You’ve heard of stanning a boy band (think: *NSYNC, One Direction). Maybe you’ve even heard of stanning a semi-fictional boy band (think: The Monkees). And then there’s stanning a fully fictional, not even actually human animated boy band like 4*Town from Turning Red.
Well, fandom has always been a meta, multimedia experience, as manga company Viz Media well knows. According to a report from Variety, the publisher will release a companion manga to the popular Pixar film that focuses on the fictional ’90s heartthrobs that are the object of obsession for the protagonist, Mei (Rosalie Chiang), and her friends. The new manga promises to “[take] you behind the music of Canada’s greatest nineties boy band, 4*Town.”
Here’s the synopsis, per Variety: “4*Townies are hyped to see 4*Town performing their favorite hits live, but how will Canada’s greatest boy band spend the day leading up to their epic Toronto concert? Hang with Robaire, Jesse, Tae Young, Aaron T, and Aaron Z as they enjoy a rare break in their busy schedules! Jesse and Tae Young embrace their artistic side and visit a ceramics museum, Aaron T gets his fashion on at the mall, and Aaron Z and Robaire stay in the dance studio to master their moves before the sold-out show. Only the realest fans deserve to get this up close and personal with Tween Beat Magazine’s Hottest Band of the Year!”
It’s like the kind of merch a real-life BTS fan would clamor over, except it’s a fictional band from a fictional universe. Pixar has been trafficking in this kind of in-house worldbuilding lately–the manga description has a Lightyear-esque “origin story of the human that the toy was based on” vibe.
There’s definitely a market for 4*Town, though, as the band’s songs–written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell, and performed by O’Connell, Jordan Fisher, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva, and Josh Levi–have proved extremely popular since the film’s release. And if hologram musicians are the future, why shouldn’t a cartoon boy band have its own fandom?