One of the things about・・・・・・・・・ that’s so much fun is that they make you work for your fandom. Just like a David Lynch film, very little is spoon fed or easily explained, but rather you have to dig deep and figure it out for yourself. This makes each little bit of new information feel like an exciting discovery as you explore the mysterious waters of the・chans.
Previously, we’ve covered some insights into the group based upon studious research and also received some very kind help from wonderful people, both musicians and fans alike. And now, just the other day, the dotstokyo twitter posted an interesting set of links that brought about some new treasured tidbits of conceptual information and highlighted some of the group’s ambitions.
— ・・・・・・・・・運営 (@tokyo_tsukurou) November 12, 2017
Check out the link here and dig deep into the goodness! It’s entirely in Japanese, but thankfully, this particular set of writings seems to auto-translate quite readably, so I think many of you will certainly be able to get something worth it out of this. If you’d like to check out the link and come back to this, that’s not a bad idea, but it’s also okay to continue on…
I loved reading all this, it feels like you’re reading a hybrid of a press-kit, mission statement, and the most esoteric TED Talk you ever got sucked into. What you get in this one handy page is an explanation of Dots as a concept, aspects of the group’s business model and approach to social media, links to some of their videos, a complete listing of their discography so far (Not including the new album due in December.), some rather vague (Naturally!) individual profiles of the members, some pretty profound quotes “People who can love · · · as an abstract figure can love the world as well.”, and some new high-concept technical stuff that I’m still not 100% percent certain I’m grasping, but I know that I love it.
When AKB48 was founded, the initial concept was “Idols you can meet.” With their own dedicated theater and a continuing series of events such and hand-shake meetings, the notion was to bring the idols into a more accessible relationship with their fans. Dots is taking this as a starting point and launching it into a whole new dimension. One of their ultimate higher goals is create new ways for fans to feel connected to these idols. Dig some of this, man:
- Using wristbands worn by the・chans to monitor their heart-rates and transmit them to an app called HeartSync, so that fans may connect to them on a whole new level. (Herman’s Hermit’s had a song called “Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat?”….well now you really can.)*
- Using Bitcoin standards to transmit messages to the・chans in the form of data coded into the transactions. (I’m not too certain I grasped this one, and I can only explain it so much because truthfully I’ve never interacted with Bitcoin at all.)
- A project that I can only explain as transcribing the Dots individual sleep data into a physical 3-D printed sculpture by modeling the slumber patterns into tangible shapes. (If anybody can explain it better, please feel free!)
Okay, sure that sounds all well and good, but beyond some weird technobabble, how does this change the idol industry? There’s more game-changing concepts bearing fruit here, most of which are playful fun, but what’s exciting here is seeing a group and their management really pursue emerging technology in highly unorthodox and entertaining, and yes, educational ways. Other projects include an app that causes your smartphone to vibrate when you enter an area where an idol you follow once visited. You walk into a new restaurant you’ve never tried, and hey, your phone lets you know a dot-chan ate here!
And maybe the wildest idea yet, an experiment that the Dots tested perviously with a “Five Senses Cheki”, where you not only received a cheki, but a QR code attached that took you to a link that allows one to listen to the recorded short conversation they had with their idol, along with unique scents and yes, a “flavor” included as well! (I’m not sure how they did that.) The sensation of touch of course, comes from a handshake while the photo provides the visual stimuli.
Is all of this cool or kind of weird? I guess that depends on you feel, and I’m thinking this was perhaps an underlying level as to why the members anonymity is so guarded.
There’s a lot more to this series of articles that I’ve mentioned here, and I’ll be digging in deeper to process more over the next few days. Take time to read the page and you’ll find a bunch more links to other projects and ideas that the・chans are working on. It’s all simply amazing stuff that really challenges the ideas of not just idols can be, but what all artists can reach for and explore.
With their surprising level of success and the positive acclaim they’ve been receiving, I’m incredibly eager to see to see what next year brings for the・chans. I really think we’re seeing something wonderful unfold here. Something wonderful indeed.
*With all due respect to the author, this is the correct song to cite when it comes to hearbeats: