How to Say Goodbye

December 16, 2010

As of today, Qian Lin, Li Chun and Kamei Eri have graduated from Morning Musume.

Having a favorite member graduate is, I assume, a bit like having a significant other break up with you without offering an explanation. You’re left gasping, hurting, and feeling other emotions that would be at home in a country song. For some time it seems as though the world must end. You find yourself asking questions that have no answer- “Did I do something wrong? Did I really show my appreciation for her while she was around? Was my glo-stick waving too understated?” You lose interest in the things which once brought you joy, be it mountain biking or dancing along to Mikan in your computer chair. Eventually, however, you are able pick yourself up and move on. You find someone new, someone who (hopefully) won’t doggone leave you all alone without no thing but your horse, your heart, and your lasso.*

So, what will moving on entail for those of us who are now reeling from the loss our girl, be it Jun, Lin or Eri? How will we move on? To whom will we move on? What does this departure mean for us as fans of Morning Musume?

I think that no one should have to move on from a significant loss on their own. Least of all we H!P fans. There are so many of us, and we’ve all lost a favorite before. I’ve gone through it once already (although not to this extent), with the loss of Yoshizawa Hitomi from Morning Musume back in 2007. Each graduation after that required a new recovery. Below are some of my tips on moving on from the graduation of a member. The list is specifically tailored for those who’ve lost their favorite member within a group, but the tips can apply to any moment of sadness over a loss within the J-pop world.

10 Ways to Deal with the Graduation of your Favorite:

1) Watch their graduation DVD.

This tip must seem a bit  duuuh-inducing, but when speaking online with a few other fans of Yossy, two mentioned not having watched her graduation DVD, for fear that it would be too saddening. While a graduation DVD is certainly saddening, it’s also healing. Being able to hear the last words from each of the members to your beloved, and watching her expression, is a moment of complete honesty between you and her.  It will be one of the most touching, emotional, and final things you’ll share with her as a member of H!P.

2. Get offline.

Immediately after watching her graduation DVD (or immediately after she graduates), turn off your computer and spend a little while alone. Your first instinct might be to rush to the online forums and talk with the other fans about how you feel, but I’d advise against doing so. Give your feelings time to develop on their own, without the input of others. Take a walk, lay on your bed listening to songs she’s sung, or just cry into a bowl of chocolate ice cream.

3)And then,  get online

These are your peeps. Talk to them.

Finished gathering your thoughts? Good. Now go share them! Wail with the others who know exactly how you feel, share predictions as to what she’ll be doing in the future, just find someone to talk to! Talking to others will help you feel less alone, and may also bring up other aspects or moments of your girl that you’ve somehow forgotten and can appreciate all over again.

4) Keep her voice on heavy rotation

I suppose you got the joke? Good. Now stop feeling smug. It wasn’t that tricky.

Create a playlist of all of her best performances/songs and watch or listen to it over and over again. Cry. Repeat.

5)Do not, by any means, become a stalker.

The person who took this picture of former C-utie Murakami Megumi has clearly NOT moved on. DO NOT DO AS THEY DO.

Do, however, pay attention to what your favorite does post-graduation. The H!O forum is a good place to start. Dedicated people will generally post with news of what their Idol is doing with her time, especially if she’s still active in the entertainment industry. This will help lessen the shock of separation. True, you’re not seeing your girl get picked on by Gaki anymore or hugged by Ai-chan, but seeing her on her own is a unique experience that may help you appreciate new facets of your favorite’s personality.

6) Don’t renounce the fandom.

So maybe you can’t BEAR to watch them perform Ame no Furanai without either of the Pandas, or will never look at MM the same without Kamei around to be completely bonkers. But you didn’t just love the group for that one girl, right? This is the perfect chance to remember what it was about the group that first got you hooked, to re-watch the old concerts, and to get to know the others members… Which leads me to the next bit of advice…

7) Pick a new favorite.

Maybe she doesn’t sing like Lin. Maybe she doesn’t steal bananas like Jun. Maybe she doesn’t laugh like Eri. But there’s always been one girl in the group who has caught your eye, a member to whom you’ve just not had the time to give your attention in between looking at your favorite girl’s photobooks. Well, now’s your chance. Don’t think of this as replacing the girl who graduated. That’s not possible. But don’t let your girl’s graduation stop you from learning to love someone else.

8. Do not be afraid to cry

However, try not to hyperventilate like poor Non here.

“I actually cried!” “OMG, I had to try so hard not to start bawling.” “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but…” Comments on graduation concerts tend to follow this vein. What in the world is so wrong with crying?  Your girl certainly will be. Who can forget that moment during Nacchi’s graduation when Nono simply could not speak for sobbing? The audience would periodically let out cries of “ganbare,” but she barely managed to force out a word or two, and had to be supported by Iida and Miki. The poor girl was so upset that she had to sit backstage during the next few songs.   She had everyone’s love and support the entire time; And you can bet that the fans never felt closer to Goto Maki than when she broke down and cried while singing “Namida no Hoshi.” Crying is healing, and sharing your tears with your favorite as she prepares to move on to the next stage in her life can be cathartic.

9. She’s moving on…

If this picture still makes you howl with despair, you really needed this post.

…So you should, too. Don’t dwell on her graduation for months on end. I don’t mean to say that you should forget all about her. I for one am still guilty of the occasional outburst of “I MISS MAIHA!” However, a graduation isn’t (quite) the end of the world. Don’t post on every single photo of hers with an “Oh god, why did she have to leave?!?” for years to come.** It’s just not healthy.

10. But don’t move on too soon

You don’t need to wake up the morning after her graduation and bounce out of bed, bright eyed and bushy-wotaed. Take your time to miss her. She was important to you, after all.

That wraps up my ten tips. Needless to say, there are more than ten ways to move on. I’d love to see some of your coping strategies. How did you feel when Koharu graduated? Were you around for the Konno-Ogawa double graduation? Did the mass Elder-club exodus make you want to tear your hair? How did you comfort yourself?

Graduations (and disbandings) are, without a doubt, the most dreaded moment within the J-pop fandom. One can hear wota groaning and wailing in the recordings of this most recent graduation announcement, and when the crowd was panned during Goto’s graduation from H!P, tears were flowing. People were shocked (and some are still reeling), when SweetS disbanded. But the graduation experience is part of being a fan. It is always sad, but it isn’t entirely a negative experience. When a favorite graduates we get to see her move on to the next phase of her life and career, and her absence allows us to explore the virtues and vices of the remaining girls. The experience is bitter, but we are left cleansed, and I like to think refreshed. It takes time, but in the end, a graduation is a thing to be celebrated as well as feared.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go listen to some of Linlin’s solos… and cry.

* Does it show that I never listen to country? I’m pretty sure that I’ve heard that all country songs must make reference to a pet, a heart (achey-breaky or otherwise) and/or being left by a loved one. This was the best I could do.

** Is it just me, or do MeguKami fans seem to do that more than anyone else? Is it the abrupt nature of her “graduation?” Or the fact that it reeks of un-surfaced scandal? I tend to pick on them a bit, so I’m sorry, MeguKami wota.


A bit of follow-up…

August 9, 2010

So to recap: Most of the WotaWorld is in tears, my fandom has been shaken to the core, Tsunku needs his testicles mangled by a cat…

And now we move on to the next biggest concern: What’s next?

I have a silly little theory that will probably not pan out. From the translations of Tsuntsun’s comments on the 9th gen audition website, it seems as though they’re only looking for one girl to add to the group.

Only adding one girl at this point would be ridiculous. 6 members? For Morning Musume? No way! This is the group that had to split in half in its hey-day, because there were just too many freakin’ members!

So, either all of the translations are wrong (quite possible, it’s tough to translate that quickly) or something else is in the works.

My guess is that Tsunku might be thinking of adding some Eggs to Morning Musume this time around. He must know that certain fans have always pined over Kikkawa Yuu’s lost MM opportunity, and the addition of Linlin opened the way for other Eggs to find their way into the Flagship of H!P.

So let’s look at a couple of likely Eggs, shall we?

Kikkawa Yuu

Everyone’s favorite MM-reject aside from Kashiwagi Yuki, and probably the most popular Egg. This girl has beauty, brains (no, I have no proof for that one, she just seems smart), talent, personality, and a fanbase. In short, she’s perfect. If Tsunku were putting Eggs into MM, there would only be one major obstacle in her way: Tsunku hates being wrong.  He seems like the type who would look at Yuu and say, “Well, I mean, yeah, she’d be a great addition to the group, but no is no, and I already said no to her once. So there. Nyah!”

I personally would love to see Yuu in Momusu.  She reminds me a bit of Iida Kaori’s more natural side. She’s so elegant and sweet.  She’d be a great counterpoint to Aika’s scrappyness and Reina’s annoyingness.

Kitahara Sayaka

Arguably the other most popular Egg due to her time in Milky Way*, Sayaka ought to be put into MM if only for the sake of her killer abs. She also happens to have a unique, cool personality. Now, I know Tsunku hates girls who show personality right off the bat, tending to go for little lumps of malleable clay, but I have always loved cool personalities (blame Yossy). I want a cool girl in MM!

Sekine Azusa

My personal favorite Egg, Forehead-girl! Think of the brow-themed merchandising possibilities! Think of the hats she could sell! Instead of mufflers in the winter, balaclavas! Instead of wristbands, headbands! Tsuntsun would be a fool to pass her up!

Okay. Joking aside, this girl reminds me of Linlin, so I want her in MM so badly that I can taste it. She’s so energetic and such a talented performer. She loses herself in the moment, just like Lin, and I just want to watch her grow and grow as a performer! Sekitty is an Egg that I don’t want to lose to obscurity.

Don’t pass this up, Tsunku! (Psst, if he feels like adding more than one Egg… look how great these two are together!)

Sengoku Minami

A lot of people say that Minami is freaking hot. I don’t think so. To me she seems completely average in terms of looks and talent. It’s because of that, however, that I think she might become a part of the 9th generation.

I can’t say it enough: Tsunku loves average girls. He loves that idea that they can grow and blossom from being average to being something great. What he doesn’t realize is that sometimes average girls are really just average. No growth potential. Maybe this applies to Minami, maybe it doesn’t. I’m not saying that Minami has no potential, I’m just saying that I don’t see it as much as a lot of other people do. So yeah, if Tsunku picks any Egg for MM, it might just be her, and if it is, I’ll be sad.

Hirano Tomomi

This would just be hilarious, and entirely like Tsunku. I have no idea why Tomomi is an Egg- I always feel like the point behind the Eggs is to find children so young that they have no choice but to be malleable and easy to shape into Super Idols. I’ve never heard Tomomi sing or seen her perform. In fact, the only video I can find of her is her introduction as an Egg, during which everyone in the audience freaked out when she announced how old she is. She is the least likely to become a part of MM’s 9th gen, but then, Tsunku likes surprising us.

Well, these are my main bets. Of course, there is one more person who might just end up in Morning Musume… Well, not really a person at all. More of a vicious killer and devourer of Idols. In fact, now that it’s come down to it, I can’t believe I didn’t realize it before: This freakish three-part graduation is all part of her plan. Her plan to infiltrate and devour Morning Musume!

That’s right…

MANO ERINAAAAAAAAA!

But Rebecca (you say)! She is an established soloist with a long career of boring and uninteresting singing under her belt!  She has released seven singles and an album! She is talented desu desu desu!

Well, reader, those arguments would be valid if not for the existence of a certain 6th generation member, that reluctant ex-soloist who had five singles and an album to her name (and legions of obsessive wota) when she was tossed into Morning Musume… that wonderful girl with the deep voice and raspy vibrato, Fujimoto Miki!

If Tsunku really wanted to drive home all of the hurt I feel after this awful graduation decision, he will put ManoEri into Morning Musume as a sort of homicidal Miki part 2. Fujimoto set a dangerous precedent. I’m sure she didn’t know that her addition to the group would pave the path for allowing in this Idol-eater, but it has, and we must now all brace ourselves for what is to come…

Ah well. That’s H!P.

* Am I the only one who thought that Anataboshi was a complete trainwreck? The entire blogsphere seemed to love it, but to me the song seemed rushed, with a bad backing track, and a messy, distracting PV.


Well then!

August 8, 2010

This past weekend I babysat for my adviser, taking care of his four (count ’em! Four!) grandchildren, all aged 4 or under. Every night I was too exhausted from running after naked toddlers or finding blankies to do anything other than fall into bed. As a result, I hadn’t checked for news from the Wonderful World of J-pop for three days. I logged on today, my final day of caring for the Little Monsters, not expecting to find much news.

I went to Hello!Online. Saw the same boring post about the MM girls’ lucky numbers. Whatever. Nothing new–

Oh, wait, what’s that over on the twitter feed? Hm, can’t be anything too major…

What?

WHAT?

WHAT?!

You know how older people always remember where they were when World War II ended or man landed on the Moon? I think I’m going to be the crazy old person who remembers literally falling off of her chair when she read that three members, including her first and second favorites, would be graduating from Morning Musume.

Man…

I’ve always suspected that Kamei might be the next one to graduate, but I can’t understand the way that the Pandas were tacked on. To be honest, this reminds me of when Makoto graduated- instead of being given a real graduation concert, she “shared” Konno’s. It hardly seems fair to the girl or to the fans. Let’s hope that when it comes time for them to graduate, each girl is truly honored.

I’m feeling kind of numb about this right now. The thing that scares me the most is, of course, Lin’s future. When she was in Morning Musume, I knew that she was secure. Even more than that, I had some “guidance” when it came to being a fan of hers. I know about Japan. I feel familiar with it from having spent so much time learning about its culture. I know how to be a H!P fan, where to go to find translations of Lin’s videos, where to find pictures of her, who to talk to to find out more about her. The idea that Lin is going back to China to do who knows what is scary for me as a fan. I’m afraid of not being able to be a fan of Lin as a member of H!P, because I’m not sure how to be a fan in any other way.

It’s just frightening. I always thought that Lin would be in Momusu for at least another year. If she had just stayed for another year, I could have gone to see her in Japan.

I’m sorry that this post isn’t very coherent. I’m just not sure what to feel yet.

I just always thought that I’d have the chance to get to see her.

A quick edit because someone asked me to comment a little more on my feelings about the other two:

Like I mentioned above, I thought that Kamei might be the one to go after Koharu. There was a rumor going around a while back that she would announce her graduation, and even though it ended up being just that, a rumor, I have always felt that there must have been some grain of truth in it. I adore Kamei, but I think she’s reached her peak within the group. She couldn’t possibly become any sexier, funnier, more talented. She needs to leave in order to grow. I think that her presence in the entertainment industry hasn’t ended. My guess is that after taking care of her health, we’ll see her again. Momusu will be a less gorgeous group without her.

As for Junjun, my thoughts of her are drowned out by my cares for the other two. She started out as a favorite of mine, but I eventually lost interest. Still, she’s a sweet girl with a pleasantly combative personality. I’d have liked to see her stay longer if only because she was so feisty. Plus, of course, she’s entrancingly pretty.


But–!

September 20, 2009

Say what?!

Koharu’s graduating?

WTF? But… But I just started loving her! T_T Much like Sayumi and Linlin, my feelings for Koharu started off as less than positive- in fact, I couldn’t stand her. But like the aforementioned two, something in Koharu began to win me over, and at the time of writing this I consider her one the most attractive girls among the current members, not to mention entertaining and, yes, talented.

The more I think about this, the less of my original shock (My initial reaction was to stage-whisper “What the fuck?!” over and over while I read the Hello!Online post) I feel. I feel like we’ve all had it too good for too long- there’s no way that we could have kept this amazing line-up for any longer than we already have. I feel like we’re actually pretty lucky to have got off with losing only Kusumi in all of this time.

Actually, Kusumi is the one girl that has the best prospects for a career once she leaves H!P. Although I think that she could have still grown within H!P, it’s very clear that she no longer needs H!P to help define her as a star. When she was younger she was content to just sit and be cute. She didn’t really exude any overwhelming feeling aside from newbiness. Slowly she began exhibiting that over-the-top hyperness that made most of us wonder if she was on crack. To me, that seemed like a desperate grab for attention, an attempt to stand out amongst the rest of the members that just wasn’t hitting the right note. Nowadays she’s begun to exude a confident, almost refined aura. No, she hasn’t lost all of that crackheadedness, but she knows where and when to unleash it. That’s something only a really good performer knows how to do. Such versatility will help her succeed in whatever she wants to do once she’s out of H!P, as will her youth and beauty.

Hello!Project seems to know what they’re losing on this one. Tsunku mentioned wanting to give Koharu a solo career, but it seems that she’s having none of it. Like Erika, she wants to become a model, something that is certainly possible for someone of her beauty (not to mention height).

I’m not going to wish Kusumi luck- but it’s not that I don’t want her to do well. I just know that she’ll do well regardless of what anyone says.


I’m no Pengiedamus, but…

August 2, 2009

Ume in a blue shirt

In this post, I predicted (somewhat lightheartedly) that Erika would at some point decide to give professional modeling a try. For those who don’t want to click the link (Why don’t you? What’s your problem? Do you have some form of racism against links? Are you linkcist?! How do you play Legend of Zelda, huh?!), here’s the exact quote:

“- Yurina would call up her friend Erika and tell her how much fun modeling is. Erika gives it a try.”

So today after eating some delicious chocolate cake and looking in my local paper to see if anyone is giving away a set of the Encyclopaedia Brittanica (no luck, although someone was advertising “4 free hens and cock”), I turned on the computer,  went to Hello!Online, and what should I see but a brief article stating that Umeda Erika would be leaving C-ute to embark on a modeling career.

Damn. I hate being right about stuff like this.

I’m not exactly surprised. Erika never exactly fit in with C-ute. She was like a sexy giraffe amongst a herd of adorable zebras, or something. But still, I’m pretty upset.

Despite my disappointment, this brings up some truly interesting thoughts about H!P the likes of which I haven’t had  in a long time. I’m going to discuss them here, and I’m going to start by comparing H!P and AKB48. Groan if you’d like, but I find this sort of comparison endlessly fascinating and, as this is my blog, will feel free indulge myself a bit. 🙂

akbbaby(Look at all those cute girls whose names I don’t know or refuse to commit to memory…)

I’m not the best fan of AKB48- In fact, the most I can say for myself is that I love all Asian idols to some extent, and AKB48 are thus on my radar. I read news about them with a kind of detached, fuzzy amazement. When I hear that three of the members are forming a group to promote nattou, read the daunting lists of TV shows that feature AKB48 members in prominent roles, or see that yet another AKB48 girl has become a successful model, I never thought too much about it. As far as I was concerned, that was just something that came with being part of AKB48, along with the songs about lesbians and prostitution- sure, it was great, but nothing to think too hard about. I honestly didn’t wonder why members of H!P weren’t doing the same things (minus the S&M themed songs). Then this happened, and I wonder how I couldn’t have wondered that.

ume(Pictures like this give me hope for her modeling career. Handled correctly, she’s stunning).

Say you are a teenaged girl in a H!P-managed idol group. Unless your name is Sugaya Risako you are probably charming and have at least some amount of talent. You perform in concerts, have handshake events occasionally, and go on variety shows with the rest of your group whenever you have a new single coming out.  Every once in a great while you might be allowed a solo photoshoot in a magazine filled with nearly identical photoshoots of other idols. If you’re not one of those bestowed with the elusive title of “Popular,” you might never appear solo in any magazine or on any TV show. That’s it- that’s the extent of your activities.

Imagine now that you turn on the TV on your day off. On every other channel you see the smiling face of a member of AKB48. You open magazines other than idol magazines aimed at single men and see an AKB48er posing in the latest designs from Paris.

You know that you can do more. You have interests- acting, modeling, advertisement. But for whatever reason, your management doesn’t allow you to do any of it. How infuriating must that be, never to be allowed to stretch out and find out the limits of your own potential? Eventually, you make the difficult choice: To find out what you’re capable of, you must leave the protection of H!P and head out on your own. Suddenly everything is in jeopardy. You’ve no idea whether or not you’ll make it outside of H!P. At least in your group you had some form of security in the knowledge that the other members were there with you. Now you’re on your own.

ume3

Members of AKB48 don’t need to worry about such things. They can go on and initiate modeling or acting careers while having AKB48 to fall back on if things don’t work out. This is a brilliant move on the part of those in charge of AKB48. When Shinoda Mariko goes to America to expand on her modeling career (It was she that did that, right?), that benefits AKB48 by generating positive publicity. What does H!P do that even begins to measure up to such accomplishments? A few anime roles, and Takahashi’s lone role in a drama that didn’t lead to a thing. Currently the only way a H!P member can expand her boundaries within the entertainment/advertisement industry is by graduating. If H!P doesn’t start changing their policies about such things very soon, they’re going to begin losing girls left and right. Erika may simply be the first in an growing pandemic of girls taking the plunge.

That’s not to say that H!P will be doomed for sure if they don’t change their ways. H!P has one thing that AKB48 doesn’t- a history of excellence (I’m pretty sure that that was my middle school’s motto…). But in the youth-driven idol industry, that will only get a group so far. The current incarnation of H!P is doing alright, all things considered. My point is simply that they could be doing so much more, so much better. The girls have the looks and the talent. Now all they need is the chance.

ume4(Just… wow. I’m secretly giddy about her modeling career).

(PS:

Happy birthday to Yurina and I- We’re 16!)


Whatwhatwhatwhat?!?!

October 19, 2008

So, so I was reading a thread at JPH!P, a Fujimoto Miki thread, when there was a mention of a “mass graduation.”

What.

?

So I went over to Hello! Online.

What?!?

Even Yossy? I’m so confused right now! Just the other day I was wondering to myself how I’d react if Yossy would graduate. I didn’t think I’d be this numb. What’s going to happen to Hangry and Angry? I feel sick…

It says that they’ll still continue their duties after they graduate, just not within H!P, so… maybe there’s no need for me to react this way. But I still feel like this could be really bad.

Being practical, I know that this is a good step for these young women. H!P is offering them nothing right now, and hasn’t for quite a while. H!P has always been about the new, younger girls. These ladies are truly talented, from Yuko down to Yui, and H!P isn’t utilizing that at all. Every single one of them deserves more than what H!P can give them. And on the other hand, without all of those “unused” acts, H!P will be now be able to put all of its attention (and money) on the Big Three, but…

That said… I just… can’t really understand what’s going on right now. So… pictures. Of everyone. I  can’t do it all in one post, so I’ll break it down into a few posts over a few days.

Nakazawa Yuko has always been a symbol of strength, to me. She was this sort of soothing idea, an older woman looking after the rest of H!P. H!P’s mother, if you will. Now that she’s gone, is Takitty going to become the leader of H!P? Because that’s just full of fail.

Iida I’m not too upset about. She was already basically gone, right? At least she has her husband and child with her, whereas some of these girls will have… what? But still, I like Iida, and I always had this tiny hope that she’d come back.

This isn’t right. Nacchi is H!P. What about her new single?! She’s NATSUMI FREAKING ABE, for Gaki’s sake! Something’s just not right about this.

Without Kei, who will… uh… terrify people by winking?! I love Kei. I love that she can sing and play all sorts of instruments. Listen to her performance of “The Rose,” and all of those times she played the saxophone at a recent Nacchi concert, and you’ll understand.

What. The. Fuck. Mari is the perfect Idol. I named my blog after one of her Uta Doki performances, damnit! She can zoom from super sexy photobook goddess to adorable leader of Mini Moni in no time flat. I adore her (I haven’t talked about her a lot yet, but that’s because I always assumed that there’d be time…) That said, Mari seems to be one of the girls who is all set to get out. She’s got a couple of her own TV shows and is often in the public eye. I assume that she, along with most of the other girls, will still stay close to UFA, just not in H!P.

I don’t really like Rika, but she is essential to IshiYoshi, right? And she’s popular, isn’t she? What about Ongaku Gatas?! Don’t they have a concert lined up soon?

That’s the end of the first post, because I started crying when I realized that I’m going to have to try to organize my thoughts about Yossy next.  I just re-visited H!O, and it seems that they’ll be within H!P until the end of March? That’s still a little while, so… let’s cherish them while we still can!


When they leave us…

February 10, 2008

The first h!p graduation that really affected me was Konno Asami’s in the summer of 2006. I was just beginning to pay attention to individual members, and it was adorable Konno who stood out. So because I realized that she would be leaving h!p and I could no longer watch her grow and perform, it was a very personal graduation for me. After seeing a few more graduation concerts (Ishimura Maiha’s, Nono and Aibon’s and Iida Kaori’s), I came to think of graduations as sources of only negative feelings.

Thus when my all-time h!p favorite (Yossy) announced that she was graduating from Morning Musume, I was sure that nothing good could come of it. After all, I reasoned to myself, wasn’t Yossy the only member of Morning Musume I liked? Could I still listen to Momusu without my favorite member’s presence? I was already preparing to forget about Morning Musume.

However, something amazing happened. Instead of making me lose all interest in the group, Yossy’s graduation helped me to see the potential and talents of other members. Before her graduation, they were all eclipsed by Yossy’s presence and I could see only her. I had no second favorite within the group and couldn’t even tell most of their voices apart. But when Yoshizawa graduated, the other girls presented themselves to me in a whole different light. The first person about whom my opinion changed was Kamei Eri.

kamei-days.jpg

Before Yossy’s graduation Kamei was one of the few current members to have caught my attention at all. This was because I had read that she used to have a shy character, then underwent a transformation of sorts and become more social and such. That sort of change appealed to me. However, she didn’t stand out to me physically in any sense; I didn’t think she had much presence within the group and quickly disregarded her to go fangirl over some Yossy performances. Now? She’s my favorite current member, and perhaps my 3rd favorite member of H!P, overall. I would never have discovered just how much I love this girl had Yoshizawa not graduated when she did (Oh, and Eri’s Maple photobook probably helped a bit, too).

sayummy-san.jpg

Michishige Sayumi was the next girl about whom my opinion changed upon Yossy’s graduation. Before, I held little opinion on Sayu beyond “Oh, she can’t sing very well and thus she annoys me. Plus I don’t know why everyone says she’s so cute”. Now that there’s no Yossy around to overshadow her, Sayu has suddenly taken on another dimension in my eyes: She’s become sexy (Sayumi is secretly the sexiest member of Morning musume). I’ve even started liking her singing voice- to a degree. And now I can see why everyone thinks she’s so cute: She really is!

reina17.jpg

Reina may be the only member to have not benefited in my mind when Yossy left. I had to take notice of Reina now that Yossy had left, since she began to be pushed to the front more. And I didn’t like what I saw. I could devote a whole page towards figuring out exactly what it is about Reina that grates on me so much- her apparent dropping of the Yanki personality, her constant winking (I’m starting to worry that she should see a doctor about it) or just her voice when she tries to make it sound all cutesy- but that is perhaps the subject of another post.

In short? I’ve come to realize that the graduation of a member- whether they be your favorite, the one you never noticed, or the member you love to hate- is not nessecarily a bad thing. In my case, it was a very, very good thing indeed.