I FUCKING WOKE UP TO THIS, WHAT THE FU------
Earlier today on the official Houkago Princess website, the announcement that Nagasawa Marina's tenancy within the group would come to its end on December 31st, 2016. Already, the news has spread across the internet, and fans all over are reacting to the news.
The sole fifth generation member of the unit, Marichu originally debuted back in 2013 as an Apprentice, but was withdrawn from the group in 2014 when she neglected her duties. From 2015 onward, she worked hard as a gravure model and a member of the new little sister unit to Houkago Princess, HouPriYouth, as its unofficial leader. From September this year, she began her activities as a Regular member.
It was also announced that, in regards to the March Live Tour for 2017, it had been cancelled, and all tickets would be refunded accordingly.
Upon release of the announcement, a statement from Marichu was included with her reasons for why she would be withdrawing from the group come the end of the year. Tokyo Girls' Update included, in full, the announcement in both Japanese and English;
Marina Nagasawa will withdraw from Houkago Princess.
This is my will and I have been thinking about it for a long time. It also means I will leave my current agency as well.
I apologize that it was such short notice.
I realized that I was not able to catch up with the rest of group after our major debut.
It means that my dancing and singing level was not enough but, I also could not get over my fears of being on stage during the live performances.
I really get along well with the members. I struggled because I knew how passionate the other members were about their performances.
I was confident and had fun with my personal projects.
However, I thought I wanted to look back at everything I had done until now.
Think about what is what I really want to do in the future, and move on to my next step.
Three and a half years have passed since I joined this group in 2013; it changed my life and I learned new things everyday. Every single day was fresh. Although I did something wrong but, I think I matured a lot thinking back the past. I do love my fans, indeed.
Thank you for supporting Marina Nagasawa from Houkago Princess.
This means “withdrawal” not “graduation” but, I am not regretting my decision.
Only a few days are left but I appreciate your support until the very end.
Idol News website, Natalie, included in their statement that also, Marina's contract within the agency had already ended, and she had not decided on her future activities. So, the decision was made that she would leave the group, but not necessarily the entertainment industry, as she does seem confident in her solo activities right now.
What. The. Fuck.
I woke up to this. I woke up to this with a message (on my personal facebook, no less... what.) alerting me to the fact that, yet again, Houkago Princess would have a lineup change. Well, that's nothing new. It's just, y'know... I thought a graduation or withdrawal or something would happen next year. I even put it in my up-coming Predictions post for 2017.
2016, ya beat me to it... again. And now Marichu is leaving HouPri. What the Flying Croissant!?
As of right now, this is one of the biggest things to happen to Houkago Princess. Since their debut, the group has been relatively unknown, and though they have been gaining some status as a unit since they went to a major label, it's undeniable that Marichu's presence has helped them, more than one could imaging. As a gravure Idol she has some star power, and with her current position in the gravure world (aka: SHE POPULAR!), Marichu's been somewhat helpful to HouPri as a whole.
... And now she's leaving. FUCK!
Honestly, this news has hit me a lot harder than even I anticipated. I'm reeling from it, and I'm pretty upset. I didn't anticipate that the next departure would be Marichu. Forget the fact it's too soon, but, out of all the members, Marichu was the last one I anticipated leaving, because she was so new and fresh, and because she just seemed to love the members so much.
The performance aspect, I kind of get it; Marichu didn't look as invested as either Mayumin or Sasara when their Regular positions were announced. I also knew she loved being a gravure Idol more than a normal Idol - she has a glimmer in her eyes when she does it, which is even obvious on-camera, and it's very clear she has found her passion and area that she knows she is good at.
It's clear that, within the group, Marichu is loved. It's clear that she loves all of the members just as much. But, it seems pretty clear just how much she is struggling as an Idol, too. Though I'm sure she enjoys being on a stage, it seems it's a lot scarier for her now than it was back when she was in the indies status, and I can see why. Houkago Princess, though not a big time unit or even overly choreography heavy, are still very serious about their live performances, and committing to their crowd. The type of crowd that Marichu commits to, is vastly different, and the platform is another medium.
I won't lie and say I don't think Marichu is wrong in thinking she was not as passionate as other members in the performances. I actually think it's been even a tiny bit obvious, but I do know that she has a deep passion rooted in modelling and gravure, and she is very aware of that. The fact that she completely understands this 100%, and knows that being an Idol (at least, in HouPri) is not for her.
Being an Idol three years ago, compared to being an Idol a year after finding your true vocation, is probably not an easy thing. Marichu, though participating in Idol activities before and during her time as a Gravure Queen (yes, Queen), had less amount of time to dedicate to being an Idol, and the stage was considerably smaller. Changing from a small stage at Coconuts Lounge, to a big stage at Zepp Diver, and dedicating almost 60-70% of her time to it, learning all the songs and choreography as a Regular member, must have certainly been hard.
Believe it or not, from the time she was an Apprentice then, to a Regular member now, Marichu has changed, and it's very obvious that her career path changed, and her desires to become an Idol waned.
I'm sad that Marichu is going. I'm sad that she is leaving her agency, and going somewhere new. But, for her to move forward, she needs to go on to bigger and better things, because whilst I adore her and HouPri, I know that the platform they stand on, and the company they lie with, are not the ones that Marichu wants to stand with, or the ones she should stand with.
From last year until now, Marichu has a great deal of presence in the gravure world. She is well-liked, adored, and she knows what she is good at, and she must move on and look to bigger things. She needs a company that can afford her, and she needs to do better in this ever-growing game. It's a contest for her, and if she;s going to win it, I think she will need to step up her game, follow where this path takes her, and change companies in order to do what she knows is best for her as a gravure model.
Our time with her was short, and I will miss her deeply, but I doubt this will be the last of Marichu. Whether we see her on tabloids or in pictures with her former band mates, I'm sure there will always be something of Marichu to see.
It's a sad post to start the day with. It's sad news to wake up to, but, these things happen in the Idol world, and though I was made earlier, deeply saddened now, I am also understanding of it. True, I expected it, too, but that was for 2017. Not now.
Until the end of 2016 comes, let's cherish Marichu, both on and off the stage. Let's see her work hard until the final stage as Houkago Princess member, then watch her lovingly as she (hopefully) progresses in her gravure career, because whilst she may no longer be an Idol on the stage, I do hope she stays as a Gravure Idol, and continues to make our lives infinitely happier in her own, unique way.