I don’t think I can express to you what Momusu means to me. I haven’t been a fan since the beginning, of course. I don’t live in Japan, can barely speak/understand the language (workin’ on it!) and can only understand idol culture on a surface level. What I can do is come out of my long hiatus, full of writer’s block and lack of motivation, to tell you about what being a fan of Momusu for the last ten years has meant to me.
(Unless otherwise stated, all caps/gifs are from random google-searches/tumblrs – not mine!)
Continue reading “In Which it’s Been 20 Years of Momusu.”
PART TWO: The Stagnation Situation
After about two years of Platinum generation, with their slowly declining sales and lack of television presence, it seemed like every post about Momusu involved the word ‘stagnation’. The O.Gs were almost always onscreen when Momusu got to appear and as a result, the concept of the Golden Age became a topic of endless, heated debate. This is also the first time I ever encountered the concept of ‘rage-quitting’ a fandom: “They are just so bad that I am QUITTING them dammit!!.
Never mind all the changes that had happened two years ago and how lightning quick O.Gs had graduated or just exited (it was hard to catch your breath after Abe Natsumi graduated); Never mind the unprecedented move of having Chinese members in Momusu, or the fact that long-time shows had ended and new shows had taken their places; Never mind how H!P was slowly condensing, splitting into Elder Club and WonderfulheartsLand only to have a massive Elder Club exodus in only a couple years; Never mind how very different concerts became when there wasn’t that strong emphasis on variety anymore and how each girl had to step up her game.
Nope. All that mattered was Momusu was the same as it was a year ago, and let’s not forget the looming juggernaut of the emerging AKB48!
What was Itsumo Genki, Momusu-Supporter, to do? Was it really that bad? Let’s take a look at some of the things that I can remember people hating about the Platinum era.
Continue reading “In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything – Part Two”
PART ONE: The Ace Question
There is no other period of Morning Musume history that gets more criticism, insults, and terrible reviews than the Platinum Generation. At least there isn’t to my knowledge and I’ve been in this fandom for a decade now (wow, who else feels old?). It’s strange to me, who became a fan in late 2006, that this era is now becoming a bit as mythical as the Golden Age. Obviously it’s nowhere near as admired and lusted after, but people now seem to acknowledge how spoiled we were back in the age of JunLin, Takahashi Ai and, depending on your level of crack-consumption, Miracle-Ace Koharu. Since the kyuukies, the polish of the group with only three newbies has gone down. The vocals aren’t as strong, for example and mileages vary on performance level.
In one of her many awesome posts, Magi-kat made the point that there is a whole generation of new Momusu fans who are used to the conditions of one or two members getting all the solo lines, the relentlessly pushed ‘Ace’ member carrying all the pressure, and members staying in the group for decades. That was simply never the norm until Platinum Era.
So what was the Platinum Generation/Era? Why did people hate it so much if it created a generation of fans? Why is the question of the Ace so important for people now?
Continue reading “In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything”
Our beloved class president, Sayashi Riho/Ace/Riho-Riho is going to graduate from Morning Musume.
In just two months, on December 31st.
My brother chuckled when he read this and said, “Hm, just like Goto.”
He didn’t seem surprised at all. I, of course, was flabbergasted. I mean, the ace graduate? After only 5 years?
Then I realized, as most already have, that a 5 year stint isn’t that unusual. In fact, before Platinum Era, it was pretty much the norm for a momusu member. I just didn’t think it would be her, of all people. I think I was expecting someone like Iikubo, not because she’s necessarily done, but because of her age (unfair, but a thing).
Nobody else seems that surprised. I’ve even seen that word again, the one that haunted the Platinum era to the point that it lost all meaning: stagnating. Nothing the group does is good enough for people any more and so everything that does happen is all so very predictable. *sigh*
Riho has said that she wants to pursue other adventures, among them studying dancing abroad. She’s apparently been worrying about this for a while, which might explain her being absent (due to poor health – perhaps stress leave of some sort?) and otherwise oddly distant lately.
So, what does this mean for Momusu?
Continue reading “In Which Ace will be Missed.”
It’s been far too long. Sorry. I fail so hard at posting more…
Read this @ Wota in Translation (what might be the best site in the world).
It seems a lot of Japanese wota consider the “platinum era” one of the strongest and most memorable in the group’s history. They seem to agree with my own opinion that it didn’t really begin until Resonant Blue (yay!) and that it ended with Lullaby Game and the gorgeous Rival Survival Concert.
It made me think about being a fan of Momusu and how different it is from other groups and how I’m realizing the paradoxical nature of this fandom: MM’s strength is their biggest weakness.
Continue reading “In which Nostalgia is the Problem”
And so we come to our final day in the lovely Alo Hello Week. I thought I’d end off with my favourite of all the alo-hellos (that I’ve seen so far anyway): Morning Musume’s Alo Hello 2. If I could, I would just set up this whole dvd for you to watch, because it’s that good. At first it’s the usual pool party, water-slide nonsense fun (and there are so many moments from there you need to see), but then the second day turns into a cross Hawaii adventure.
As you well know, Yoshizawa Hitomi is my favourite Musume and Niigaki Risa became very dear to me – so when they were paired up for this dvd, I had no choice but to love it and cap the hell out of it.
Their mission is just to get back to ‘base’ before the other teams do. On the way, there are landmarks they need to visit and they need to buy the obligatory souvenirs. Each team is driven to an undisclosed location and given an envelope with clues,
shoddy-looking maps and other info they might need. Fujimoto Miki acts as the ‘base’ and stays in communication with everybody so they don’t get too lost.
The staff isn’t allowed to help them here. They have to rely on each other and their
terrible English skills to get them home. They have a camera, $150 and a time limit.
Continue reading “Alo Hello Week: Final Day”
On the second day of this beautiful Alo-Hello week, I thought I’d go back to my beloved Morning Musume. Particularly Kamei Eri, circa 2003 (or so). And the hammock.
This moment from their Alo Hello, or the Hawaii Trials dvd, actually begins with Shige and Mame, but ends up being all about Kamei.
It’s from the photobook making-of and I dearly wish I had the actual clip…
Continue reading “Alo-Hello Week: Day Two”
“Morning Musume daisuki.”
Pretty much since 2008, I’ve been saying that Mame (Gaki-san, but for the sake of nostalgia I will be calling her Mame in this post) should have had a solo release. I really wanted her to go solo, even for just one song. Not just in concert, but proper. Like Takahashi did. Like all these other ones (some of whom CAN BARELY SING).
Well, now I’ve not only got the gorgeous version of Egao ni Namida she did for her last Momusu release, but I’ve got a whole album of solos from the lovely Mame to look forward to. I already have her Hello!Cover album and I must say, of all the cover albums, hers is the one I love the most. Not one but TWO Nacchi songs on there!!! She does her audition song too (Love Namida Iro)!!! *squee*
Mame can rock the house but she’s also capable of being soothing, soft and feminine. I absolutely adore her voice. It’s nice when songs you didn’t really pay attention to become beautiful in the hands of another singer. It’s interesting. I understand she wants to act now, but at least I kinda, sorta got my wish before it was too late.
Solo Niigaki album ftw!!!
Continue reading “In Which a small Dream (sorta) Comes True”
This will be short, but just wanted to say bye to Mame Gaki – truly a sweet-heart and bad-ass at the same time- and Granny Aika – justly described as the most underrated, under-appreciated, and overshadowed Musume ever (but one of the most dedicated too). These two truly love(d) Momusu and I’m sad to see them go.
What is Morning Musume to you?
“Something I really liked, then grew to love.”
– paraphrased from Mame’s grad dvd
Continue reading “Mame, Granny…I’ll miss you!”
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.
Continue reading “Mitsui Graduates and Isilie is…relieved.”