Mitsui Graduates and Isilie is…relieved.

I must admit, my first reaction upon reading that Mitsui Aika (aka Granny) will graduate from Morning Musume (aside from a pang of sadness) was relief.

I said it before in another post: if it’s going to affect her health and well-being then she needs to think about that, as much as I will miss her.

And I find that I will definitely miss her. Call this rose-coloured glasses if you want, but I don’t think we’ve ever had a member exactly like her, who is so hard to pin down. Is she really just a cutie-pie who one doesn’t notice? Is she as Granny-ish as she some times looks? Is she bratty and jealous, hating new members for the attention they receive until she warms up to them? Is she ‘da boss’ of the newer members, taking on the role of the ‘scary senpai’ so no one else will have to? There have even been a few members who described her as ‘a puppy’. Tsunku chose her because that languid way of dancing, like she was barely awake, sparked his interest.

I have seen her be adorable and charming and I have seen her show signs of bratty bad-ass too. Now she is graduating alongside the last Gokkie.

Yeah, all these multiple grads are getting a bit hard to take, eh?

I always felt a sort of concern for Granny. If it’s true that no one really spoke to her when she first joined than she must have felt desperately lonely. Junjun and Linlin needed a lot of extra attention. They joined fairly soon after she did and immediately after Yossy graduated, so her moment of spotlight was overshadowed.

‘Generations’ that consist of only one member (or in which there is a definite gap) have always sat a little wrong with me, not because I think that the girls aren’t up to it, but because I love teams. That is one of the reasons idol groups affect me in such a powerful way. I love that girls (or boys) are made to work together and create bonds that no one outside the group can penetrate. That’s why I’ve always worried for Mitsui, because she never seemed to belong to any group within Momusu. JunLin at least had their heritage to connect them, even if they didn’t get along as famously as everyone assumed.

In recent years, due to the rise of H!P blogging and wonderful translators of those blogs, I’ve discovered that Mitsui seems to be a bit of a lone wolf, by circumstance, or her own choosing, it’s not clear. I just noticed that she seems to get close to individuals more so than sticking to a clique, whether it’s talking over riida things with Takahashi, or goofing around with Winky, or squabbling with her friend, Hagiwara Brat Mai from C-ute. I guess it’s unfair to try and narrow down which cliques exist in Momusu. Obviously that senpai-kouhai divide has sharpened dramatically with the new additions, but that hasn’t stopped anything before (Ishikawa, Mari and Kaorin used to hang out all the time for example). All I really mean to say is that she seems to have largely accepted her role as a background player and so she looks after everyone in her own way. Now she seems comfortable with everyone.

Watch the making-of Renai Hunter. The first moment you see her the camera zooms in and she makes this “aaaAAAAh” sound that is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. It was like a punch to the heart made of candy-floss. Ah…she got me! >_<

While in the singles she didn’t get much to do, in concerts she had seriously powered-up before her injury. I remember watching a brief concert appearance where Momusu was only five members and Mitsui was on fire. Her voice was strong and sure and she danced with a snap that I rarely saw in her. That’s why it was so jarring and so upsetting to see her stuck in a wheelchair during Ai Believe. I wanted to see her up there, showing off everything she’d worked so hard for. She smiled through everything.

I guess it was inevitable. She hasn’t been able to dance for too long. Many must have seen this coming. And like I said, her health has to be more important. At least she is not leaving H!P altogether.

And about her graduating with Niigaki, I kinda hate the idea, but not because “this concert was supposed to be about Mame!!‘. I recognize that Niigaki’s departure signals yet another wave of change in the group and I know that if you aren’t as popular-blah-blah-blah…

I simply wish Mitsui could have her own moment for a change. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems almost everything Mitsui has done has been overshadowed somehow. I hope they give her the attention she has earned and not something rushed and cursory simply because Mame is such a long-standing member.

It’s not as if she wants to leave. She’s just doing the responsible thing and looking after her health so she won’t worry or trouble the members and staff.

That takes guts and I’m proud of her.


5 thoughts on “Mitsui Graduates and Isilie is…relieved.

  1. Personally, I’ve always felt frustated with Aika. I don’t really follow MM now, gravitating towards kpop and specially SNSD. But the reason Ive always felt frustuation is that i feel thatt instead of developing her character, she just got stuck with the image of being the youngest and loving animals. For me this is a seriously WTF, for at least 3 years all you could tell about aika was she was this kid that loves animals. Now, Im sure she’s not the only teenage girl that likes white tigers but the way she concentrated her personality over somehthing so trivial and frankly ordinary…for god’s sake, you’re in the ENTERTAINMENT business. If 9th gen had been formed earlier (obviously, they wouldnt be the same people) then aika would have been pushed and she would have been forced to step outside her comfort zone and actually build a character. In 2009, I used to think, with the graduation of koha, that she could be the ‘wild card’ of mm, if she became more active in her role since we barely knew anything about her.
    And some people may blame UFA and image and all that. The OGs have said before that these characters were not created, rather the agency helped them developed or guided them in a direction based on what they already had (this is golden era mm, so pretty strong characterization roles going on). IMO, aika had a lot of fault in this by playing it safe and accepitng the role of the whiny youngest that wasnt even properly played out if you know what i mean, kinda like a half-assed attempt.
    This may sound cruel but the fact is taht she is an entertainer. She got picked in 8th gen as a sort of wild card who maybe had this hidden potential since she appeared to do things with half the energy level.She was not a good dancer and she was not a good singer either (although people will talk about her deep voice and soothing and whatever, but she wasnt in the ‘singing line’ of the group. So she should have taken the character route (look at koha and sayu). She was not entertaining for a very long time, and the whole she was young thing doesnt really work as an excuse either, 4-6 gen girls were also around her age when she joined.
    So, erm yeah, i feel like i had to say this even if it sounds like a hate rant. Im just frustuated that I feel she hasnt contributed much to the group as a whole. It was only until a few moths ago that we found out she had a strict side (after 5 years- nearly). Even when she had the camera to herself, she would just speak in this very whiny voice and say things like look at this flower, and its not liek she could play the cute card either, i dont think she is particularly striking physically (girl’s pov) . Like in alo-hello 3, the camera filmed her and she poked kame with her float, with kame teasing her back and it was funny because of eri’s reaction but otherwise it was awkward as hell. She was payed for being an entertainer, and i felt she has done a poor job overall.
    No rose coloured glasses for me but then this is just how i feel

    1. Whew. Long.
      It’s not cruel. If you feel she didn’t do enough, then it’s better to say that. I think what I’m reacting to most is that she doesn’t want to leave and yet she has to. I think that really sucks for her. The OGs also said in regards to ‘character’, if the members themselves don’t want to put themselves out there, then nothing will happen. It won’t matter how much someone tries to enforce said character trait. I really think her sense of isolation never went away and that’s one of the things that held her back…Anyway, ranting is good for you. Just cause I’m sorry to see her go doesn’t mean anyone else has to be.

  2. I always felt that Aika just didn’t really fit in with the group. Like you mentioned she had no other members in her generation, was never really “paired” with the other members, and taking from Aikaranter above, didn’t contribute much towards the group with her singing or dancing.

    I agree with you about it being a shame that she has to graduate with Risa. Kind of hard to make it special for her at the “Niigaki Risa graduation special”

    Also, albeit unrelated, I LOVE your new Junjun header!

    1. Thank you! I just about died when I saw those pics of JJ. Instant reaction was, “HEADER TIME!!”

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