the others. Personally I think that's how it should be if someone wants to call him/herself a wota. Actually, I feel that this kind of dedication may very well be what separates a fan from a wota, which is why I get so agitated by casual use of the term 'wota' - it's not a word to be taken lightly...

Of course, I can't reasonably expect everyone to take this approach. I've come to realize that there's nothing wrong with being a more casual fan (and I don't mean that everyone who isn't a hardcore wota is "just a casual fan"...as I said earlier, there are certainly non-wota idol fans who love these girls a lot - they are just comparatively more casual fans). Some people are simply not willing or able to have this kind of dedication, and to an extent I can't blame them...it's really hard. Sometimes, honestly, it sucks. But the good times are so incredibly rewarding, and I feel that I am capable of doing so much more for my idol, when I take this approach. As I said, I want the best fans possible for these girls and through my experiences I've come to believe that singular dedication fosters that kind of fan. I may not be able to convince everyone to join me, and I may even make some enemies along the way (I have already, actually x.x)...but I feel that this is a cause worth fighting for and I hope that I can inspire others to join me.
- cfb