Monday, 27 February 2012

The Facts over Fiction of Idol Groups/Hello! Pro Rant!

Chiima and Momoka posted had a collaboration where they collected recent issues regarding H!P and stated their thoughts on it.

Since then, a few other bloggers have tried their hand as well, including Mara and Greg

Thought that I'd just join in the bandwagon.

01. If your favourite member were to leave a group, you would abandon that group.
Not really. I prefer idols mainly because of the music. That comes down to the composers in the end. Without a favourite member... well, it's not enough to make or break the music. Sure I miss LinLin and Sakitty. But I still listen to MoMusu and S/mileage.

02. Your favourite member/group is obviously the best member/group to exist and without them, the group/project would fail.
Obviously, if Momochi were to leave, Berryz would crumble, H!P would sink, and the idol industry would be cast into darkness forever. Or at least until TGS or MomoClo come up with something awesome and I'd move to them.
Seriously though, with about 30-ish people backing it up, the loss of one popular person wouldn't shake the group. Aichan, virtually top of the pyramid for donkey's years left, and H!P still remained standing.
I don't see H!P ever actually stopping until they stop making enough money that management decides to let go of them. And with the solid fanbase the H!P acts have, I can't imagine that that would happen anytime soon.

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.
I don't see what bearing that has on them. Sure, they're missing some parts of Momusu history - there was a clip in which Sato Masaki couldn't recognise Koi no Dance Site. But each generation brings something of themselves into the fold. For S/mileage, there's barely any loss. Two Eggs were replaced by two Eggs plus two unknowns.

04. Idols should be forever pure - They should not marry, or date, or even think about anyone other than their fans.
The "If I can't bang them, no else can" argument. I don't disagree with this per se. My comment would be that idols aren't forever. You can do the above, but at some point of 'impurity' you end up no longer as an idol.
It also comes down to image for me. There are rare exceptions of mature idol groups e.g. SDN48 & Ebisu Muscats. H!P has a pretty pure image, while AKB48 is somewhat looser - the members do appear in magazines which contain nudes.

05. H!P members should be allowed to date/marry so they can stay members forever.
What the-? As mentioned above, H!P has a very pure image. Like Momochi, who doesn't even acknowledge the existence of toilets. Wasn't that image part of why Gomaki eventually joined Avex - to shake herself of the idol persona and image that she needed to hold at all times.

06. When a member graduated, suddenly, everyone loves them.
Yup. Did you see the number of Sakitty 'fans' that suddenly crawled out of the woodwork when she graduated?
Once Aika's graduation is confirmed, we'll be able to verify this.

07. When a new member gets more lines than other new members, everyone either hates that member or loves them. (No in between)
I'm more 'meh' than anything else. I would say that the above is false.
What generally happens is that those who love/hate that member would be the most vocal, and then the message gets passed through the system. So the above statement feels true.

08. The new Members of Morning Musume (or specific members) don't look like they belong there.
New members always look awkward. Kamei even got commented on how her character had yet to develop in Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari.
Remember, it took Captain years before she left that awkward phase. Give it time.

09. Morning Musume are a Sinking Ship.
Nah, they aren't. But they're like a paddleboat steamer, running on the support of established fans compared to the cruise liner that is AKB48. For the time being.

10. Morning Musume are too childish, so naturally people won't like them any more.
Yeah, and I blame Tsuji and Aibon for that.
Wait, one got kicked out for being pregnant and the other is currently pregnant?
How'd I miss that.

Now seriously though, MoMusu has been childish before. Just because EmoMusu was just a few years ago doesn't erase the kiddieness that was Hyokkori Hyoutanjima.

11. S/mileage has become more mature than Morning Musume as of 2012.
Uh, on what measure? Don't talk to me about age since that has nothing to do with maturity.
S/mileage is still as fun as before. MoMusu may not be as emo as before, which in my eyes, is a plus.
But maturity? Let's see S/mileage do something at the level of Ai no Dangan or Kiss Me Aishiteru and I might consider it.

12. S/mileage ARE the new Morning Musume.
MoMusu started out with 5 finalists from a talent show. S/mileage started out with 4 kids who had spent a good part of their life in the idol industry.
Sure, S/mileage does seem to have a bit of a revolving door policy as well. But time will tell if that is more the rule than the exception.
S/mileage will also need some more ballads, and will need to go through and emo phase before I'll admit that they're the new MoMusu.

13. C-ute is only still "cute" because they owe it to their group name.
Where did this come from? This reeks of recency bias.
Have you forgotten the suggestiveness of Kiss Me Aishiteru? The rockiness of Bacon Dance? The... Airiness of Shock?
My opinion is that Tsunku wanted to let Berryz try the mature while C-ute tried on the cute. It seems to have worked great for C-ute, and not so great for Berryz.
But if anything, C-ute happens to be the most professional, most polished of the H!P acts. Cute, mature, sad - C-ute can pull it off.

14. Berryz and C-ute might disband soon.
It depends on how far away 'soon' is. I don't see it happening anytime in the near future, but who can tell?
And to be fair, the Kids are getting close to their idol expiration date. Yet, they've got a few more years, and a solid fanbase.
Still, I like Pata's conjecture that the Kids ended up inspiring a vast majority of the many new up and coming idol groups. So you know, continue being the pinnacle for these new idols.

15. Aika should graduate.
Yeah, no arguments there.
Even, without the injury, I don't really see the point in Aika.
She doesn't really seem interested in being an idol for the fans. She seems content just chilling, being part of MoMusu. And that doesn't cut it if you want to be an idol.
Sure, she may be a hard worker behind the scenes. We usually call these people 'Staff-san'.
You want to know who else works hard to support MoMusu from behind the scenes? Michishige Sayumi, that's one. Can't say it's affected her role as an idol to the fans. Aichan was similar.
I mean, she can love the group, but so does Sashihara Rino. Do either of them seem active in promoting the group? No, but Sasshi at least seems to be a hit with the fans.

16. The fans are the real problem behind Morning Musume's problems.
You mean the fans who are keeping the 'sinking' ship of H!P afloat.
I say this from a non-Japanese perspective, so I can't really tell what the issues regarding the fans are.
But I don't think you can remain in the top 10 of Oricon for your debuts without a solid fanbase.

17. Sayashi Riho and Tamura Meimi are only in H!P bevause they previously performed in Stage Plays with H!P members/groups.
Did Miyamoto Karin star in any stage plays before? I'm sure she was in the 3 million yen Berikyuu play. And she didn't even get picked, despite having the experience of being an Egg.
Now, it might have been. However, you look at these girls and tell me they don't deserve to be there in hindsight. C'mon.

18. Tanaka Reina needs to graduate
If Reina graduates, it'll be on her terms. I don't really think there is a NEED for her to graduate. I would say that the MoMusu connection helps to open more doors, and Reina seems to be fairly active in the entertainment industry even out of MoMusu.

19. A-sides are better than B-sides, or else the B-side would be the A-side.
Again, wha? This feels like more recency bias, due to Pyoko Pyoko Ultra's B-side being better than the A-side.
For an old Berryz hand like me, it's nothing unexpected. Berryz used to have very good B-sides, until management gave up trying to figure out which side was better and made them double A-sides.

20. Berryz Koubou shouldn't be "Sexy" suddenly after being "childish" for so long.
Well, it seems more like management is testing the waters with the image change. Doesn't seem to have worked for Berryz though.
H!P isn't known for its consistency in styles, S/mileage excepted. Berryz started out with a Bollywood-inspired dance single.
Partly due to the anime connection, they ended up as the 'fun' group.
Dressing up in monkey suits, singing about an old Mongolian emperor (Maasa got a cape) - how is that not fun?
What I like from Berryz, and what may be a move forward, is the fact that they seem to be the most vocally trained - mainly because of their a capella efforts in their concerts. I know Airi can harmonise, but Berryz can work as a team.

Obviously. If Tsunku is your shorthand for the management.
Well, even then, I wouldn't completely agree. I'd blame market trends, if anything.
From what I understand, the Japanese are a fickle consumer market, with a short attention span. They need something new, at frequent intervals, to generate interest. And H!P hasn't been in the limelight much in recent times.
This is a country which has a word for the concept of being sad that something has come to an end, but with a gladness that they were able to experience it - mono no aware, for those who aren't familiar.
And how does the industry react to this? They make tons of limited edition (gentei) stuff. You will discover these new things, available for a limited time only, and you can brag about having had the chance to sample them.
And H!P has been around too long, while Japan is still learning to enjoy the taste of AKB48.

Wow, that was long. It probably shows how old a hand I am, given how far in the past I look back.

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