Chiima and her friend Momoka started an interesting discussion regarding various things Hello! Project that got me thinking about what I would answer. With my recent conversion to the dark side many may take my words with a grain of salt. If you still insist on that backwards way of thinking stop reading here, do not pass go and do not collect $200.
Still with me? Good, you have some common sense. As always the opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff. Let’s get it on!
01. If your favorite member were to leave a group, you would abandon that group.
Yes. I have already done that with S/Mileage after the exodus of the only member who counted, Maeda Yuuka. I will probably do the same with Morning Musume once Michishige Sayumi is freed from the confines of Morning Musume to pursue the greener pastures of doing TV variety shows and being the comedic relief in Japanese dramas.
In my case I can’t totally abandon any group as that would be detrimental to this site. Instead I will not have as much of an investment in whatever group my favorite member(s) have departed from. Unless they really step up their game in the aftermath of a member leaving.
Some may see this as a selfish move but don’t all of you get all holier than thou. Most of you experienced fans have probably done the same whether it was intentional or not. And you new fans will face this inevitability eventually. When you become invested too much you will have to make a choice.
It’s also part of the fan culture to bail when your favorite is used up and tossed out in favor of a younger and prettier model. Maybe we should call it the wota circle of life. (cue Elton John Lion King music)
02. Your favourite member/group is obviously the best member/group to exist and without them, the group/project would fail.
Hmmm… I could go back to Yuuka leaving S/Mileage for this one but they were already going downhill after the acquisition of the unnecessary 2nd generation. I could also go with Takahashi Ai leaving the entirety of the Hello! Project as another example, but when she left nothing changed that much. To be honest, neither of them leaving made a lick of difference.
All I can say is that people are going freak out if their favorite or the most talented or whatever member is ousted, voluntarily leaves or just goes insane & runs off into the woods. It’s only natural. Of course there are those who go maybe a bit too far and build shrines to their idol in tribute while sacrificing cute little bunnies at their alter as gratitude for bringing them so much happiness.
Not everyone will agree with who you think is the best. In fact some may be quite vocal about pointing out who is a complete waste of space. (HI AIKA ANTI-FANS!) Don’t let that stop you from freaking out when the one you love the most eventually goes way.
This again, is part of the entire fan culture you have immersed yourself in. If no one warned you about the massive amount of silly drama that goes a long with it, well it’s your fault for not making any friends. Stop being an anti-social hermit & talk to your fellow fans before you get all confused.
Anyway, the reality is not one group’s fate lies in the hands of just one member. Ever. The idol manufacturing machine makes sure that this prophecy is not fulfilled by allowing a few duds to pass through until our socks are blown off by some amazing talent that one of the major idol agencies will push to overexposure and backlash.
03. The new members (Gen 9/10 MM & Gen 2 S/mileage) are too new to handle the loss of so many senpai (Aichan, Gaki, and Yuuka) so soon after joining.
Oh please. Any young girl applying for a job in these idol groups already knows the deal. Your seniors leave and you get left holding the ball at the end. If they don’t know that then they’re in for a rude awakening.
It’s not like graduations and exiles to other lands are a new thing. This is an accepted part of the idol lifestyle. Does it suck to suddenly have to grow up a little bit to achieve their dreams? Sure, but playtime ended when these girls were accepted into their respective groups.
My advice to them is to either suck it up princess or GTFO.
04. Idols should be forever pure – They should not marry, or date, or even think about anyone other than their fans.
This is very subjective as we overseas fans have a very different view than most Japanese fans. If you live by the so called “wota code” you are to encourage your idol to only give their love to you, their adoring public who screams their name, wears their colors and buys all of their goods.
There is no time for personal relationships, or the joy of being in love and anything that normal girls (& women) get to experience in their youth. Nope. It’s just you, the sweaty, unwashed masses that they need and vice versa. Forget real guys (or girls), they’re in a relationship with you right? The idol-fan bond that cannot be broken. Oh the bliss.
Then there’s the less delusional and probably healthier view of things where you just want your idol to be happy while somehow managing to keep you entertained. I tend to fall into this category of thinking. I see absolutely nothing wrong with anyone dating or getting married.
Given that most female idols sing about songs that involve being in love a little experience would help some convincingly put some real emotion into their performances. So what if it breaks the purity barrier? Anyone who truly loves their idol would not deny them the right to love.
Or so you would like to think. Wotas are a bunch of selfish pricks when it comes to this part of fandom and would rather have their own desires fulfilled before the ones of the person they worship so dearly.
05. H!P members should be allowed to date/marry so they can stay members forever.
Given that the average age of an H!P member is getting back to single digits I can’t say that I agree with this. Go back a few years ago when everyone near the elderly age of 20(ish) then yeah, why not? Again, I’m not a selfish, self absorbed prick so what does it matter to me who any H!P member is having relations… I mean playing Playstation with all night.
Wait… I’ll make an exception. If it’s a Johnny’s boy I care. Cause those little shits just annoy me for some reason.
With current H!P, this is something to not worry about until most of the “kids” groups womanly desires get the best of them.
06. When a member graduates, suddenly, everyone loves them.
Well yeah, everyone loves to hope aboard the love train right and talk out of their ass like they absolutely adored whoever is graduating like they were their own child or blood relative.
Why be the asshole who doesn’t praise someone for their contributions no matter how insignificant and miniscule they are in the grand history of a group? Isn’t it better to join the crowd and just lie to yourself and everyone around you instead? As the saying goes, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.”
07. When a new member gets more lines than other new members, everyone either hates that member or loves them. (No in between)
The other cause of fan drama outside of the debate on the no dating rule. I have argued many times with people about who should be singing leads and I tend to think that the ones who can hold a tune should get the most lines. Leave all the stragglers in the back to get their screaming line or to dance away to make up for their lack of vocal ability.
How the actual process of who gets what line is not exactly clear. I’ve heard that for H!P the girls are asked which lines they would be comfortable singing but whether there’s any truth to that? I don’t know. That seems like a fair way of figuring things out to me. Of course the final decision is made by the producer, who in H!P’s case is usually my hero (& yours) Tsunku.
As Chiima stated in her response to this question, line distribution is like a popularity contest. You rake in those dollars or are extremely cute or have some appeal to unwashed masses and you get more lines it seems. Even if you can’t sing a note to save your life.
08. The new Members of Morning Musume (or specific members) don’t look like they belong there.
I have no comment, I haven’t been paying attention to the 9th & 10th gen enough to have an educated guess on who is a fail. But ask me about Aika sometime. =p
09. Morning Musume are a Sinking Ship.
Um… We went over this in the resurrection of the roundtable. I’m not going to repeat myself, just read the article instead.
10. Morning Musume are too childish, so naturally people won’t like them any more.
This has more to do with the the overall age of the members than the music. You got a bunch of youngins in the fold now so they’re not going to be pulling any of that Emo Musume stuff right away. Nor are they going to be sexed up or put in disgusting bikini’s for the time being.
Nope, this appears to be the age of Fun Musume fueled by youthful exuberance and no other alternative until the newer gens mature into better performers and singers.
11. S/mileage has become more mature than Morning Musume as of 2012.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I can’t even answer that with a straight face. NEXT!
12. S/mileage ARE the new Morning Musume.
Possibly. That would depend on how the next audition (& we know that eventually there will be one since they started an avalanche with the 2nd gen) and eventual graduation process goes. Maybe for the 3rd gen nature won’t eliminate the weakest right off the bat & make the entire thing a colossal waste of time.
13. C-ute is only still “cute” because they owe it to their group name.
Well, um.. Let’s take Mai Mai out of the equation first. Then C-ute is actually “cute” so to speak. After that, well the rest are growing up to be some beautiful young women. Since their name is their brand UFA won’t change it to something more age appropriate anytime soon or ever. Therefore I’ll agree with the statement above.
14. Berryz and C-ute might disband soon
Without the rotating clown car of members that Morning Musume and S/Mileage have this will happen. They will go the way of Melon Kinenbi once they all hit their early to mid-20′s. That gives C-ute a bit longer of a shelf life than Berryz.
Maybe by the time that batch of old ladies is sent to Bovine University a new group of kids developed from those in limbo.. I mean the eggs will be ready to replace them.
15. Aika should graduate.
Yes. She’s already been replaced by all of the 9th & 10th gen. She seems like a nice kid, but I never understood why Tsunku picked her to be in the group other than to be fresh meat for the wota.
16. The fans are the real problem behind Morning Musume’s problems.
Oooh… The other two said no. I say yes. Very much so. The Morning Musume fan base has become too damn comfortable with whatever they’re being fed. There’s no backlash for the mediocrity because apparently “good enough” is equal to 5 star quality these days.
Those (like me) who speak up about it are instantly told to STFU because we don’t tow the company line and we should just take our bitter Morning Musume pill and smile with everyone else.
All of you speak with your wallets and what you’re all saying right now is that you don’t care. You’ll accept anything as long as it says Morning Musume on the box. I’ll admit that Momusu has flashes of brilliance every once in a while (i.e. 12 Smart, regardless of it’s lame title) but sometimes I have to wonder what everyone else is listening to and/or drinking.
Demand something better and encourage UFA to offer a better product by using your buying power as leverage. This applies mainly to domestic buyers. It could apply to overseas fans but we’re an after thought. So you domestic buyers, stop buying crap!
17. Tanaka Reina needs to graduate.
NO. You take away the last remnants of actual singing and you’re left with all squeak & screaming. You graduate the dead weight of the group first (see #15) and strengthen from the talent pool within before you graduate Reina.
18. IT’S ALL TSUNKU’S FAULT!
Nope. Tsunku is a just a figurehead, a false god for all to adore while the powers that be way up the food chain in UFA make all the real decisions. That’s not to say the dude has no pull but he’s not the one wearing the daddy pants in the UFA family.
On the music side of things, yeah it’s all his fault. But business wise. Again, no daddy pants there.
I didn’t answer all of the questions posed in the discussion as I didn’t have a snappy, relevant or intelligent answer for everything. I don’t think I added much to the festivities but any opportunity to mouth off about Hello! Project is always a good thing in my book.