Back Street Girls – Episode 2
Now that the premise for Back Street Girls has been set in episode one, episode two focuses on what the idols’ lives are like and the kind of challenges these yakuza men have to face now that they are living as cute idols. This week episode was also cut into five different short segments that detail a different aspect of their lives as idols or their former lives as yakuza and how those things mesh up or reconcile now.
In the first segment the idols are delivered a bunch of presents from the fans. The cute member ends up getting a bunch of plushies, the leader gets a lot of brand stuff and Mari ends up just getting letters from the fans. They have o turn the gifts into profits themselves, so the ones that got a lot of presents have to make the effort to sell or trade them and later on they complain about the extra work while they drink.
Mari-chan is acting strangely, even to himself, he feels kind of jealous of the other two group members, but he doesn’t know. This creates tension in the room, but it kind of stays there until after they go to sleep. Mari dreams that his two sides talk to each other and he speaks the conversation out loud hilariously making the other members think that he really wants to be a popular idol.
For the second segment they get an assistant who used to be a junior to Chika. Chika seems really popular with the guys, so he’s really glad that this junior still treats him normally as his bro, but as things progress in their interactions it seems to be just a ploy to be able to still be able to stick around Chika. After they’re drinking together for a while the guy ends up stripping and he’s wearing underwear with Chika’s face on them, which is undoubtedly inappropriate and funny at the same time since it’s the kind of creepy fan behavior the show is trying to poke fun at.
In the third segment the idols go to a radio show where they have to do an interview, but it turns out their air time is shared with another group who they have have to see as rivals. This part was the most boring to me in this episode in terms of what was going on, but it’s quite significant in the terms of what I think this comedy is trying to do which in this case would be showcase how trends are changing rapidly in idol culture, how different subcultures know little about each other and how big both gender and generational gaps are in Japan as these men were using idol behaviors that were considered outdated and they couldn’t imagine what kind of thing they had to do in order to be trendy.
The gender gap also seeps into the next segment when their manager tells them that they should act more like a family and communicate more as girls so their bond will be admired by the fans. This kind of behavior managing is something very pervasive in idol culture and the fans know it’s there, a lot of time it’s fake, but I suppose we all like to believe otherwise! Either way, these men have no idea how women communicate with each other and their own roles as marginalized members of society as former yakuza probably didn’t put them in touch with regular women a lot, so they really have no idea. They end up being pampered by this girl who I assume was a stylist and they learned a bit more about female to female skinship, but once they were back on their own, they were lost again.
The last segment was pretty touching and eye-opening. It was a story about the leader and his past. He had a very troubled childhood in a loveless home that turned him into the hooligan who would join the yakuza later on. He seems to have this very negative view of men as a whole and of himself as someone who can only hurt people even though it’s not something he enjoys doing. It was very sad to think about the cycle of that kind of life since it can end up producing more offspring that will continue to live as hooligans, but although he’s still yakuza, as an idol he feels he can feel the warmth of family and he’s glad he doesn’t have to hurt people anymore.
Overall I still very much enjoyed the stories and found them funny, the static animation really is the biggest downside as it’s very obvious they reuse a lot of stills and the show isn’t interesting to look at. Many people have mentioned that with a show like that you might as well read the manga and maybe they have a point, but I think I’ll continue watching until it either ends or I don’t find it funny anymore.
Regrettably I won’t continue blogging about it. Not because I don’t enjoy the show, but because I don’t think that writing about pure comedy shows is that interesting. I said I would give it one more episode to decide and now I have, goodbye Back Street Girls.