domingo, 3 de agosto de 2014

A word about Berryz Kobo

I think by this point we've all given our reactions to yesterday's announcement, be it over twitter, tumblr, forum posts or more organized blog entries. This is mine, expanding my tweets from yesterday. I haven't posted in a long time, even when I did endeavour to use this space regularly at the beginning of the year, but this is certainly one of the most important changes that will happen to Hello! Project, in a while.

Berryz Kobo's announcement of "activities suspension" does not come off as a surprise. Ever since we had a string of completely uninspired singles last year there have been people who were certain the end was near. More so this year when Sugaya Risako, the youngest member, turned 20, and thus, became an adult.

The tipping point for many, I think, was their latest single, Futsuu, Idol 10nen Yatterannai Desho?, which lyrics talk about the near impossibility of remaning in the industry for 10 years, a feat that seven of the original eight members of Berryz have conquered. Many fans thought that the lampshading lyrics were the ultimate sign for their disbandment. Honestly, I wanted to believe that it was nothing more than a celebration for that very important milestone.

It wasn't, and the majority were proven right yesterday.

Instead of using the terms 'disbandment' or 'breaking up', the members decided on wording it as an 'indefinite suspension of activities', even if they have pretty much admitted that it's only a nicer phrasing for the same thing.

UF has previously used instances of ambiguous wording to explain some of their movements, like the second generation of S/mileage being added because Tsunku had stated two years previously that the lineup wasn't definitive. Or never really graduating Satoda Mai from Country Musume and now auditioning girls for a new lineup.

I do not believe that new members are coming, not now, nor in the future. I am pretty sure that Berryz Kobo's lineup will remain as it is now forever. However, the wording they used covers explaining future instances of reunion tours, or albums, or future appearances under the Berryz Kobo name the members might have (The wording is not really necessary, given that Melon Kinenbi have performed together even afteir their disbandment, but it does give hope).

About the members, they haven't said anything about their individual futures. Ten years is a long time, and I don't think anyone could blame them if after finishing their activities as Berryz next spring they want to disappear from the entertainment industry. At the same time, I couldn't blame the fans for being disappointed or sad.

For one, I would be really sad to never listen to Risako's singing again. Or to never see Momoko's Momochi character again, as grating as it can be. Yurina could really pursue a modeling career, she is tall enough, not to mention pretty, for that. I do suppose that every member will decide their future in the following months, and I hope what they choose for themselves is what will make them happy.

Finally, Hello! Project after Berryz Kobo. This year, the conglomerate is also losing their oldest member, Michishige Sayumi, after eleven years of career.

That leaves us with 25 members. As I pointed in some tags in a tumblr post yesterday, we had also 25 members when the last shocking announcement in Hello! Project was made, 2010's triple graduation and the audition for the 9th generation.

25 members, and the only ones who were full members four years ago are °C-ute, Wada Ayaka and Fukuda Kanon.

The rest, eighteen girls, came in 2011 and after. It's amazing, even if Fukumura, Kudou Takeuchi, Katsuta, Miyamoto and Takagi were part of Hello! Project in 2010, they were Eggs, and I don't think they really count.

I say that it is amazing because in only four years, Hello! Project has almost completely changed their faces. Right now, it's youthful and full of potential, so much contrast to 2010 when everyone except for S/mileage were experienced performers, and even S/mileage had been eggs for six years then.

I feel like Berryz Kobo's hiatus highlights the change hugely, much like the recent graduations of Morning Musume have made all of us realize that the group is on hands of the 9-11th generation now.

While very sad for the end of Berryz, I can't help but be very, very excited about what the future of Hello! Project holds.