Let’s wrap up the week in H!P Twitter, or at least my H!P Twitter feed. Lots of talk about future graduation.
Impending Morning Musume graduations isn’t something that any MM/H!P fan hasn’t thought about for a while now. In fact, it gets brought up every time a different group graduates a member, but Anna floats a unique possibility: a change in MM leadership following the graduation of multiple members not named Mizuki Fukumura. In an interview with Fuku, Tsunku himself said he’d like to see her pass leadership on to a junior member while staying in MM into her 40s (bro…) It’s an interesting proposition, but I think it’s fraught with undesirable consequences.
The most obvious possible issue is the new leader feeling constrained by the longest-serving former leader still hanging around as a “normal” member. We often hear stories of new leaders contacting former leaders asking for advice, and the answer is always the same: you have to be yourself, trust your instincts and find your own way. It’s the correct answer, but it’s a lot easier to offer — and to act on — from a distance. Maybe it could work out, but it would definitely take time, because Fuku would never be seen as just-another-member by anyone. Her words and opinions would carry more weight than others based on her tenure and legacy. All of this would be unfair to the new leader, who should be feel unconstrained to set the tone going forward as she sees fit.
No surprises here, either, although seeing Kanatomo speak about it so openly does make it more immediate and real for fans. Sayuki’s departure was the turning point for me as regards J=J’s transformation into a different group, so Tomoko graduating now feels right to me. I’d probably be more bummed if J=J had not become a generational group and Karin or Sayuki were still around, but mid-20s seems like the right time for an idol to leave a group that adds new teens every couple of years. At some point, though, I’d love to see an idol group with a set lineup (like Melon Kinenbi, Berryz Koubou, C-ute, etc) make it to their 30s, where their sound and image could change with the members.
CHAOSPIPIS is a thing that somehow flew under my radar, and aside from the current membership/name news, I’m really intrigued by what a group made up of graduated idols might mean for the idol game going forward. If this act is successful — and maybe even if they aren’t — I wouldn’t be shocked to see this Super Group formula copied. Aside from being a great way for an idol to extend her career, it offers producers the opportunity to trade on successful idol brands and have a built-in audience from day one.
Yes, I offer content on Twitter, too, so give a brother a follow! I’ve watched the Team Hana performace a few times now, and it’s my favorite of the four mini-groups from the Haru “Kachou Fuugetsu” tour. The setlist is great, and Team Hana features the strongest lineup of the four, despite including only one real heavy hitter in Moe Kamikokuryo. Their overall strength derives from the fact that Reina Yokoyama is the only legit poor singer in the bunch, and even she had a pretty good night when this was recorded, so it’s a solid crew from top to bottom. Letting Rei Inoue MC for a group that counted H!P Leader Fukumura among its members was an interesting move, but in keeping with the push she’s been given since joining Juice=Juice. Cold-opening with Kobushi Factory’s “Sakura Night Fever” was a thoughtful touch, and further acknowledgment of the importance that Up-Front puts in Rei.
Let’s talk about this performance of “Nobishiro ~Beyond the World~” though. The group harmonies caught me by surprise to the point where I wasn’t sure if they were part of the backing track at first, but it became obvious they weren’t pretty quickly, mainly because they’re not perfect. That’s okay, though — we don’t need (some would say don’t want) our idols to be Destiny’s Child or even Little Glee Monster, and Team Hana’s harmonies were pretty good (as were Team Tori’s in their performance of the same song), so why don’t H!P groups harmonize more at live shows? You can tell the girls are in to it, and if they did it more often, they’d become even better at it. As a whole, H!P is pretty solid vocally for an idol agency, and most of the poor singers are relegated to two groups (MM and TF). This is something I’d love to see more of from all of the groups, but especially J=J, Angerme and Beyooooonds. I’ve never understood why J=J, in particular, never incorporated harmonies to a larger degree, because they’ve always had the horses to pull it off. Speaking of which…
On a scale of 1 to 5, my Salt Level is still SALT 5. Speaking of which…
I had NO idea this sewer went so deep. I thought they were just a run-of-the-mill industry couple, and that they were likely still together. So Sayuki’s run in J=J was torpedoed by some D-bag acoustic-guitar cover-artist player? Yeah, someone in MM needs to go all Tanya Harding on this mo-fo.