“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.”
— Revelation 6:1
Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
Last week, I talked about Haromageddon 2002. This week, on the 15th anniversary of those events, I’m going to talk to you about…
You can read the somewhat abridged version on this Tumblr post.
In May 2017, we received word that three Kenshuusei–Kawamura Ayano, Danbara Ruru and Ichioka Reina–will debut in Hello! Project. Almost a month later, we find that three member of Country Girls–Morito Chisaki, Yanagawa Nanami, and Funaki Musubu–will be transferred to another groups for their main activities, CG becoming more of a part-time “special” unit.
Later that month, we were greeted with the following teaser trailer.
This followed with the following special episode of Hello! Station:
If you want the tl;dr version, you can read a summary of it from Hello! Project Wikia:
- On June 25, Hello! Project Station staff provided fans with a teaser trailer for an “extra edition” of Hello! Project Station that would uploaded on Monday, June 26 at 21:00. (It is not a regular weekly Hello! Project Station episode, which is uploaded on Wednesdays.)
- It is a special episode about their plans for Hello! Project‘s 20th anniversary and unveiled their new system for Hello! Project, starting with the transfers of three Country Girls members and the debuts of three Hello Pro Kenshuusei members.
- In it, it was announced that Danbara Ruru and Yanagawa Nanami have joined Juice=Juice, Morito Chisaki has joined Morning Musume ’17, Funaki Musubu and Kawamura Ayano have joined ANGERME, and Ichioka Reina has become the leader of a new group. They will begin activities with their new groups in the Hello! Project 2017 SUMMER concert tour, and members of Ichioka’s new group will be announced at a later time.
In other words, Morito Chisaki’s a 14th Gen Musume, the FunaYana duo is broken up (at least, outside Country Girls), the former Hachikin Girl is an angel, and a senior H!P Kenshuusei will debut in a mysterious “new group.”
When I first heard the news, I was legitimately excited. I didn’t make any predictions because I didn’t want to completely set myself up for disappointment (something already prevalent in the fandom). This didn’t mean that the unexpected happened.
- The aforementioned Funaki/Yanagawa duo was split into different groups, especially considering their well-known friendship. I was a bit unnerved at first, but real friendship won’t let a thing like different main groups stop them. Despite what everyone is saying, Country Girls are still around so they still have that.
- Kawamura Ayano joining ANGERME rather than Morning Musume (though this was more of conditioning on the part of fans). I wasn’t that upset (the MM-Anju rivalry is stupid to me anyway — and this is coming from someone who considers Morning Musume 17 as their “main” group), but I’m sure Ayano’s talents will be put to use.
- Juice=Juice getting new members: Hoo boy, this was unexpected. Fans figured they’d stay the same, be like Melon Kinenbi (especially given the fruity motifs and cool, mature image) or 5-nin C-ute (because somebody has to be their successors). We had gotten comfortable, believing the option to add new members since Otsuka Aina’s departure was out the window. I didn’t even get into the fact they’re going on a world tour in a few months.
- Danbara Ruru joining ANGERME and Morito Chisaki joining Morning Musume ’17:
- For years, fans hoped the former would be a Musume and even I did, if only to be spared the fury of fans when it doesn’t happen. I’m just happy she debuted at all, rather than “completing her training” and riding off into the sunset.
- Morito Chisaki joining Morning Musume ’17 took me by complete surprise (in a good way). I know the group is pretty large now, but I’m no stranger to large lineups. (Remember that I got into MM in late 2003 and almost became a fan earlier than that. Between those times was a brief moment when the group was at its largest. While that time was brief, it prompted the formation of our favorite Gumi units. Considering that everyone from that era is gone, it’d be interesting if they brought it back for the 20th anniv… XD LOL) it’ll be interesting too see how things go and thank goodness the hate died down after concert rehearsal footage was shown. It was believed Chisaki was coldly welcomed and Mizuki resented the decision. Ah, to be in the spotlight and judged by everyone….
- Ichioka Reina’s new group: three possibility was always there, wth some hoping all of three announced debutees (and transfers) being in that new group. Again, I’m very happy for her and just glad she gets the debut. She is in the danger zone after all. It’ll be fun to see the new faces that will come from the new audition going on.
Oh yeah… Hello! Project’s holding an audition for new members. “The groups are too big! They don’t need another audition! They need to use the gals they have!” It won’t change the fact that new blood will be needed. We all remember the last time we let things get too stagnant.
Besides, once the winners are announced, you’ll fall head over heels in love with them. Remember how everyone reacted when ANGERME’s 4th Gen and Morning Musume’s 13th Gen auditions were announced? Remember when the winners (even of there’s technically none on MM’s end) were revealed?
I rest my case. Go ahead, rant and rave about how “MUDAMUDAMUDAMUDAMUDA” the very idea of auditions are, but in the end, it won’t even matter (if you’ll forgive the expression) because the results will be splendid. The newbies will hit you like a steamroller and you’ll cheer them on.
Come and see as Hello! Project rides on into a new era (a BRAND NEW era even) as out turns the big 2-0.
Veni, veni! Gaude, gaude!