I guess this makes 2013 the Year of the Idol for me! Of course, there was no idol more worthy of our collective attention and adoration than Turning Girls‘ Kaerun.
Kaerun’s online idol show is one of the funniest and most cringe-inducing episodes of anime this year. Emily wrote thoughtfully on one of the basic themes of Turning Girls, fighting that battle to be who you are and do what you want even as society pushes back and regards you as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode into a grumpy fury of old. I’m nearing that turning point myself, but societal expectations on that front for me aren’t quite that harsh. (But don’t worry: I have plenty of other things going for me to help society at large view me as useless!)
As I reflected on it recently, though, Kaerun’s episode hit me on a different front. Her avenue of self-expression to drive off the dread specter of turning 30 is to become Internet famous. She gets online and streams herself singing from her home to the delight/horror of her presumably massive audience. (Massive because who would ever turn down the opportunity to view such magnificence?) Is there anything in particular about Kaerun that makes her worthy of the attention and adoration of the masses? Well, she had the gumption to get online and sing. That’s about it. She put herself out there; the people responded. Not always well! But Kaerun’s keeping up the dream. As she’s approaching the time where society is all too happy to forget about her, she’s singing her heart out so that people will know she’s there, living with her parents.
Is that really any different than what I do? Or most other people with some ridiculous Internet soapbox? Some people get by with things like “actually possessing knowledge about art and animation” or “having solid, concrete knowledge about Japanese culture gleaned from places other than cartoons.” Bah to them, I say! Is there anything in particular that makes me without a doubt worthy of the meager eyes I get on my ramblings every so often? Uh, well, I watch a lot of cartoons and try to think about them as best I can. I crack a joke sometimes! That’s basically my Internet Personality Resume. One day I decided to write silly things about silly cartoons, because I thought it would be fun. It still is! I’m here because the miracle of the Internet gives me the illusion of a Big, Important Voice, though I somehow remain too self-aware to delude myself into thinking that reach extends very far beyond my fingertips.
But that’s OK! Writing nonsense is a lot of fun, even when I forget obvious things that render half of what I write null and void. (This is roughly the equivalent of Kaerun’s mom busting into her room and ruining the show.) I like to think it is much the same for any other silly keyboard warrior, whether your weapon of choice is a blog, forum, Twitter, Tumblr or some unholy combination thereof. We’re all screaming into the void in the hopes that someone will nod and know. (Or perhaps shout back that our favorite anime is shit.)
I am Kaerun. We are Kaerun. Everyone is Kaerun.
(But we’re not as cute as Kaerun. Most of us.)