So, it’s finished. The Elder Club is gone.
Ok, I hate that sentence. Saying it like that makes it sound like they’re all suddenly gone from the face of the planet. This is silly. Even though to me most of these women are the face of Hello Project (are, not were), it doesn’t mean that unless they are working for that company they no longer exist. Even if most of them gracefully bow out of the spotlight, they will still exist.
It sounds melodramatic I know, but the mind of a fan can be like that. You can forget that people exist outside the place you’ve put them in your head. And H!P fandom is odd in that it can work in reverse. It has for me.
What I mean is, instead of being into what H!P is now, you’ve probably seen something that is at least four years old that sucked you in and little do you realize that four years ago is ancient history in H!P years. At least for me, so much changes from year to year, it’s difficult not to hang on to the past. That’s the only thing that stays consistent; you got into H!P because of Matsuura’s ‘Love Namida Iro’, that’s what you’ll probably always associate with “when H!P was good”.
That’s why we all keep complaining that such-and-such a song was not as good as this-song-from-this-past-lineup. That’s why we convieniently forget that Momusu has always had a line-distribution problem and why lots of us can only describe their current songs as attempts to be their older “better” material. I’m sorry, ‘Resonant Blue’ and ‘Summer Night Town’ are nothing alike. At all.
I digress, but my point is (and I can of course only speak for myself) that the Elder Club members are H!P and they’ve now proceeded to move on, even though it feels like only a year ago when Yuuko was graduating from Momosu or when Matsuura was dancing with her puppet pals. It all feels like it’s happening now when you watch it. I forget so easily that the Hello Morning episodes I watch are all at least four years old. I forget that songs I adore like ‘Night of Tokyo City’ are a decade old. The song that got me into H!P is half a decade old.
I love H!P still. I doubt that will change. But we’ve definitely lost something.
Forgive me, because I’ll probably reference Morning Musume the most, to the exclusion of most. They will always be the group that I’ll follow the closest. I think they’re the ones I know the most about because they are the ones that got me into this whole thing. Isn’t it the same with anyone else and the first thing that really caught you with this H!P thing?
Well, it is with me. First, Mari. Then Yossy. Then Abe. Then Yuuko. Then it was basically over. In terms of artists, there are only a few I don’t like.
I couldn’t seem to gather my thoughts about the graduations, not really. I vaguely had a sense of bafflement at the immediacy of it all – seemed like all the best-ofs were pretty ominous but then BAM! massive graduation. Then I thought, “well, why not?” It makes sense. They’re all ready to move on. They’ve sure as hell built something that’s made an impact.
It’s pretty much sunk in.
I think I might be one of the few who really believes in the current Momusu. It’s not what it was, but maybe it doesn’t need to be. Despite the cute-ness that they all fall back upon, we’ve got some interesting characters again. We’ve got unity. With that unity, it feels like some of them are starting to open up a little bit. Mitsui is one example. She’s gotten almost bubbly, even though she’s still a sort-of granny when she’s feeling shy. She’s even displayed some brattiness, like on Music Fighter when she said she was pissed at Junjun and Linlin because everyone seemed to talk to them more than they talked to her when she first joined.
The H!P kids are stepping up. They’re slowly, slowly growing on me, even.
I shudder just writing that, but there you go.
I thought then, that the only way I’ll be able to really say anything is if I look at the photos we have of the event itself (the grad concert) and see what I can come up with. Captions are one of my favourite parts of blogging. Let’s see if I can say anything at all. This might just be empty musings, but here we go anyway.
Thanks to Stardust, because I believe this is where I got most of these. If not there, then at the picboard at Hello Online. So, to whomever, thanks!
In no particular order:
I wonder which song this is? They all look so happy to be dancing together again. Takahashi in particular seems delighted. Oh Tsuji…the bow…
Tanpopo: all of em…that are still singing anyway. I keep forgetting that Konno, Mame and the rest were there. 1st and 2nd Gen Tanpopo was best for me. They’d sort of lost the point with that last single. What is great about them is that even though they had all these different styles, they have a theme song they can all sing. Rika has the best hat out of all of em. Why do I love those boots?
FUCK yeah~!!! Nacchi, Mari and what appears to be air-guitar. Koko ni Iruzee, maybe? Haven’t looked at the set-list…
Somehow, Melon is always class.
4th Gen!!!!! They always hold their hands up like this…cause they’re freakin awesome.
Always so happy to see each other. I like that they all still hang out together. Tsuji mentioned on her blog that she goes out to eat with Yossy and Rika a lot.
Apparently Rika makes Noa cry. That made me laugh for about five minutes.
1st Gen!! I love that their poses are so like their characters:
Yuuko: Look what we’ve created, bitches!
Nacchi: Oh, I’m so delighted!!
Matsuura’s emphatic “zu-BAA-to!” It just can’t be anything else. I ask you, how the hell does she make that look cool??
*dies from needing to see this performance*
Again, it’s like this picture is all of their personalities:
Yuuko: *drunkenly* You’re ahead of me somehow, but dammit I love you!!
Tsuji: *triumphantly* Love you two, thirty-year old!! Hee hee!
Takahashi: *giggling uncontrollably*
Ogawa: THIS RULES!!!
Kei: *is singing too intensely to pay attention to anything else*
Where the hell are you looking Winky?? Kaori is fixing her hair…perhaps communicating. Mari and Kei are having some sort of fight-? Abe is still delighted. Miki is pretty much taking it easy…What song could this be?? Takahashi looks delighted in almost all these pics.
Wait, the kids were there?
I wonder which song this is too…lots of sparkle and colour…yappari, ne?
This looks like exclusively Momosu. All the remaining past and present members. This pic just makes me happy. I like that Kaori and Yossy are in the middle. Hee hee, it’s like a pyramid…Mari and Tsuji at the end…
The beginning of All for One and One for All? I love that song. I love that Abe and Yuuko seem to always grasp hands before they sing it.
Dammit, I want to see this concert.
Apparently they all read one farewell statement at once. I was wondering how they would handle that aspect of the graduation. Pretty sure each of them shed a tear.
Yossy…hanging in there…pretty sure at least one tear fell.
Takahashi had to speak?? Oh…ganbare riida!! I want to hug our cry-baby Ai. I wonder how she held together through that.
Oldest and newest leaders. So odd to think of all the history in this picture. I wonder what’s in the envelope.
I always get that sense from Yuuko, that she really has compassion for all her kouhai, even if she can be rough with them. This moment needed a hug. Doubt she could help herself.
Whew. Need to see this concert. Badly.
From the Blogs, we have backstage pics!
Might be from other events than the grad concert, but hey, they made me happy.
I almost didn’t recognize Kaori! I felt really worried seeing this picture. I’ve not commented yet on her situation, how shocked I was when I found out that first she was pregnant then that her baby had died so soon after it was born. For someone as serious and sensitive as Kaori always seemed to be, I can’t imagine how she’s held together. I felt disturbed at the news, worried and sad.
I admire her for going to the concert, putting in the effort when it would have been understandable for her to gracefully decline.
So much grace. I wish her all the best.
Hey! Ishiguro Aya stopped by!!! 2nd Gen all together again!!! YEAAAAaaah!!!
Ahem. And Tsuji. Being Tsuji.
I forget, did they ever meet, those two?
Well whatever. This pic rules.
Mai looks so tall! Maybe it’s the hat.
Seriously, Miki and Matsuura look like they could eat her alive. So much kakkoi-powa…
Those two always look amazing and a little dangerous.
Kemeko + Tsuji + chuu = KAWAII!!
Or maybe just people running away.
Man, Tsunku overlooking all his girls.
Not all, but some of them he’s known for a decade. Watched them grow up. Gave them chances to shine and try new things.
I will always make fun of him. I will always use him as my scapegoat when I complain about H!P in years to come. I do think he’s somewhat nuts.
Thank you Tsunku, for introducing us to these women.
I want to see this concert. I hope it’s as amazing as it looks.
“You see it’s always the same road, let’s find another one!
Ah, it’s wonderful, let’s make it a road that leads to each other…”
– I Wish, Kiwi Musume’s translation