Berryz Koubou Captain Shimizu Saki made an unexpected and equally shocking announcement on her blog that fellow Berryz member Natsuyaki Miyabi will helping her lead the group as Sub-Captain. In her blog post, which you can read translated here, Saki said her reasoning behind appointing Miyabi was because she feels that she’s not doing a proper job of leading them since C-ute is holding concerts in the Budokan and Berryz has yet to hold concerts there themselves. And has now personally said she’s aiming for Berryz to perform at the Budokan this year or next year.
Now when I first read her blog post I was overcome with two emotions. The first was sadness for Saki because she, and the rest of Berryz, have been trying their best and still there’s no result. Not only that but you see how the idol themselves are painfully aware of how unpopular they are which is a whole other kind of empathetic pain I feel for idols. And I also feel sad because Berryz are losing to a younger group. Which has got to make them feel bad about themselves. The second emotion I was feeling was admiration for Saki. Here’s a leader who sees what’s wrong and really wants to fix it. And also an idol that has such love for their group that they want everyone else to know how great their group is. As a fan I’m touched and get slightly choked up thinking of her love for Berryz being so genuine and caring so much about the fans that she says she’s also doing this so the fans see the best Berryz that’s possible.
I have to say I am not entirely surprised that C-ute are getting to perform Budokan. Tsunku did say either in the beginning of the year, or maybe the end of last year, that 2013 was going to be C-ute’s year. And that fact that C-ute are performing at the Budokan and having their first overseas concert means that Tsunku wasn’t kidding. But it is obviously sad for the other groups in H!P who would love to have a year as good as C-ute’s.
That being said, in my second paragraph I did say those were the emotions I was feeling when I read her blog post because when I first heard the news I certainly has different feelings. When I first heard this news I was completely confused. And the one though that I kept having was simply why. “Why now after all these years without one? And why at all?” Sure, I guess it could make sense that Saki feels that she’s incapable of leading the group on her own and really does need help. But let’s be honest, leaders in idol groups don’t really do anything. Sure they make sure the girls are actually working and not goofing off, and they gather the girls all together. But beyond that there’s really nothing else. They don’t choreograph the song or teach the girls the dance. They don’t write the lyrics or give the girls vocal lessons. And they certainty aren’t in charge of line distribution or how much promotions the group gets. Captain or leader is a fancy name and some honor, but it’s really nothing more than that. Because honestly the only time a group needs a leader is when new girls join the group. But Berryz has never had new members.
So, after realizing that Saki doesn’t really need help to do a virtually nonexistent job, what was the point in announcing this at all? And then it hit me and came over me as one fell swoop of fear and panic. This seems like it’s only being done because Saki plans to graduate soon. I honestly wouldn’t blame her or be too surprised. For one, Saki is the oldest member so I always figured she would leave the group first. And secondly, 2014 will mark her 12th year as an idol. 10 years in Berrys and 2 years in H!P Kids. That also marks nearly half of her life. Not many idols out there have started off so young and been an idol for so long. And this announcement does make it seem like Saki wants to graduate on a high note after accomplishing something big.
All of this just seems way too convenient. In nearly 10 years Berryz has never felt the need to have a sub-Captain, but now all of a sudden they do. It seems way too perfect if you ask me. Because the first question that would be asked if Captain graduated would obviously be who’s the Captain now? And the answer to that question should have been Momoko. As the second oldest she’s the most logical choice. Miyabi actually makes no sense. There are 3 members older than her who should have been picked instead. Which either makes me think that some of those girls might want to graduate too or perhaps Saki really did have the final say in choosing.
I have to say the thought of Saki graduating does frighten me. Not because she’s my favorite member, which she isn’t. I don’t dislike her, she’s just floating somewhere in the middle to me. No, it frightens me because this would be the sobering realization that Berryz Koubou and C-ute eventually aren’t going to exist anymore.
Yes, one day when the girls are too old they are either going to drop like flies one by one or just graduate the entire group. The girls in Berryz Koubou are starting to reach that “too old to be an idol” age. This year the girls will be 19-22. Which doesn’t seem old, but in means some of the girls only have 2-3 more years as idols tops. I said on twitter recently, “what if Berryz announce their disbandment during their 10th anniversary?” I said it during one of my half serious “what if?” scenarios. But now I’m starting to think about it more seriously because honestly they could. They could seriously announce next year that 2015 is going to be their final year. Or they could just simply announce that a member is leaving. But having been members for so long in an almost unchanged line-up, wouldn’t one member leaving feel like the end of the group?
This whole station has put me on high Berryz alert. I love Berryz and consider Berryz to be my 3rd favorite H!P group. I guess now I’m going to treasure them even more just in case someone is leaving or the group is going to disband. Because honestly, even if it isn’t this year or next year, it’s going to happen eventually. And probably sooner than you realize or are prepared for. I really don’t want to be in one of those I didn’t care about them enough and now they’re gone situations.
I’m going to end this blog post with a cryptic piece of advise: Enjoy every idol moment like it’s their last because for all you know it’s going to be.