I wanted to start off by saying, this probably won’t be a formal and/or organized post (lol). This really is another one of my random write-ups, and due to some interesting things that have happened to me this past year or so, it made me want to just type down my raw thoughts about it.
That said, and I’ve mentioned this multiple times in the past: when it came to seiyuu/idol/multimedia franchises, I’ve always primarily been a fan of the Love Live series. From 2017 to around the beginning of 2021, I strictly focused my interest on this franchise, whether it be the characters, music, anime, games, other online content and especially the voice actresses. The best explanation of why I never really ventured out towards other, popular groups or franchises is that there was enough content and enjoyment that could be had within this massive series, to the point where I didn’t really have much interest in BanG Dream, D4DJ, Revue Starlight or any of those fandoms. I’ve seen other Love Live fans go that rabbit hole, and while I’m not a psycho and had any sort of thought that they were doing anything wrong, I felt that staying with LL was the most comfortable for me.
…until 2021 came around. After deciding to try out a new, up-and-coming multimedia project called Idoly Pride (which I talk about heavily in a separate post), it widened my interest in seiyuu/idols and essentially broke open the doors to other otaku-based series like the aforementioned Bandori and D4DJ, as well as stuff like Selection Project and Shine Post. I started following groups that I never really got into before like TrySail, Pyxis and Run Girls, Run. And heck, it even helped me genuinely look into idol units that have little to no relation to my usual medium of anime, such as TEAM SHACHI, BATTEN GIRLS, =LOVE, i’mew, rirunede, etc.
The most recent group that I’ve been hooked on, and this was pretty recent (like three weeks ago lol), is DIALOGUE+. This eight person voice actress-idol unit was formed back in 2019 under the music label Pony Canyon, and consists of a rookie seiyuu-filled lineup in Uchiyama Yurina, Hieda Nene, Moriya Kyoka, Ogata Yuna, Takamura Ayaka, Miyahara Satsuki, Iizuka Mayu and Murakami Manatsu. The group debuted in the same year with the release of their first single, “Hajimete no Kakumei”, which was also used as the opening theme for the anime TV series Choujin Koukousei-tachi wa Isekai demo Yoyuu de Ikinuku you desu!. Since then, the group has released a number of singles, EPs, a studio album, and have done multiple live performances. Their presence within anime was still known to many, as they also provided the opening themes to shows like Hige wo Soru. Soshite Joshikousei wo Hirou and Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun.
Everyone in DIALOGUE+ are also a part of the CUE! series, a project that follows a fictional group of aspiring voice actors, where all of them portray eight out of the sixteen featured characters. CUE! had their own anime series back in January of 2022, and even had a mobile game in development but was unfortunately discontinued.
My experiences with DIALOGUE+, similarly to any other seiyuu/idol group that I genuinely get interested in, have been really great. Now prior to the beginning of October, I only knew a small bit about DIALOGUE+; I watched and enjoyed CUE! a lot, and I’ve seen a couple of the members be featured in other anime like Murakami Manatsu voicing Akebi Komichi in Akebi-chan no Sailor-fuku and Moriya Kyoka in the dreadful show that is Ochikobore Fruit Tart. But despite that, it did not take long for me to be familiar with and learn who everyone is, and that’s primarily thanks to the fact that a lot of the group’s videos on their YouTube channel have full and official English translations (which is great because it means that no fans have to risk being DMCA’d!). So just being able to digest those videos in their entirety, as well as their vast and enjoyable discography of music, has been an actual blast. Listening to their bops like “Jinsei Easy?”, “Natsu no Hanabi to Kimi to Ao” and “Aigatte♡Rante”, or watching their shenanigans where they have fun at an amusement park or even create an entire movie trailer with only two random themes… not only has it made them look like a solid idol group but it also really shows that they’re close, tight-knit group of friends.
So you may be wondering: “Al, what’s this point of this whole post, other than showing me a very talented and lovable idol group that I will definitely look into later?”. Well, as I alluded to earlier, me suddenly getting into DIALOGUE+ has been a bit of a continuation of how I’ve been operating as a fan of this medium. And honestly, it has even made me think negatively about my actions.
For the past few months, I noticed some sort of on-going cycle where I become interested in one thing/series/group, have fun with it for a bit, then become interested in another thing, get heavily invested in that, rinse and repeat. Now before you compare me to the Toy Story “I don’t want to play with you anymore” meme, let me say that that is not what I’m doing… for the most part. Even when I ‘move on’ to other stuff, I don’t just completely disregard the stuff I enjoyed prior to my shift in interests. I have too much pride as a fan to do that.
But despite me keeping myself in check with these seiyuu/idol-related ‘ethics’, a part of me still does feel bad about leaving behind a group or franchise that I was super interested in. Something about moving on so easily and quickly just doesn’t feel… right. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Following Multiple Groups and its Negative Impact
If you couldn’t already tell, I am a ginormous seiyuu fan. I literally take in that kind of content every single day, and even after five-and-a-half whole years of doing this, I never get bored of it. Especially within these past couple years since I’ve gotten the chance to learn about more and more talented people in this industry, rather than just sticking with the same idols from the Love Live series. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but it really does widen my range as a seiyuu/idol fan since a lot of these people deserve way more recognition than they currently get (especially with rookie/newcomer seiyuu).
But the problem here is that once I move on to another thing within the otakusphere, my interest in certain seiyuu isn’t as prominent as before. Which, as someone who’s an overthinker regarding a handful of the actions I do, I can’t help but to feel bad about not following those seiyuu more often. While I am pretty damn loyal to a handful of seiyuu, such as being a strong Kubota Miyu oshi for the past four years, my sense of devotion towards particular people has certainly changed. There are exceptions such as some voice actresses not being very active in general (which, beyond a personal level, is super unfortunate) but I truly do try my best to keep up with everyone that I consider myself a fan of. Specifically with groups that I haven’t followed a lot as of late such as Aqours or Run Girls Run, I still check in with Shuka or Aikyan or Hayashi Coco from time to time (Twitter makes that super easy to do).
2) Questioning My Sanity
I don’t mean to sound serious with this reasoning but lately I’ve been having… interesting thoughts about my time as a seiyuu/idol fan (lol).
It’s mainly me thinking about whether or not this is all just me wasting time. Trying to keep up with what everyone’s doing, watching their content on social media, remembering birthdays, listening to whatever music they’re featured in… it does take up a large amount of my days, when at the same time, I could be doing something a bit more productive.
But honestly, this one can be easily retorted because I am a strong believer in people liking whatever the hell they want (as long as it’s not harming anyone or unethical, of course lol), and as long as it makes them happy and they can maintain a balance between hobbies and real life responsibilities, then that’s what’s most important. Seiyuu and idols do put me in a great mood whenever I watch them goof around or listen to their music, and at times have been a way for me to escape the struggles of real life, so it’s not all that bad. I’m incredibly grateful to them and what they provide, and I’m glad to be a fan of all of these wonderful people.
But not gonna lie, I can’t help but to have these sorts of thoughts at times lol
As I mentioned earlier, there are some exceptions. For example, Prima Porta (a seiyuu-idol unit formed back in 2019) is pretty much MIA, most likely because all four of them are pretty busy with their own individual careers at the moment (which is great!). And because those groups aren’t as active or active at all, it definitely opens up the opportunity to look into other ones, even if you’re like me and already have a few dozen in your idol fan heart.
I think it’s especially interesting because from what I’ve seen within Korean pop fans, they are really loyal to one or two groups. I don’t believe there are a ton of people who stan multiple units, and I think that’s apparent from all the… arguments and scuffles I’ve seen on Twitter. So it is intriguing, and almost questionable on my part, to see the importance of sticking by one group rather than getting a taste of everything like you’re at a buffet.
So yeah, I think that’s all I wanted to say. As much as I have these thoughts going through my mind, again, I think it’s important to do whatever makes you happy. And looking into all of these voice actors and idol groups genuinely does bring me joy, and I’m always thrilled to learn about more talents. Whether it’s Lyrical Lily in the D4DJ franchise, Stardust Promotion’s BATTEN GIRLS, or the super lovable DIALOGUE+ team… the seiyuu/idol phenomenon really is endless and full of variety, and I’m sure if you were deep into this part of Japanese entertainment culture, you’d also find yourself picking out a few groups or seiyuu to follow.
Thank you for reading! To end off this lengthy and strange post, allow me to show you one of my favorite DIALOGUE+ songs, “Private”, which has a unbelievably sweet music video that no amount of consumed candy can compare to. Hope everyone has a great Halloween, by the way!
oh yeah, also: i’m definitely a full-on Yakan (Takamura Ayaka) oshi. i love her 😭
2 replies on “DIALOGUE+ and Being a Fan of Seiyuu/Idols — Is There Such Thing as Liking Too Many?”
Missed the opportunity for a “Hitori Dake Nante Erabenai Yo” joke (XD)
Something I had to come to terms with back when Niji started getting into full swing was the realization that I just couldn’t feasibly keep up with two concurrent LL! groups, at least on the same level as I used to back when I was only following Aqours. Before when it was only just Aqours I would consume any and all content that was available, which meant catching all the live performances, all the streams, the radio programs, drama CD tracks, interviews etc. I mean, I even dabbled in the fan TL scene for a good minute (XD) With the same kind of content being essentially doubled once Niji came around though, it in turn just made it twice as hard to catch everything without making compromises and/or sacrificing other stuff altogether just so I can keep up (ie watching digests rom Japanese reuploaders instead of whole streams, watching things in 2x speed , playing stuff in the background while I did something else to make the most out of my free time). This proved not to be sustainable though and ultimately (and once Liella entered the mix) I relegated myself to just cherrypicking the LL! content that I personally wanted to watch versus trying to catch available content that I wasn’t necessarily curious about. I do think this is the reality that even more diehard “Livers” will face (if not something they’re already facing) with Liella now starting to ramp up their activities, as even just catching all the live shows of the three groups we have now is virtually impossible even for someone living in Japan. I’d even go so far as to say that Love Live! as a franchise expects its fans to pick and choose which groups they want to follow given the sudden influx of talent all active under their banner (I mean, they recently started introducing the musical cast, and now we have the virtual idols coming soon too), but I digress.
Like you, I too think that there’s nothing wrong with people trying to keep up with multiple idol groups (whether LL! or otherwise), especially if that’s what genuinely makes them happy. Tbh I even feel envious at times when people are able to catch everything and I’m just left with FOMO learning about things belatedly, LOL. The important thing is striking a balance between doing things for fun and one’s own responsibilities as you said, with the latter encompassing both the responsibilities we have towards ourselves (ie bettering ourselves, our health) as well as to the people we share a responsibility with and/or are responsible for. Of course, it’s an inevitability that we’ll get more responsibilities shoved our way the older we get so finding that balance just gets harder over time, but finding time to do the things we enjoy is also a responsibility we owe to ourselves (or at least I’d like to believe as much) and as long as we’re not harming ourselves or others with what we choose to do for enjoyment in our spare time, regardless of whether its susbcribing to idol fandom or something else altogether, then that’s all well and good in my book. You do you, as they say.
Re: “I don’t want to play with you anymore”
^ Funnily enough I do get this feel whenever I come across a new band/artist that I end up really liking, but similarly, I really don’t want to just up and forget about a previous favorite either. This is partly the reason why my YT subscription notifications are nigh unusable as a function anymore ’cause I’m literally getting double digit notifs every single day (Haha!)
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Sigh… I’m ashamed of not thinking about that perfect joke 😛
What you mentioned about how the Love Live franchise ‘expects’ people to pick and choose their preferred units is definitely a good point. There was a time a few years ago where I thought I could be a fan of all three groups (especially being someone who started running a fan Instagram page) but as the days went by and tastes change, it’s impossible like you said. Especially if you’re a seiyuu fan since a lot of them have a career beyond Love Live, whether that’s solo music or voice acting; that ‘double’ quickly turns into ‘quadruple’ for some (…I’m certainly one of those fans lol)
I feel like in my case, I’ve always been a Niji fan, period. As much as μ’s and Aqours got me into LL and even the overall culture of seiyuu, I think the fact that I had the lucky opportunity to see Niji debut and see them develop from the very beginning holds a lot more meaning. Because of that, and the fact that I really don’t follow Aqours anymore, your point certainly applies to me, and I’m sure with many others too.
One thing that I didn’t explicitly mention in the post is that change is good. I feel like during this current phase of me getting into so many different groups or franchises, I really did miss out on discovering so much cool stuff within Bandori or D4DJ or DIALOGUE+ or any of the other things I mentioned. Of course Love Live is amazing and I have a ton of fun being in this fandom, but IMO after four straight years of strictly being a LL fan, it can feel a bit stale at times. So not only do you have the chance to discover new talents and content but it also does feel super fresh, compared to what you’ve always been used to. And to add onto you said, it totally applies to musical artists/bands as well.
And yeah, I completely agree with what you said about hobbies/fun being another important responsibility for ourselves. Fortunately (and being on the younger side), I create a good amount of free time to indulge in all this Japanese media and if I didn’t, I’d probably go insane lol.
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