What image appears in your mind when the word “idol” pops up? Do you envision a glamorous, flashy dressed idol? Or do you imagine a more modest, elegant idol? Or, on the other far more extreme side, do you imagine a disgraced, former idol plagued with rumors of scandals? There is a wide variety of idols in the world of entertainment, and every and each one of them has his or her charm that draws an audience toward to him/her. Now, I am no expert when it comes to the business of entertainment plus I don’t even follow any idols (only merely reading bits of news), but I wonder what if? As you all know, the entertainment industry in real life has been plagued by corruption or scandals, but suppose what if… IF the entertainment business was more honest and straight-forward or to put it more simply, more… “pure”. The iDOLM@STER and Love dol: Lovely Idol! (yes, I actually watched and completed this series…) explores this concept, or rather, present the entertainment industry in a whole different view with very little sign of corruption or scandals, focusing on the idols themselves and their obstacles (there may be other series involving idols which I have most likely not seen, but if so, feel free to point them out as well).
The definition of an idol, as defined by Dictionary.com, is:
- an image or other material object representing a deity to which religious worship is addressed.
- a.) an image of a deity other than God
b.) the deity itself
- any person or thing regarded with blind admiration, adoration, or devotion.
- a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
- a figment of the mind; fantasy.
The first and second definitions are quite interesting, but for now they are irrelevant to my point, it not being about deities and religion (TWWK from Beneath the Tangles would actually probably be better at discussing this rather than me). The third definition is the core main subject that I am talking about, but to be honest, there isn’t really much to talk about it since the definition is given simply and concretely, so I will instead use it as the basis standard for an “idol” which we all know and is familiar with. Now, on the other hand, the fourth and fifth definitions are very intriguing.
4. a mere image or semblance of something, visible but without substance, as a phantom.
5. a figment of the mind; fantasy.
These definitions, in my opinion, would actually describe an “idol” well enough most of the time for me in real life. Idols are showered with adoration and glamour, and yet, it seems to me that most people are, subconsciously, projecting their own hopes and dreams onto those idols, seeing what they, the people, would be like if they achieved their dreams (either that or they are just in it for the idols’ outer appearances or talents). I wonder, sometimes, if the idols really do have their own substances, as the fans do look up to them for adoration and dreams while projecting or pushing their own realities onto those idols; they are images of hopes, dreams, or fantasies to sum it up.
The thirteen idols from The iDOLM@STER are all great characters, well-developed thus far. But, no matter how much we think, they were originally non-existent until they came into being in 2005, when the first game of the franchise came out. Anime, to us, is a vibrant sub-culture centered around the imagination, creativity, and pleasing visuals of 2-D images (or 3-D images as well), born and constantly developed from our minds. After all, where do drawings originate from? No one knows for certain, but it is quite certain that it came from our minds, intending to record thoughts and ideas. I’m getting further away from the point, so let’s backtrack a bit. We all have fantasies, that much is certain. These fantasies manifest themselves in many ways, one of which is anime.
The iDOLM@STER is a very enjoyable series for me, that much I’ll agree with. This series explores thirteen idols’ own dreams and what they all aspire to do. However, there hasn’t been much conflicts with other entertainment stars as the series is focused on the main cast (I don’t think we even see any other idol competitors). This is understandable, as we have so many characters to cover and develop. But, there are rarely any major competition amongst the stars, and the series is portrayed as more honest without mentioning any major conflicts, only minor skirmishes that appears from the idols’ individual personalities. To sum up this series, it would be a very light-hearted drama for the sake of pure enjoyment and adoration.
Love dol: Lovely Idol! is another idol series that aired in 2006, quite a long time ago! I’ll admit that it wasn’t a great watch for me, but this would be a nice example of another “pure” idol series, I daresay. The main characters all have worked extremely hard to earn their debuts looking up to the first and second generations of the idols produced before them. The main character, Sakaki Mizuki, at first, sings for revenge, but eventually comes to love the pure enjoyment of performing together in a group with four other people. Throughout the series, the idols keep working hard to get more exposure, and there is no real drama with the exception of Mizuki’s own circumstances. This series has more light-hearted comedic relief while focusing on the theme of “hard work”.
Both The iDOLM@STER and Love dol: Lovely Idol! exemplifies a different world of entertainment, one that is different from the current, actual world of entertainment fraught with many scandals and die-hard fans. All mention of any possible scandals or crazed fans are removed from the series, making it more pleasing and enjoyable for us, knowing that we do not have to deal with negativity incurred by the antics of obsessed fans (like the fans of a certain teen star…) or the scandals incurred from romantic or sexual affairs with other people (like a certain seiyuu’s sex scandal…). I must say that I am not a hater of idols or that I absolutely adore them. I do love The iDOLM@STER very much, and I did enjoy Love dol: Lovely Idol! (although it was kinda forgettable). These idol series are uncorrupted fantasies that we all can very much take pleasure in. The idols from these series are untainted and do the best that they can, and we are able to take solace in their own purity, flashy glamour, and strong determination.
So what does an idol mean to you both in anime and real life?
- Another series that came to my mind that I considered using was Skip Beat!, which is an entirely different matter. I did not watch the anime, only read the manga, so Skip Beat! is another interesting series to keep in mind…
- If you’re interested in watching Love dol: Lovely Idol!, then I would advise against it unless you don’t mind the series getting more stale and little character development for the cast (except the main character). It’s easily forgettable, except for the parts with music and dancing, obviously.
- Also, sorry about the numerous pictures of The iDOLM@STER, as I was compelled and very tempted to use these pictures that I just discovered while searching for images to go along with this post. Heh.
- I have mixed feelings about this post. On one hand, I thought I did pretty well, but on the other hand, there’s just something nagging at me about the post… And I can’t discern it at all. So, do excuse me if the post didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted (plus I haven’t done an editorial for a long time). ^_^