Alright, so now we’re gonna get to the “awards”. This is just something I add on to my year-end wrapups that’s silly and fun, just random whatever thoughts about the year. I just make up the categories as I go to have a good excuse to briefly touch on them in this post. I think it’s a nice addition and keeps it from being just a bunch of lists. Here we go!
Best Movie Award: Bumblebee
I’m not much of a moviegoer these days, and when I do a lot of my film choices are not the most thought-provoking if I’m honest. I love me some good American action and whatnot. I gotta say though, Bumblebee really ended up being the biggest shock I’ve had at the movies in years. When I first heard we were getting a movie around everyone’s favorite Camaro, I wasn’t very interested. I’ve been a huge Transformers fan for more of my life than not, but the Michael Bay films? Meh. I enjoyed the first one but it’s been a progressive decline in interest since. Give me Beast Wars Transformers or Transformers Prime any day.
This movie though? It’s easily the best Transformers movie ever made. It’s such a love letter to the original series, so well made, and feels like an authentic 1980’s movie. It’s nostalgic, but not annoying or campy. Travis Knight did an amazing job on this film. Great action, lovable characters, and a female lead that’s truly endearing. Not just a sex object to be leaned over cars like Michael Bay is obsessed with doing. Seriously, was anyone else just beyond creeped out during Transformers: Age of Extinction when they literally stopped the movie for several minutes to explain Romeo and Juliet laws? Ugh…
This movie really is everything Transformers could and should be on the big screen, and I hope we see more like it in the franchise. I highly recommend this movie to everyone.
“So That Happened…” Award: K-Pop Takeover
I’ve been into K-Pop on and off since 2009 or so. When Girls’ Generation released “Genie” I could ignore it no more. For several years it was a mixed bag, some years I was way into it and some years I paid very little attention. Honestly, it depended on how good or bad my AKB48 fandom was doing, as that occupied all of my hobby time at its peak. These days that fandom isn’t even much of a fandom, so with more and more time to look around the last few years, my musical interest diversified. The last two years have seen a massive uptick in my K-Pop habit, and in 2018, I can say that I definitely listened to more K-Pop than J-Pop for the first time.
There’s really nothing wrong with J-Pop now… for the most part. I do think that the Japanese music industry overall may not be quite as energetic as it used to be, but there’s still lots to enjoy in it. However, my primary interest in music has always been the fun, more silly, bubblegum pop stuff. Japan still has that, but South Korea has more. Way more. Non-idol J-Pop has definitely become a little more subdued overall, and the idol stuff kinda has too as far as the popular groups go. Hell, it really says something when TWICE does a swimsuit music video and AKB48 doesn’t. True, there’s the alt idol thing and while I’m definitely into it, I’m honestly not as into it as most people have gotten. Again, I like the more pop-centric stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some PassCode and Oyaholo, but yeah.
K-Pop is just… indulgent fun. Like, it pulls no punches about what it is, in fact it lives it up. Korean groups really go the extra mile to make everything fun, upbeat, and kinda crazy, but also so precise. So calculated. So… “packaged”, if you will. Some people who aren’t fans don’t like how processed and “perfect” it is, but to me that’s what makes it great. It’s a product and it’s a first class one. I can understand missing the “watching them grow” aspect, but I can also appreciate something like fromis_9 coming out of nowhere and shaking up my MV ranking.
I really hope I was able to explain why K-Pop has taken off with me without pooping on J-Pop. It’s not a shift of disappointment, just a shift of I honestly just like this just as much if not a little better now.