The Rain is Falling

I hate days like this
When it rains and rains
And rains and rains

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe,

Despite the cheer of the 200th Post, it is with sadness that this has to be Post #201 instead of a Country Girls review.

Why? The last full week of April ended in a surreal manner. While watching the Hello! Pro Kenshuusei lottery, I thought about Up Up Girls. Then again, it may be an imprint that I caught the odd tweet about them. Hours later, past 7pm, I got a notification on my phone about Kame’s post about their announcement earlier that day: Sengoku Minami and Sato Ayano announce their graduation.

“Am I psychic or something?!” I cried in my head. It was just so strange, knowing I thought about Sengoku Minami and her long tenure, reminded of her in the names of the current trainees.

However, despite the uncomfortably warm day (it was the first fully sunny and warm day in what felt like weeks. It’s been a very rainy and cool/cold April for me), it was set to worsen. Sure, rain was in the forecast, but… not at all like what’s to come.

In a bit of surrealness, heavy rain with intense thunder and lightning marked the skies of Newark at around 5:35am. It was a miracle I was able to sleep through it all, hearing the raindrops tap my air conditioner like marbles falling on steel. The lightning flashed, illuminating my dark room and bamboo film-tinted windows. Thunder crashed and roared with the fierceness of a lion, as if the celestial Leo had come down to Earth.

If you’re familiar with time zones, you’d know that 5:35am in New Jersey is 6:35pm in Japan, five minutes after the Spring Tour concert in Kyoto starts (or was supposed to) where a wrecking ball struck the hearts of H!P faith with one small word: sotsugyou.

Kudo Haruka announced her graduation during that very concert. Perhaps that thunderstorm was an omen, a celestial illustration of every H!P fan’s Saturday (or Sunday if the news hits you late at night). Similarly to Sengoku Minami, I discover the news through a notification of Kame’s post on my phone. I’m just as shocked as you guys are. I had a feeling someone was going to graduate, that H!P has reached critical mass at the moment and with the new blood comes departing old.

On one hand, I’m glad it wasn’t Ikuta Erina (owing to a rather creepy pattern in that Morning Musume grads followed the order of the Powerpuff Musume series… though that is more of a coincidence since its announcement came off the heels of another graduation) or Sato Masaki (the more likely choice, given her health issues. If it comes to that, I hope she gets the Kamei Eri treatment rather than the Mitsui Aika one). I’m even glad that the club calling for Iikubo Haruna or Fukumura Mizuki to graduate are denied yet again. (I don’t like injecting too much of my personal opinion into this for fear of distorting views, but I’m getting tired of those calls).

On the other hand… even if you know all of them will leave someday (heck, every member from my gateway lineup has graduated as of November 2014. In fact, more than one fan noted that Haruka’s announcement was made on the same date as Sayumi’s), it’s still a sad moment. The fact this was preceded by thinking of Kudo Haruka (admiring the work I’ve done on her PuffMusu pic. Seriously, I worked my butt off getting the plaid right!) and the aforementioned thunderstorm made it worse. (I just hope that neither Ikuta Erina or Iikubo Haruna, who both succeed Suzuki Kanon and Kudo Haruka in the series, are next…. ****. Time to pull out that post again!)

It’s not rainy now (read: Saturday morning when I started writing this post), just overcast, warm (70s-80s), and… weird. However, as far as every Hello! Project fan is concerned…

The rain is falling.

The rain is falling.

The rain keeps on falling, falling.

Half a day goes by and the news settles in. Shock and sadness (if you can call it that) turns to excitement. It’s not a “I’m glad she’s gone” type of excitement as I’ve made it no secret that in a “daredemo/minna daisuki” type of fan. It’s a more “I wonder what’s in store for her next” kind of excitement. Some hope that Kuduu reaches the same amount of success as fellow Hello! Pro Egg-turned-full member-turned actress Mano Erina, who had become a successful actress in her own right at this point.

As someone whose first graduation came two months after becoming a fan in November 2003 (with so many following suit with 1-2 per year until 2007), it’s amazing that it took me this long to get to this point. I’ve seen my all-time favorites depart, some to post-Morning Musume H!P careers (like W), some (more increasingly with time) leaving the Project entirely. Be glad that Mitsui Aika and Sayashi Riho stayed within H!P. They could’ve left completely like their compatriots.

I can imagine what will happen in the future, both for Haruka and H!P. With the Kenshuusei’s test coming up, we’ll be looking at new winners, new faces (and voices) to watch, and (unfortunately) new ones in the “danger zone” of “completing their training.” (There’s already four I can name.) At least we see one story to completion rather that one that’s in a prologue. Maybe we’ll see another sparkling idol who while isn’t a “replacement,” “lookalike,” “facsimile,” our “copy/clone” of Kudo Haruka, one who may take a path similar to hers. Love her or hate her, there are H!P members who _adored_ Riho and became idols because of her.

As saddened as I was by the announcement, I am hopeful and excited for the future, both for Haruka and H!P.

Looking at the bright side is second nature to me and a little sunshine is good (like the one brimming now on this Tuesday). It’s needed because as far as every Hello! Project fan is concerned…

The rain is falling.

The rain is falling.

The rain keeps on falling, falling.

Wash away those lonely tears, friends.
— Magi-Kat

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2 Responses to The Rain is Falling

  1. […] (or even saying “Cheers!” but casual reminder that I love all of H!P), but… as I’ve mentioned in the previous post involving the other recent graduation announcements, the initial shock turned to excitement and […]

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  2. […] are things on your end? It’s been a crazy few months, right? Graduation announcements galore this spring (’tis the season), influenza, and other woes (and this is […]

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