This is really interesting, both in that it exists and in how it’s approaching its subject. Tokyo Idols is at the Sundance film festival (running through next Sunday!); here’s the trailer:
Folks are obviously going to have their own feelings about this, and they aren’t going to be in agreement. That’s okay.
This is probably one of those times when the trailer presents a fairly accurate version of the final, but, you know, we still haven’t seen the film and will probably only get a chance to when it’s on cable or Netflix or whatever. It’s also not exactly a secret that idol, more or less period, is built on a bunch of pillars, and between the trailer and this interview with the filmmaker, Miyake Kyoko, they all look like they’re covered. An awful lot of those pillars aren’t good things!
I’ll happily pass judgment on the unequivocably bad things in idol (we do it often enough [even when acknowledging that real/unreal is a very fine line]); I’ll leave a lot of the questions up to actual Japanese people (like the filmmaker, fwiw) and actual idols to judge. I’m personally interested in music and how it’s performed (and, like, very rarely the kinds of idols that get featured in these projects).
But you might be interested! Sort of regardless of where you fall on a lot of questions, it’s probably at worst an interesting look behind the curtain; it might help to put some things into perspective for you, too. I’m glad that these critical works exist.