Idol, Burning by Rin Usami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We are such starstuff made of fire, spirit, and dew that we are instantly drawn to stars that sparkle and shine. And what do we call the beautiful star (and young, of course) that sings, dances, and acts even? If we call it a singer, it is also an idol. Akari calls it Masaki, puts him in the constellation of super idols and worships him like an Apollo to whom she gives meaning to her life as if he were her lighthouse on the dark ocean. He is her God, the Idol, and the Guiding Light of her lonely life. Then what?
Masaki is a member of a boy band called Mama Maza, which feeds on the cult devotion reminiscent of Dionysus accompanying the Maenads sans frenzied ritual of animal-human ripping of fleshes. Akari is something of the high priestess of the cult, running fan blogs filled with tributes to the exalted, glorified awesomeness of her Idol. Her life is centered on, evolved around the solar system of Masaki, and everything she is about, all the things she does about, is because of him. So imagine what is it like when her God becomes mortal full of human frailty, fallen from the constellation of the stars? An emotional vacuum is soon filled in her heart, leaving her lost in the direction of life, wandering about, wondering about the sense of purpose in life ahead. Her sense of void in life with the declination of Masaki from stardom illustrates the existential dilemma that struggles to find a new objective in her life in which the meaning of life depends on achieving the goals in daily tasks, which were to follow any updates on her figure of love, the source of her life energy.
Of course, the love of one’s favorite entertainer is not to be criticized. Beatlemania was not a hysterical totalitarianism but a collective popularism that entrained the ears and minds of people. The gist of this book echoes what Marcel Proust advised: “Never meet the people you admire. You’ll be disappointed.” There’s a reason for it.
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