Getting to knowing a new family: Team Trainee Theater Review 30th March 2013
To be honest, it can be difficult being a supporter for a large idol group such as JKT48.
A couple of Singaporean friends and I had long decided to come over to Jakarta this Easter weekend but it was only later that we found out that there was only 1 theater at this time. So, I flew over the horizon feeling a bit disappointed, sad that I still couldn’t get a chance to see my oshi in team J (ever since the theater opening in FX) or my gen 2 favourites who weren’t in the Saturday shows either.
As I sat at the back of the first show, a new group (mostly) from Team Trainee presented themselves to me through their performance. Besides a few prominent regulars who had made their aura present on team Trainee’s Shonichi like Acha, Vieny, Yuppi and Ayen, generation 2 was really a generation that is hard to get to know. There are so many members! 29! (If I am not wrong) After having invested so much time and energy during the past 6-8 months in getting to know the 20+ team J members, I just couldn’t help but just feel overwhelmed, having to reinvest new energy into getting to know this overflow of personalities during their jikou shokai and MC sessions.
Luckily, the girls help to make it easy. The jikou shokai started off with members introductions and a series of live singing. I cannot go into the full details of what they said, because even I don’t fully understand the Indo languages or even fathom what the girls are trying to do at stage at times (lol). My most memorable memory was that of Della. She stood and sang realllly strong but at one point, at the highest pitch, her voice cracked and everyone broke into laughter. Super anti-climax! She got so embarrassed after that. I had no idea what song it is, but it’s really those kind of diva songs, and a difficult one too. So I think she did well nonetheless. I love live singing, and Della, and most 2nd gen girls can do that pretty well.
The most funny, suberi kyara award goes to Uty. This is a girl who will laugh to herself while in the middle of her MC and whom will make you laugh along because it is so catchy. Or who will decide to sing Oogoe Diamond during an MC and then be so unsure of the lyrics, you can really figure out from the back of the theater that the other MC girls are teaching her to sing the lyrics at the same time. Or who will quip at the audience, “Kenapa ga ketawa?!!” (“Why is there no laughter?”) before you’ll hear a series of forced “HaHaHa…” from the audience. I love Uty! She’s so random and she’s so funnily cute, but not annoying. The “suberi kyara” is really a close representation if you know what that term means in Japanese comedy or in Takamina in AKB48. I think you’ll get to love her too.
Vieny and Rona (Ayen) represents the two greatest forces in team Trainees. I will not elaborate in full detail because I believe every other fan out there will say mostly similar things. Vieny is a dedicated performer. She gives superb fan service in the front, but her strongest point is her vitality…. her “aliveness” when she’s smiling while dancing or while cringing inside during Temo Demo.
Ayen can also be described in a similar praiseworthy manner. My friend from Singapore, a seasoned 48 veteran but a first-timer to the JKT48 theater, was seduced perfectly by Ayen. She looks deeply into your eyes and she makes you feel special when she does that. It makes you yearn for her. I would have been seduced too, but seeing as my friend beside me is the Ayen oshi, when she started looking at me, I just pointed to him, telling without saying, “That’s your fan,” and from that point onwards, all 100% of the glances in our general direction went to him. I felt a little sad Ayen wasn’t looking at me anymore, but man, it was a sacrifice I was willing to make (bro’s before …!) My friend got poisoned. It was so funny, looking at him eagerly writing out his first JKT fan letter after the show.
To me, the member with the greatest impact is Della. I remember saying to her that her performance (Kagami no naka) during the first show is the greatest. But somehow, she managed to turn it to an even better performance during the show 2. Della brings so much life and energy into her role in Kagami. When she punches the air, or does a mid-kick during the dance, you can literally sense the raw power coming out from her. It is not the same as Kinal’s performance mind you, but she brings out this feminine and beautiful but “My wife is a gangster” aura to her role. It is even funnier at the end when she moves on to the MC and then you see this sweet girl talking back at you. What a role change. I’ve been a victim of her eye contact too. It’s….. a fluffy-butterflies-lovely kind of feeling. The level of fan service she gives her fans is just so dedicated and honest, but not overbearingly rude or disruptive. I wonder what Della oshis think about her? I am really so jealous of them for being her oshi.
Formation of team K
At the end of the show, the girls sat around the stage and a video was screened to show the struggles about the trainee girls. It showed the Trainees appeal and determination to better themselves and bring themselves up to the fans expectations. I had to explain to another friend about how the 2nd gen started off their journey with much fan disapproval and criticism. Like fans refusing to give them a high touch at the end of their backup dancer performances. All the critiques they received face to face or in writing. My friend agreed that this was the way forward, that about watching the girls get better is a process in supporting the group. And I am fully behind what he says. It is just…. surprising that the 2nd gen has received so much hate. If you ask me, I believe they got it two or three times worst off in terms of fans treatment as compared to team J.
Dena fainted during the 2nd show MC.
Like literally, plonked to floor, no movement, shock in the audience and the girls just besides her not knowing whether she was making a stunt.
That was about the time Yona (I think!!) and 2 other girls started doing their own huskier, manlier version of Tenshin no loli. It was a really cute MC where the girls were asking how and what other unit songs would they perform if they had a chance. Yona was hilarious! And we were having fun. For a while when Dena fainted though, I thought it was because it was just too make a stage show because of Yona’s funny dance.
But when it became clear that she did not move, a staff hurried up to stage and carried her off away to the backstage. She didn’t return for Boku no Sakura or any songs after that. And that, was seriously frightening. The rest of the girls tried to continue their cherry MCs after that, to try and liven up the mood. Yuppi did her own rendition of sexy, Junjou shogi and that brought everybody’s attention back to stage (because she’s just too good) but I assure you back in the mind’s of everyone was, “How is Dena doing?”
I have been to probably over 50 concerts but this is the first time an idol has fainted right in front of me, and on stage. It’s such a shock to be honest. We hear all the time about members who cannot attend shows because of their health, but when you literally see one of them just fall to the ground, full body and all and then not respond, man, does it not scare you? How would you feel if you were her mom? Or her fan? Or even the staff?
Dena came back during the final bye-bye after the bonus song but she always had to be supported by Ayen (I think). It was scary to see her so frail. She said to the crowd she needed rest and recovery. I believed most of us agreed with her.
I’m just shocked, and worried for the girls. These are teenagers, they are supposed to be in their youth and the last thing you want to see is over exhaustion at such a young age. Come on JOT, what are you doing?!
Putting the shock of Dena’s fainting aside, my other 4 friends were similarly impressed with the gen 2 performances. They had began to like the cool girls like Acha, Noella, Della and Viny. I believe that you can call it a great success when all these idol fans but first-timers to the JKT theater start saying praises about the 2nd gen trainees and about how awesome they are. And they haven’t even seen the rest of team J! Even another local fan-friend of mine who have been to more than 90 theater shows believes that the Saturday Gen 2 night show was the best performance up to now, and that they have made such a miraculous improvement in just 2-3 months. Isn’t that incredible? I just wished I could be present to witness this change as well.
Watching Della was the highlight of my show, and I dedicate this extra-long post to her. She stood like a rock, gave her all and represented what team K was battling against in all their difficulties. I respect her for it.And I love all the girls for it. I mentioned that it was difficult to know all the members earlier in this post, but when dedication, hard work, a resolve to improve, embrace criticism and even give love back in return, stares at you at the background every time you look at the girls perform, I feel that maybe I should do my part as a supporter too and do my best to get to know these girls too.
Just a question though,
If your gen 1 oshi and gen 2 oshi comes right in front of you and asks you, “Between the two of us, who will you choose?”
What would you do?