H!P, Morning Musume, Musings, S/mileage

In which Isilie wonders about this “Project” part of H!P

So, based on what happened in the past few months, S/mileage will now be having, we assume, semi-regular graduations and auditions…

Where is that going, really?
Cause making S/mileage into the next ‘project-girl’ group seems like a bit of a strange step. It didn’t seem like Tsunku would really go through with his promise that the line-up might change, but then one never underestimates Tsunku. I wonder why he didn’t take members exclusively from the Eggs-? It could have worked just the same and they would have had a lot less trouble integrating. But then we wouldn’t have the Momusu-like drama of struggling, ‘regular’ girls (or retirees) who have to ‘do their best’ to make their ‘dreams come true’.

I thought Morning Musume had that whole thing covered already.
Apparently not. We need a new version for the next generation people. Momusu auditions are just traditional things now. This S/mileage stuff has to be properly epic.

Photo campaigns! Tears! Uncertainty! BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS!


Tsunku, or whomever, has already exhausted himself trying to make S/mileage into a re-imagined version of Morning Musume, to the extent that he’s reusing their old costumes (with some minor variations) for the new song. Speaking of which, he’s given them an upbeat, genki new single, while Momusu got the strange, chickadee song that everybody recognized as S/mileage style. There is a reason that it sounds like something new for Momusu – because S/mileage is the group that usually does those!!

Ever think maybe he just messed up and sent the wrong songs to the wrong groups?
I mean, what is anyone going to do about it, right?

When I heard the new single, Chotto Matte Kudasai, I felt like it was more the type of thing Momusu would do. And that made me wonder about many things, not least of which is “just how interchangeable ARE Momusu and S/mileage to this man, anyway?”

When I think about this whole graduation/audition path for S/mileage, it makes sense from a money standpoint: attract new fans with younger girls, keep the faces fresh, keep recruiting new talent to do more than just jumping-jacks behind the main groups. H!P rarely has new groups that aren’t composed of people we are already familiar with. I love having new people and I like that some of those hard-working Eggs finally get a break. I love it now.

And I loved it the first time when it was called MORNING MUSUME!!

I don’t really get how he’s (or the company, whomever) going to go about this. Having Morning Musume be the group that always changes worked fine, but we’ve seen the idea start to get old, start to back-fire. Why is doing this same thing again with S/mileage suddenly a great strategy? Isn’t the ever changing roster one of the things working against them, right now? Or did this really just happen because Ogawa wanted out and they had to have a back-up plan (he did give himself the option to add or subtract from the group in the beginning)?

Well, you’ve made your bed and lost another original member in the process.
Now what?

What does this mean for groups like Berryz Koubou who have only been together about seven years, but are already getting “old” (as in their teens will soon be over)? And C-ute? Are we going to turn H!P into the place where no group is stable? It’s jarring enough to insert newbies into a group that has been solid for a year, but into a group that has been solid for more than five? Who have essentially grown up together?

Are we going to get more fabulous soloists like Kikkawa Yu and sub-par but cute ones like Mano Erina?

I think new groups would be a sane way to go here. Use all the Eggs you’ve got! They are the ‘project’ part of H!P just as much as those new generation members are, aren’t they? I may not listen to S/mileage, but I’d never deny that they’ve made an impact on H!P, that they have their own sound, and that they have worked hard to bring it to life. I would love to see more groups do that, rather than turning every group into a constantly changing one.

I know that a lot of groups have a similar format now, people leaving and auditioning and all that. The thing is, Momusu has always made their grads a big, concert event, with a lot of emotion (unless the girl leaving has done so because of a boy). It’s meant to recognize the impact the girl has made on the group, the fans, and the members. It gives us fans a chance for some cathartic tears, a glimpse into the relationships between the girls, and a chance for some closure. You can see it as manipulative, fan-wank, or you can appreciate it as something unique and meaningful that you don’t get from anywhere else. At least not in that same way. I don’t want that to become so common that every group does it, every year.

Can you imagine how confusing that would be?
Would it even mean anything anymore?


9 thoughts on “In which Isilie wonders about this “Project” part of H!P”

  1. But most H!P groups *were* revolving doors for most of Hello! Project’s lifespan…Country Musume, Coconuts Musume, Mini Moni, Tanpopo…It’s less Morning Musume’s trademark and more that Berryz and C-ute are the anomalies, the same way MM’s stable 9-nin line-up was an anomaly.

    1. You know, I never really thought of them. I guess because those groups were off-shoots of MM, or they were nowhere near as popular. I don’t know why, but for me the grad/audition thing always seemed to belong to Momusu.

  2. I guess they were all connected with Morning Musume, but to my mind, it’s more because so much of H!P WAS Morning Musume that it was hard to keep totally separate from them. They just inevitably found their way into things. But I don’t think of Coconuts and Country Musume as off-shoots, even though the latter did borrow some of MM’s members.

    1. I didn’t mean those ones were offshoots – I know Coconuts and Country and so on weren’t associated with MM at first. I think you’re right though. In my mind, MM pretty much was H!P and that is probably why when I think of grads I only really think of them. This doesn’t really answer my concerns about Berryz and C-ute though. Do you think anything is going to change with them once everybody passes twenty?

  3. You raise some good questions here. I always looked at the S/mileage auditions as a ploy to keep the group going rather than dismantle it after losing so many people. I kind of doubt we’ll see another round of auditions for that group, but I’ve been wrong before.

    As for Berryz and C-ute, to just start replacing members in a group that has had such a stable line-up for so many years would just be too drastic. I think it’s much more likely that those groups will simply be replaced when the time comes rather than having their lives extended with new members.

    1. I agree. I think for Berryz and C-ute that is really the only option society has left them. Or they could recreate Elder Club-? ;-P
      You’re probably right about S/mileage. The more comment I get, the more I think I was slightly overreacting. *sigh* I think far too much about this stuff.

  4. I want Tsunku or whomever to make a new group in HP and do something interesting with them. just having berryz cute and mano is kinda getting boring.

    and OMG they should have kept Kikka in Hello Project

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