The usual long winded snooze fest that is Kohaku was spiced up just a wee bit with Oshima Yuko’s announcement of her impending graduation.
Some call this announcement at Kohaku opportunistic, and a shameful marketing ploy. Which it probably is, but if you got the nation’s attention why not do it right? Regardless of what your opinion is, it is newsworthy for those who follow the AKS collective.
For the rest of you? Well maybe you gave a meh and continued on with your business.
This should not be totally unexpected and anyone acting surprised probably has not been paying attention to mass exodus of older generation members that has been occurring or perhaps you’ve been living under a rock for the past year.
It was not a matter of if Yuko was going to leave, but WHEN she was going to leave. Given that she is a very popular member odds are there are probably some commitments she has to fulfill before she officially graduates.
I‘m sure the massive refund for Yuko handshake and two shot tickets would not be good for business. The speculation is possibly she will graduate in the sweltering heat of Japanese summer once whatever promotional events she’s a part of are done.
No formal announcement has been made as of yet so don’t start your Kickstarter campaign to attempt to attend Yuko’s grad just yet. I do suggest saving your own money now just in case the rumors of her graduation date end up being within the summer months.
The questions lingering with Yuko’s upcoming departure is who will be captain of Team K and how this year’s senbatsu election results end up should she decide to withdraw?
The first question I can only make guesses on since my knowledge of the team system is not as high. I can probably say with confidence that Chikano Rina or Hirata Rina will not be a suitable candidate for captaincy.
The most likely possibility is Kuramochi Asuka takes over as captain and turns Team K into a bunch of roided up lady wrestlers who can’t throw a baseball. It’s a shame that Sato Amina is graduating as well, because captain Turkey Leg would have been epic.
In regards to the second question, there are a lot of prime candidates to become the new face of the franchise. The front runners are of course Watanabe Mayu, who may complete her ascension and make Skynet a reality. And last year’s queen Sashihara Rino, who may continue the expansion of Hetare Nation amongst the fans.
It’s too early to go into an in-depth analysis on the election itself until it’s announced whether Yuko will participate or not.
Does the departure of Oshima Yuko open the flood gates of more early generation members leaving the AKB fold? Which of your favorites will make the leap into the abyss of post-idol life? Who knows? There’s nothing like starting the year off with a bang eh?