You know why I wanted to get this book?
Because it said “book.” And because it says “book,” that means there’s a lot of stuff to read.
And because I suck at reading Japanese and need to improve, well, here’s a nice book for me to page through.
Of course it’s not a regular book by any means. In fact, you know what it feels like? A year book. Except there’s only 60-something people, so they can go in-depth with each
student member. And they have a word from the principal and supernintendo Chalmers Akimoto Yasushi and the theater manager Kaneko Tsuyoshi. And there’s a little photo history in the back of all the stuff they accomplished to date, off-shot pictures of them having fun, a few pages of “secrets of other members.”
Totally feels like a yearbook.
The photos, thankfully, are not really the slutty type that Japan loves with those shots where it looks tasteful but then you look closer and “Surprise! Cleavage!” or something like that, but for the most part it’s just them looking normal and smiling. I think Yuppi has the only one of those.
If I have time I’ll try and translate the top 3 member interviews.
Each member from Team N and Team M gets a full two page spread and includes their self-introduction, answers to some basic yearbook questions like “What do you aspire to be in the future?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” They also include a little story about them that’s a bit related to how they came to join the group and the trials they had to endure. Some of it is awkward in the way where it only makes sense in Japanese–like Maachun saying “Let’s sweat together.” Maybe you can go do that with Oba Mina.
But like I wrote, each Team M member gets a full two page spread… which is great, because for us non-Osaka, non-Japanese fans we actually get to learn more about members not named Keila, Fuuko, and Jou. In the hour that I flipped through it, I was surprised by a couple things. Young-looking girls being older than they look, adult-looking girls being younger than they look was the main thing. Especially Tanigawa Airi, she looks so old but she’s not. Her hair might rival Haruna’s. Also ShimaRena looks tiny. I’ve always wondered how tall they actually are, given that I seem like a monster in Japan at 5’9″ and most Japanese people on TV are pretty short.
There’s a contest for some autographed stuff in the back, send a postcard with some random info and they’ll enter you in a drawing. I’ll post the details later; would be nice to have the foreign fanbase win something, though I doubt they’ll make it as so. There’s 6 possible items to apply for and you can choose 1; normally I’d be drawn to something from the Top 3, but a make up mirror and a penlight seem rather lame. Maachun’s is a signed shirt which looks more baller. I know which one I want.
(Speaking of Maachun, I really don’t like her nickname. Probably because it reminds me of Machop. Maybe Maachun will evolve into Maachump.)
I think one of the saddest pictures I saw in the book was in the back where they were covering the 3rd senbatsu election, and there’s a picture of Milky crying while holding her sign because she didn’t get in. It’s easy to understand not getting in; NMB didn’t have a single yet and had little TV exposure, although Milky did appear in Everyday Kachuusha thought she was thrown in the back and you really had to look for her. But you put yourself in her shoes and you imagine what it’s like being the #2 of NMB, not hearing your name called, and being that kind of people-person? Dang. As far as photos go, it’s pretty powerful… just not in the happy way.
If you’re enchanted by idol groups for the personality and if you can read Japanese, it’s definitely a good buy. I’m not into the photos that much so that’s up to you, but the photo history is pretty interesting and you can see how quickly they’ve matured and grown into their roles in only a year.
There’s also stickers and a poster. Maybe if I was 12 I’d like those things. Then I would put a sticker on my Trapper Keeper and draw a giant heart around my name and the sticker. The poster looks like the cover of the book, but in poster form, lol.