News that shocked the end of the year

Yuko

Well my dear readers it’s yet another new year. And yet another year with JM. This blog has had a lot of ups and downs, but it’s like home to me and I can’t really ever leave it. I want to wish everyone out there a Happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late, but I couldn’t give a proper greeting yesterday since I feel asleep before midnight because I woke up too early to watch the Kohaku stream. But I’m gonna shake off the New Year’s confetti and the triedness from yesterday and get to blogging.

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve and I honestly didn’t expect much from it. As an idol fan New Year’s means the same thing every year. Watching as much as the Kohaku stream as humanly possible and searching for a Johnny’s Countdown stream, usually to no avail. And this year we got something else to sweeten the pot, the Hello!Project Countdown Party. Though it only sweetened things slightly because it wasn’t televised. But the setlist alone and knowing that it’s getting a DVD release is all I need to be satisfied about it honestly.

But this year proved to not be more of the same, standard performances from your favorite idols or a setlist to die for with your favorite graduated idols and groups. No, this year we got surprising news with each event. Whether the news was good or bad, it was shocking to say the least.

The first bit of news came from Kohaku. And that was the graduation announcement of Oshima Yuko.

OshimaYuko

Now, I can honestly say I did not seeing this coming at all. I was completely blinded sided. I think everyone in the world watching Kohaku let out the same bewildered gasp, even if they don’t care about AKB48. Which I barely do. But even I had to step back and go, “Are they serious right now?” But graduation announcements always surprise me. Even if they have been members for years and it’s about time for them to graduate, I’m still surprised. I’m sure I’ll gasp when Sayumi announces her graduation from Morning Musume.

I honestly didn’t see Yuko graduating now. Everyone was expecting it to be Kojima Haruna next since she was the lead in Heart Ereki. But you have to laugh because everyone was convinced that Mariko was graduating after they changed the janken single to Ue Kara Mariko after she came in first place. But she obviously didn’t graduate for another 2 years almost. So, does that mean we have 2 more years with KojiHaru?

I honestly expected Yuko to last a few more years. Sure she’s 25 now, but Mariko graduated when she was 27. And she’s pretty much AKB48’s center. Who cares that Sasshi beat her this year. We’re talking about the girl that beat Acchan. So, I’m a little surprised by this. 

But I do wish Yuko all the best. It appear that she’ll become a full time actress after she graduates, like Acchan is now. I don’t know much about her acting skills, but people seem to think she’s a decent actress. 

The second bit of news came from the Hello!Project Countdown Party. And that news was Mitsui Aika has decided to study English abroad.

MitsuiAika

She did say that she is only taking a break from the entertainment business and when she returns she will remain a member of Hello!Project. Which seems odd because didn’t she switch from H!P to UFP a few months back? I’m pretty sure I remember hearing that.

As a pretty big fan of Aika I can say that I am saddened by this news. Even though she was hardly doing anything within H!P, I was still happy to see her cheerfully MCing or doing the odd performance here and there. And I am going to miss her in the time that she is gone.

Though I do see this being a happy thing in Aika’s life. It immediately reminds me of when Ogawa Makoto went to study abroad in Australia. In my opinion it always seemed like Makoto did that because she wasn’t sure what to do after graduating. Even though that was her reason for graduating in the first place, I always had that impression. I feel that’s the same reason Aika is going to study abroad now. It probably gives her plenty of time to relax and think about what she wants exactly after she comes back. Though that’s just how I feel.

I wonder if Aika realizes how difficult studying abroad really is? I remember when Makoto was talking about her experience she said she was very sad in the beginning. Since she spoke almost no English she couldn’t communicate with anyone and she would often cry because of that. It does make me a little sad that that’s what Aika is in for.

The 3rd announcement, and arguably the biggest news of all, was the announcement of a new Johnny’s group at the Countdown Concert.

Johnny's4West

This new group is called JOHNNY’S WEST4 and is made up of the following members: Nakama Junta, Kiriyama Akito, Shigeoka Daiki, and Kotaki Nozomu

NewGroup

Now, when I first heard this news I was blown away. And I was really excited for a new group. But once I saw who the members were I was hardly excited. This group is made up entirely of Kansai Juniors. And if you know anything about me I don’t follow the Kansai Juniors at all. Half because they never do anything so it’s nearly impossible to really keep up with them and half because pretty much all of the Kansai Juniors are hideous so I can’t be bothered. I will say that it was smart to have this group be made up of B.A.D. and 7 WEST members since they are literally the only relevant Kansai Juniors in Johnny’s. Everyone knows who B.A.D. and 7 WEST are. I mean, even I do without really keeping up with the Kansai Juniors.

A couple of months ago Johnny said something along the lines of, “Don’t you think it’s about time the Kansai Juniors debut?” And from that moment on I attempted to learn a bit more about them since it was pretty obvious they were going to debut any day now. But I could literally only find subbed things of B.A.D. and 7 WEST, and even those were pretty slim.

And I do admit slowly and slowly Shigeoka Daiki has been growing on me. He’s gone from that kid with an obnoxiously large mouth to someone who gets increasingly cuter every time I see him. Personality wise he seems like a pretty typical idol like and energetic so I suppose I could see myself becoming a fan.

I actually could only find things about Junta and Akito, I know absolutely nothing about Nozomu. Junta I’ve always been apprehensive about because he looks like a fish, but it’s good to know that he’s lackluster personality wise too. He seems just like a regular guy nothing really special about him. I do have to laugh that one of his nicknames seems to be JunJun. And it’s even funnier because he can speak a bit of Chinese because he lived in Taiwan because of his father’s work.

Akito is the member who stands out the most to me though. He seems to pretty full of energy and can talk easily. He also seems to be picked on a bunch which is always fun. And regardless he was pretty noisy and full of commotion while the other guys were pretty much silent. 

Akito

However I’ll always remember him as the guy with terrible taste.

I am a little annoyed that my favorite Tokyo Juniors aren’t being put into a new group. Especially since I think the guys who were in Bakaleya6 are about 10 times more popular than any of the Kansai Juniors. But since Daiki and Akito are in this group, maybe there’s hope for this group after all.

My thoughts on ManoEri’s graduation

A little over a week ago it was announced that Hello!Project’s sole soloist, Mano Erina would be graduating from Hello!Project. Mano Erina will graduate from Hello!Project on February 23, 2013 during H!P’s winter concerts. Erina stated her reason for graduating was so she could pursue her own potential and to broaden her abilities in singing and acting beyond what she has now.

This really is surprising news. I can honestly say I didn’t see it coming. I actually thought that ManoEri would stay with H!P for a while, because despite her singles not selling all that well she does get a decent amount of magazine work. I actually just recently said pretty much exactly that on H!O. I also said, “Because of that I doubt H!P would let her go anytime soon, so if she does graduate soon it will be because she wants to.” And of course I also said something about her only being 21 so she could be an idol for 4 or 5 more years. And I seriously must be cursed because everytime I say I don’t think an idol will graduate anytime soon, poof they announce their graduation. Weeks prior to Aika’s graduation I said on tumblr that people don’t realize Aika is only 19 and could still be an idol for 7 more years. And we all know how that went down.

I have to say, quite honestly, I am not that effected by ManoEri’s graduation because I wasn’t that big of a fan of hers. When I first heard the news I gasped and said, “Oh no.” That was honestly it. I’ve always had a love hate relationship with ManoEri, and I’ve had a lot of fun with her over the years. Saying that she looks like a rabbit and her singing voice sounds like nails on a chalkboard. All in good fun of course. But the truth is I did like her. I wasn’t and super huge fan, and I’m not going to claim to be because she’s graduating. I was always just a casual fan.

ManoEri started out in Ongaku Gatas which is another group I wasn’t that into. To be honest, I only listened to them because my beloved KonKon was a member. I remember thinking it was completely random to pull a memeber out of the group to go solo. But I gave her the benefit of doubt. However, when Mano Piano was released I was pretty much done. The chorus of that song was just so rough. Rough isn’t even a strong enough word. Let’s be honest, it was awful. After that I really didn’t listen to her solo stuff.

Once ManoEri went major I decided to give her another shot around the time her second single came out because I liked that it had a different sound and was more energetic. I actually liked it. But it still wasn’t enough for me. So I just became a fan who listened to her singles every once in a while.

It wasn’t until Genkimono de Ikou came out that I went, ok ManoEri is awesome. And after that I started to really like most of her past singles. But still just her singles. I think I’ve listened to her album songs a grand total of once. But I did start to follow her upcoming releases, which was more than I was doing before.

I’ve just realized that this entire post makes it seem like I don’t care at all she’s graduating. But that’s not the case. I do care, just not at the same level as someone like Aika or Koharu. I am still sad to see her go because I absolutely love Song For The Date, I think it was her best single ever in my opinion. I love the full on dance direction her music was going into with her past few singles and her More Friends Over album. It’s really a shame we won’t get to see what kinds of music she was going to make in the future. But since it’s August now I expect we’ll get 1 or 2 more singles and maybe even a final album before she graduates. I would have liked to here even more than that from her, but what are you gonna do?

I must also add, that losing an H!P girl is always a sad moment. Whether or not they are my favorites, there are always some reedeming quality about them. And with ManoEri it was her bright smile and who absolutely bubbly she was during concerts. I’m honestly going to miss that.

And as always, as a celebration to her, here are some of my favorite songs featuring ManoEri.

Aika is really leaving

A few hours ago it was announced that 8th generation member, Mistui Aika will be graduating from Morning Musume. Now that announcement alone came out of nowhere. But in even more shocking turn of events Mitsui Aika will not be graduating sometime in the near future, instead she will be graduating on May 18th same as Niigaki Risa. Mitsui Aika has said the reason for her graduating is because of recouring foot injuries. Even thought she seemed to be healed from her recent set back her doctor told her going back to her previous lifestyle could cause a relapse. So after talking it over with her mother she decided it was important to think about her health. She also said that she will remain a part of Hello!Project and will work with Tsunku when she fully recovers to see what she can do in the future. With Aika leaving this marks the last remaining member of the 8th gen leaving.

I don’t even know what to say right now. I am just at a loss for words. It should be no surprise to people who read my blog or follow me other places that I am a huge Aika fan. I am constantly praising her on my blog. Shouting the love, adoration, and devotion I have for her. Defending her on forums in the past. Recently venting my frustration and distain for Aika haters hating on her for almost no reason on tumblr. I mean, I love Aika. She is my absolute favorite current member of Morning Musume. And to say that I’m upset about Aika graduating is the understatement of the year. I am devastated. Just completely devastated. I am literally typing this post through the tears. And the tears are so heavy I can barely see if I’m typing the right letters.

Now, Aika is nowhere near the most popular or loved members in Morning Musume. So it might be hard for some of you to understand why I’m so upset. But I might remind you that every member in H!P that is the either the least popular or on the bottom tier is someone out there’s number 1. And when it comes to Aika that person is me. And to explain why we have to go all the way back to when I first became a Morning Musume fan.

It was back when Kanashimi Twilight just came out. And as I’ve said 1,000 times before I already knew of, and already was, a fan of Koharu. So watching the PV and the making of, the first person that stood out to me was Aika. I was drawn to her because of her famous smiling face, and back then to me she was completely shining. I very quickly found out her age and felt a kinship to her since we were nearly the same age. After becoming an even bigger fan of Morning Musume she came to represent everything I love about idols and she was the type of idols I love to support. I like to support 2 types of idols: the idols with big personalities and the the underdogs. Back then she was still new and people still were curious about her so in the beginning of becoming a fan she did get a decent amount of lines. No matter how short lived that was.

But when I got more and more into them I saw how Aika was never in the front, she was always shoved to the back in PVs, pictures, and concerts. And I also noticed how she didn’t seem to be a popular member within the group itself. Never really being surrounded by the members or having them being super friendly with her. She kept to her self a bit. Remember when Ai-chan said it was her goal to get to know Aika better in Alo-Hello? It was then that my love and attachment for Aika really grew. I saw an idol that was always doing their best. Actively trying to get more attention and support. Begging for a photobook. And being overshadowed. I saw the girl who cried during Haromoni@’s memory game because her round was hard to remember and she didn’t want to let the members down. I saw an idol who through everything never lost her bright and infectious smile. A lot of people saw Aika as having a sour personality. That she was bossy and that she thought highly of herself.

But I saw the good in Aika. The girl who to me seemed slightly lonely and aware of that fact that she wasn’t popular. I saw that Aika was one of the sweetest members. Really sweet and genuinely cared about the group itself and its members. She always remined me of Konno Asami in that aspect, which is another reason both of them are some of my all time favorite Morning Musume members. I saw the girl who was working through pain and injuries just to be part of the group she loved. And even now I can tell that graduating wasn’t an easy decision for her. You can tell she really wanted to be a member, which is why she’s been pushing through it all as long as she has. I also saw her as the idol who doted on and guided the new 9th and 10th gens.

I love Aika. I love idols in general. It might be silly to care for them so much that I’m crying over them graduating. It’s not like they are dying or something. But idols are very open. In the sense that idols are frequently on TV or writting in their blogs revealing practically everything about them and their day to day life. You watch them grow as a performer and as a person. You’re there through all the laughs and the tears. And that makes it feel like a frienship. And just like I say everytime an idol graduates, it feels like you’re losing a good friend.

And Aika was one of the most important and cherished idols to me. She might of been nothing for a lot of people. She was there for a lot of people to make fun of or call ugly or worthless. She was the easy target for jabs and snark. And that honestly doesn’t bother me. Because everyone has idols they don’t like. I know I do. But people also have to get that graduations are crushing events. It literally feels like my heart was ripped from my chest. I have to be honest with you I haven’t been this devestated since Koharu graduated. With Eri I was fine because she was a veteran and I had just recently stated to really become her fan. With LinLin I was too angry to be sad. But with Aika who I’ve been supporting for 5 years I feel the full force of the sadness and devestation of the graduation. Of her not happily singing and dancing to the songs I love. To not playfully being with the other Morning Musume members anymore. To never personally see her in a Morning Musume concert.

I really love Aika and all these years I really just wanted her to shine. I wanted her to get more popular and to get more lines. And recently that was happening for Aika. She was getting more lines, maybe not in the singles, but she was in concerts. And she was becoming more popular then she ever was before. Since day one I saw the potential in Aika. With her deep voice that wasn’t really common anymore for Morning Musume, I felt she could have really added to the songs and been something special. With her reserved and level-headed personality I saw a leader in the making. And her interactions with the 9th and 10th gen solidified her future leader position in my eyes. Even Yuko saw her potential. And I really did think Aika was going to pull through this. H!P went out of their way to show that Aika was still around, by having her randomly show up every so often when she was resting. And I admit when she showed up at the Mobekimasu release event at Yomiuri Land I teared up. I was so happy to see her because I missed her.

And I feel so completely upset that Aika doesn’t get her own graduation concert. I know it’s impossible with her curent situation. But it’s just much too suden. With graduations you usually get a few months to really cherish every last moment you have with them. And in their final single they usually get attention or at least a line. But in Renai Hunter it’s completely Risa owned and Aika gets nothing. Which makes no sense if you think about it because Tsunku always knows well in advance when members want to leave. And have you seen the setlist for the Ultra Smart concerts? Because Aika can’t dance she’s not in like over half of the songs. In her own graduation concert she’s not really singing. I get one final concert with Aika and she’s not even really in it. I can already tell there’s no way I can watch the concert. I can never bare to watch my favorite members graduation concert, and to this day I have never seen one. Not Koharu, not Eri/LinLin/JunJun, not KonKon, not any of my faves. And it’s sad, I really wanted to see 10th gens first Momusu concert.

Looking to the future right now is so grim. My favorite member in Morning Musume is leaving. Who do I have now in Morning Musume? I don’t like the remaining 6th gen members and the 9th and 10th gen are still so new I hardly know anything about them. I mean, I do have my favorites. But I’m nowhere near as attached to them as I am to Aika yet. It’s just impossible to be. I also hope H!P really does find something for Aika. Maybe put her in a group with Kenshuusei. Kinda like a V-U-DEN or Ongaku Gatas type thing. In my opinion we’re well overdue for a new Kenshuusei group anyway. Or they could make Aika a soloist. If the dancing is to much do what they did with ManoEri. ManoEri isn’t really the best dancer in H!P so all of the dancing she does in her PVs is pretty simple and she has backup dancers dancing more intensly in the back to make up for her lack of skills.

Let’s celebrate Aika one last time and listen to some of my favorite songs were Aika is prominent.

SUPER GiRLS first casualty: Eri to graduate

It was recently announced that SUPER GiRLS member Akita Eri will be graduating from the group. Eri will graduate on February 5th after the group’s Chouzetsu Shoujo 2012 Memorial concert. Eri is graduating to focus on her studies and will be entering a university after graduating high school.

I can honestly say I didn’t see this coming at all. I actually never see any surprises coming. Whenever anything unexpected happens all of my posts start off with, “I wasn’t expecting that.” XD As naive as it sounds I really didn’t see this coming. SUPER GiRLS is a fairly new idol group I didn’t expect for a member to be leaving so soon. I guess maybe we might be seeing a 2nd generation of SUPER GiRLS following suit soon. I would love to say that I doubt that would happen, because I really doubt it will. But I also thought the same thing about Passpo and look where they are now.
The one thing I can say about this is I am not really all that sad about Eri leaving. I know close to nothing about the members of SUPER GiRLS as fansubs are pretty much nowhere to be found featuring them. And since my knowledge of the group is extremely limited my favorites are based on the girls that stand out the most performing, and that’s honestly not Eri. She actually tends to fade in the background a lot. While I can’t say that I am going to miss her as an idol, I do wish her the best of luck in her studies.

Momusu down yet another member, Risa to graduate

It was announced at Hello!Project’s summer concert that 5th generation Morning Musume member, and current leader, Niigaki Risa will be graduating from Morning Musume and Hello!Project. She will be graduating at the end of Morning Musume’s spring tour, which wraps up on April 1st. After her graduation Risa intends to focus on acting in dramas as well as theater work.

I honestly don’t know what to say. When I first read that Risa was graduating my actual reaction was, “What. I was not expecting that at all.” And you know what? I honestly wasn’t. It seems everyone out there was waiting for and expecting this announcement. Call me stupid, but I seriously didn’t see Risa graduating until she absolutely had to. Risa is only 23 I thought we would honestly get about 2 more years from her and the 6th gen, considering how unstable the current line up is. But since this was Risa’s choice you can’t really go by what would be best for the group. I am really shocked by this, I obviously do not want Risa to leave the group. I don’t really say this enough in my blog, but Risa has always been one of my favorite members in Morning Musume. I really honestly love the girl. She seems to have so much love for Morning Musume, and she had to work extremely hard to be one of the main singer within the group. And because of that I have so much respect for her. I think Risa is incredibly charming, an all around great idol. Both her singing and performing are very powerful and incredible. To me Risa will always be the Korean loving, Disney freak, and reaction queen.

But you know through this all I am not really sad about this. For some reason I feel really calm and I pretty much accept that it’s her time to go. She’s been a member for 10 years, a front girl, and the leader, regardless of how briefly it was. You know, I saw this now, but no doubt I will be bawling through her graduation concert. If I even manage to get through it. Ai-chan wasn’t really my favorite, but there I was crying during the Suki na Senpai performance.
I do hope they give Risa a proper send off. People are already saying that Pyoko Pyoko Ultra is her graduation single, but I honestly don’t think it is. Pyoko Pyoko Ultra is being released January 25th, and Risa isn’t graduating until April 1st. They can totally squeeze out another single. When Ai-chan was graduating they squeezed out 3 singles and an album in 5 months.

This does leave me worried about Morning Musume’s future a bit. Graduations make me worried about any group. But the recent graduations and the next few graduations really worry me. Losing Ai-chan and Risa very close to one another is a big blow singing wise. They aren’t really any members in Morning Musume who can really take over the lines, or step up to the plate so to speak. None of the new members are really at a high enough singing level. Let’s be honest Zukki, Erina, Haruna can’t really sing at all. It will probably been a while before their voices are at a fairly decent level. Masaki and Ayumi had strong voices during the audition but they still need a bit of time to polish their voices. In Morning Musume we should ideally see Reina, Aika, Riho, Mizuki, and Haruka taking the main singing parts. While the other members have supporting roles. Depening on the song style Sayumi’s voice could work. Like it has in recent singles and album songs. But I doubt that will happen, it will probably just be more of shoving the most popular girls up front. While the good singers are over looked. Aika is more then capable to handle a decent amount of lines now. And don’t even get me statred on Mizuki. When she joined I thought she would immediately be a front girl because of her singing ability. Mizuki’s voice is a lot stronger than you’ve heard in Morning Musume. Go listen to Arigatou ~Ookiku Kansha~, epecially the live version, and tell me the girl’s voice isn’t great. But since Morning Musume is most likely taking a childish direction the songs are most likely going to be super high pitched, which would match the current member’s voices. And this also makes me think we’ll be seeing an 11th gen sooner than you think. I’d see the announcent could be as early as this fall.

But, anyway, good luck to Risa with her new career. It hurts to see her leave, but I do wish her the best. I look forwar to seeing her in a mess of dramas in the future.

Here’s a clip of Risa’s killing a song per usual.

And a clip that, no doubt, Risa has a blast filming.

Passpo loses it’s first member

It was recently announced that Passpo member Sakuma Kaho will be graduating from the group after the December 30th performance at Zepp Tokyo. Kaho is graduating the group because of a back injury she sustained this past summer that makes it difficult for her to dance.

I am incredibly sad that Mushu is graduating. Passpo has steadily become one of my favrite idol groups and I honestly didn’t expect anyone to leave already. Especially since they’ve just gone major. It’s also really sad because Kaho is one of my favorite members. It is hard to find that much information on Passpo in English but Kaho is one of the first girls that caught my eye. I was always drawn to her because of her unique look and because of that I think she’s one of the prettiest members. Hopefully Mushu can continue in the entertainment industry as a model, that seems to be one of her passions. It’s really bittersweet to see her go. I don’t want her to leave, but at the same time if she’s injured I just want her to be well. And she doesn’t want to be a struggling member going on in a half-assed rate. At least she got to release 2 albums, a slew of singles, and co-star in a movie. And I am happy that I got to watch her in Passpo’s live stream at Japan Expo. It wasn’t actually seeing her live, but it’s as close as I’ll ever get.

Would telling the truth be so awful?

Lying, absolutely everyone in the world does it. Some people on a daily basis. And if they tell you otherwise, well then it’s pretty obvious that they’re lying. However, there are certain people in this world that if they lie to you, you feel a high level of betrayal. When it comes to people you don’t know, it’s usually done by politicians or bankers. But I’m going to my cards on the table and say I feel just as betrayed when my favorite idol lies to me. Obviously idols tell tons of white lies on a daily basis. Mostly for the fan’s benefit to enhance the idol fantasy or overall experience. And most fans don’t mind. They’ll just eat up whatever their idol says. However, I think we can all agree that everyone hates the lies about graduating. If idols are leaving, or withdrawing, anyway, aren’t us fans at least entitled to an honest reason? Other then the vauge I need to continue my studies or the workload was too much.

The worst part is when the lie is so blatantly in your face obvious. Like saying you want to graduate to become a model, but then turn around and join Dream Morning Musume. But there’s no point in talking about past occurrences when there are fresh ones to complain about.

Like with Nishikido Ryo.

When Ryo announced his withdrawal from NEWS I was too devestated to think clearly let alone feel angry about it. But after I thought about it for a bit, it made absolutely zero sense. Being in 2 groups is too hard? First of all, since when? You’ve been doing it for 8 years now. And second of all, how in the world does Buono even exist then? I thought poor Ryo-chan was overworked because he had both NEWS and Kanjani8, he’s in dramas, and is extremely popular therefore in high demand. But then I started to think about the girls of Buono. If anyone is overworked it’s them. But for the sake of comparison let’s just say Suzuki Airi is extremely overworked. Buono has been around for 4 years, which is only half the spand of Kanjani8, and yet Airi is about 1,000 times more overworked.
In 2011 Airi was in 6 different concert tours. Hello!Project’s summer and winter concerts, C-ute’s spring concerts, C-ute’s and Berryz Koubou’s joint fall concert, and Buono’s winter and summer concerts. Airi was in 3 movies: Vampire Stories, Ousama Game, and Gomennasai. Released 2 DVDs: Kibun Tenkan and Natsu Karada. Released 2 photobooks: Meguru Haru and OASIS. Is on the show HelloPro!Time. (and Bijou Gaku technically, but it was only a couple months in 2011) Released 2 albums. A full C-ute album and a mini album with Buono. Released 8 singles. 3 with Buono, 3 with C-ute, 1 with C-ute and Berryz Koubou, and 1 with Mobekimasu. Not to mention the 2 digital singles as part of H!P cover song releases. She was also in a few magazine spreads.
Now, what has Ryo been up to this year that is too much for him to take? He released 4 singles. 4 with Kanjani8 and none with NEWS. He will be apart of exactly one concert tour this year, Kanjani8’s dome shows which haven’t even started yet. He’ll release 1 album with Kanjani8. He is in monthly magazine spreads as both NEWS and Kanjani8 in Myojo, Potato, Popolo, etc. He was in 1 drama, Zenkai Girl. He’s on 3 variety shows, all with Kanjani8 and none with NEWS: Boken Japan! Kanjani8 Map, Kanpani, and Jani-Ben.

All this really proves is that Airi deserves a medal. So how is it that a 17 year old girl can handle doing triple the work of a 26 year old man? It makes no sense. It’s pretty apparent that Ryo wanted out of NEWS for selfish reasons. Which is whatever, it’s his life. I honeslty would not have cared if he just said he didn’t want to be in NEWS anymore. Rather then pretending it’s because he’s too overworked. Because honestly he’s not. If NEWS was active at the same time, then possibly he would be. But since Kanjani8 was the only group active in 2011, how does that even make sense? And why wasn’t it too much for him in 2007 or 2008 when both groups were pretty active? Oh, the inconsistencies!

 Another noted liar is Maeda Yuuka.

Now, this isn’t really anything against her personally, it’s just a rant against the “continue my studies” excuse H!P girls have been using for years. And since Yuuka is the most recent person to use it, all my anger at everyone from the past is directed at her. For the time being of course. Because if she honestly would prefer to be a student over an idol, good for her. And if she truly doesn’t to, want not just plainly say it? She’s leaving the agency as well, so she now has zero ties to it. So, even if she says it’s becasue she finds wota to be disgusting, it won’t affect her. But the main reason they don’t honestly say it is because they still want to be idols or in the entertaiment industry, but just not in their group. Just like with Kusumi Koharu who’s now in Dream Morning Musume. Or Hayami Akari who is in the movie Cheerfully, and is in a comedy show. Which to me, honestly, it seems a bit vindictive.
Now, not being able to balance school life and idol life is absolutely 100% utter garbage. Johnny’s idols do it all the time. Johnny’s idols who are far more popular and would have a harder time of being treated as normal students. Koyama Keiichiro, Yamashita Tomohisa, and Inoo Kei are either curently going to or have graduated from Meiji University. Meiji is a pretty prestigious school. Which means most likely the work there is extremely difficult and there’s most likely a big work load. And if that’s still not good enough for you, what about Kato Shigeaki who graduated from law school? Do you realize just how difficult that is for a normal person, let alone for someone who is basically working full time? So, Shige can handle becoming a lawyer while still a NEWS member, but Yuuka can’t handle the entrance exams while in S/mileage? I find that incredibly hard to believe. For it to be true it would have to mean Johnny’s idol are super intelligent beings who never get tired. And H!P idols are frail, stupid little girls who dont know the meaning of time management. I find that incredibly hard to believe. Maybe there have been girls who legit can’t do it. But 6 or so girls have used this excuse. You’re telling me it’s true everytime? Give me a break.

 This whole post was extremely obvious, as EVERYONE knows the H!P “leave to continue my studies” reason is a complete lie. But I really needed to rant about this to get out all my pent-up frustration.

S/mileage loses another original member

It was just announced the S/mileage member Maeda Yuuka will be graduating fro S/mileage and Hello!Project on December 31st. Making Please Miniskirt Postwoman the last release to feature Yuukarin. Yuuka stated the reason for her departure is to focus on university entrance exams, and her studies in general.

I am in utter shock right now. I did not see this coming at all. After Saki left and the sub-member became official members, I thought S/mileage was in a good place now. That the line up would be stable for a while, and we could bask in the awesomeness that is the new S/mileage. Instead we are faced with heartbreak, and having to wait until 2012 for S/mileage’s next chapter to begin. Anyone who thinks the auditions was a one time thing, I think graduating the most popular member pretty much confirms that we’ll eventually see a 3rd gen for S/mileage.
I this is just completely sad news. I’ve liked Yuuka ever since I laid eyes on her in the Cinderella Complex PV. And since then I’ve always rooted for her success. And I do really like Yuuka as an idol. Even if her jokes to fall flat at times, and she’s hardly the reigning queen of puns. I just find Yuuka to be incredibly charming. She is also one of the most adorable idols I have ever seen. And beyond that she’s has my favorite voice in S/mileage, and one of my favorites in all of H!P. It’s adorable and powerful at the same time, it’s just perfect.
This graduation makes me worried for S/mileage as a whole now. Yuukarin was the most popular and pushed member. Who’s going to be the face now? Kanon? Meimi? This also makes me worried that any day now my beloved Kanyon will graduate. Even if Ayaka graduated soon, I’m not sure how I’d feel about a group of nothing but new members.

But regardless of anything Yuuka will be sorely missed, and I do wish her the best of luck on her entrance exams.

Ogawa Saki announces graduation

A completely shocking and unexpected announcement, that honestly feels like a punch to the stomach, was made today on S/mileage’s official website. The announcment was that the youngest member, Ogawa Saki, will be graduating from both S/mileage and Hello!Project. Ogawa Saki will be graduating on August 27th without an official graduation concert. Her official reason for leaving is wanting to be a normal junior high student.

I don’t even know what to say. I am honestly at a loss for words and am literally on the verge of tears. Saki was never my favorite member. That top spot always was, and always will be, reserved for Kanon. But lately I’ve been growing more and more attached to this cute and gluttonous girl. I have always loved Saki’s voice though. She’s in the top 2 singers in S/mileage. Her voice isn’t perfect, but you could tell that it had the potential to develope into something great.

And suddenly the S/mileage auditions make a lot more sense. When they were first announced I thought it was done merely because Tsunku saw the potential in them to become a long lasting, revolving door idol group like Morning Musume. But it turns out that Tsunku was freaking out when Saki asked to graduate and had hastily announced the auditions. Just by the fact that Tsunku used the word hastily, makes me think that auditions weren’t always S/mileage’s game plan. Or if they were, he hadn’t expected to hold until years down the road. Some bloggers out there had even said where there’s auditions, there’s graduations. But I just brushed those comments off as fans overanalyzing the situation more than I was. But in all honesty, I brushed them off because I didn’t want to think like that. S/mileage for me, since day one, has always been incredible. They haven’t really dissapointed me yet. Which is rare for an idol group.

I don’t know what to make of this. Saki wasn’t my absolute favorite member, but that doesn’t really make this announcment any less painful. It’s always sad to see an idol graduate. Like I’ve said before, it honestly feels like you’re losing a friend. This person doesn’t know you, but you know so much about them, so there’s a bond between you. Even if it is a one-sided bond. With Saki I just started to like her, so the bond wasn’t really that strong. But now that she’s leaving, it feels like I’ve wasted a lot of time. And it really makes me sad that I’ll never get the chance to become a bigger fan of hers. (And this oddly reminds me of aMa no Jaku. XD)

I do wonder how this announcment will affect the new members. Even though Saki told Tsunku she wanted to leave 1 month before the new member auditions, it still feels like there could be so some animosity towards the new members from Saki wota. For the mere fact that their beloved Sakitty is gone, and in her place are random newbies. That, or it could help the new members. With Saki leaving, I’m sure all the Saki wota have a void to fill. Maybe they’ll fill it with a new member.

But there an aspect I don’t like about this whole situation. Why isn’t she getting an official graduation concert? Did she want to leave so badly she couldn’t even handle one more S/mileage concert tour? Every member of H!P that graduates, who isn’t leaving because of a scandal, gets a graduation concert. Even Ishimura Maiha, who I think is seriously the only H!P member to legitimately leave to continue their studies, had a graduation concert. I’m not saying I think Saki was in a scandal, because I honestly don’t. But I just don’t understand why this was announced 3 days before the date of her graduation, without a proper send off event. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

But right now none of that matters. As the shock, sadness, and overall numbness kick in, I can only think about the happy times. Right now all I can think of is Saki crying when the members of S/mileage were announced. Her being full of energy after finishing her practice for the S/mileage and C-ute joint concert. Her always overeating. And most of all her smiling face. That apparently had been hiding feelings of longing for a normal life, but her smile never faltered. Which adds to the unexpectedness of this announcment. But, idols never really show that they are graduating in their faces. Even if their graduating was planned for months ahead.

A tearful goodbye to Elder Club

On February 1st, H!P’s Elder Club graduated and preformed their last concert as members of H!P. It was the largest H!P ever with 72 members in total. The end of Elder Club also marked the end of the song Love Machine. They will be retiring the song from further concerts. It really is sad to see all the members leave, everyone who made H!P what it is today.

This concert showed the return of several things. Tanpopo, Pucchi Moni, Sakura Gumi, and Otome Gumi. But most importantly it marked the return of Tsuji Nozomi. After a year and nine months she is finally back on stage. Tsuji said how she was nervous about dancing again, but after the music started it all came back to her. 

Yuko hands over H!P to Ai. Makin Ai-chan the oldest member at 22. I wonder how long it will be before Ai is too old and graduated from H!P completely?

Anyway, here’s a few pics from the concert.

Sayonara Elder Club

It was announced earlier today that H!P’s entire Elder Club would be graduating on March 31, 2009. They will only be graduating from Hello!Project and will continue to be apart of UFA. They will continue as artists rather than idols.

The initial shock has not warred off yet. I still can’t fully understand what has just happened. Can it still truly be called H!P without Nachhi or Kei? Or the 4th gen? Or without the mother of H!P herself, Nakazawa Yuuko? All the girls that made H!P rise to glory and made it what it is today are gone, just like that. Without a formal explanation. It’s just a big slap in the face to fans if you ask me. Basically saying “Hey we’re taking away all your idols and there’s nothing you can do about it! Explanations? If you’re lucky we’ll explain it clearly in April.” At least that’s how I take it. It looks like Hangry and Angry will be the first official group not part of H!P.

Well at least with every con there’s a pro. A few people have speculated that maybe they will form a new unit with UFA, an Elder!Project. Letting the respected members continue their career and be in the spotlight more. And letting Hello!Project continue to have the fresh and young feel.
What I think will happen is current solo artists and members will be able to leave UFA if the wish to or continue to remain a part of UFA but have more control over their career. I don’t think all member will become solo artist, it’s unclear who will be. So what happens to the rest of the members? I guess we’ll hopefully find out in passing months.

So here’s a full list of the graduating members.

Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari

Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto

Fujimoto Miki, Inaba Atsuko, Satoda Mai, Maeda Yuki

Saito Hitomi, Murata Megumi, Ohtani Masae, Shibata Ayumi

Miyoshi Erika, Matsuura Aya, Okada Yui

Korenaga Miki, Noto Arisa, Sengoku Minami, Sawada Yuri

And here’s a video to remember them by