The following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff.
Life Without Morning Musume
There are times when you have those late night discussions about random stuff where something sticks out. I had such a conversation about a week ago during my live broadcast. I was running a music segment and I ended up chatting (or I guess debating) with someone about the pros and cons of the S/Mileage 2nd generation auditions. (Which I think I won, with some help)
Out of that debate came an interesting topic. Can Hello! Project survive without Morning Musume? Well if that isn’t a loaded question, I don’t know what is. Among those who are still loyal to Hello! Project this can be a sensitive subject. After all, Morning Musume is the pinnacle of the entire organization. Without them H!P would be a shell of what they are right?
Well… Let’s not jump to that conclusion quite yet my friends. Instead lets look at the differing points of view about Hello! Project’s flagship group before making any rash decisions.
On one hand you have the legendary Morning Musume. 10+ years as the flagship group of Hello! Project. The mighty girl group who are queen bees of girl idol land and can do no wrong. A group who despite their constant revolving door of members, stepped up their game every generation and made similar groups cringe in fear and envy.
On the other hand you have the aging (in idol years), declining Morning Musume. A group past their best by date trying to keep up with the new queen bees (AKB48) by removing their most popular member and replacing her with fresh faced noobs in a desperate attempt to stay relevant.
What side you choose is extremely subjective since hardcore fans will tell you that Momusu rules not matter how much their sales numbers and popularity tank. While others will agree with the group being past its prime and acting as placeholders until the next Hello! Project super group comes to replace them.
So what if the naysayers are right. The 10th gen turns into another flop and UFA decides to just go “Fuck it!” and cut their losses. Would Hello! Project be the same? Would they fold because their flagship group no longer exists?
I think that the answer is no. With Berryz Koubou and C-ute maturing, side groups like Buono! experiencing success and the rapid development of S/Mileage (let’s pray that the 2nd generation isn’t a total bust) I think Hello! Project would have a rather solid line up without Momusu in the picture. Not to mention that there are still eggs around to make more groups or to add to existing groups should another grad occur.
They also have Mano Erina (who has proven to be a capable soloist after a rocky start), Kikkawa Yuu and Kitahara Sayaka also coming up in the ranks. And again, probably more eggs they can convert to soloists if there is a high demand.
To simply believe that an entire organization would fall because one group is out of the picture is ridiculous. What would be the point of investing and nurturing other acts if UFA were to just up & close shop when Morning Musume’s run ends?
Would Hello! Project ever hit the heights they had during the glory days when Momusu was the hot shit & everyone could hop along for the ride? Probably not, but you never know. One of the remaining groups in H!P could strike gold & another golden era could develop. Either that or they get an extremely lucky streak that may last a few months.
Whatever the case I believe that Hello! Project would be fine without Morning Musume and perhaps with them out of the picture some money could be redirected to less low budgety type videos. Yeah I know, wishful thinking.