This series of questions was posed by Chiima and Momoka a short while ago, and Greg from Selective Hearing (whose writings never fail to be awesome, even if I'm not totally in agreement with some of them) did a fantastic job of answering these questions as well. As H!P has changed a great deal in the past year, I think it's going to be good to think a little about where it is going, and this discussion was very thought-provoking.
01. If your favourite member were to leave a group, you would abandon that group.
I very much want to say no to this question. I was bummed when Ogawa Saki, Maeda Yuuka, Takahashi Ai, Linlin and Umeda Erika all graduated from their respective groups, but I'm still a big fan of all of them. In fact, I became a bigger MM fan after the Jyuukies joined and a bigger S/mileage fan with all the fresh legs coming in.
I have to say I would be a bigger C-ute fan if Erika was still in the group, though. I miss her hilarity, surprising maturity and her token copper hair in the sea of black in C-ute. I will also be inconsolable for a few weeks when Sayumi graduates (especially if I can't get my poor ass to Japan for the concert). But I will still be a big MM fan because I adore 9th and 10th gen (with the exception of that spoiled brat Haruka). I became an MM fan in late 2009, long after getting acquainted with C-ute, Melon Kinenbi and Berryz Kobo, so I never had a chance to get attached to Koharu (who would have had a devoted fan in me had I gotten to know her sooner), Eri and the pandas. Will I abandon all hope when Zukki, Haruna, Ayumi, Dawa or Kanananana graduate? That remains to be seen.
I did abandon my Momoclo fandom after Akari graduated, so I dunno; I could turn to the grumbly-former-fan dark side with H!P, but I don't think it's likely.
02. Your favourite member/group is obviously the best member/group to exist and without them, the group/project would fail.
This question exists because of comment thread trolls and forums, I say!!! DEATH TO THEM ALL!!! =^_^=
In all seriousness, though, I've seen a couple of my favorite H!P members leave over the years, but that hasn't made me love the groups any less. The only thing that has made me love C-ute less than I used to is a couple of sub-par releases and wonky promotion. I love the fact that more members are getting promotion, but that only seems to happen when UFA staff is on a serious caffeine high. When the jitters subsided, the fantastic promotion for Chisato ended without so much as an "I'll be back, keep your panties on." As much as I love Airi and support her as a front girl, I'm tired of the promotion being all Airi all the time. The other members of C-ute are awesome and popular too--give them more promotion, pleeeze!
I have to admit I would be bummed if Ayano and/or Mei left TGS, morose if Shania left JKT48, murderous if Mayu left Happiness, and borderline suicidal if Sayaka, Yukirin or Sasshi left AKB, but I don't think the majority of those projects would fail without them (with the exception of Ayano), let's get real here. As much as I hate to admit it, Momoclo is fine without Akari. Less awesome, for sure, but still as successful.
03. The new members (Gen 9/10 MM & Gen 2 S/mileage) are too new to handle the loss of so many senpai (Aichan, Gaki, and Yuuka) so soon after joining.
Oh hell no. First of all, out of the 12 new H!P group members, four of them are former Eggs. They know the ropes and have done a great job of being guiding lights for everyone so far. Second, several of the new girls are talented pros already (i.e. Riho, Meimei and Ayumi), so while they might not have known the rules of etiquette, they do learn performance material quickly.
This biggest issue presented with this question is fans' unwillingness to accept change. H!P is not the same animal as it was even three years ago (and don't even get me started on Golden Age devotees). Will it change with new leaders and personalities? Duh. And with that change will come new fans. The newbies are fine.
04. Idols should be forever pure - They should not marry, or date, or even think about anyone other than their fans.
This conundrum is a never-ending source of annoyance for me. On one hand, you have the cultural sensitivity perspective, which helps the semi-intelligent masses chill out and accept that there are many ways or being, and that none of them are "wrong," per se. But on the other hand, you have the "Jeebus tap dancing Christ, this isn't 1950, get over your penises, guys," perspective. And this is something I have a hard time escaping.
I understand that the idol tradition is based on a fantasy life that fans long for because of the simple fact that sometimes, the real world sucks, and sometimes we need to say "Fuck it dude, let's go
Idols have the right to lives just as much as their fans do. In the case of female idols and the argument that "it was their choice and they have to abide by the
Whiny AKB/H!P/other idol wotabois of all ages need to get their brains detached from their cocks and GET OVER THEMSELVES. Guess what? Crazy wota are not the center of the idol universe just by virtue of having a Y chromosome. And that thinking is THE ONLY reason the stupid rule is still here.
I would have absolutely no problem with the no dating rule if male idols had to follow that rule as well. But until that happens, I'm going to keep making loud, bitchy comments about it.
05. H!P members should be allowed to date/marry so they can stay members forever.
No one can be an idol forever. Why worry about it?
06. When a member graduated, suddenly, everyone loves them.
I was this way with Takahashi Ai and Maeda Yuuka, I'm not going to lie. And Sakitty's H!O thread got a bajillion new pages when her graduation was announced. It does seem to be the way of things. So I'm going to say yes to this one. Even in the case of a scandal, it seems to be the case.
07. When a new member gets more lines than other new members, everyone either hates that member or loves them. (No in between)
I can say that for me, this is false. I was very meh on Aichan for a long time, and I'm pretty meh on Riho right now (less so, though), just because of how they were as idols. I don't OMGLUV Riho, but I do like her because she has a subtly cheeky personality, and she has improved A LOT since she auditioned. Riho has actually become a very talented and powerful singer. She sounds very impressive live, and she doesn't have to be adjusted much in the studio. I think she deserves to be a frontgirl, and I'm okay with it. The reason people don't like how she sounds has NOTHING to do with her talent--it has to do with the fact that she's a squeaky 13-year old girl. Seriously, ladies, we all sounded annoying as shit at that age whether we could sing or not.
Anyway, yeah. Gonna say no on that one.
08. The new Members of Morning Musume (or specific members) don’t look like they belong there.
Even the most open-minded idol fans have a terrible penchant for turning into judgmental douchebags when it comes to an idol's beauty. I've even caught myself occasionally thinking things like "omg she has, like, no hips and WAAAY too many teeth." We're all taught by the media (no matter which country's media you're looking at) to pursue a specific ideal of beauty, and no matter how much we try to deny that we too are not gods and are affected by this, we're all made fools when judging idols on their looks. It's a shitty habit, indeed...
All the new MM members are gorgeous in their own way (even if only on the outside, Haruka...). There are many ways to be and look beautiful. We as fans just need to get our heads out of our asses and retrain our brains and eyes.
09. Morning Musume are a Sinking Ship.
*rolls eyes* I really have nothing to say on this one. If you don't like it, GTFO.
10. Morning Musume are too childish, so naturally people won’t like them any more.
11. S/mileage has become more mature than Morning Musume as of 2012.
I don't think there's any good way to judge this. S/mileage is S/mileage, and MM is MM. I don't personally think either can really hold any sort of claim to a higher maturity level.
12. S/mileage ARE the new Morning Musume.
I have to admit, this was my first thought when the 2nd-gen auditions ended. Not only is S/mileage becoming another audition-based group, but they're also selling better than any other group except MM. I'm not really sure, though. Will we have 3rd-gen auditions? More sub-units? We shall see.
13. C-ute is only still “cute” because they owe it to their group name.
Yes. Le sigh.
14. Berryz and C-ute might disband soon.
I hope not. I think if they do, they should wait until C-ute turns 10 and have a massive graduation together. It will be sad, but at least we will have a wonderful Karin-Nanami-Ayano trio and new seven-member war machine Sakurakuma (Led by Kanae, sub-led by HBIC Sakura, and topped off with some lovely Aina, Fuyuka, Rena, Rie and Dayeon) to look forward to!!!
RIGHT, TSUNKU?!?!?!? :D
15. Aika should graduate.
I am a huge Aika fan. I think she would make a kick-ass leader and a great lead singer someday. Her personality is hilarious, she has great fashion sense and is an amazing blogger.
BUHUHUUUUT....she's kind of off her game in terms of performance. She's having a legitimately hard time recovering from her injuries (seriously, have you LOOKED at her leg lately? Atrophy much?), and a lot of the songs on the first Ultra Smart setlist don't have her in them. It's been almost a year, and she's still out of it.
Still, all that aside, I'ma say HELL NO! There is a reason she is so determined to stay, and a reason UFA is so determined to keep her. That's because she rocks, duh! It's just too bad it took UFA the better part of 5 years to promote her.
16. The fans are the real problem behind Morning Musume’s problems.
I don't really think MM is having problems right now, to be honest.
Ohhhh wait...by problems you mean the ---48s...now I get it!! Man oh man, I thought there might be a legitimate issue here!
Puhleeze. The 48 family is just the big thing right now, and most of them were inspired by MM to become idols in the first place. Idols are still alive and well, including MM. No, MM is not as popular anymore, but they are still making the Oricon Top 10. If there's any real problem, it's UFA and their crappy promotion. More Mobekimasu-style promos, imo.
17. Sayashi Riho and Tamura Meimi are only in H!P because they previously performed in Stage Plays with H!P members/groups.
Maybe. But come on, they are both very talented girls, especially Meimi. H!P is better with them in it.
18. Tanaka Reina needs to graduate.
I would not mind seeing Reina go. She has grown on me a lot over the past year, but she is obviously getting tired of being in MM. Sayumi has enough energy to fill her void, let her go.
19. A-sides are better than B-sides, or else the B-side would be the A-side.
This argument is missing an entire premise...gah, damn you logic class! There has only been one case in MM history where the fans felt strongly enough about a B-side to make it an A-side, and it turned out very well.
Sometimes A-sides aren't as awesome as their B-side (PP Ultra), and sometimes B-sides are just way more amazing than their A-side (Akiurara, Odore! Morning Curry). It just kinda happens. However--and here's a super wonderful slice of reality for ya--everyone can have this totally cool thing called their own opinion! Isn't that super-duper neato, kids?! OH MAH GAWD HALLELUJAH PRAISE HIS NOODLY APPENDAGE!!
Ok, Mara hasn't had enough anti-bitch juice today....*makes coffee*
20. Berryz Koubou shouldn’t be “Sexy” suddenly after being “childish” for so long.
BK is full of lovely sexmachines. And 4/7 of them turn 20 this year. Come on. Ugh, I dunno, BK can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't involve giant pineapples or monkey costumes.
21. IT’S ALL TSUNKU’S FAULT!
Princesses, unicorns and rainbows OH MAI!