In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything: Part Three

PART THREE: Paving the way for Colourful Era

I still think the Platinum Era members of Momusu had it tough and it’s only now that people are realizing how amazing that group became. During promotions for their 20th anniversary, Shige said that if people were going to praise the members of that time, she wishes they would have done it back then. As Takahashi pointed out, “No one called it ‘Platinum’ at that time!” One of the most frustrating things they heard back then was, “What is Morning Musume up to nowadays?”

There were many factors contributing to their lack of popularity in Japan, but one of the major ones I cited was the appearance of AKB48. They were younger, newer, they were more accessible (at the time) and they had the variety emphasis Momusu no longer had. Momusu had to figure out what it wanted to be in the bridge period between the Golden Era and whatever they were to become. I think people generally agree that their Golden Era ended when Yossy graduated, but the usual transition was interrupted by Fujimoto Miki unexpectedly resigning to be with the man she eventually married (“Shoujiiiiii!”). Until Tsunku could find our ninth generation, Momusu had to recreate itself without their senpai to help.

One of the main things I kept seeing in blogs was ranting about ‘stagnation’ and it still bothers me. For a period of such immense changes, people didn’t seem to see anything but the lack of auditions and reliance on the same types of songs for each new release. I’m going to try and explain why I feel they didn’t stagnate; in fact, I think their development raised the bar for future generations and paved the way for the Colourful Era.

Continue reading “In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything: Part Three”

In Which it’s Been 20 Years of Momusu.

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.”

In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything – Part Two

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”

In Which Platinum Gen Changed Everything

PART ONE: The Ace Question

resonant

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”

In Which Ace will be Missed.

NbpJP1RfPNL_oSvYW5qGlFX7k7cOur 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.”

In which Nostalgia is the Problem

mm4It’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.

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Alo-Hello Week: Day Five

vlcsnap-2013-03-01-04h20m08s128On day five, let’s go to the odd-ball alo-hello dvd: Otome and Sakura Gumi in Hawaii. This one was so scripted and weird that it really took some getting used to the first time I watched it. I know that most if not all of the interactions on these dvds are scripted to some extent, but in this case I mean WOW. Most of it is bizarre daydreams or silly jokes.

But, it’s a lot of fun anyway.

The entire dvd is based on the concept of “showing off Hawaii”. The groups spend a lot of time wandering around trying to decide what to do next. This leads to a lot of rejected notions accompanied by those bizarre daydreams. There were a lot to choose from.

Remember Niigaki had a nickname when she joined?

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Alo-Hello Week: Day Four

vlcsnap-2013-02-28-08h20m50s174Yesterday’s foray into beach sports was so exciting I thought I would continue with it today, on the fourth day of our lovely Alo-Hello week. It’s perfect too, because today it’s rain-snowing and generally miserable.

It’s time for the beach-flag competition on Momusu’s Alo-Hello3.

It’s been a couple of years at this point since the group has done one of these. On the first day of the trip they have some fun on the beach and one of the events is beach-flag. It reveals  an unexpected victor.

We all know that Shige has a weakness for cute things, but since Yossy left, we’ve forgotten that she also has a weakness for athletes…

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Alo-Hello Week: Day Three

vlcsnap-2013-02-26-08h09m23s231On our third day, I’m sticking with Morning Musume’s Alo Hello 1, because there are just so many moments on there that I loved. The one I chose for today, however, is more of a whole segment than one moment.

Well, it’s one moment that keeps happening.

We can call it, ‘The Saga of Kaorin’s Team’.

Or perhaps, simply, ‘We’ll be fine.’

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Japanese phrases, the phrase (word?) ‘daijoubu’ means “we’ll be fine” or “it’s ok” in English. They say this a lot in this dvd, but Takahashi Ai seems to be particularly attached to the phrase.

And it’s hilarious.

Continue reading “Alo-Hello Week: Day Three”