A while ago I wrote an article detailing the Franchise Four of the 48 Groups. Since we are still in baseball season, I am still thinking about “Franchise Fours” like crazy. It got me thinking…
Who is on my Franchise Four?
What I mean by this is the four artists or idols that really got you into J-Pop, or have done something special that kept you as a fan almost forever. The possibilities are endless if you’ve been a fan of J-Pop for years now, but if you had to narrow it down to just four individuals, who would it be and why? Let me tell you which four individuals I selected.
I would have never enjoyed J-Pop if it weren’t for these four…
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, Minegishi Minami, Wada Maaya, Rukawa Rina
Let me explain each one in detail.
The reason why I chose Kyary Pamyu Pamyu as the first choice is because she remains the only person out of these three that I have seen perform live. I first heard of Pamyu through the Ebisu Muscats’ variety show way back in 2013. Some of the Muscats were covering her songs during one of the show’s segments, and the song “Tsukema Tsukeru” was covered. Curious, I did a little research on the song and found out that it was by an upcoming artist named Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. From then on, I became hooked. It took a while for me to get used to songs such as “PonPonPon” and “Candy Candy”, but eventually they grew on me and I could not stop playing them.
Then I found out she was coming here. She was going to perform at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Of course, I could not let an opportunity like that slip by, so I bought a ticket, went to the concert 4 hours early, and met a lot of new friends there. I screamed my heart out when I saw her take the stage, and I thought to myself, “I have to do this again!” Lucky for me, she was performing in San Francisco the same year, so I traveled all the way up there to see her once again. While that concert was short (and not worth the 6 hour drives…), I was still rather thankful to watch her perform. The very next year, she came back to perform, and I once again did not let this opportunity slip by.
I’ve seen her perform three times in my life, which is why I have her on my Franchise Four. If she ever comes back, I may get the VIP package to get myself a photo with her. I will admit this: Kyary has been my celebrity crush since 2013…
I’ve already touched on Minegishi Minami and Wada Maaya before, but there’s no harm in reviewing!
I found out about Minegishi Minami because of her scandal. I used to despise AKB48 (as was the case with most Ebisu Muscats fans), but when I found out she shaved her head due to a dating scandal, I got curious. I did a little research on who she was, what she’s done with AKB48, and so on. It did not take too long for me to drop the AKB48 hatred and call her my oshi. Yes, that scandal is what drove me to become a Minegishi Minami fan. She unlocked AKB48 and their sister groups for me, which is the main reason why she is on my Franchise Four.
As for Wada Maaya, her story is a little bit different. When I found out the Ebisu Muscats disbanded in 2013, I had to find a new group to pay attention to. While AKB48 was an option, I saw a bunch of photos on Tumblr of this attractive lady named Shiraishi Mai. Turns out she was on an idol group called Nogizaka46. I grew curious of Nogizaka46 and their determination to be the first “rival group” of AKB48. I also became curious as to who the members were, who was cute, who was worth following, etc. Then this underrated girl at the bottom of the list showed up, and her name was Maaya. Like Minegishi Minami, I did a little research on Wada Maaya to see what kind of idol she was. I found…almost nothing. But to tell you the truth, the reason why I became a fan of Maaya was because she was vastly underrated. She has so much untapped potential as an idol, to the point where I believe she can be as popular as other idols her age, such as Murashige Anna, Komiyama Haruka, and dare I say, Miyawaki Sakura. Wada Maaya is funny, gives good handshakes, has a nice singing voice, and is cute with her short hair. While I know that a lot of idols are like that, in my opinion Maaya does these things better than most idols. This is why she is on my Franchise Four.
The last spot goes to Rukawa Rina, who I’ve written about before. Since the Ebisu Muscats were the first J-Pop group I was ever interested in, I had to pick a favorite. It took a few tries (Asami Yuma, Rio, etc.), but eventually Rukawa Rina caught my eye. The things that I did like about her were that she was cute, she liked anime, and she was close to my age (the rest of the Muscats were 4+ years older than I was). Put all those factors in and thus she became my Ebisu Muscats oshi. She also was an adult video idol, but she was the first idol I called an oshi, so that explains why she is on my Franchise Four.
That just about does it for my Franchise Four selections. These four individuals are the reason why I am a huge fan of J-Pop, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Who is on your Franchise Four?