Berryz Koubou announce indefinite hiatus

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It was announced at today’s Hello!Project 2014 summer concert Korezo that Berryz Koubou will go on an indefinite hiatus. After the girls started thoroughly discussing their future amongst themselves a year ago, and talking things over with the staff, they concluded this was the best option to take. The indefinite hiatus will take place in the spring of 2015. All of Berryz’ upcoming concerts and singles will continue as scheduled.

The girls, especially Saki and Maasa, have refused to officially call this a breakup or disbandment, as saying so would make it seem like the group itself would disappear. Berryz Koubou is too important and too irreplaceable to call it a disbandment.

I just…I don’t even know what to say to this. What can you even say to this? Berryz are leaving and never coming back. And sure you guys can hold onto, “but it’s just a hiatus and not an official disbandment so have hope,” or, “Saki said that she wants to continue Berryz in the future.” However, I don’t believe, trust, count on, or remain hopeful about any of that. I am far too cynical and too much of a realist to get my hopes up over that. Because honestly, to me, it seems like the girls are just saying these things to soften the blow either to us fans, or to themselves, that it’s really happening. Or to intentionally get everyone’s hopes up, so that they will never stop listening to or never stop remembering or will never give up hope that this will be the year that they finally come back. Because just like Maasa said, if they call it a disbandment the group itself will disappear.

And quite honestly it will, and that’s something that’s inevitable. With each year that passes people will start listening to the group less and less, until it gets to a point where only a small fraction of the former fanbase even takes time to remember them. They will be a group that will just be carved into idol history. A group that is by no means forgotten but at the same time no means remembered. And within the H!P fandom slowly and slowly less and less fans will even know who they are. They will become part of H!P’s obscure past that new fans won’t bother listening to. And a group that will be hailed as legends by the fans who were around during their active years.

This is the fate of any disbanded idol group. Even dedicated fans won’t listen to nothing but an inactive group forever. Remember SweetS? Remember how upset fans were a while after their disbandment? Now think about how many people still talk about them, it’s not many. Even myself, I was such a dedicated Hinoi Team (not an idol group I know, but let’s pretend for the sake of argument.) fan back in the day. But now the only time I listen to them is when I’m feeling nostalgic. Now, I know that this post has taken somewhat of a depressing turn that most fans don’t even want to think about right now. But I can’t think about it in any other way. I’m not going to sit here getting my hopes up for a reunion that either won’t happen or will be years and years in the future.

Think about all the H!P groups that went on indefinite hiatus or never officially disbanded. Their comeback fate was either concert revival units or a complete revamp of the group in Country Musume’s case. The only realistic hope for a Berryz return is years from now for them to have a Dream Morning Musume style type of return. Or for them to appear as Hello!Project OG members on TV. Or the most likely of all, for them to make surprising guest appearances years from now at Hello!Project concerts. Kind of like what happened with the Hello!Project Countdown Party concert.

And even though all of these things are the painful truth for Berryz’ future they still refuse to call it a disbandment because no matter how unrealistic it is they don’t want you to give up hope of their return. Because no hope truly does equal disappearance. And the girls cannot bear for that to happen to their group. The group that every member is so proud of. The group the girls spent so long building up and cultivating. The group that the girls love more than anyone else in the entire world does. The group that the girls spent nearly half their lives in. The group that is so precious to them.

And you know what, it took me a long time to get to this level of where I can think clearly and rationally about this situation. I had to let all of my emotions pour out of me completely. I had to stop them before I let them cloud my judgement. And believe me there were a lot of them. When I first heard that Berryz were going on indefinite hiatus I laughed. And I’m still not 100% sure why that was my first response. Maybe I thought the ideal of them breaking up was so comical I couldn’t hold it back? Or maybe it was just because it was such a shocking announcement my mind didn’t know what to do? That seems more likely honestly.

And much like with any upsetting idol news, immediately after my laughter came a mess of emotions spilling out of me and crashing over me like a tidal wave. There was grief, there was shock, there was anger, there was sadness, there was surprise, there was even a slight underline tinge of excitement for being right about it happening so soon.

And I truly did see this coming. But that’s not really anything to boast about because WE ALL saw it coming. But as soon as Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatterannai Desho was announced as an A-side I knew that it spelled the end for Berryz. Why else make a song called that with the lyrics that it had? I could see the Melon Kinenbi parallels a mile away.

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And for the first time ever that mix of emotions I was feeling was so intense it felt like I was having a panic attack. Then I moved onto frantically fanning myself to keep the tear from spilling. But that was short lived as they poured out of me like a geyser. Then I had this horrible sensation of being punched in the stomach. I could’t breathe and it felt like I was just sick to my stomach.

Recently I might’ve complained that their music lately was hit or miss, but I have never for one second, or even one nanosecond, stopped loving or supporting them. It wasn’t really their fault anyway. Berryz used to be a force to be reckoned with within H!P, but once C-ute started shooting up in popularity they started to get the raw end of the stick. And I think that was blatantly obvious to anyone who was in the H!P fandom. Everyone affectionately used to say Berryz was the funky group in H!P. But I think that was just everyone’s secret code for them being stuck with the weaker singles and album songs. H!P even gave priority to a newly debuted group when they gave Hadaka no Hadaka no Hadaka no Kiss to Juice=Juice when it was originally intended to be a Berryz single. And don’t get me wrong, I in no way, shape, or form am angry or bitter against any other H!P group because of this. I love the entire entity that is H!P pretty much equally. But I’m also not going to pretend that these thing didn’t happen.

I don’t know, I’m just really upset now. These girls are just so special and important to me. These girls hold such an important place in my heart. I have always felt a genuine closeness and kinship to these girls from the moment I became an H!P fan. They were made up of girls that were mostly the exact same age as me so I always felt like I was growing up beside them. And technically I was, just on the other side of the world and with no real contact with them. But I supported them and in return they supported me through music. When I was going through unrequited love, when I had friendships that turned sour, when I wished I had someone to love, when I felt I was looked down on for being a girl, when I wanted be energized, or when I just wanted to smile, they always had a song for that. And through variety shows and TV appearances I found girls that would make me laugh. Girls that I could relate to and look up to. Girls that reminded me of myself or I shared interest with.

And it’s because of moments like this that Berryz Koubou will always been a precious and irreplaceable idol group to me. Maybe someday in the future I’ll hardly listen to them ,or hardly even think of them, but I’ll always remember them. Even if it’s just in the very back of my mind and even if it’s just for the briefest of seconds, I’ll never forget them.

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