Since the mid-2000s, Arashi has sprung into the top artist seat, but since last year, their popularity has started to see gloom.
Arashi up to 2010 was filled with vigor. In the 2009 Oricon Yearly Ranking they held the Top 3 spots alone, and the next year sucessfully held first place on the same ranking, winning over AKB48. It was thought “Arashi’s Era” would continue. However, in the same ranking in 2011, in the Top 10 their 35th single “Lotus” took 6th place, and their 36th single “Meikyuu Love Song” took 7th.
Furthermore, Arashi has seen a decline in variety show viewership ratings. “Himitsu No Arashi-chan”, for example, has begun to stand out for making 10% ratings. Internet fans have stated “Arashi’s variety shows are just like other programs, so I’m tired of it,” or “They appear too much in the media, so I don’t have the willpower to search them out now.”
As thought, Arashi has finally reached their peak. A person connected to the entertainment world and knows about idol groups offers his knowledge:
“In the 2000s, Arashi appearing in the media increased, and they acquired many new fans. However on the other hand, they’ve lost the power to attract core fans who shell out money, and their popularity foundation is dwindling. At the same time, however, groups like Kanjani8 or Hey! Say! JUMP have acquired this power, and even new groups like Kis-My-Ft2, Sexy Zone, or A.B.C.-Z have become a topic.”
In the industry, it was once said “SMAP’s era is over, its now Arashi’s era”, but it seems that talk is in the process of weathering.
“Each of Arashi’s members have some type of charm, but do not have the strong, influential personalities like Kimura Takuya or Nakai Masahiro that allows you to reign over the entertainment world for a long time. If they lose the age they can be called “cute”, Arashi’s members have lack of a personality to continue as the National Idol Group, or in other words, are too much this generation’s child.
Arashi’s bubble has reached its peak, and what comes next for them is now the real challenge. SMAP doesn’t have a member with higher education like Sakurai Sho, or a talented artist like Ohno Satoshi, but the question is can Arashi once more create their own era again? In any case, it looks like their real worth as an idol group can only be answered this year.”
imo this article comes at a really nice time now that they've lit up tokyo tower and had their best single sale in a while