I Gave In To The Dark Side

Filed in American Wota 2.0

I’ve had this urge to do a Johnny’s Ranker the way I’ve done various H!P-related rankers… and tonight, I got around to it. You’ll find it under the Wota Distractions, along with all the other time-wasters I’ve happily provided. (And there’s much more to come, I assure you.)

I have to confess, I felt really really weird testing out the ranker after it was all set up. Which is hilarious, because I actually savor the whole “Momoko or Yasuda? Momoko of course! Yuko or Nacchi? Yuko of course!” aspect of the H!P ranker. Playing favorites is definitely one of the deepest joys of H!P fandom. But trying to choose between a KinKi Kid and an Arashi, or a SMAP and a KAT-TUN, just made me feel ill at ease, even as certain decisions seemed obvious. Well, sort of obvious – I don’t give a damn about thirty or so of the forty-five Johnny’s in the ranker, but I did have strong opinions on the remaining one-third. Shingo versus Yamapi? Hell, yeah, Shingo! The-Bidou-Guy versus Tomoya? Oooh, that’s a tough one but I gotta go with Bidou-Guy.

It wasn’t the queerness of it – Lord knows, I’m pretty secure about being happily closeted. (Don’t tell the wife! Or the baby.) But it seemed kind of strange to be assessing all these men – especially the fugly ones – when I hardly knew them, really. There is a welcome intimacy in judging my girl group idols, and that intimacy was still there when I was comparing Johnny’s idols – but it wasn’t really speaking to my sense of self, it wasn’t the kind of mastery I wanted baited in front of me. And it really doesn’t help that so many of them have pictures where they give that boy band kind of implying the bedroom but not too much stare which makes me think I should either be a teenage girl or office lady if I’m going to be allowed to stare back.

Which leads to the big question: what spurred this on in the first place?

The most direct catalyst was watching Johnny’s Countdown a few days ago – after Kimitsu of Minna Star did that fantabulous review, I just had to see it for myself. So yeah, I downloaded it overnight and spent an hour at work viewing the thing. And I enjoyed it a great deal – perhaps even more than any H!P concerts I’ve watched as of late. (Though not more than my repeated viewings of Perfume’s Fan Service: Bitter.)

It was while watching the countdown that I realized: “Hey, I know more of these people than I thought! I actually give a damn about Tomoya trying to kiss Koichi! I’m wishing that the guy who played Bidou on Yukan Club actually had blonde hair and blue eyes! And I’m wishing that SMAP was here, though of course they ruled Kouhaku.” And from there I figured a ranker for Johnny’s would be pretty cool, and be a handy way to learn who’s who better. (Notice that I didn’t think of this for AKB48 right away, though now I guess that should come next. Maybe.)

And of course, there was the way I became completely enchanted recently by the genius of Yukan Club. Seriously, it is one of the best damn shows of all time, and Bidou is one of the most magnificent television characters ever. I think. I may even do another clip of Yukan Club set to Erasure, if the inspiration hits me. (Or maybe be dangerous and set it to Bronski Beat or Blancmange…) That certainly factored into my blossoming into a Johnny’s fangirl.

So there’s Johnny’s Countdown, and there’s Yukan Club… And there was sorta keeping track of Tomoya after the rather visible breakup with Ayu last summer… And I really liked the PV for SMAP’s “Danggan Fighter” when it came out… Really, this was a long time coming. I think I’ve been inching my way, bit by bit, into that dark tight hole of Johnny’s fandom for a long time now.

SMAP is a huge part of it for me. When I first started getting into Morning Musume in the first place, my wife was asking me to look for SMAP songs as well, as she had been a fan. (“Smack?” “No, SMAP.” “SMAP? What kind of a name is that?”) Utaban was a great way to get to like Nakai, though of course he’s often overshadowed by Ishibashi. The charms of Shingo – Mama or not – became apparent to me pretty quickly, too, especially since he has the smile of carefree mentally-challenged child. And can stick his whole first in his mouth, which he did on Kouhaku a few years back. Beyond that, I actually like a couple of their songs and I still think the PV for “SMAC” is one of the best, most clever in Jpop. It easily makes my all-time top ten PVs. (Another PV I’ve never mentioned but would make my all-time top ten: Ayu’s “Angel’s Song”. It’s too fucking weird to not love.)

And of course, there was that wonderful meeting between SMAP and Michael Jackson. Truly, that was one of the greatest geinou moments ever, with SMAP turning into a bunch of nervous fanboys for the King of Pop. (Maybe I should repost the fansubbed video Barb and I made of that meeting? Hm…) When Shingo told Michael, “I love you,” it was such a sincere and honest moment of fan worship that I still beam when I think of it. It helps not to think about what went on at Neverland, but whatever.

There were some other things, of course. When my wife and I went to see Letters From Iwo Jima in the theater, that one soldier looked so damn familiar to me… and when I found out it was a guy from Arashi, I felt stupid for not realizing it right away. I loved Kitty GYM’s “Fever to Future” – both the song and the video – when it came out, and since then have often tried out Johnny’s PVs (mostly Kanjani8 and KAT-TUN) to see if there was anything as good as that song. (Not yet, unfortunately.) And the only Jpop idol I’ve ever seen in person was Domoto Tsuyoshi walking down the streets of Waikiki, being filmed by a TV crew. That certainly made an impression on me.

So yeah, Johnny’s has been creeping into my wota life since the beginning, and it’s finally taking a firm hold now. I don’t think it’s going to mean a financial commitment to any of the groups out there – I’m not buying albums or DVDs or anything, though if something as good as “Fever to Future” does pop up, I could change my mind. However, it does mean a continued awareness of Johnny’s groups and an acknowledgment that they make up a huge part of the geinou landscape, with a visibility and popularity that Hello! Project would envy. It isn’t that hard to enjoy Japanese entertainment without running into any of the H!P girls; it’s nearly impossible to do the same with Johnny’s. Whether it’s Utaban or somebody in a drama or another Oricon hit – they’re here, they’re Johnny’s, get used to it.

Anyway, here’s my Top Ten Johnny’s idols:

1
Shingo Katori
(SMAP)
2
Masahiro Nakai
(SMAP)
3
Kimura Takuya
(SMAP)
4
Inagaki Goro
(SMAP)
5
Taguchi Junnosuke
(KAT-TUN)
6
Yokoyama Yu
(Kanjani8)
7
Nagase Tomoya
(TOKIO)
8
Domoto Tsuyoshi
(KinKi Kids)
9
Ninomiya Kazunari
(Arashi)
10
Akanishi Jin
(KAT-TUN)

I’d explain the rankings, but it seems kind of self-explanatory by now.

On a final note, a request to interested readers: if you have any better photos of any Johnny’s boys / men for this ranker, I’d appreciate it. Mostly I took what I found from the DramaWiki at D-Addicts – it’s kind of weird that I knew that’d be the easiest resource for pictures of most all of them. That said, I’m sure there’s better photos out there somewhere. And if you could get me those photos in the proper 150-pixel width by 200-pixel height, that’d make it a whole lot easier to handle. Maybe just post them up in comments and I can take it from there.

Oh, and I’d also appreciate it if somebody could tell me if I mixed up Golf for Mike or Mike for Golf. It’s like trying to tell apart the brothers in Nelson.

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6 Responses to “I Gave In To The Dark Side”
  1. ryoutarou says:

    I loved Yukan Club, too! XD

  2. MyMelody says:

    Yay! ^.^

    It’s official… I like you….

    As a blogger…of course XD

    It all started when you started liking Aika-chan and now you like Nino, Shingo, Nakai-kun and Yoko as well… ^o^ Wow… >o

  3. Pan says:

    Yep, you did mix up Golf and Mike.

  4. Kimitsu says:

    I confess to a fleeting sense of guilt while reading this post.

    Immediately followed by the urge for triumphant laughter and the urge to misuse a Star Wars Force-related quote.

    It’s a lot more useful if you know more names in Johnny’s, but an English Johnny’s ranker has been making the rounds of my LiveJournal friendslist, and I think you might be interested: http://raspberrypi.googlepages.com/JEtest1.html

  5. jim says:

    They make me feel funny. Like when we used to climb the rope in gym class…(only Tomoya…?) Nah, Seo Taiji is the only boy for me. Um…an AKB48 one would be helpful.

  6. KT says:

    Ah, how can Yamapi not be on this list? D: At least you have Bakanishi and Junno. ^^ And that’s a cute picture of Nakai.

    Sorry, some of this was tl;dr because it’s late and I’m exhausted.

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