Is L’Arc~en~Ciel Popular? You Decide

In an ideal world, I would love to have said that L’Arc~en~Ciel is one of the most famous bands in the world. Looking it up in the internet, one who wishes to know about L’Arc would probably get mixed claims. Forbes would say that no one has ever heard of them, and yet, fans in the Spain and France would roll their eyes as they line up for tickets hoping there would be that one more seat for them. The band has made its way into the pages of other renowned publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but somehow, people in the U.S. still hardly know the band. Twice, the band has performed in America, but somehow, people still haven’t heard of them.

Perhaps it’s the language barrier or maybe it’s the condescending discrimination of pegging any and all Japanese music as stereotypical “anime music” they don’t want to be caught dead listening to (even if it’s only a Japanese translation of the same song), but somehow, breaking into the English-speaking market is not easy for L’Arc~en~Ciel.

Latin-American countries like Peru, Chile and Mexico would see the band’s fans willing to sell their own kidneys to see them live in their countries, and somehow, their northerly counterparts don’t give a flying poop…save for a few brethren in arms scattered all over the map. Indonesians, Thais and Malaysians would jump at the chance to get one of Hyde’s flying kisses while Filipinos, Vietnamese and Cambodians would raise their eyebrows and shake their heads at the futility of listening to something they can’t understand.

In their home country, not a single old person they interviewed on the same year L’Arc was going to hold their first World Tour knew what on earth ラルクアンシエル was, thinking the band’s name was some kind of new desert. But then again, they might still be high on enka that their ears are still shaking from the vibrato of prolonged notes.

Yahoo Answers could not get L’Arc~en~Ciel on the list of the people’s choice for top non-English speaking bands without mentioning the word anime or the poster only citing an all-Japanese roster.

The thing is, I can’t understand why it’s so difficult for the U.S. and other nations to accept how good the band is. Heck, Rammstein sings purely in German but he’s won TWO Grammys (and frankly I think he makes more noise than music in my personal opinion). Sigur Ros has also broken in the market without being shoved to the sidelines. Heck, I don’t understand a squat of Korean and their “singing” groups have broken out worldwide.

So, is L’Arc~en~Ciel popular or not? Definitely after the World Tour, they’ve caused quite a stir. But are they really popular now? What do you think?


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