Those who watched Densha Otoko would have had a taste of the many aspects of "Otaku" - many of which I've been covering - but I missed one important subject - the Japanese Idol. Wikipedia has a good explanation of what an Idol is so read that before continuing.
After watching Densha Otoko, I've always wanted to see one of those Idol events - and after going to one, I can say it was exactly the same as it was in the TV series!
Anyway, the aesthetically agreeable looking Asaki Yoshida just happened to have her 12th DVD launch event last week and I thought I'd pop along to participate in the shenanigans.
Folks outside of Japan may have heard of Asaki from the PSP game Metal Gear Acid - she was one of the cards in the game.
The event took place at Ishimaru Soft2 in Akihabara. I had to first get to the 6th floor where they sold the Idol DVDs. What you see here are signed posters from previous Idol events.
In order to participate, you had to buy Asaki's latest DVD which cost 3,990 yen. This DVD (just like all other Idol DVD's) is about an hours worth of Asaki running around on the beach looking cute, sexy etc etc.
You go up to the counter and ask for her DVD where the shop assistant will ask "How many?" The reason why he asks is because if you buy more than one, you get to have a picture with Asaki. One was enough for me so after handing over my cash, I was given this which I had to hand over to another bloke somewhere else...
I handed that ticket over to some guy standing next to a box which had snakes inside. He asked me to put my hand in and take one. I took one out which looked like this. This is the lottery that you have to go through which decides where you sit - in my case bloody seat 23!
A bunch of Asaki fans queuing up.
This was the event room which was eventually filled with about 50 salivating otaku.
Everybody seemed to be seasoned Idol otaku judging by the way they took off their coats, and the way they whipped out their SLR cameras.
Asaki comes along and some bloke with a mic starts asking her questions about her new DVD, filming location yada yada. After a few mins of chit chat, it was time for photos at which point everybody seemed to break out in a sweat.
There are two photo sessions - the first one is the "normal clothing" and the second bout is "swim wear". The first session was just like Densha Otoko where you cant move from your seat to take a photo - I could hear folks in the back cursing themselves for coming in late (after the lottery had ended).
The reason why this photo has so much space above Asaki is because the people in the front row got in the way and I didnt have my gattling gun to mow them down.
The photos turned out a bit grainy because I had to use an ISO setting of 1600 - tripods were not allowed. Other things which aren't allowed were monopods, phone cameras or video cameras.
Then it was swimwear time which was quite funny as all the boys went "WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" when Asaki came running on. Lads will be lads eh?
This time, each row was allowed to get out of their seats and had 90 seconds to take as many photos as they could before being shot down by a sniper. People looked nervous trembling as they took photos. The person counting down from 90 probably made them feel even worse.
After the swim wear session, Asaki runs off to change back into her normal battle wear and comes back on where its time for a bout of Paper, Scissors and Stone. Winners got given some of Asaki's personal belongings - a cushion, hair brush and some Nintendo figures. Loosers got nothing and started to cry.
Then its chucking out time where you grab all your belongings scattered all over the floor. On your way out, you get to say hello to Asaki personally and shake her hand where she gives you a signed copy of the DVD jacket.
The folks who purchased more than two DVDs get to have their picture taken with Asaki and dance with her on stage.
Some lucky mug who ended up with two copies of Asaki's latest DVD and a picture with her.
I was explicitly told at point blank range *not* to take photos of the folks having their picture taken with Asaki - whoops.
And this is Asaki's latest signed DVD...
So, if you are interested in attending one of these events, all you have to do is keep an eye on Ishimaru's event page or the Asobit event page and get yourself along to the venue on the day. If you are visiting Akihabara, you may just want to pop along as its a very interesting experience. Happy Idol hunting!
BTW, if you want more idol coverage, just say the word...