Blogger Spotlight: Representing the Westside, We’re Namba 1!
With new girl groups popping up all the time it can sometimes be hard to find a good amount of information about them in English. NMB48 falls into this, as even though they have the benefit of being connected to their sister group AKB48 they are not nearly as widely followed as AKB48. Which makes a blog like We’re Namba 1! a true blessing for NMB48 in English language idol fandom.
The blogger, kainzero, brings in a good amount of knowledge and humor into We’re Namba 1! and makes it into must read blog for anyone wanting to learn more about this Kansai based girl group. His focus is on learning Japanese while being entertained and the personalities of the girls and is welcoming for new fans.
For those not familiar with NMB48, or even Japanese idols in general, kainzero has an easy to read introduction of the group as well as a FAQ. He even goes into explaining Osaka/Kansai which is a big part of understanding the group’s appeal with the region having certain characteristics about it that get played up by entertainers from it. His knowledge of Japanese and having visited the country before give a good amount of credence to what he has to say as well.
His Japanese proficiency helps give him access to the girls that other English fans miss because of the language barrier. But as he blogs about what he watches and even shares translations he provides those English language fans a way to get to know about the girls apart from their names and what they look like.
His video reviews, from variety program episodes with the girls to the videos off of the DVDs and even concerts, are a fun read. It is rare to find an English language fan that can do these reviews and actually understand a good deal of what is being said, especially with a dialect like Kansaiben. His writing is a fun read and never dwells on things for longer than needed and when he brings in personal side notes it only helps bring a greater understanding about what he is writing about. His review of the cooking competition on the Junjou U-19 single is a good example of this. (Part 1, Part 2)
Of course there are biases and certain girls get more coverage than others, but kainzero does try to share news and information about some of the lesser known girls as well from time to time. But his blog post about the perfection that is Yamamoto Sayaka does help explain well her appeal to him as well as explain why she does seem to effortlessly stand heads above so many of the other girls of the group.
As a NMB48 fan I am glad We’re Namba 1! exists, as it is probably one of the best sources of NMB48 information in English.