“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is a rare Shakespearean quote that hasn’t transcended time boundaries, at least when it comes to K-pop. Because I can guarantee that if you casually told a SONE they would be exactly the same if they were a Wonderful…well, I hope you have a couple of safe houses.
I am talking of course about official fan names for various K-pop groups. Like anything inclusive, they are automatically exclusive, giving fans a wall from behind which they can hurl abuse at other idols and their fans. It also seems to encourage fans to stay loyal to one or two particular groups, most of you will have seen comments on Youtube that say things like “I’m a Kiss Me, but I really like this new 2PM song.” Or “no offense, I think we Cassies are much better fans, we get way more views for our idols then you!! LOL ;)” This gives a negative impression of not only these people, but the whole fanbase and the idols themselves. It can encourage fan wars; I’m sure you’ll have seen the damage that fans of B1A4 and Dal Shabet have caused, with officials having to step in over accusations of kidnapping and abuse.
But, it can also be a great way of making new friends, and really feeling included. As long as you can be part of whichever fan clubs you chose and stay civil to those you don’t like, it’s fun. However there is one aspect I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, and that’s the fan names. I’ve made a list (with the help of some of the other writers) of the good, the bad and the mediocre fan names.
- Blackjacks – This plays off the 21 in 2NE1, which being the winning hand in a game of black jack makes the name not only original but well thought out and smart. It suits the in-it-to-win-it mentality of the group as well.
- Inspirit – Perhaps good band names come with excellent fan group names, Infinite’s fans have one of the prettiest names, as well as one that works nicely with the name itself. Woollim Entertainment held a poll to see if fans liked that name best, and I think that was a great way to include them; well done Woollim, you win the name game.
- Jaywalkers – This is a personal favourite, I like that it’s slightly more edgy then most names, after all jaywalking is illegal in many urban places in the US, Australia and Spain. Of course, what with this being the name of Jay Park’s fans, you’ve got to love the wordplay.
- Cassiopeia – TVXQ’s fans are named after a famous constellation, made up of five stars. When you type TVXQ on a keyboard it makes a similar shape to constellation, which I think is a really nice touch. International fans are called iCassies which I dislike. It shouldn’t matter where you are, you are, you love the boys the same.
- Shawol – A shortening of the Korean for SHINee World, I can see what they were trying to do, their fans are their world. Unfortunately, it looks more like a slightly dodgy cult religion then a fan club, not to mention to this day I can’t really pronounce it.
- Baby – Yep, bad names do go hand in hand. B.A.P’s fans have to be content with a rather boring name that isn’t original or exciting; yet the band is. They had the chance to make up for B.A.P with something really amazing, but again fell short.
- SONE – This is just confusing. The name comes from the Hangeul word ‘wish’ (소원) but is stylised so it looks like the girls are So One with their fans. Again, clearly a lot of thought has gone into it, but the word is clunky and for a non-Hangeul speaker seems totally irrelevant to Girls Generation.
- Andromeda/Angel – Teen Top have a firm hold on the idiot ball when it comes to names. Andromeda is the daughter constellation of: yep you guessed it, Cassiopeia. Said to be their official fans daum cafe’s name, it still feels like a way of cashing in on TVXQ’s fame. Not only that, but fans seem confused over whether it is now Angel or not.
- Kiss Me – Some find it cute, some find it nauseating. While it’s a nice enough spin off of U-Kiss, I don’t think to fits their image particularly well.
- Hottest/Wonderful – I like the names, I think they are clever and relevant to the groups (especially as 2PM is the hottest time of day). But, it’s the way that fans use them that irks me. “I’m a Hottest!” or “Are you a Wonderful?” makes the grammar tyrant within me twitch. But it’s better than “I’m Hottest” so I’ll let them slide.
- V.I.P – Not bad, but with a name like Big Bang, YG could have had so much fun with puns, so I’m a little disappointed.
(Colleague Gaya reckons f(x)’s perfect fan name would be f'(x) or Derivatives, because there is a prime in there and fans derive their pleasure from f(x). Anti’s will be called ∫ f(x), also known as antiderivatives. Seeing as they don’t have an official name, I think someone needs to get SM on the phone…)
There are plenty more names I could pick, but those are the ones that made the biggest impression. What do you think are good and bad fan names? Are you embarrassed to admit some?