In honor of Sayumi Michishige’s impending graduation (and retirement), a watershed moment as I say goodbye to the last Musume who greeted me, I will look back at eleven years… of my fandom. (Bad karma, I know. Lord knows I’ve posted enough about me already this year.)
Continued from Part 1!~
2009 ventured further into dark territory for Morning Musume. I was still as loyal as ever to MM, to H!P and yet… it took me doing the Precision Past Perspective series for me to realize how… repetitive the singles became for a while. (I shouldn’t say anything though. I have no voice in this matter.) Naichau Kamo, Shouganai Yume Oibito, Nanchatte Renai, and (technically) Kimagure Princess were all moody A-sides, which had gotten the rather disparaging nickname “Emo Musume.”
In all, it was a year I’d never forget for besides the Champuru/Champloo Units’ debut (which made me happy as a nostalgic H!P fan), but it was also the graduation of Kusumi Koharu. She was the first member who joined since I became a fan and she’s now the first member in that category to graduate. You may know there’s more to come. This is why Kimagure Princess has the significance it has: that and it was the first song of that era I liked in a while.
2010 began a new era for MM where the graduation cycle began again. (Actually, late 2009 did.) Plus, I’ll repeat a question I asked during my series.
Anyone else notice a slight “change” in the music since her departure (or was it just me)?
The songs just got better to me, between Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai to Seishun Collection (whose musical featured the appearance of a future MM member) to the appropriate Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game. This year also marked the first triple graduation in MM history with Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin’s departure. There were many tears shed during the live streamed event.
If 2010 wasn’t a year of intense change, 2011 hit the MM fandom like… well…. let’s rewind a bit. Around the time of the triple graduation announcement, there was a bombshell of an announcement made that we all had waited for: the 9th Gen auditions. Like any other fan, I was ecstatic at the prospect of new faces in the Mothership. The excitement is doubled with the fact Eggs (later known as Kenshuusei) ware allowed to audition as well, allowing dreams to come true. (Fukumura shed tears when she was announced as a member as that was her hope.) Well, thanks to the power of the blogosphere (mainly in the form of Hello! SayuNii), I followed the auditions as much as possible.
Then came the new girls: Fukumura Mizuki, Ikuta Erina, Suzuki Kanon, Sayashi Riho. Never have I seen such hype (though we all agree it was necessary: we were losing members and for short while, MM was at its smallest member count at 5. The last time this happened was when the group was first formed). By the way, if anyone’s wondering why I call this generation “the Strongest Generation,” it stems from a Touhou fandom in-joke involving Cirno aka ⑨. For obvious reasons, it was very hard for me to divorce the 9th Generation from ⑨ (to the point where I would either consider Cirno an honorary ⑨th Gen member or their patron fairy/Gensokyoite). It barely helps that a version of her theme sounds a LOT like “Maji Desu ka Ska!”
This of course requires me to associate the other Gens with Touhou characters, all with varying success. For example, I’d often associate the 10th Gen with Kanako Yasaka (a goddess who manages to snake (no pun intended) her way into (almost) every plot since her debut). This of course means that Oda Sakura has to be associated with the SA cast and the 12th Gen with the UFO clan. (Of course, by this logic, Sayu most likely has to be associated with the EoSD cast, probably the SDM crew or its charismatic mistress… wrap you head around that.) Yeah…
Of course, we were hit with another blow: Takahashi’s graduation. This saddened me as a fan as I have been a diehard Takitty supporter. I had to swallow my pride and bite my tongue whenever someone trashed Takahashi for her “lack of personality” or “lack of leadership” and stuff like that. Now to see Takahashi go was… needed, but still difficult to bear. The songs of the yea covered a lot of ground, but I think the one that sticks out the most to me is “Only You.” Why? Just the sentiment of the song.
This brings me to tears knowing this was the penultimate single for Takahashi and another three (make that four) members would leave afterwards.
This song has a lot of meaning to me as it’s a personal anthem of mine. It also helps with a project I’m doing due to its theme of unconditional love. Just look at it. You have no idea how much I wanted to show this to my fans and followers in their honor, just because. In fact, if I didn’t post this to my Facebook wall for Valentine’s Day, it’ll be a deed I’ll forever regret
until next year, when I’ll definitely remember.
In fact, I also dedicate that bit to you. Because no matter who’s your oshimen, I’ll always love you and support you. I know I may not be the most acerbic or the most swaggerfied or the most willing-to-making-pilgrimage-est of fans, but you all bring a little spice to life and this fandom. I value your readership, no matter who and/or what you love. Thank you. I also appreciate you reading this far. Thank you.
We end this year with Takahashi Ai’s graduation and the debut of the 10th Generation, a bittersweet ending to a year of delight. (On another note, is it bad that “Government Hooker” reminds you of Momusu?)
2012 began like any other year… chick costumes and all. The 10th Gen were spotlighted in an… unforgettable debut PV that served as the first MM single under Risa’s leadership. Unfortunately, 2012 also began much like the last: a graduation announcement, this time from Niigaki herself. Like Takahashi Ai, this announcement hit me. Niigaki was known for her love of the group and seemed a mainstay (then again, everyone seems that way at this point) and it was… both painful but expected to see her leave. What makes it somewhat awkward is that Niigaki is leaving in the spring rather than the fall, making the departure a lot sooner than expected. (On the bright side, the 10th Gen is pretty much the reason last year’s graduation wasn’t a double grad. Yay, I guess?)
Close to the date of the ceremony, we had to prepare for the exit of another Musume: the sole remaining 8th gen member Mitsui Aika
(aka possibly the most hated MM member in history, so hated that a blogger had trouble thinking of words for her graduation in a drunken, grapey haze). What makes it pathetic is the fact that Mitsi’s departure is somewhat expected as well: all throughout her time as a Musume, she’s been plagued with medical problems and often having to miss out on performances. Forget a glass jaw, Aika has a glass skeleton. This sorta means Aika missed out on a lot of the perks Risa had with her graduation song being a solo album song. (Granted, Risa’s was a cover, unlike Aichan, Queen Tanaka, and Sayu’s, but still.)
On the bright side, we move on to the current era of Musume history and the “true” dawn of the “Electro Musume” era: the landmark 50th single One・Two・Three/The Matenrou Show. This single started a lot of current trends regarding Morning Musume, their marketing, and heck all of H!P. Upon hearing the first A-side, there were cries of “K-Pop imitation!” (then again, folks cried “Dubstep!”
(not nearly enough) “AUGH TOO MUCH AUTOTUNE!” at Renai Hunter) and the like. Oh, and the PV…. What a sight to behold (if you can actually see). In fact, epilepsy warning. This and (especially) Help me!! are probably MM singles that justify putting that up. My review from the PPP series sum it up best:
Put into context the small previews we’ve received prior to the reveal of this full video, it is easy to see why many took issue with the effects. (This is also why I preferred to wait until the actual PV came out as to not be influenced by previews – because I know I would end up as pitchingly disappointed as the rest of the blogosphere. The Dance Shot spoiled us immensely.)
I do admit the effect of turning the girls around like dolls was a nice touch. (Collect all 10 while supplies last!)
Looking at this with fresh eyes, I don’t seem to see it as that bad really. Blasphemy! BURN THE WITCH!
Also, never has Riho been featured so much. Wait, spoke too soon.
This first single into the Michishige era where we dive deeper into the new “Electro/Robo-Musume” sound. When we had gotten our first taste, many have compared the sound to K-Pop (a comparison that will never cease to this day), in addition to dubstep.
And this is just one side, the main one promoted.
On another note, this marks the beginning of a trend: multiple b-sides up the wazoo.
Let’s not forget the best part, Michaels: While this is going on, the search is on for a Makeup-less Divas! The search brought us a slight peek into the upcoming 13th album with the training camp vocal and dance tracks:
Speaking of which…
As the next threaded tweet said, “Don’t believe me? Take a look at this monstrosity.” I’m shocked I didn’t realize it until I made the tweet that very night. *shudders* You’re welcome to call me “Magi-KY,” by the way. I was always considered a dorkish oddball anyway.
At nearly the same time (as it seems to be a tradition to have two auditions going on at the same time), the search for a band for Tanaka Reina was announced. This, of course, led to rumors of impending graduation. Me, I tried to refrain from jumping on the “OMG GRADUATION” bandwagon… until it’s announced, proving the conspiracy theorists right yet again.
As for the search for the Daily Makeup-less Diva, we’ve found her: Oda Sakura. Sakura was beset with controversy over the lack of audition footage, along with how due to a lack of circulation, everyone believed her reveal was just after the finalists were revealed. Good luck looking for it because most of the footage is lost to the YouTube Cops (and I know none of you would and will ever believe me for saying such nonsense in the absence of proof to back up my point, thus killing any journalistic credibility I have).
Adding to this is the fact she was an Egg, which also left a bitter taste in some people’s mouths. According to the Wikia, it is even believed the entire audition served to legitimize Sakura’s inclusion into Morning Musume.
It barely helps that she got a solo video (the first of many) of her dancing to the then-latest single (which isn’t even her debut single).
On top of that, Reina’s band was announced and so was her graduation.
To sum it all up, it was the end of the world as we knew it―and who feels fine?!
The sooner we move from 2012 to 2013, the better off everyone will be.
We start 2013 with Help me!!, Sakura’s true debut and probably the Morning Musume song that requires an epilepsy warning regardless of where it’s posted. …Usually, I’d remember a song as soon as the title comes up. In the case of Help me!!… I needed to see the PV again.
Springtime brought forth Brainstorming/Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai, along with Reina Tanaka’s graduation. She wasn’t one of my favorite members, but I began to warm up to her as a result of Kaitou Reinya.
2013 ends with Morning Musume’s final single: Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke/Ai no Gundan, featuring the famous jailbird dresses and the military-inspired uniforms. Wagamama was okay, but personally speaking… lemme pull out another tweet:
I can’t say enough about how much I love this song. I can’t even find words to say why I love it (besides what I’ve already said, of course).
Oh, and sometimes this year, the first round of 12th Gen auditions were held, looking for a “mirai shoujo” (future girl) who could carry MM into the future (duh). They resulted in… Princess Peach! *shot* Well, we wish Princess Peach was the result for in actuality, the Mirai Shoujo Audition bombed worse than a [insertMarioreferencehere].
The rest of the year was… a strange time for me. I barely remember most of it… eh, it probably wasn’t important. I do know I probably played “Ai no Gundan” to death, never minding that idol music tends to get dated pretty fast.
2014… a new year where always, I wanna be with you and make believe with you and live in harmony- Okay, enough in-jokes few would understand. (I still have to make that “Cyborg Unicorn” pic.) However, we begin the year with . The song… was a breath of fresh air. It was perfect for California dreaming on a lonely winter’s day (especially since snow began to form walls around the house). I kept myself toasty and occupied by drafting posts, but one song kept to me. Granted, everyone’s minds was on the Sochi Olympics (which perplexed some when it was not Egao no Kimi but Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai was the cheer song for Japan’s team, considering the cheer was “Smile, Nippon!” or something like that), but my mind… was on other things. It barely helps that politics and whatnot threatened to distract from the games (and what happened in the region afterwards helped even less).
The year really got rolling when the redux of the 12th Gen… should I even be continuing at this point? Most of what I’ve said can be found in posts. Granted, I finally added a proper review to the Toki wo Koe spotlight and later this month, the review for Sayu’s final single will go up. I do admit it was strange not talking about Momusu during the summer, but it can’t be helped. They have other things to worry about: Sayu’s departure, the 12th Gen, the concert in New York. (If I had more money/courage/initiative, I would’ve schlepped to New York for the pilgrimage. Gomenne.)
I suppose a question now is… what now? Where to go from here? Well, given the fact that the 12th Gen were recently added-a good one to boot-I think I’m here to stay. I know I said I’d graduate from the fandom after the last Musume that greeted me leaves, but that statement’s been challenged since 2011. I love this group, these gals too much to leave them.
I mean, I’ve been a fan of The Powerpuff Girls for virtually my entire life (unlike most of the fans I encounter, I’ve been a fan since the pilot shorts aired in 1995, three years before the show began) and I’ve been unable to find something to take their place after the show’s been cancelled. That’s because there was no void to fill: I’m a Powerpuff fan for life and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if I’m in the Morning Musume fandom (or the general H!P fandom) for life. I honestly tried to find other idol groups and girl groups to fawn over―SweetS, Bishoujo Club 21, SKi, Sparkling Point, certain Girl’s BOX and Nice Girl Project acts (mainly Fruits Punch and Kayo Aiko from the former, the Possible from the latter), Gyaruru, P-chicks, and Hong Kong’s Cookies―but most either disbanded not long after I got into them or I just lost interest. None of them gave me the same buzz I get from H!P. (However, current events―namely Wreck-It Ralph, Fairy Tail, and Sailor Moon Crystal―is starting to make me budge again in favor of 48G and MomoClo. Hey, technically, MomoClo should be listed among those other gals for they fascinated me for a bit… before my interest petered off. Like most things, they head on to bigger pastures and it might be to their detriment that I am developing an interest in them again. As Sayu and Reina are examples of, their death knell is sounded the moment I show an inkling of interest.)
Looks like Morning Musume (and H!P) are here to stay with me. (Besides, I’d have to change the name of this blog if that happens. It already is going to have its name officially changed in the future to “Magic Morning Meteora,” hence all the “M3″s.)
Bunny peace and love