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.