Johnny's Entertainment's boybands has been a huge part of my life for a LONG time. While I did like anime longer, I feel like boybands were much more significant (and make me feel less like a weeb...? since liking jpop has less of a stigma than liking anime as a non-Japanese).
I think I talked about SMAP before, but V6 is arguably one of the fandoms I had a much longer history with.
It breaks me heart to know that they'll be disbanding this coming November... exactly on the day they debuted 26 years ago.
On twitter, I've done a good amount of retweeting V6 stuff already that no one cares about. Haha. And since I have a blog, I thought I might go ahead and you know... spam some more V6. I mean, isn't this why we all have blogs? XD (Or am I doing blogging all wrong?)
No, but really - I want share some of my favourite moments of them just off the top of my head. And things I think about a lot even though I have periods of detachment from them.
Gakkou e Ikou Clapping Games
This was my first ever Japanese variety show experience. Gakkou e Ikou was a family-friendly, school-themed variety. But it wasn't a... "kids show". Its target audience was for older kids - like middle school, but most high school. From what I know, it was actually quite popular in Japan. It had comedic value, idols and most of all - it sort of had some educational value for teens.
The show really tried to make a show with teens... FOR teens.
Whenever the V6 boys weren't running around doing stupid things for comic relief, they ran around Japan doing stupid things that tried to hit on social issues in Japan, interviews/polls, and getting teens to try to engage in their community. Moreover, it gave teens a voice to speak in a nation where speaking up wasn't so encouraged, or desired.
And I think that's what made the show so popular in the beginning.
Of course, I had only realized this thinking back now that I am living in Japan. And I sort of understand the climate of their society a little better. Back then, as a weeb - my takeaway from Gakkou e Ikou was that it was HILARIOUS. And my favourite idols were being dorky.
Here's a snippet of the game:
This game is so iconic that almost every Japanese person will know a version of this game, even if they don't know it's a popular televised game on Gakkou e Ikou in the early 2000s.
Amongst other games, anyway.
Learning About Japan
Or, learning about different parts of Japan as the members ran around trying to get from city A to city B by asking randos on the street "where are you going" - and wherever that person says they're going to, you must go there (either with that person or otherwise). #どこ行くんですかゲーム
It was one of my favourite segments from the show!
One segment that was particularly iconic and really the definition of this variety show, but meaningless for me at the time, was this school rooftop screaming segment. #未成年の主張
2 members of V6 would be dispatched to a school which sent a "request" (fan mail?) into the show, usually by a student or staff member of that school. They're usually dispatched because they want to publicly apologize, thank or confess something to a classmate, teacher or a sibling with the help of (or courage from) V6.
Just like the picture above. The claimant stands up on the roof in front of the student body, and addresses the person he/she from the roof (in his case, his sister - telling her he likes her).
The person he is addressing has a chance to respond from the grounds (to which she replied "shut up" lol). And it usually continues back and forth until the claimant is finished.
It's really suppose to be all very lighthearted fun. You know, television-worthy stuff. But I think in an society where a lot of times, Japanese people are told not to voice their feelings and opinions, this segment can be very empowering for some people. And there are some "confessions" that end up being quite serious and very heartwarming.
There's a bunch of other segments that can be really dissected and analyzed, like its Transgender segments (which has issues of its own, and really does not age well given the current political climate)... but I'm not really up to cover these issues yet for a load of reasons.
Point is, I think Gakkou e Ikou really had a good run.
It's a shame that the stagnant and dry segments never evolved with the times, which basically drove the variety show to the ground. Initially it seemed the show was very purpose-driven to really make YOLO a thing before it was even a thing. But at some point in the latter half of the 2000s, the show runners just... lost sight of it all. Became completely out of touch with the show.
And I really think about this show a lot.
There were just so many good times.
There are so many songs I love from them. Unfortunately, being a Johnny's fan isn't made easier when they are infamous for their media blocks. But recently, AVEX uploaded most of their full music videos on youtube. Which has been super nostalgic.
Here are some of my favourite songs:
I just love all of their upbeat and energetic songs! They used to really give me lots of energy on a bad day, or if I had a fight with my parents.
I hope you will try some of their songs out, and maybe when you're having a bad day, these songs will bring a bit of your energy back.
There are more memories I have of them, of course. But I have an idea I would like to execute - so I will save them when I can get my ideas to come to life. Thanks for... visiting today. I just needed a space to acknowledge my feelings.