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.

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.