You knew it had to happen eventually, Ai-chan to graduate this fall

Talk about unexpected. Of all the things happening in the world of H!P the one thing I absolutely was sure wasn’t happening for about another year is happening right now. (Well not right now. But at least announced now.) Morning Musume’s longest running leader, and co longest Morning Musume member ever, Takahashi Ai will be graduating from Morning Musume. Ai-chan will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello! Projfect at Morning Musume’s 2011 fall concert.

I can honestly say I was completely thrown off guard by this shocking announcement. Yes, me. The girl that said in so many words, “Dear god when are Ai-chan and Risa leaving? I want some new blood. They’ve been members too long!” But even I cannot believe this. I completely 100% thought that 2011 would be the last year for Ai-chan. I thought she would let the 9th gen get settled in a bit. Have the 9nin Momusus release a single or two. Give Ai-chan a chance to really train the new members. Have a concert tour or two and then graduate. And that is exactly what Ai-chan is doing, because honestly that’s the logical thing to do. I said a few times that I wanted to see Ai-chan straight up pull a Yossie. And she completely is! In a way I should be happy. I made a nearly exact prediction and Ai-chan’s long overdue graduation is finally happening. I should be ecstatic, except I’m not. I am, of course, happy to see her graduate, but at the same time I am incredibly sad. Not sad for Ai-chan, but sad for Morning Musume.
 With Takahashi Ai graduating here’s what Morning Musume will look like: Niigaki Risa- leader, Michishige Sayumi-sub leader, Tanaka Reina, Mitsui Aika, and the 9th gen. (Sayashi Riho, Suzuki Kanon, Ikuta Erina, and Fukumura Mizuki, just in case you forgot.) With the recent triple graduation Morning Musume has had a significant blow. They lost a main singer with Eri, and a potential main singer with LinLin. Now Morning Musume is going to lose, in my opinion, the best singer they have ever had. Losing Eri and Ai-chan means practically half the lines in songs are up for grabs. I’m going to guess that Eri’s lines will go to Sayumi just for seniority and nothing else. Which is horrible. Sayumi desperately wanted to take over Miki’s lines in Shanimuni Paraidise. Danced to it on a show proclaiming that! And they were obviously given to Eri. And why’s that? Because everyone knows she can’t sing. But now she’ll most likely take over her lines. Michishige “I literally beg for more lines in singles” Sayumi will now butcher Eri’s lines. And I’m going to guess Ai-chan’s lines will be taken over by Aika + 9th gen. (I really want to see Aika sing Eri’s lines though. :/) That or Ai-chan and Eri’s lines will be divided evenly between Sayumi, Aika, and the 9th gen. But who are we kidding? In Japan seniority rules, so Sayumi rules. Even more so because she’ll be the sub leader.

But Ai-chan’s lines aren’t the biggest problem/fear I have. Takahashi Ai is an extremely popular member. And we all know Eri was also an extremely popular member. I don’t know how Morning Musume is going to survive after losing 2 widely popular members practically one after another. I am certain this will be a gigantic blow for Morning Musume’s popularity. And we already know it’s dwindling. I am really not looking forward to seeing the sales for Morning Musume’s first Ai-chanless single. And you thought Mikan sold bad. Morning Musume really seems pretty hopeless right now. They really need to rise from the ashes, and soon!

But the absolute biggest worry I have from this is, Ai-chan is not only graduating from Morning Musume but also Hello!Project. I was so sure that when Ai-chan graduated she would obviously just float over to being one of their soloists. But her leaving H!P too makes me really concerned. It makes me think she’s going to pull a Goto Maki and sign with Avex. Which wouldn’t be a huge problem. I mean she’s getting older, has the voice for it, and would at least still be making music. But I just cannot imagine Ai-chan not being an idol anymore. She has this totally bubbly, cute idol aura about her. Even is she doesn’t have the personality to back it.
But not only that, this also means that Risa is not too far behind in graduating. Risa right now is like a ticking bomb. I give her about a year-a year and a half at most before her time too is up. I am SO not looking forward to an eventual Sayumi lead Morning Musume. The sheer horror of even imagaining it now!

8 thoughts on “You knew it had to happen eventually, Ai-chan to graduate this fall”

  1. Line-division isn't based on seniority. It is based on Tsunku's preferences and he only recently started giving Sayumi actual lines. She begs for more lines because she doesn't get many lines at all and before it was worse. Her singing has improved. Plus, she is probably the most well known member besides Takahashi because she is a TV personality.

  2. I know actual line division for singles is based on Tsunku's preferences. But for concerts it's completely based on seniority. That's why Aika took over Koharu's lines and not LinLin. Maybe they aren't completely based on seniority but it does seem like they are.
    I know Sayumi didn't get actual lines, and it was better that way. Because Sayumi can't sing. Her voice only sounds good in with a lot of effects done to it, like in Okii Hitomi, and Fantasy ga Hajimaru. But sometimes she gets a fluke where she sounds good like in It's You. Yes, Sayumi has improved a lot. But I still don't think she can sing and still don't like her voice.
    Sayumi is completely the most well known and popular person in Morning Musume. A lot of times she out sells Ai-chan. I wasn't disputing that.
    I just really dislike Sayumi, and nothing is going to change that. And I make no apologizes for it.

  3. Tsunku seems be be drinking a lot this year…making horrible mistakes and decisions while drunk.

    I wish they would have waited at least another year or so. I mean, graduations so close to each other? I don't think I'm the only one if I say my heart is cracking due to the many many changes in MM right now.

    Risa-and-Reina centered songs? Their voices sorta compliment each other I guess. I wouldn't mind Aika in the front (as long as she's using her normal voice, not the cute one) and Riho! That wouldn't be too bad.

    Although I have a feeling MM might turn into C-ute…2 center singers (Maimi and Airi, Risa and Reina) and everyone else in the chorus…

  4. WUUTTT!!! I didn't think they would have another graduation for a while now! ah so sad, all the members I knew when I got into momusu are leaving!!! I guess she's been in the group long enough but I thought she would be around a while longer to help out the 9th Gen. girls but I hope she does well after graduates, I could see her as a really good soloist, she has the voice for it! Momusu is gonna be really different after she leaves though especially in terms of vocals. I mean she had one the better ranges in Momusu, she could really get low and hit those high notes too. But now most of the girls left,other than Risa who has a really nice lower range, have a higher vocal range or one that isn't as great (yes, I'm talking about Sayumi 😛 ), so I'm guessing we're going to be hearing alot of cutesy vocals (which isn't a bad thing) at least until the 9th gen's voices mature a little more. It's definetly going to be a change in sound considering Momusu has had really mature vocals for a while. Anyways I'm interested to see if the line distribution will even out, even though I feel like it may just become Risa and Reina, and then everyone else sings the chorus, but I would like to see them take a risk with letting the other girls sing more. I totally agree with what you said about popularity though, Ai seems to be one last few things holding Momusu together right now, and also has one of the strongest and most established fan bases so I'd be interested to see what happens in terms of their sales, but maybe the other girls will have their chance to shine now (and maybe Aika will be less hated…) and bring in some new fans to the group but then again it all depends on the promotion the group gets. Well, I hope UFA gives them good promotion like what S/mileage is getting, and having some more good music like their last single would be good too! They really need like a kind of re-introduction of Momusu with like a break-out hit or something, kind of like an SNSD's Gee if you get the Kpop reference 🙂 to the general public so that they show that they still have tons of talent!! Anyways, I alot more than I originally anticipated but I decided I ought to comment more on the blogs I read so I hope you don't mind 🙂

  5. Urgh, I was really hoping that they would quickly graduate Sayumi before Aichan's longawaited departure. She's been getting a lot more lines recently, but I don't think I could stomach her getting Ai's. Risa deserves more, but I also wouldn't mind or be suprised if Riho gets some. I know it's still early days, she reminds me a little of Ai when she first started and pretty much since her debut Tsunku handed her line after line.
    Without a doubt it will be interesting and refreshing to see Morning Musume without Aichan, whether they 'survive' or not is another story.

  6. @Serené Lin: Lol it has nothing to do with drinking. And only half the decision where horrible. Losing LinLin and JunJun too early was horrible. But I honestly think Eri's graduation was her choice. And so was Ai's. Tsunku did say 10 years is a long time, and think about when you want to graduate. But Ai-chan had the final decision as to when to go.
    They are waiting a year. Ai-chan is graduated until the end of the fall concert tour, which is 9 months from now. They only announced it so early, so H!P could make the maximum money off of sympathetic/heart broken Ai fans and wotas. The many changes are extremely sad, but are ultimately for the better.

    Risa and Reina don't really mix for me. Their voices are both on the deep side. Eri's and Ai's high voices always balanced that out. Which is why a high voice always followed a deep voice and vice versa. Aika should totally be in the front! And I'm like 80% Riho and Mizuki are going to lead their debut single, or at least I hope. I really want another Shabondama type situation!

    I don't think Morning Musume would turn into that. They added strong singers just so that wouldn't happen. And C-ute has been extremely fair lately.

  7. @Lila: I know the announcement was a little shocking at first. But completely logical if you think about it. Ai-chan has been a member for 10 years, it's time for her to go. (And Risa shortly after.) The same thing with me, all the members I know are leaving too. But you have to remember that's what Morning Musume does. They constantly change their members, style, and appearance. It's very sad to see beloved members go, but it also makes me very excited. Excited to see what the future of Morning Musume is going to be like. And Ai-chan is definitely going to have a bright future beyond Momusu.
    I see what you mean about the vocals changing when Ai leaves. But that gives them 3 low vocals. Obviously Risa is 1. Reina might hit high notes but the overall tone of her voice is on the deep side. Aika's voice is also fairly deep. Lately she's been cuteing it up for Guardians 4, but her natural voice is deep. Listen to her in Haru Beautiful Everyday and her rapping in Nanchatte Renai, and her singing in Aisaresugiru Koto wa Nai no yo as well as Aishite Aishite Ato Ippun, you'll hear the beautiful deepness to her voice. And 9th generation member Ikuta Erina has a lower voice. We heard a smidgen of it when she sang a few seconds of Little Princess Pri during the auditions. And 9th generation members Sayashi Riho and Fukumura Mizuki have a very pleasant and skillful way of singing already. So the only bad soundind members will be Michishige Sayumi and Suzuki Kanon. As for cutesy sounding songs, I'm looking forward to them. Lately Momusu has been too sad and mature. This new young members mean they can be super happy and upbeat again.

    The line distribution is going to change dramatically. Since the main singer and popular members have left or are leaving. (Koharu, Eri, LinLin, Ai-chan.) They have to build up the other girl's popularity right now. Or Morning Musume will sell horrible when Risa, Sayumi, and Reina eventually leave. Ai does bring in a huge amount, but don't forget that Sayumi is just as popular if not more popular. And Riho was the fan favorite of the auditions. Added her will help the sales a bit. That is an excellent point about S/mileage. S/mileage is becoming a definite force in the idol world. Mostly because they get the best promotion and songs. I hope UFA/H!P will realize they need to promote Momusu the same way.

    Oh and I totally get the Kpop reference, I love SNSD. And Morning Musume really does need a break out hit. Obviously all it takes is one big one to generate popularity. Momusu also needs to be more like AKB48.

    I absolutely don't mind how much you wrote. This was a huge and shocking announcement, so I get having a lot of thoughts about this. :]

  8. @Traveling Girl: I feel your pain with Sayumi. But obviously Ai-chan was going to graduate first because she was in the group longer. Hopefully the idol gods will hear our prayers and have her have a double graduation with Reina. That way she never gets the chance to lead the group. :] I don't really think Risa needs more lines. She already gets most of the lines during singles, albums, and concerts. I want to see Aika get more lines! Riho and Mizuki are definitely going to get some lines. Maybe not at first, but main lines in their 3rd single at least. Really Riho reminds you of Ai? I get more of the Reina vibe from her. Just like Reina she already knew she was super talented and was a little arrogant because of it. I hope Riho acts more humble because if not I'l end up disliking her like I do with Reina.
    It's going to be completely refreshing without Ai. I've been waiting for this for a long time now. To me Morning Musume can only go up now. Hold 10th gen auditions shortly after Ai-chan leaves and they'll be back to being on top again. I have complete faith that they will survive. It will be tough at first, but ultimately they'll do it.

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