Once upon an August dreary as I contemplated slumbering dearly, I found myself caught by a desire to read some posts regarding idols. Tis a post about Morning Musume’s autumn tour that knocked on my mental door, setting a proper deadline for a retrospective post about my decade of Musume Mania (one that’s been in the works for months).
Looking at the archives, I was struck by a focus on the Berryz.
“What news could possibly cause a duumvirate of blog posts?” I thought. I clicked on the first one and was greeted by blobs of words, language that my increasingly weary eyes nearly glossed over.
However, the writer did well to put the following words in bold, which were where my wayward eyes were led to like a sheep to a shepherd:
“Berryz Koubou will go on a indefinite Haitus Spring 2015.”
Shock befell me, driven home by the second post.
“Oh no!” I quietly cried. I felt little to no tears and I wished to speak, yet I had no words. An uneasy silence befell me and I considered my options then.
Do I write my feelings down now?
Do I save the prospective post for later?
Should I keep to my personal schedule and save this for the fall?
After all, the end of summer is upon us and the blog is already stuffed with content. (28 posts in almost six months, to be exact.) In light of Chiima’s hiatus and a possible impending one of my own, this has been heavy on my mind.
However, I was too numb from being in and out of sleep to notice or feel anything.
Perhaps it was the shock of it all, having known the Berryz my entire idol-loving life (as this post made highly aware). In fact, one reason I held off on writing a reaction was because I’ve pretty much said my peace regarding the Berryz in that post:
Due to when I came into the H!P fandom (late 2003), the girls were still H!P Kids (along with their C-utie counterparts). Most I’ve seen/heard of them were in 4KIDS for the Mini Moni movie (in which half of them were future Berryz). When the Berryz were announced, I was excited and paid attention from the beginning. It was years before I saw the PVs so up until mid-2007, my H!P experiences were primarily of an auditory nature. I would repeatedly check back to YesAsia and read the comments on the releases while listening to the songs. I remember blasting “BERRY FIELDS” repeatedly while having this odd desire to consume Berry Sprite Remix… thanks to the song. I remember being a little blue when Maiha left (but it took me a while to figure out whose voice was who because, as mentioned, my PV experience was sporadic until 2007). There are times where I’d wonder what would happen if Maiha didn’t leave – and I didn’t fully understand the circumstances of her departure.
Then… I stopped listening to the Berryz because there was this grating voice (or voices) that irritated me to no end. I would later find out those were the voices of Momoko and Risako. I would be in and out of the fandom until… relatively recently.
Doing the P3 series allowed me to see how far the Berryz had progressed in the years since my falling out. My fandom was on and off, but I can’t deny that the Berryz earned every bit of praise and milestone epicness they had found so far. It was a long and winding road, but 10 years really is an unusual amount of time to be an idol (even in H!P terms, as the many Morning Musume graduates can tell you). So congrats on 10 years, Berryz.
I wondered why didn’t MM do the same thing for their anniversary, but circumstances were/are different.
Now the question is: What now? (Also, who else will get this treatment down the line?)
Needless to say, that first question’s been answered. (Another one now is… Is C-ute next? Rather, “who else will get this treatment down the line?”)
It is a similar thing with… the Miracle Girl, the first member to join after my initiation and thusly the first member whose idol career I’ve seen from beginning to end. It is also the case with the 8th Generation grads for the same reason.
Granted, the Berryz had been around far longer than their group years suggest, having been among the Hello! Project Kids who can be viewed as among the first “Eggs.” (Fujimoto is a different story and a special case altogether.)
Perhaps there was a hint of ominous bittersweetness and bittersweet ominousness in how I had gotten a Pokemon-loving friend hooked on the Berryz version of “Hello! no Theme.” (Calm down, she’s far from becoming a wota. However, while watching a video of a concert performance, she remarked about the catchiness, cursed me for getting the song stuck in her head, and made note of how one of the ladies resembled a Pokemon trainer.)
Then again, I had somewhat felt a sense of omen in it all as I have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon after the hype died down — and perhaps a combination of age and the Magi-Kat Curse sealed the Berryz’ collective fate.
It’s a little early to see this, but in light of this, I must: Bye Bye Mata ne, Berryz.
Thanks for the memories.