When Japanese people become fans of something they do it properly, almost to the exclusion of all other things. Take X Japan fans, some will take gigs as an excuse to dress up in a mad Visual Kei fashion and sing the chorus of Endless Rain for about half an hour.
Once I went to an X Japan concert and there was a girl about 5 rows back shouting the name of their deceased ex-guitarist over and over. By the end of the show her voice was reduced to a horse whisper. As I got up to leave I saw that all this was emanating from a girl with thick black eye shadow streaming down her face and clutching a doll of the guitarist tightly. It was quite a sight.
I don’t personally know any mental X Japan fans but I do have a group of friends who absolutely adore Oreskaband. Oreskaband are an eight piece all girl ska band from Osaka whose music is quite fun and lively but hardly ground breaking. They sometimes travel the country going to gigs, record TV appearances to put on DVDs, play in bands covering Okeskaband songs, play in other bands performing music inspired by them and collect as much merchandise as possible. It was through them that I became aware of the film Lock and Roll Forever.
Lock and Roll Forever is a film by the producer of High School Musical, starring the bloke out of High School Musical and, I assume, made in the style of High School Musical. It features a story about the members of Oreskaband as they journey to the US in an attempt to make it big there. It is a nice enough film, it features some funky song videos sandwiched between a load of dull but inoffensive plot sections. The overall story seems a little pointless and nothing really ends up happening.
I wonder why this film was made. Judging by the involvement of the producer of High School Musical, it is aimed at American teenage girls. Perhaps they were trying to break the band in the USA (something that will probably not happen in a billion years). If that is the case then they fell at the first hurdle, despite the fact it was filmed in 2008 it has yet to be made available in any format in either the US or Japan. Oddly the DVD has been released in Nordic countries, I have no idea why. Maybe the Swedish wing of the Oreskaband fan club is particularly vocal. It was the Nordic DVD that I ended up watching where it was given the more politically correct name, Girls Just Wanna Rock.
When all is said and done this film is only worth watching for the musical sequences. While not as good as anything from the likes of Yellow Submarine, some are nicely presented and worth a look if you like ska music or songs about Papayas.