Wait- What?

Since when is a 12th gen graduating!?

Ogata I-might-be-a-derpy-robot Haruna is GRADUATING!!

She’s only been here since 2015!

You-you can’t be serious!

And it’s for the sake of college!?

Isn’t that usually just a euphemism for ‘I no longer like the girls in my group’ (*see basically everyone in first gen S/mileage*)? Or ‘I have a boyfriend’?

I mean, sure, she’s an absolutely hopeless singer, but so was Shige and she managed to stay for ages! And she’s STILL singing and dancing, despite her demonstrable lack of talent. So, what’s the deal?

I’ll admit that in concerts and even in DVD magazines, I almost always forget she’s there. But unlike past members, her sudden appearances were kinda delightful. She’s become the member that will pop into frame, startle everyone, and then hop about laughing. She’s also quite beautiful and at times, too adorable for words.

In ‘There Were Eleven’ (stage play) she plays the drunken brother of a king and in one scene someone puts a knife to her throat. She’s supposed to yell in alarm and instead yodels, “Ooooh noooo! I’m gonna diiiiiie” and looks so doofy that it  just made me fall off the couch laughing.

When she first joined, Ogata was so very nervous that everything she did seemed a little painful. She was also so thin you could see her entire spine. The only reason I bring that up is because it was alarming. It’s also why she looks comparatively chubby now.

For ages all I knew about her was that she used to practise figure-skating and that she couldn’t sing very well. When she did try, her attempts were…ok, but at times they made me cringe.

In ‘Triangle’ (her first stage play with Momusu), she gets a song with Masaki-kins and that might have been a mistake. While it’s the catchiest song in the play (in either version), her vocals are awful. She’s trying, but she just doesn’t have it. Chalk that up to being very new in the group, but her vocals are still pretty rough, even for a newcomer.

Cute as a button, though!

Derpity Derp Derp~! ❤

I did get to see her figure skating once or twice after she joined Momusu and I think she looked a hundred times more confident. She was graceful and happy and I wondered why she ever gave it up in the first place.

They also gave her a show in which she interviews athletes and while it’s interesting in its own way, her hosting is still so very awkward. I say awkward, but in an endearing way. I always feel like I’m watching my older sister who is doing fine, but could do so much more if she had the confidence.

Ogata has transformed over her short tenure into a bit of a weirdo and I really appreciate that awkward humour. I can’t honestly say I’ve noticed much improvement in her performances because I don’t really notice her. When she does appear, it’s not as if she’s a bad performer, but I don’t think she’s a good singer and I don’t think she’s as comfortable onstage by herself as she is on the ice by herself.

So how do I feel about her graduating? If it is about her education, and not just some lame excuse to boot her out, that just reveals to me how mature she is. It also reveals that she probably doesn’t see the idol world as her future. I don’t see it either.

I’m not trying to be cruel to her; she’s cute, quirky, and tries her best, but I couldn’t see her in any of the post-idol careers O.Gs usually go for (eg. guesting on variety shows, radio shows, acting, talk show hosting etc). And I don’t think she wants those either. It takes maturity and guts to be able to admit to yourself that you’ve tried your best, but this isn’t the right place for you.

Nobody ever really knows an idol’s motivation to start idol-ing in the first place. Haruna doesn’t seem like someone seeking fame or ego-fodder. Perhaps it was just to see if she could do it and now that she has, she’s ready for something else.

Consider, she’s only been in this business for two years and in that time she continued her studies while touring, recording, rehearsing, acting in plays, filming pvs, and goodness knows what else. I can’t imagine being so busy and still being alive at the end of it, let alone being the charming, cutie-pie Ogata has become.

I suppose I just feel nonplussed. Like I understand it, but it feels too soon and out of the blue. I guess I just assumed, as most do, that the next graduate would be the oldest member.

*sigh* I hope not.

Good job, Ogata!
I wish you all the very best.

PS: What are you studying, anyway?

PPS: What the hell will you sing for your final solo!??


4 thoughts on “Wait- What?

  1. Bravo. It was a baseball to the face for me when I heard the news (by scrolling on Tumblr as a result of an unrelated notification). I had to do MULTIPLE takes to make sure it wasn’t a joke or it want the OTHER Haruna. (It WAS late March.)

    My immediate reaction was shock, surprise, and even a bit of anger (though that may have been from the Twitter reactions. It basically amounted to “Ogata is leaving wut? She’s getting out of dodge because she’s not getting much out of being filler.” You can kinda see that in my initial take: https://magicmorningmeteora.tumblr.com/post/172346312289/).

    These days… to quote a band I’ve been referencing a LOT over the past few months, “I’ve become do numb.” The shock is gone (replaced with ambivalent feelings and redirected shock at Ayacho’s announcement more than a week later. Only thing missing is someone else announcing their graduation to make the set complete!) and I’ve accepted the news. Another Musume will be gone, this time within a quarter, and time will go on.

    Haachin had a good run, even if she wasn’t as much of a scene stealer as others. She exists, she’s there… and that’s part of the tragedy. Even after joining Morning Musume just barely before Sayu’s grad (and beginning activities after), Haachin… doesn’t stand out as much to some and STILL feels new (apparently, everyone but Miki and (increasingly) Maria is prone to this).

    It’s a standard tenure (at least, in pre-Warring States Period terms) yet it feels too soon. Even Riho went this route, but something’s different here.

    Ogata Haruna, that figure-skating fish out of water whose awkwardness is endearing, will be writing a new chapter in her life. All idols will graduate someday (and may her graduation not be sullied by infamy or further bad news a la every 2017 grad save Kuduu’s) and we must wish her well. All the best, Haachin!

    And a fantastically written piece, Isilie.

    1. Awww thank you so much! I agree that it’s more of a numb acceptance than a shock after last year. And it’s easy to say stuff like, “har, har, Ogata is filler” and forget how vital those so-called ‘background’ players can be. First of all, not every member CAN be an Ace and if they were, I think that would be pretty boring. Members like her may fill in the gaps, but without them we’d be bored. At least i would. It’s like people that say EVERYONE should be a leader; an ace doesn’t exist without back-up like a leader doesn’t exist without followers.

  2. My hope is that Haachin reactivates her twitter. People had high hopes for her because her pre-MM photos on Twitter were some really crazy faces.

    I think, though, that Haachin was at a point in her life (her age) where she was super sensitive to the social dynamics she was coming in to. On the 12th gen radio show, she talked about how, during the 12th gen prank, she placed herself deliberately to be able to provide a punchline if necessary, but didn’t have to because Maria set up such a great payoff (which Haga followed up on wonderfully).
    So in that Haachin wasn’t willing to step on other members’ toes, and what with Maachan having already staked out the crazy member position, Haachin became more of a supporting member. She could talk smack with Triple A, became Maachan’s friend, and Haachel and WHaru alike could get delightfully weird backstage, but she couldn’t find a way to stand on her own. I think that if Haachin had joined at a younger age, she could have developed strong solo hosting skills the way Ayumi has, but it is what it is.

  3. It’s purely college reasons.
    She failed her entance exams twice if i can remember correctly.

    I’d surely miss her.

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