8pm, Yong Deung Po Time Square
KK held their first public fan signing event.
There were 100 winners. However, it was at an open space, so people who couldn’t get autographs themselves had a chance to get glimpses of the KK members as they were signing. Because of that, there were about five times the amount of people compared to the number of winners gathered at Time Square.
Furthermore, the location was at a shopping mall, so normal shoppers also became interested when they noticed the KK autograph event. Every floor had people gathered around the stairs to look at the event downstairs.
The KK members arrived 10 minutes before the autograph event and were getting ready to leave the parking lot. They did last-minute touches on their hair and outfits.
Oh Baek Ho was drilling the precautions into the KK members’ heads for the 10th time.
-Do not answer any awkward questions and just skip them.
-After receiving personal gifts, immediately hand it to the staff.
-No physical contact beyond shaking hands.
Etc. Etc. They had ten or so things they had to be careful of. It basically meant they had to be careful about every little thing they did, and the members had replied numerous times that they understood.
There were many reasons Oh Baek Ho was so worried.
First of all, the members were very young. Half the members were still minors.
Furthermore, even though some members weren’t minors, there was a lot of anxiety and just as much nervousness since it was the first autograph event, so it was easy for them to say or do the wrong thing.
It was a relief that the members were rather mature, but it was a public autograph session so it was easy for rumors to spread if they messed up even a little.
On top of that, the direction KK was going for when responding to fans was completely different than what Monster had done.
Since they were differentiating themselves from other idols with fan-friendly marketing, things that were prohibited in other autograph signings were all allowed.
Normally a notice would have gone out to the fans that any physical contact, including holding hands, is not allowed under any circumstance. However, the notice for the KK autograph session just stated no ‘excessive physical contact’.
Also, the rule prohibiting individual gifts and personal questions was left out on the basic autograph session notice.
“I hope there won’t be any incidents…”
Oh Baek Ho muttered. Do Wook, who was sitting in the passenger seat this time, looked at the back seat. The other members looked busy getting their hair touched up by the stylist riding with them.
Do Wook quietly called out to him. Oh Baek Ho asked in a low voice what was wrong.
“The fans that go to Ji Hoon in particular…”
“Ahh…ok. I understand.”
Oh Baek Ho nodded his head and exchanged glances with Do Wook.
Do Wook realized that Oh Baek Ho was already keeping that in mind.
‘That’s right. There’s no way Manager Oh isn’t aware of Suk Ji Hoon’s situation.’
Do Wook looked at Suk Ji Hoon, who was sitting in the back seat. There was little difference from his typical expression, and the way he was talking to Ahn Hyung Seo was no different than usual.
On the contrary, Suk Ji Hoon seemed a little excited. It was a relief that even though he might have reservations about fans trying to come in contact with him, it wasn’t a reservation towards fans as a whole.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Here! Here!”
“Wow, it’s KK! Is that really KK?”
“Do Wooook―!!! Look this way please!”
Click, click, click.
Once KK made their appearance, the Time Square where the autograph session was being held broke out into a wave of excitement.
Even though the guard line was set up starting from the back gate up to the autograph session stage in the center, the fans were pushing each other like they were going to jump over the line.
The guards kept the fans back so they wouldn’t jump over the line, but the fans continued to push each other forward and up against the barrier.
The members copied Oh Baek Ho and quickened their steps.
They could hear the fans with DSLR cameras taking pictures and following them. The sound of clicking shutters was trailing close behind the members to no end.
The KK members felt like they were going to lose their minds from the fans’ cheers ringing throughout the huge shopping mall, the sound of the shutters, etc.
It was a different feeling than when they heard the cheering from on stage. It was on a different level than the mini fan meeting from last time too. It was too close, and too loud.
The location they found for the autograph session was on a podium that was only a few steps high. The members sat in their designated seats.
The fans sitting in front of them held the number tags they received tightly in their hands.
The person in charge of and running the autograph session was Fan Marketing Team’s Do Ra Hee. She came ahead of time to hand out number tags and was getting the autograph session site ready, but handed out water bottles to the members when they arrived.
“You probably heard from Manager Oh, but please be extremely careful of your actions.”
Jung Yoon Ki answered as the leader. Jung Yoon Ki also had a bewildered expression. It was more comfortable to talk to Do Ra Hee with his back turned. If he looked in front of him, there were too many eyes staring at him.
The dozens of large cameras were making them nervous too. Every movement was being captured on camera.
“You have to get used to it! It’s only the beginning.”
Do Ra Hee said encouragingly when she noticed how nervous Jung Yoon Ki and the other members were.
Of course there was a member who adjusted to it immediately and was used to it by now, even though it hadn’t been long since he debuted.
It was Ahn Hyung Seo.
Responding to the outpour of attention, Ahn Hyung Seo waved to the fans calling out to him and greeted them one by one. He winked at them, made a heart with his fingers at them, and various other things to catch the attention of the fans.
Every time Ahn Hyung Seo winked, the fans sitting in the front row shrieked ‘Kyaaa!’.
And so the autograph session began.
The autograph session had a lot of variety. Each fan reacted differently when they saw the members, and how the members interacted with a fan varied from fan to fan.
“Yes, Hello. What is your name?”
“I’m…Jung So Min…”
“Ah, So Min? Your name is pretty.”
When Jung Yoon Ki spoke to the young female fan wearing the school uniform, her face turned red like a very ripe apple.
Unlike the hardened expression he initially had, Jung Yoon Ki’s tone changed to normal once he started meeting the fans. He looked stiff, but even the fans who hadn’t specifically been his fans were increasing his self-esteem once they saw how sweet he was, saying they wanted to date him or that he was handsome.
The first member the fans met once they came up to the podium was Jung Yoon Ki.
Ahn Hyung Seo was giving fan service every moment he could, continuously interacting with the fans waiting in line whenever it wasn’t his turn.
When there was a fan in front of him, he would talk to them in a more caring way than anyone else would, even joking with them and acting friendly. He was definitely exceptional when it came to being social.
“Oh! You’re the one that takes pictures of me, right?!”
“Hurr, Hyung Seo! You know me?”
“Of course of course! You came to the mini fan meeting last time too.”
“That’s right! Hurr. I am ‘Hyung Seo Land’. Have you seen my photos before, by any chance?”
“Wow, Hyung Seo Land?! Of course I know of it!”
He used FaceNote the most and responded to fan comments or messages without fail. There was no way he wouldn’t know about his most popular fan page. Honestly, he would have answered that he knows it even if he didn’t.
As he replied, Ahn Hyung Seo covered his writing with his hand and wrote a P.S.
“You’ll come next time too, won’t you?”
“Yes, Of course I’ll absolutely come again. But I already used all the money I earned from my part time job for today…”
For this KK autograph session, the winners were chosen using something called a ‘line up’ method. For the Yong Deung Po autograph session specifically, winners were chosen by ordering people by how many records they had bought from the Yong Deung Po album store and picking the top 100 people.
The average number of albums the winners had bought was 40 albums.
It wasn’t made public, but the person who had bought the most albums among the online fans for the album signing was a Chinese fan with 100 albums. The winner who had purchased the least amount had gotten 35 copies. Anyone who had bought less than might as well be considered out of the running.
Fans had been surveying the competition to gauge where the cutoff might be. According to their intel, 40 albums was a safe bet. Even Ahn Hyung Seo’s fan who ran Hyung Seo Land bought 40 albums, paying a total of 600,000* won, to have a short conversation with Ahn Hyung Seo.
(TL note: Roughly $460.82)
Of course they were very popular, but they were already at this level despite being only rookies. They might rise even higher from here, but they definitely wouldn’t lose what they already had achieved.
“Ah……then come to a different event in the future.”
“Ok. I’ll make sure to come. I’m sitting in the middle over there. Could you please look in that direction later?”
“Sure sure. I’ll look in that direction.”
Since they had to do all 100 autographs in a short time, the time spent with each person was limited. Do Ra Hee was standing in the back to give a fan a heads up if the conversation ran too long.
Deeply crestfallen, the administrator of Hyung Seo Land moved on to the next spot.
She was thinking that she wouldn’t be able to attend other autograph sessions because they were too expensive, but when she got back to her seat she saw the P.S. he wrote and her heart fluttered.
It read ‘Thank you for always taking such beautiful pictures~! Your photos are the best!’ with five hearts drawn next to it.
Before she even had time to feel touched, she grabbed her camera and tried to get a shot of Ahn Hyung Seo. Like a sixth sense, Ahn Hyung Seo noticed and made a peace sign towards her camera, even making direct eye contact. She bit her lips and tried to recall what her credit card limit was.
Do Wook, sitting in the center and next to Ahn Hyung Seo, saw that and thought how impressive Ahn Hyeon Seo is.
‘Being like that as an idol member is also a talent.’
In the idol world, your looks and talent were just as important as your skills. Although it might not be at Ahn Hyung Seo’s level, Do Wook was also trying to be on a compatible* level with him.
(TL note: He means enough so that he won’t drag AHS or the others down.)
Truthfully, Do Wook didn’t have to put in much effort for that. Once fans stood in front of Do Wook, they became entranced by his face after seeing him up close for the first time. Once they were face to face with him, they’d forget everything they’d prepared to say, so there was always about 5 seconds of silence.
Thanks to that, Do Wook was consistently saying a greeting to them first.
However, it was counterproductive. Do Wook’s sweet voice made the fans even more nervous. Do Wook found the area of the album he was supposed to sign and signed it.
“Do Wook…I really like you.”
It was a working woman in her early 30’s who frantically came to the autograph session location after getting off work. She was embarrassed because she didn’t think she’d freeze up this much.
Do Wook replied and smiled at her. When she tried to request a handshake from him, the fan’s hand quivered because of his kind smile that looked like it came straight out of a painting.
Do Wook held her hand and whispered to her to not be nervous, which made the fan’s heart jump into her throat.
In Park Tae Hyung’s situation, he was more nervous than the fans.
“Tae Hyung, you’re sooooo~ cute! You’re soooo~ good at dancing too! You’re the coolest person in the universe!”
Most Park Tae Hyung fans thought his nervousness was adorable, so the fans were busy going ‘there there*’ to him.
(TL note: They’re not actually saying ‘there there’. They’re going ‘ooo-chuu-chuu’, typical babytalk noise in Korean used when trying to console a baby.)
Park Tae Hyung drowned in the compliments pouring out, so he could only say ‘thank you’ as he signed and repeated that process 100 times.
Kim Won poured his soul into answering the questions filled out by fans on Post-its. Each member was only allotted a little bit of time, so the fan questions on the Post-its were generally multiple choice or something that could be answered quickly.
‘Who is the most dependable member?’
The fans seemed to want to know about the relationship between the KK members. As such, there were many similar questions, and Kim Won answered Jung Yoon Ki and Do Wook.
There were many foreign fans as well, but Kim Won spoke 5 different languages, although at rudimentary levels, so he was able to speak with the foreign fans the best.
At the end of the line, Suk Ji Hoon was the last member to go. The other members stood guard by the descending stairs behind him. It was the seating arrangement they prepared just in case.
However, perhaps it was just unfounded concerns, nothing in particular happened to Suk Ji Hoon. There were fans who just got his autograph and moved on without much interaction because they were a strong fan of a different individual, but that happened to other members too.
Like with Do Wook, when the fans saw Suk Ji Hoon’s big eyes they couldn’t think properly of what to say and simply said that he was handsome repeatedly.
Suk Ji Hoon wrote personalized messages for his fans, and gave sufficient fan service as he answered questions. However, he was a little hesitant when fans asked to shake his hands. Still, that was about it.
The problem surfaced the day after the fan signing event.
Monitoring the different posts uploaded to one of the large communities, Do Wook furrowed his brow.
‘As expected, I can’t just let this be. I have to fix it before it becomes a bigger problem.’
Do Wook thought. Suk Ji Hoon, who was so tired from the autograph session yesterday that he was completely out like a light, happened to be coming out of his room.
“You’re awake already?”
“Oh, Ji Hoon. Please come here for a moment.”