I’ve been watching the only H!P show that I know of Bijo Gaku. There is a whole lot of S/mileage on there, but they’ve included a few glimpses of our four new members. I got to see some of the fan event, where they were all adorable and energetic to the extent that Mame and Shige said variations of, “wow, the new member are awesome!” For once we have some girls who step forward, who act silly. I’m getting a soft spot for them and I haven’t even heard them in a single yet.
Let me explain this Gokkie comparison though.
Oddly enough, given my obsessive and overwhelming love of Yossy, the fifth gen is still my favourite generation. That is quite a statement given the epic that was first and second gen Musume. Goto is often cited as the most influential of all the generations and it’s fairly easy to guess why. Then there was 4th gen and they were just powerful.
You’ve got Tsuji-Kago, who did whatever they wanted and got away with it because they were charming and adorable. Then you have Ishikawa Rika, the cutie-pie with just enough edge to make you take a step back before you cross that insane grin. Then there is the Yossy and I cannot even start about why she was/is so awesome, because we’d be here all day. Put them all together and you have a spectacular family. I don’t think any of them lose to each other. I can’t look at fourth gen and honestly say that one of them is more powerful than the other, unless I am listening to my Yossy-bias that screams, “YOSSY PIMPS ALL!!”
And the sixth to eighth generations have all had girls that I got attached to: Kamei, Linlin…ok maybe not all of them…
The thing is, fifth gen will always make me smile because of that feeling I get from them. For the past few generations – the sixth gen to eighth gen – it feels like the girls just didn’t really know what they were getting into. They wanted to be in the group, but there was something missing. I noticed that for a few generations there, the girls didn’t really react when they got in. I think Koharu probably did, but I don’t remember. They all seemed a little dazed by it, like, “Oh, ok. Cool.”
Fifth gen wept. I mean, waterworks all across the board. All four of them said at some point in the audition that they wanted to be in badly and none of them could believe it when it happened.
My point is not, “The other generations didn’t care because they didn’t cry about it.” Maybe they all did. I would never say they weren’t happy.
My point is that the gokkies let you in right away. There was never a sense that they were trying to act cool about it, they just wept with happiness and shyly began to establish themselves.
There has always been a sense of vulnerability to this generation that makes me want to root for them. Niigaki is responsible, but so emotional about the group. It was her dream and you can tell she cherishes it. Makoto smiled through everything and was never afraid to look silly if it would make people happy. She pushed it further and further and we loved her for it. Konno is the Cinderella, the one who was told she failed everything and the one who rose out of that and became the idol we all know. She is endearing in a way that baffles me. Takahashi loves singing, loves the group and loves her members. She is always too hard on herself and tries anyway. She is helplessly shy, but she tries anyway. They all struggled in their own ways and they all got really really close. It’s been a long time since they’ve been together, but the bonds are still there.
I haven’t gotten that same sense in any other recent generation. Maybe it is just because I didn’t pay as much attention. Maybe it is just the personalities. 8th gen seemed vulnerable too, but individually and for vastly different reasons. And they didn’t quite stick together as the Gokkies did. They didn’t really have the option.
This is why I and many others were so happy when Tsunku announced four people instead of the usual ONE. Give the girls people to lean on, who are closer to their own ages and who aren’t bound by the rules of senpai-kouhai. It already looks like they are starting to bond. In terms of the set-up they are more like the sixth gen – Mizuki already having been in Eggs for awhile before Tsunku added her to Momusu. In terms of personalities? Suzuki reminds me of Makoto, unsurprisingly. It’s been awhile since we’ve had another funny character. I cannot pin down Riho quite yet, but that fiery sense of competition coupled with talent and shyness? Ai-chan anyone?
According to the various blogs I’ve read, the current members adore them, or at least are fascinated by them. It has been a very long time since they’ve had tiny, tiny young ones (seriously, when you are smaller than MITSUI, you are damn small!!). Shige comments on their cuteness all the time, Takahashi took lots of pictures of them feeding each other strawberries and also mentioned that Mizuki is getting attached to Mitsui.
The cry-baby getting attached to the more aloof senpai? Shades of Yossy Mako anyone?
Let me give you an example of this sense of vulnerability I keep going on about: in one of the recent episodes of Bijo Gaku, Suzuki (Zukki!) is having trouble learning the steps to ‘Tomo’. Riho, Mizuku and Eri-pon seem to get it fairly quickly and at once the bright smile that is always on Zukki’s face fades away. The next episode we see this:
Mizuku the semi-pro giving her fellow Kyukkie some extra help. She helps her with steps but also suggests that she not over-think, because, “If you concentrate too hard, you forget to smile.” Of course, Zukki improves a lot and finally gets it.
Mizuki tells her that she really did well and that she was surprised at how fast she improved. Zukki has tears in her eyes, then she lowers her head bashfully and tells her, “It’s all because Mizuki taught me.”
She gives her a hug. And I melt and tear up because I am a huge sucker for this kind of scene.
And then there was Eri-pon who just went for it and greeted Shige with something completely random. Then when she got flustered:
“Please do your best.”
“I’ll do my best!”
Shige: (thinking) “When in doubt, turn on the cute!”
Eri-pon: *giggles helplessly and watches in awe*
A new fan is born.
Eri-pon always looks so worried in her photos. I wonder what it is about her, cause she has quite an adorable smile. The way she giggles when Shige walks away is just so funny…I’m not sure if it was this event specifically, but Shige wrote in her blog that the new members had been talking to her, or giving her sweets etc. She said that she was impressed because when she first started she would never have been able to do that.
Is that a testament to the courage of the new members, or how approachable Momusu has become?
After the fan event both Mame and Shige said that they cannot wait to work more with these girls. They were surprised at how interesting they were and how funny. I think most of us are, especially if you are one of the ones who was worried that this generation would consist of four cuties who don’t talk.
The thing that makes me feel closer to Momusu, the thing that keeps me interested even more than the music are the bonds that the girls make with each other. This is why I loved 9/8 nin Momusu so much and why I love the Gokkies so much. I see the senpais anxious to work with their new members and the new girls going for it every time they get a chance. I see them overcoming their shyness or their lack of experience by asking for help. I see them helping each other and goofing around. I see how different they all are and how interesting.
And I’m pretty excited.