The H!P Kids Are Alright 9: Ray

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Celestia makes an excellent point about how desperate it may seem to re-unite the graduated Musumes… on the other hand, that didn’t seem to come to mind when they got together on Kouhaku to reprise “Love Machine” a couple years back. If anything, there was a thrill in seeing Morning Musume as it “should” be in the popular imagination. Once you admit you’re a nostalgia act and you’re back together under that premise, the reasons you first left may not be as important. Certainly, the Pixies weren’t begrudged their reunion, nor were Pink Lady – fans were just excited at the prospect of more of the same.

As for the seniority aspect of the H!P Kids versus newer members of Morning Musume, I find myself leaning more towards the gang model Cat posed in the comments. Morning Musume as an entity still holds more pull than C-ute or Berryz… and how long that will last seems to be an implicit concern of this debate. The more I think of it, though, the more it does seem to me that Momusu’s legend will always be a trump card.

But looking five, ten years down the road, where does the rotating nature of Morning Musume leave it in comparison to C-ute and Berryz? Will the luster of Momusu be the same, will the reputation still matter, when it’s a line-up of eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth gen? If nobody in the line-up were around for the glory days of “Resonant Blue” – or born before “Love Machine” – will the group be seen differently? If C-ute and Berryz are still around, will their stability matter or will they just be the latest variant on Melon Kinenbi?

Which brings up a whole other line of thinking, as is my wont. If the H!P Kids units will always be in the shadow of Morning Musume, no matter the sales, no matter the line-up, what will it take to remove them from such a position?

I can think of two things.

First, one of those units will have a huge hit on the level of Momusu’s Golden Age. C-ute won a major award at the end of last year, Berryz just had the highest-selling first week sales for an H!P Kids unit. So it’s not outside the realm of possibility that a new “Love Machine” or “Happy Summer Wedding” can occur. However, the Japanese music scene isn’t going for girl groups in a major way the way they did ten years ago.

Second, they can jump ship to TNX or NGP, and no longer be part of H!P. Which also seems highly unlikely, but for some reason strikes me as more reasonable than the monster hit scenario. No longer being a part of H!P proper would mean they won’t associate as much (if at all) with those other idols, the Eggs can take over the backup roles the Kids have played up to now, and the Kids units can even explore different styles and sounds with a freer hand. (Under the auspices of their management, of course.) Also, Tsunku could more believably diversify his portfolio of talent with such a change and make TNX / NGP more believable contenders.

Of course, it may also be that the Kids units won’t last, as Celestia suggests. But if that’s the case, then what are we looking at for these girls? New units? Solo careers? Work in other corners of the geinou-verse? “Do you want fries with that order, sir?” The Kids have been in the idol game since before puberty, and I think most will want to remain in the public eye one way or another. So just for laughs, how do you guys see the end of C-ute and Berryz, and what would happen to these young idols afterwards?

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One Response to “The H!P Kids Are Alright 9: Ray”
  1. I can’t conceive of looking, say, 10 years down the road. In my mind, every day these groups continue to hold together, right now, should be held precious. The whole thing could collapse much more quickly than the 10 years it took to build the Morning Musume/Hello Project franchise.

    C-ute and Berryz are hot right now, but that simply can’t last … or can it? The formation of Buono! is indicative that some of these kids — Miyabi, Suzuki and Momoko in particular — might have a long-term future. For the rest, there are simply no guarantees. The music marketplace is always morphing.

    What will happen to the young idols? They will probably fold right into Japanese society as have Nono and Kaori — sans their childhood, which they will have sacrificed to us, forever preserved in digital glory.

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