Abandon-Ship

Since Morning Musume and AKB48 are going through some graduations the idea of loyalty to one’s group has come up with some people pledging to stop following whatever respective group(s) they support once their favorite member leaves. What’s the point if what interests you goes away right?

With that in mind the staff have been asked the following:

Would you quit supporting a group if your favorite member(s) bailed? Have you done it before? Do you think that those who practice this are justified in their actions or are they taking things too seriously?

As always, the opinions in this article are those of the respective participants and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff who did not participate. If you disagree please be prepared with a mature, productive response that promotes healthy discussion. Otherwise take a nice cup of STFU and go away.

Kuro

I think you shouldn’t quit supporting them despite all the changes and if you do quit you don’t understand life in general. For me this is unique because I will lose my current favorite member (Niigaki Risa) soon enough but I have begun to love the newer generations so in a way you want to adjust to change yet hold onto the favorites from the past.

Fans should be open at least and if you do bail on your favorite groups, you can never love what the group actually provides overall.

Chiima

I have not yet quit on a group when a member that I like leaves – it didn’t happen when Saki left S/mileage, and it didn’t happen when Yuuka bailed either. The only real reason I am giving up on S/mileage itself is because the group has just lost that unique spark they used to have since the addition of the newbs.

In all honesty, if a person bails on a group they apparently support because the member they like leaves, then I feel that they were never real fans of that group to begin with. In general, I like groups because of their performances and music – the members themselves and how they entertain me is just an added bonus, and it is nice to fangirl over them.

But I honestly can’t say much else on the matter – I am not in the same mindset as a person who will bail on a group because a girl or guy they like suddenly jumps ship. If I was like them, I would probably understand more.

But, as a fan who continues to like groups regardless of whether a member leaves, I do find it to be a bit unjust and unfair on the group and the other members themselves. It isn’t just that one member that you like who is important, but every member. One person does not create that one group.

Hiro

Being fairly new to idol fandom, I haven’t been put in a situation where my favorite member has left a group, but I don’t see myself bailing if my favorite member leaves. I would only jump ship if a group or act becomes completely uninteresting to me, and it would take a lot for that to happen.

I would not only have to dislike their music releases, but I’d also have to be totally uninterested in seeing them appear on TV shows or other projects for a group to completely fall off my radar. That’s a tough triple crown to get me to lose interest in you: music fail, appearance/interview fail, and talento fail.

Let’s take Hello! Project as an example. For about a year, the majority of their musical releases have not been to my liking. Despite that, I am still interested enough in the H!P roster to watch their guest shots on music shows, or their own HelloPro! TIME infomercials. I even subjected myself to all 12 episodes of Suugaku Joshi Gakuen. That show was a very tough watch, and whoever came up with Tanaka Reina’s/Nina’s “Sine! Cosine! Mentaiko!” catchphrase should be blacklisted from writing dramas or movies forever.

The point is that my overall interest level in H!P is very low at the moment, but yet I give them a fighting chance. Even if my favorite members Okai Chisato and Shimizu Saki graduate, fall victim to mysterious bunion disorders, or get caught smoking during long onsen vacations with 40-year old men not named Hiro, I will still give H!P some attention. I may not jump on things immediately like I do with Akimoto-produced groups, but I definitely won’t ignore them like I do with western music acts.

I believe that if you invest too much into a single member of an idol group, you set yourself up for disappointment. Idols have a similar average shelf life as a professional American football running back, and that is not too many years. While it is natural to have a favorite member, try to enjoy the entire group and their overall appeal, and do so with the understanding that your favorite member will not be around forever.

Greg

I’ll admit it I’ve done this and I’m not ashamed to say it. When Yuuka decided to “pursue educational endeavours” that was it for me with S/Mileage. I put up with the unnecessary 2nd generation and the shoddy output thereafter but when she left that was the last straw.

Does that make me not a real fan as Chiima mentioned? Probably. Or maybe it made me resistant to change. I mean I liked S/Mileage as the 4 member unit that infected many people’s hearts with their weirdness, cuteness and super happy songs.

But now? The group is barely a blip on my radar. Looking back I don’t believe I have ever done anything like that until Yuuka. Normally when I get into artists unknown to me it’s never from the beginning. I’m always jumping in when they’re already somewhat established or past their prime.

It’s not only like that with idols but with many of the R&B and Hip-Hop groups that were the foundation of my musical upbringing. I didn’t get into The Fugees until their Score album and I’m sure that if Lauryn Hill or Wyclef Jean left at the height of the group’s popularity I would have followed one or both of them out of the exit.

In the end it’s the musical output of whoever I’m listening to that counts. Using S/Mileage as an example again. They’re really gone down hill musically so it’s not just the departure of my favorite member that is contributing to me jumping off the bandwagon. I’m very much the same with a lot of J-Pop artists I follow.

If you don’t bring your A-game each time why am I wasting my time and effort listening to a half-baked and half-assed release? That is especially true with groups if departed members were a long time cornerstone or were the heart, soul and probably the talent.

Everyone has their own personal reasons for not liking a group anymore. I won’t knock anyone as long as those reasons are somewhat valid and can be backed up with an argument with something other than, “… just because.” or “… she got married!!!”  before burning down their shrine to their formerly loved idol(s).

But if you’re going to bail on a group because your favorite member is gone, more power to you. There are plenty of other fans available to replace your buying power so its not like you’ll be missed.