December 03, 2007

total eclipse of the heart

IMPORTANT: Sue, Sleepingtensai, and Quin, please check this entry a little after midnight GMT+1.

[note: Took down the eclipse header (see 2 entries back). The eclipse has passed and the SUN is shining somewhere in Tokyo... and will continue shining in this blog. ^_^]

Yesterday afternoon, when I read on a Japanese blog that the Ya-Ya-yah info had been deleted from J-web, and that Taiyô was not featured on the January magazines while Shoon was, I felt as if a very heavy door had suddenly closed, leaving me in the bleakest darkness.

There has never been a JE official announcement of a group disbandment or of a johnny quitting, as far as I know. There have only been official statements and announcements on "shameful"/obscure occasions, like Uchi's and Kusano's suspension, NEWS hiatus, Jin's hiatus, or the more recent Akiyama scandal. When a johnny quits the usual excuse of "focusing on his studies" pops up a little later, but in the case of Ya-Ya-yah's disbandment and Taiyô's quitting, I'm afraid this is the closest thing to an official announcement we'll ever get.

Many people have said they saw this coming. Taiyô quitting, I mean. I'd been worried it might happen, but I was so much in denial, clinging to a desperate hope it just couldn't happen, that it's been a very hard blow for me. Especially as it has crushed the wild hope I had of Ya-Ya-yah rejoining some time in the future. With Taiyô out of JE it will take a miracle for that to happen.

I never thought I'd feel this bad, and much less that I'd cry for Taiyô, because I love him very much but he's not Shoon, but yesterday I found myself crying a little when I read that, and felt awfully sad all day. I don't even want to imagine what it would be like if Shoon quitted. I know it's selfish, but I'm so thankful Shoon has decided to stay. ;__; 諦めないで下さい、翔央くん。 約束してくれます?[Please don't give up, Shoon. Promise me?]

When I read the "news" my first thought was "Damn you, JE". I'll go back to this in a bit, but I don't think JE has decided to keep Shoon and kick out Taiyô. I don't think JE has made Taiyô quit either. We can't know for sure, of course, but I believe this must have been Taiyô's own decision.

Judging from Shoon's current situation, it's more than obvious that there was no "plan B" for him and Taiyô when JE came up with the HSJ idea. Taiyô and Shoon were probably offered little more than a "we'll see what we can do for you" when they were informed of the imminent disbanment of their group.

Taiyô must have had his reasons to quit, and I admire and respect him for his decision as much as I admire and respect Shoon for his. It takes a lot of courage to give up something that's been your life for over 6 years, perhaps even more than it takes to stay and fight, not knowing if you'll get anything out of it.

No, I'm not going to blame JE for Taiyô's decision to quit because it was his decision, but it can't be denied that if Taiyô had to make any decision in the first place, it was because Ya-Ya-yah was disbanded. If Ya-Ya-yah hadn't disbanded, I doubt he would have quitted any time soon. Why would he want to quit? Things were finally looking up for him. He was getting more attention, he was gaining confidence and he liked his job. Besides, he's had more than enough reasons to quit in the past, like Shoon has, and neither of them quitted.

Perhaps he felt there would be few chances for him outside Ya-Ya-yah. Perhaps the reason he didn't quit before was his own group. Perhaps he just got tired of JE's fickleness or he decided all the fight he'd have to put in if he stayed was not worth it. We'll never know.

I wonder what he'll do now. What saddens me the most is the thought that we might hear no more of him. I don't remember his ever having mentioned what he'd like to do in the future, if he had a "plan B" of his own if this showbiz thing didn't work. I guess he hasn't worried much about that until now because he's very young. He has a whole life to live, and I hope he'll enjoy it and be happy above all else. The selfish side of me wants him to try another talent agency and become an actor so we'll keep on seeing him, but that's his decision too, and getting opportunities is not an easy thing either.

ご幸運を祈ります、太陽くん! すてきな思い出ありがとうございました。あなたはいつも私の心の中に特別な場所を持っている。このブログにも。 [Good luck, Taiyô! Thanks for the great memories. You'll always have a special place in my heart. And in this blog too.]


翔クラ: fight to survive!

(翔クラ is "Shokura" for Japanese Shoon fans)

I'll make a proper post about yesterday's SC tomorrow if possible, but I wanted to make a short comment on Shoon's situation, prompted by an anonymous comment somebody left yesterday (hi and thanks! ^_^ - this is my reply for you) and things I've read on other blogs and LJs. I am delighted as you may imagine that in the last SCs Shoon has been placed at the center of the stage. In the pre-HSJ times Taiyô and him almost always stood at the opposite ends of the stage during the closing song, for instance, which always maddened me. However, that doesn't mean he's getting more camera time nor more attention than he got with Ya-Ya-yah before the HSJ debut. Firstly, how much camera time is he getting in total when he appears like 2 minutes in the theme medley, and then the 4 or 5 minutes the closing song lasts? That makes a grand total of... like 7 minutes of camera time at the most. Yay... not. =/

Just to be fair, and to show that I don't think everything JE does is evil, given the circumstances and with the exception of what he had to go through during the Wanna performance on the last SC, they're giving Shoon a decent treatment, which is the least they can do after what they've done to him.

For me it's a sign of good will that they're trying as hard as possible to make place for him in the medleys. For now that's enough for me. I know we're going through a transition period. But if they have some plan for Shoon other than for him to remain a high-rank junior who appears randomly now and then on stage, they'll need to give him more screen time. Next Sunday they're moving a step forward: he'll appear in the Junior League again -with Yabu and Hikaru there too!!! That's an important step to bring things back to a much needed "normalcy" -as normal as things can be after you-know-what, anyway.

About him being placed at the center of the stage... This is Shoon we're talking about. He was one of the members of the leading junior group. It would have been really mean -and an aggravation- if they had thrown him with the backdancers, seriously. Plus it would have been a waste, and I think JE considers Shoon an asset. In my opinion they don't value him for what he's worth, but that's another matter.

So if Shoon appears at the center of the stage, it's mostly just because he is the leading junior now that Yabu and Hikaru have debuted and Taiyô has quitted. If you notice, this happens when HSJ is not on stage. On the last SC, in Wanna, Shoon was not at the center of the stage, because HSJ have a higher rank than him and the other juniors. It's also a question of stage symmetry. JE is a bit obsessed with stage symmetry: the alternation of colours, heights, ranks... What I mean is that if you notice the stage order of the boys in Zukkoke otoko michi for instance on yesterday's SC, there's an alternation of members of Hasshi's nameless group, juniors, and Shoon in the middle. It's like... if you have 2 oranges, 2 pears, and 1 peach, imagining the oranges are not as important as the pears, this is the way JE would arrange them on the stage from left to right: orange+pear+peach+pear+orange. It would never be: peach+orange+pear+pear+orange, or any other combination.

Anyway, what I mean to say is that, yes, they're giving Shoon a decent treatment, and for now it's okay, but soon they'll need to find a place for him in a group, or let him remain groupless and start getting more attention starring in theatre plays or dramas, like Tôshin Yoshikazu and Ikuta Toma. I don't think they'll have him join ABC, KMF2, or Question. They're all very much consolidated groups right now, and it would be too odd. Also, if that was the idea, I think he would have performed with one of them already, like Tôshin did with ABC for some time. He was never an official member of ABC though. They were almost always announced as "Yoshikazu Tôshin and ABC". The fact that he's been performing with Hasshi's nameless group might mean JE is thinking of including Shoon in that group (I doubt it, though) or make it be something like Tôshin&ABC.

That would be fine with me. He needs to get more screen time than just a few minutes at the beginning and end of SC if he wants to get somewhere.

Seeing the pains he's taking to make the most of every single second of the little screen time they're giving him -he's smiling and winking more than he ever has- makes me both proud and a little anxious. Proud because he's giving his all, and anxious because it shows what a hard fight it is to survive in the showbiz.

PS: I'm trying to reply to all the un-answered comments from previous entries. Please bear with me. m(_ _)m