Sunday, August 9, 2015

Arashi x Pazudora - Fantastical Worlds

Whenever I hear of a new company engaging Arashi as endorsers of their products, my eyes go bright, and a brief dopamine surge kicks off in my brain as the anticipation buds. Over the years (and I've done a couple of posts on Arashi CMs here and here), the fab five have acted as endorsers for various products, from cars to potato chips (and even diapers, in MatsuJun's case), and even though I don't have the opportunity (or necessity, really) to purchase many of the things they endorse, I still hang on to every frame of their CMs because 1) they're beautiful; 2) they're action-packed; 3) they're humorous; and 4) they always have a happy ending. It's the plastic world of commercials, after all.

I've found that different companies tend to make use of Arashi's image in different ways. For example, Kirin likes to play the OT5 card a lot (perhaps, they feel the completeness of Arashi most keenly, since they were a company who didn't start out with all five members in their initial contract, and had to acquire Nino and Sho after the other three). Kirin's CM's also tend to be light and jovial, which is undoubtedly meant to evoke the frothy, fizzy feel of their beer. Nissan, on the other hand, tended more towards making Arashi look sleek and modern, which of course fit perfectly with the intended image of their sleek and modern cars. In contrast to most others, JAL likes to hover closer to reality, collaborating with Ohno on a jet design and often referencing Arashi's real-life duties as idols in their CM scripts. Hitachi, the other big corporation with all five under its name, places the heaviest emphasis on comedic elements and often casts Arashi in various domestic vignettes to showcase that.

Starting a couple of years ago (2013? 2014?), a new player signed on to deck itself out in the five-colored rainbow, and this was Gungho, the company that developed the popular smartphone game "Puzzles and Dragons" or "Pazudora" for short.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Rambling Review on News Zero Culture Spinoff (2015.07.30), featuring Ohno, Sho and Shige

In a relatively low-key, 20 minute program at the end of this July, News Zero gathered three ""unconventional" Johnny's idols for a laid-back heart-to-heart on why they chose to take professional detours from the traditional idol path of singing, dancing, variety shows and acting. The three idols were Ohno Satoshi of Arashi (for his art activities), Sakurai Sho of Arashi (for his role as a newscaster), and Kato Shigeaki of NEWS (for his work as a writer of fiction).

Now, I've admired all three of them for pushing the boundaries of idolhood (though I'll admit I didn't know much else about Shige as a person other than the fact that he liked to fish with Ohno), so I was naturally excited when I heard the announcement of this program. It just seemed like such a long overdue topic, and I feel like it's been quite a while since people were under the impression that idols (or at least, Johnny's idols) had to be strictly confined to the "conventional" idol activities, most of which are aimed at showcasing their physical appeal (whether that be the kawaii or kakkoii factor). I mean, sure, idoldom is still largely considered a field of shallow pleasures, but who really believes that an idol can have lasting appeal based solely on face value and a plastic public persona these days?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Arashi Choreography - The Beloved, the Beautiful, the Breathtaking and the Just Plain Silly

Arashi performances are a wonder to behold, whether they're done live in a stadium full of hopping people or in a studio stage with no one but the staff and cameras. So much heart, so much effort goes into an Arashi performance, but of course, what it always boils down to in the end are two things: the song. And the dance.

And boy, do they dance. Over the years, these five boys-turned-men have tried their hands (and perky little butts!) at a broad sampling of dancing styles, from Latin to hip hop, from jazz ballet to straight up breakdance. Go through a string of Arashi performances, and you'll find moves that are contemporary, disco, funk, acrobatic, with a creative sprinkling of experimentation in aerials and traditional Japanese dance. And sometimes, when the day is done and the boys just want to relax, you'll even see the very Arashified version of the "move your body and look dorkily silly" school of dance.  

So here, I've endeavored to list some of my personal favorite Arashi dance moves. I tried to choose from a variety of styles, just to showcase how versatile our fab five are! Please enjoy a wonderful gif-filled Arashi dance selection!

*Warning: Very very gif-heavy!