26 March 2014

Fan Status 2014: SMAP

It is hard to ignore SMAP if you consume Japanese media like TV shows. Especially if you follow the shows that feature the other groups in the Iijima Michi faction.

My fan following for SMAP really has not changed much in the past few years. I tend to enjoy what I watch of them but they are usually not the reason for watching what I am. Like with dramas it is usually because I am interested in one of the other cast members of it. Especially if that cast member is from Kis-My-Ft2. In fact because I am a fan of Kisumai I have gotten to see SMAP more and can officially say that I have a favorite member of the group, Nakai Masahiro.

I do hope Nakai continues to work with Kisumai for some time. I really feel this is a good mentor-mentoree relationship, as he gets to do side projects, like Busaiku, and of course he just has so much experience that Kisumai can learn from. And I think coming from a group that did push some members much more than others Nakai understands what Kisumai need to do to get to the same point as SMAP, with the level of popularity spread more evenly with everyone, which is something I believe Kisumai wants. And it is something that will probably help the group sustain themselves over the years if they are not stuck having to rely on the same three members all the time to get work.

Outside of that connection though I do enjoy watching him act and host programs. Nakai is a great host that works well with guests so they are not overshadowed by making sure they are engaged. Whether that means teasing them about something or engaging in conversation with them instead of just asking questions. And I do like that he has no issue with being honest about his lack of singing and dancing talent. Especially since he seems to still try his best in performances from what I have seen.

Other than that though one thing I do have to concede to the group is that they know how to pick songs. While I do not get the vast majority of their releases their single collections and best of albums have become a must, and I am quite happy to have picked up VEST and SMAP AID, as both, especially the latter, get a good amount of play with some of the tracks included. And since they do not release single collections or best of albums all that often I feel safe that they will not be straining my wallet anytime soon.

I guess at best I can consider myself a casual SMAP fan. I do not follow them closely but I do enjoy the group and will not turn down a chance to give a song a listen, watch a program or movie and while the chance may never present itself would never turn down the chance to see them live.

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