Well … okay, so it’s mid-February, actually. But yeah, February 1, 2016, was the day I chose to flick the lights on for this ol’ website. I’d been “building it” for several months at that point, collecting assets and planning out a content strategy and the like, and then started writing a backlog of posts in October 2015. I hadn’t quite sussed out how Idol Twitter worked, nor had I found more than a handful of other Westerners to try to connect to, but I had a mission and a fairly decent idea of how to accomplish it.
On that first day, I think I had something like 5 total page views, and they were frankly probably all bots and/or people googling “Kuromiya Rei”. Because I have a background in analytics, I’d hover over the numbers in the early going, checking in at least once per day, trying to measure what did and didn’t work, what people did and didn’t seem to respond to. Not so much because I was trying to have a Popular Idol Blog or anything, but because dammit, I’m actually kind of a professional, and if I was going to do this thing I was going to do it right. There was an objective, after all: LEVERAGE WESTERNERS’ GROWING FASCINATION WITH BABYMETAL TO GET THEM TO LIKE BIS AND STUFF TOO.
I have no idea if that was ever actually successful. Yeah, there are anecdotes from people who are like “I saw a thing on YouTube and liked it and Googled it and I found your website and now I have a Zenkimi tattoo,” but how many are there really. My personal measure of success was always going to be whether a handful of certain acts came to the Americas and/or Europe/West Asian/Africa to perform, and while we’ve been so graced to welcome NECRONOMIDOL and Yukueshirezutsurezure and Oyasumi Hologram and 2& and Yanakoto Sotto Mute and even Chiaki, bless her, to Western shores*, I am shamed to say that not a one of the groups that I originally tagged for U.S. appearances has actually done so yet despite some of them being fairly significant acts not just in Japan but elsewhere in Asia.
So has the project failed? In that regard, it really has! But with five full years under our belts, and really just an absolute ton of development in idol and the fandom and even how casuals connect to it, I think that’s worth talking about a little, no? Continue reading