So I’m a little late with this. Apologies but I have become rather unmotivated to write anything Hello! Project related these days given my extreme lack of interest and contention with the ideals of the current general fandom. Given the occasion I have powered through my apathy to speak about the graduation of Tanaka Reina.
On May 21 Tanaka Reina graduated from Morning Musume, leaving only Michishige Sayumi as the final aging dinosaur of the glory days of yore amongst a bunch of fresh faced upstarts who are the future of Hello! Project’s flagship group.
I was never her biggest fan and found her on again/off again yankee act to be rather annoying, but I understood enough of her appeal to the masses of Morning Musume/Hello! Project fans to tolerate her through the years. She did have one redeeming quality that I guess endeared her to me a little, and that was she could sing. 2/3 isn’t bad when it came to the sixth generation. (yes, that is a stab at my favorite Michishige)
As part of the group of “bitches who can sing” Tanaka at least brought the diva out in Momusu when it was needed. Granted she wasn’t the raw powerhouse of the group like Takahashi Ai but she held her own quite well.
Some fans were sick of her act and the fact that she was defaulted front girl status as soon as the other strong singers in the group left; but I think she earned her spot. Who else was going to be given on of the top spots outside of Sayashi Riho during the purge of Musume?
I was expecting to see my social media ablaze after her graduation but the lines of communication were fairly quiet after she left. I guess the whole scheme of signing up for an Ameba account and paying $15 for the concert stream on a weekday didn’t exactly work out for most normal people’s schedules.
It could also be the fact that she’s not exactly going anywhere. With Lovendor becoming fully active (and without a proper drummer or bass player yet) before her graduation it may have lessened the impact of her departure from Morning Musume.
I will admit that I was kind of disappointed with the less than spectacular trickle of fan emo from English speaking fans since Tanaka was an important part of Morning Musume for so many years. More people cared more about the XBOX ONE announcement than the fact that the only remaining vocalist in Morning Musume just left the building.
Then again, maybe I was looking in the wrong social circles if I wanted to see that kind of expression of “feels”.
I am going to somewhat miss Tanaka Reina in Morning Musume and it will feel weird the first time not seeing/and hearing (especially) her on anything related to that group. I remain skeptical that the possible new front tandem of Sakura Oda and Sayashi Riho will be able to carry the load but that’s another story. I guess for my own personal fandom no Tanaka means some ear bleeding times are ahead.
I do wish all the best to Tanaka Reina in next step of her career being the front woman of her own band. Lovendor has the potential to be something relatively unique or at least somewhat different from all the other post-graduation groups.
Let’s hope no one drops the ball on that one.