Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Can jdorama/jmovies thrive without idorus and talento?
If you're one of the five people who read this blog, you know how much I despise mainstream shows with the main purpose of being vehicles for idorus and so called talentos. *cough* Gouri *cough*. However, compared to Japan, Australian tv is full of reality tv shows and the only dramas are soap operas like Neighbours and Home and Away. There are hardly any home made Australian dramas. The reason isn't just the difference in population between Japan and Australia, although it probably plays a part.
FACT #1: IDORUS AND TALENTO DRAW RATINGS
If you're in charge of greenlighting tv shows for TV Asahi or TBS or Fuji TV, you'll probably have to convince the higher ups that casting this person who can't act can draw X number of eyeballs to the show and increase entertainment news coverage. Can you go the bosses and say I've got this great script and director and we are going to cast the best no names and we are going to draw ratings based on strong reviews.
FACT #2: GOOD ACTING AND SCRIPT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RATINGS IN JAPAN
The two biggest ratings giants in recent years have been Kaseifu no Mita and Hanzawa Naoki, two shows with horrible acting and crappy scripts and both drew ratings producers will die for.
FACT (More like opinion) #3: AVERAGE JAPANESE DON'T CRITICISE SHOWS/DORAMAS
I've talked to many Japanese about their doramas and movies and most conversations don't go beyond whether something is interesting or not. Seriously, its impossible to have in depth conversation about doramas or movies when in Japan unless the other person is hardcore into movies. Compared to the Western world where we're discussing every detail of Game of Thrones or how Sons of Anarchy and House of Cards suck after season 3.
Lots of people hate Gouriki but apparently she's got a lot of female fans for some reason. This producer says that reviewers don't really criticise movies. If reviewers don't criticise movies, that also means they don't criticise performances of people who can't act like that overpushed Mikasa actress in the Attack on Titan movie. If they don't criticise their own movies, then that means the movies that are actually good.
Long story short, I don't think your average Japanese will appreciate a good jdorama like Suzuki Sensei even if it hit them in the face. Its not just the Japanese audience though. You can also see the indifference to quality with shows that get subbed and the number or people downloading the subs from English speaking jdorama fans.
FACT #4: TV STATIONS NEED THESE IDORUS AND TALENTO OR RATHER THEIR AGENCIES FOR THEIR PROGRAMMING
Johnnys are already responsible for a large chunk of TV entertainment shows like Bistro SMAP and that Arashi game show. You want continued support from Johnnys, you better put more of their people in your doramas. Gouriki can't act for fucks? Don't worry, we'll keep giving her her own show.
There is an episode in the anime Shirobako where all the stakeholders from the tv studio and talent agencies give their stupid input on how to make and cast this anime that it derails from what the creators are trying to do. Talent agencies hold more power than producers and directors.
FACT #5: ROBUST TV INDUSTRY ALLOWS GOOD JDORAMAS/JMOVIES TO BE MADE
Granted the good doramas are mostly from WOWOW and NHK but because your major networks continue to make doramas, everyone has to compete in that field as it is much cheaper to create those so called reality shows that are actually faker than wresting.
A robust industry at least guarantees that there is money flowing into the making of doramas and movies. The good WOWOW and NHK shows like Yami no Bansosha may not have the budget of a Getsu 9 dorama but at least they have one.
A robust industry allows good writers and actors and production people to have jobs, pay their bills, hone their craft and hopefully they'll have a chance to work on a dorama with an actual story and vision.
To answer the question of whether jdoramas/jmovies can thrive without idorus and talento, I would like to think yes but Japanese viewing habits suggest not. If something as great as Lady Joker which is like The Wire of Japanese doramas cannot make a dent in their public consciousness, there is no hope. However, because we continue to have shows featuring people who cannot act and soap opera lighting, we at least can continue to have gems like Arechi no Koi which are unappreciated and unsubbed.