Though I missed out on Fukuda Kanon's Appreciation post for her Graduation, I am more than intent on not missing Sayashi Riho's, mostly because she is a part of a group that I have liked for a long time, now, even when that like for them has waned. In a way, I want to appreciate her, too, despite already knowing full well I already appreciate H!P's vocally inept ace, except it's in a way most can't see, read or here as much as I would appreciate, say, Ikuta Erina or Suzuki Kanon, y'know?
So yes, we are going into an Idol Appreciation post, and though I am sad I never was able to do a special [Week with...] series for the girl due to a busy schedule, plus the fact her graduation lands on the week I do my End of Year posts, I feel that at most, I can at least write a post where I appreciate and talk about her as best I can.
So, without further ado, let's get into this post and deliver our send-offs to Sayashi Riho, the Ace of Morning Musume '15, a face of H!P who will leave the world of many far too early, way too soon...
So, where to begin with one Sayashi Riho? I mean, it's difficult to try and think about what to say during these types of posts, especially when it concerns my least favoured members of a group, and when it comes down to Riho, there is no denying that, ever since the release of Only You, she has certainly not been a favourite. Does this mean that I hate her? Of course not, why would it? Yeah, I've bitched and whined about her a time or two (or three or four...), but it's what I do, and that shouldn't mean I appreciate her any less. That, and I also prefer other members over Riho.
She's not a particular favourite, but I still like and respect her, just not as much as I do other members. That is just how it goes, ya know?
Okay, so before people find this post to be one of the negative variety, let me clarify something; I have always found Riho to be talented, at least as a dancer, and later on in her tenure as a member of H!P's longest standing shipwreck, I have found her to be a really humorous, amazingly weird person that has her own personal charm, especially when it comes to being a pervert for Fukumura's skin. Yeah, she's funny, and that surprised me quite a bit when I found that out, because Riho was as boring as dirt when she first started. Aside from her insane dancing skills, she was not really a big personality within the group at first, at least to me she wasn't.
That said, at least she kept some interest, unlike the current leader, Mizuki Fukumura.
So she definitely grew I think, and that was pleasant to see as an observer of Morning Musume. Sure, she never grew as a singer, but she certainly gained growth in charisma and style, and that is pretty important for a center, I believe. Speaking of which, Riho, bless her vocally impaired heart, did really well to take on so much in the few years she has been a part of Morning Musume. She's been an Ace, she has literally carried the group on her shoulders when it was both dying from 2011 until 2013, to when it began to prosper from 2014 onward. She was its leads singer, main dancer, the face and, basically, the groups backbone, all from the age of 13 years old. She has tolerated not only keeping the group afloat with her popularity and skills, but has also managed to tolerate a lot of fan backlash, my own included.
She has done really well to keep going, even if it has had a mental toll on her after so many years, and it's undeniable that, even now, Riho is still carrying the weight of Morning Musume on her shoulders, despite the fact she is graduating very soon. She hasn't really had a break since her beginnings, and UFP nor H!P haven't given her a chance to recoup, either, constantly having her as center, rarely sharing out her lines in either singles or concerts until later on, and only giving her a real 'break' of sorts with Oh My Wish by having her as a dance center as opposed to a vocal one.
It's undeniable that, with Riho's sudden departure on their hands, UFP may have a hard time trying to figure out where to go from here, because whilst both Masaki and Fukumura, possibly even Duu, are perfect candidates for future centers, H!P have relied too heavily on Riho as the Ace, and have not thought of who may be the next Ace for their flagship group. It's their own fault, really, and they're paying for it right now, and honestly? It makes me happy that Riho's pulled the plug on them this early on, and let them fall into deep shit.
Honestly, I do think that Riho graduating now, though it is early and was a surprise, is a good decision on her part. It's obvious that, as of late, she has been tired and that she is in need of a break. After handling so much, after spending 4 years being the groups leading lady, its backbone, the front-runner and more, she deserves to have some time to herself, because more than anything, she needs it.
Though UFP may like to think this, Riho was not, and is not, Ai, nor is she Reina. When Riho came in, Morning Musume was in need of new blood and a new ace, and that happened to be Riho. When both Ai and Reina came in, there were multiple front girls whom H!P could rely on to keep the group afloat, but in 2011, they only had Reina and Ai, and they were desperate. From then on, Riho had a lot thrust upon her, and H!P relied solely on her and no one else to hold the group together. Ai and Reina, however, had a substantial amount of time to become Aces and leads. With plenty other members already there to lead and aid them, both girls were able to grow and mature enough without it affecting them. For Riho, even with Ai and Reina there, she was forced to mature a lot more quickly, only to have that cause a little more damage than anyone expected, I think.
And now she's helping herself by getting the heck out of there, allowing herself that much needed break. If you ask me, this is one of the wisest, most mature decisions an Idol can make, and I highly respect Riho for doing this. She is not weak for admitting she needs to leave, she is not being selfish for wanting to leave the group all of a sudden. She is strong, she is sure, and she is so mature for deciding that, right now, she has to go and choose a new path, one where she is no longer the back bone, face, spirit or life of Morning Musume. For this, I salute her, and I think even more highly of her than I have ever have before.
I do believe, though many will disagree here, that this time is a better time than any for Riho to go. She's 17 years of age, the world is at her feet, and with all of the experience she has gained by being a part of Morning Musume, her future is a good one if she chooses to use it. By leaving now, Riho has a better chance at getting into the industry she wants to when she is a fully-fledged adult, whether it be entertainment, business or art based.
Her future is hers to decide now, and honestly, after four years of being a part of Morning Musume and Hello! Project, Riho has had a great run, better than some others who leave the business around the same time she has. She has been the Ace, the center, and for many, the savior.
Vocally, I will not miss Riho (though her Peaberry stint is one of her best, I believe), however I will miss that cheeky charm she brings to PV's, as well as her stellar stage presence. She is a girl that, whilst not my oshi, is someone I can respect and enjoy, and a girl I can now appreciate wholeheartedly. And, with her impending graduation, there is certainly a part of me that is happy she is leaving, because now other girls will have time to shine, but I am also happy because it is a decision Riho made for herself in order to take a rest and allow her health to stay stable, as opposed to letting her career pull her down and hurt her any further.
Sayashi Riho is not my favourite. She is terrible vocally, and she has been pushed to the front far too much for some, however what she is is this; an amazing dancer, a girl with charm and charisma, and someone who has brought light to the lives of many. She is strong and persistent, and she is one of the many reasons as to why Morning Musume is what it is today. I would not go as far to say that she, Sayashi Riho, is Morning Musume, but she is definitely one of the girls who has allowed them to climb to the top, and for these past four years, she has lead them to the front once again.
I am glad that she has been a part of Morning Musume, however now, I look forward to the future that she will carve for herself as simply Sayashi Riho, not Sayashi Riho of Morning Musume '15.
Her graduation is nearing, and soon she will no longer be a part of the world many love. For this Idol and her impending departure from the Idol world, think about what you appreciate about her, and let it be known.
Sayashi Riho, Morning Musume '15's Ace, a girl who managed to carry a group on her shoulders, all from the young age of 13. In many ways, she is amazing, and by many she is loved. There is no denying that this girl has made an impact, even if it wasn't necessarily on everyone around her.
Until next time.