Aibon no more

April 7, 2008

Kago is back, but...

She’s a born-again Ai.

Kago Ai tried to kill herself (I got this information from this article).

I’m so sad and confused about this. But more than that, I feel disillusioned. My mom once made a comment to me about how damaging it must be for an idol to lose her popularity and fall from the adoration of the public. That comment really bothered me, and now I know why. When I was very unhappy and lonely, I discovered Berryz Koubou. As I continued to learn more about H!P and idols in general, I felt that I’d found something to count on that cheered me up. Idols are an illusion that I desperately want to believe in, an illusion of eternal cheer and happiness. More than anything sad going on in my personal life, or anything unfair going on in this world, I wanted to believe in the illusion given by idol happiness.

The power of a smile

The epitome of endless cheer

Ai has made that difficult. Ai was the quintessential idol, one of the best there’s ever been. A near-perfect illusion. And then the dream ended. She was rocked by multiple scandals and plummeted from grace. Just when she seemed to be picking up the pieces, she screwed up again (literally) and was fired, this time for good. Today I learned that a year ago, when she was newly released from her contract, Ai tried to slit her wrists and end her life.

Trying to kill yourself is the ultimate outward expression of unhappiness. There can be no more illusion of Aibon the ever-smiling idol, an illusion I’d kept in my mind even through her scandals and multiple falls from grace. She has ceased to be part of the idol-induced dream I’ve placed myself in. I’m awake now, and I’m not sure I want to be.

How will this affect my views on idols in general? I’m not sure. I think that deep down I already realized that this was a potentially dangerous environment for young girls to grow up in, that even an idol can’t always be immune from sadness. I’d like to think that despite knowing this, idols will continue to be a source of happiness and interest for me. Only now I’ll know not to rely completely on the idol illusion.

Bye-bye, Aibon.

Bye-bye, Aibon. Hello, Kago Ai.

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Look, it’s KAGO!

April 6, 2008

Yep, definitely Aibon...

Kago’s first interview in years…

“She’s really back?” That was my first impression. My second was “Whaddup with the hair? It looks like a wig”. For those who don’t know, Aibon is giving her first interview in… y’know, a while. More complete information can be found at Some Boys! Blog.

I’m not a big fan of Ai’s. She’s not my favorite Momusu, and I don’t think I was even into H!P at a time when she was still in it. But that said, Kago fascinates me. Similar to Goto Maki, Kago caught the public attention and refused to let it go throughout her career. Even now she has devoted fans, haters, and people everywhere just waiting and praying for her to come back.

What is it about an idol that appeals so much to people? Is there some sort of “idoling” gene that some people possess that allows them to touch people’s hearts like that? And if so, is there also an “Idol appreciation” gene for those of us who allow ourselves to be touched by idols (ignoring how dirty that sounds)?

But seriously, what is that that makes someone see a group of people to be admired and loved, and someone else just see a bunch of young people with mediocre voices bouncing around in skimpy clothes? For me, I was a fan from the moment I first heard Berryz Koubou’s cute voices. And yet when I showed my friend the same PV that I first saw (Warrachaou yo Boyfriend), her reaction was “Um… can we do something more interesting? Like, I dunno, studying the mating rituals of worms?”. How can two people have such radically different reactions?

Wow, this got off topic.

To Kago, and all of us who have the Idol-appreciation gene, good luck!