Strangely, I’m not happy about this.
I’d describe it as rather a sinking feeling.
I’ve never hated Koharu, or as I’ve dubbed her forever ‘nut-job’. I don’t hate any of the H!P girls, even Winky who annoys the living hell out of me. I’ve just never been a fan of hers. I’ve never really thought she could sing very well, if at all, and I couldn’t stand any of her solo ventures. With all the crack-tastic concert behaviour, you’d think she would have become endearing to me, but not really, no.
This picture reminds me of her early days when she was simply adorable; those were the days when she’d sit on Yossy’s knee and piss off Miki with her excited bouncy innocence. Obviously, any idol has to grow up, but I never got as attached to her Kira….rin(???) persona.
I’m not sure singing and dancing is really even her thing. I think maybe she wanted to do it at first and now she needs a break. She’s been heavily promoted and very busy since her debut, much moreso than the poor neglected eighth generation. Considering her obedient, wide-eyed personality at the beginning there, it’s not hard to believe that she got swept away on the ‘Miracle/Ace’ wave Tsunku was so adamant about.
Even with all my issues with her as performer etc, her leaving means that Morning Musume will change again. I’ve been raving on and on about their unity now. They’ve done so much as a nine-girl line-up, been through so much. Does this mean a new audition is in the works? I can’t imagine such a thing anymore. They’ve given Momusu its new face, so to speak. Can they actually find another girl who could add life to the group the way Koharu apparently does?
Do you think they’ve outgrown the concept of the audition/form-new-idols formula? It worked so well in the past because idols were more acceptable than they seem to be now in Japan and also because we had senpais who honestly knew what they were doing, who could really guide the younger girls and give them chances to create characters that weren’t overdone stereotypes (like genki/cutesy for example). I’m not sure that is the case anymore. If Reina’s attitude is any indication (she mentioned a while ago, I believe on her radio show, that her juniors annoyed her because they couldn’t cover her when she messed up her speech. She described it as them being ‘useless to her’. If I’m misquoting, let me know, but I believe that was gist.), that sense of responsibility to make sure Momusu is full of character has gone by the wayside in favour of self-promotion. Of course, it is the girl’s responsibility to find her own way, but I think the senpai effect could have much more impact than just teaching the new girls their manners.
Another problem is Tsunku’s tendency to take chances on people that aren’t necessarily a sure thing, like Mano. I still don’t get her appeal. Yes, she’s adorable, but she’s essentially lifeless. And I realize that his tendency to take a chance has given us people like Konkon and Shige, both of whom I adore, BUT I don’t think the time is right for that. We need another Goto to happen. For once, stop just looking for someone mildly interesting and look for someone who has the chops. They don’t have a variety program to goof around in anymore, so the emphasis CAN just be on singing and dancing prowess for the time being, can’t it? I think he was expecting a Goto-Maki effect with Koharu, but instead her solo stuff outsold the group she was supposed to be the ‘ace’ of.
WAS Koharu the ace? Why and how exactly?
I think unity was the key these last few years. Maybe in the past, the group could be pulled along by one or two personalities, like Miki and Yossy for that short while, but now I think unity serves them better. Momusu as a dream and a concept seems to have taken on new life for them now that everyone is in and around the same age and have gone through all these new experiences together. They’ve managed to create this new sound/image and still keep what (for me) is essentially Morning Musume. It’s different, but the roots remain.
The issue is not so much the loss of our beloved Nut-job but the loss of this stable Morning Musume. I will miss this particular lineup. It’s not perfect or ideal, I know, but I’ll miss it.
Koharu’s eighteen now (right?). If she wants to move on, then more power to her. Considering how much attention her jailbait pics STILL get on my site, I don’t think she’ll have any problem breaking into modeling.
Let’s just hope she retains at least a bit of that innocence that she seems to have…even whilst biting off Yossy’s ear.