Post Reply Locodol (or, Your Homegrown Idols)
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Posted 9/11/14 , edited 9/22/14
by moonhawk81

Locodol is a light-hearted romp of a show about four high school girls acting as local idols to promote their town and its attractions. Two of the girls, Nanako Usami and Yukari Kohinata, perform as the singing duo [the] Nagarekawa Girls, while Yui Mikoze and Mirai Nazukari take turns performing in costume as the town's mascot, Uogokuro-kun. And, believe me, Nagarekawa expects a lot from its idols! Singing, dancing, and spraying wasps only begin to describe their duties.



But first, then, what is an idol? And what distinguishes local idols? The modern concept of the idol in Japanese culture emerged in the 1970s, being applied mainly to teenage actresses and singers. The idea of the idol centered upon cuteness and purity, this last image being the result of carefully vetted biographies, controlled public appearances, and very limited access to idols' private lives. As demonstrated by the case of Momoe Yamaguchi, whose idol career was abruptly ended by her marriage, this supposition of purity was extremely fragile even while proving insurmountable. The 1980s changed things somewhat, in that idols were allowed to communicate more directly with their fan base, thus inspiring more of a personality-based loyalty amongst fans. It is no coincidence that the 1980s are known as the "Golden Age of Idols in Japan." As the 1990s began, however, the popularity of idols began to wane--until the mid-1990s saw a sudden and rather dramatic drop in the age of the girls marketed as idols, often without that earlier insistence upon a strict idea of purity. Groups became larger, and continued to grow in size into the 2000s, which saw the introduction of virtual idols such as Hatsune Miku and Kasane Teto. And so a phenomenon which began by trading upon the isolation and scarcity of its chosen elite now downloads its virtual divas into the personal care of any individual who can electronically access them. Quite the change.

Local idols (also called regional idols or, yes, locodols) are performers recruited to represent a specific locale, often in an attempt to revitalize the area. And such groups are also often responsible for creating a large part of their own material, referencing their sponsors not just in but through their performances. Locodols try hard to win over the local populace, and appear at many community events. They are, in effect, trying to remind the local residents of the unique charms and advantages of their home, even while introducing those things to others from outside the area.

Ehime prefecture's locodol group, Himekyun:


And Locodol's Nagarekawa Girls are some upbeat salespeople! Recruited by the municipality itself, these high school girls suddenly find themselves to be government employees. Yukari was recommended by her grandfather, the town's former mayor, whereas Nanako was brought on board by her uncle, a current city bureaucrat. After a nerve-wracking but ultimately successful debut, the two singers are soon joined by the town's newly conceived mascot, a water spirit named Uogokuro-kun who travels with a giant minnow strapped to its back. (In a pretty astute move, the series opens with a fan-service swimsuit episode. Why wait, right?) And even though the new mascot's popularity immediately outstrips that of the girls, they form an easy and supportive working relationship. All four girls employed by the project attend the same school, and part of the show's charm is watching their schoolmates react to their growing celebrity. That, and trying to guess what their next appearance might entail! Themes of friendship, love, duty, and responsibility color the story but never overwhelm it--this is a show grounded in fun and simple companionship, and is all the more enjoyable because of it.



Locodol began in 2011 as a manga (Futsu no Joshikosei ga Locodol Yattemita) by Kotaro Kosugi, and is carried in Ichijinsha's Manga 4-Koma Palette. The 12-episode anime series was produced by Feel, which also produced Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father! Locodol airs on TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) and is simulcast on Crunchyroll on Thursdays at 2PM Central Standard Time.
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Posted 9/21/14
This season's feel-good slice-of-life anime. A treat to watch.

Also, you really go the extra mile to find unusual article pictures, moonhawk81
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Posted 9/22/14
I love this show! I hope they have like ten seasons of it! <3 <3 <3 <3
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47 / M / Memphis, TN
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Posted 9/23/14

Dai_Loli wrote:

This season's feel-good slice-of-life anime. A treat to watch.

Also, you really go the extra mile to find unusual article pictures, moonhawk81 :P


This show is so much fun that I kinda felt obligated to point out that this is a real thing. . .
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