I’m just going to put this out there: I love Zukki. It’s true that I feel strongly about her now because I had the opportunity to go to New York and see her perform and shake her hand. We had a moment and I still squee thinking about that. The thing is I had a lot of affection for her before any of that. This had nothing to do with my own weight, or with some feeling of pity for her and everything to do with the fact that from the start Zukki hasn’t been anything like any other member.
(fabulous gif from OtsukaKannon on tumblr)
Zukki has always been a hard character to pin down. She has been genki, but also oddly bashful, vulnerable and yet fearless (especially on variety). She began as a strange and funny character, doing impressions of bugs and such. Then it was like something changed and, yes, she gained some weight.
For a while it was hard to get her to talk, let alone be onscreen during appearances. She doesn’t get many singing lines and her dancing, despite improving, is hard to see when she’s always in the background. When she did get to talk she did some funny faces (that the agency asked her to do) and not much else, despite her variety talent. She did generally seem delighted with the other girls, like she was happy they were getting attention and didn’t want to get in the way of that.
She used to be a bit smaller, but she’s never been skinny the way that Iikubo or Ayumin are skinny and yet I’ve never heard her speak of dieting the way Konno or Ogawa used to. In Japan all they ever have to say to her is, “why so fat?” and yet when she came to New York, before she could even introduce herself, we all cheered so loud for her that we drowned out her mic.
Japan was absurdly shocked about this and the only explanation that they could come up with was, “she’s American-sized”. Zukki herself said this line also, because almost every post-NY interviewer asked her, “Why do they love you overseas?” like they couldn’t figure it out. It feels like a company line.
I’m going to have to talk about this, aren’t I?
I am so gonna get flamed…
Continue reading “Don’t Underestimate the Zuk!”