Hey, look! Another 2011 post~ When will these all end?
When 2012 hits,of course! And that's not too far away now, is it?
2011 has been a bit of a surprising year, in terms of change to Hello! Project. A bundle of new members were added, whilst a few Eggs hatched and flapped their way to the top to join the higher-ups in the H!P rankings. Either way, this year has definitely been the year where newbs infiltrated the Hello! Project chamber.
This year, Morning Musume finally got the long awaited 9th generation, a group of girls who were actually anticipated for 2009 by most fans, including myself. But, not only did we get a 9th gen, but we also found ourselves with a brand spanking new 10th gen, as well. Oh, and new S/mileage members.
Whilst 9th gen auditions were announced before the year end of 2010, I never anticipated S/mileage auditions or another audition set for Morning Musume. It was surprising, but it was also a nice move forward from the old Hello! Project. This was refreshing, and certainly much needed in terms of the lessening Morning Musume members. S/mileage?... Not so much.
In the end of it all, this year brought along a bunch of new kids for all of the older members to babysit. Am I happy? Yes. Is everyone else in the wotasphere happy? Er... yes and no? If you're an older fan, you might be eh with it, and if you're a S/mileage fan... well, 2011 was the biggest shock year ever, right? Right.
So, let's dive and take a look at the Generation of 2011!!!
The much anticipated 9th Generation made their debut this year, and with the promise of fresh-faced, young new members, a lot of fans were truly waiting for this group...
Well, only one of them could sing, in the end of it all, however the other three have caught up already and are showing their strengths as Idols and talents. So, all is good.
But the more I think about it, the more I seem to think that 9th generation was pretty rushed. After the graduation of Kamei Eri, LinLin and JunJun, Morning Musume lost three very good singers and had narrowed the group down to five, so a new generation was a must. But, even though the new girls were very much needed, there wasn't enough time for the girls to improve themselves during the audition process. Whilst Tsunku did choose 4 girls who fit the image of the group, bringing a new life into the group as well as some quirky natures, he didn't really choose the girls for their talent, but more so rather for their youth and energy. This isn't a bad thing, but in the end, the whole audition process seemed to go so quickly when it should have taken time, like the 10th generation auditions. Whilst some may believe that 10th gen was rushed, I actually believe that 9th gen was rushed. The audition process was too short, however, it was surprising, and I was overwhelmed by it all. I think that 9th generation is great. All the girls are promising, and I really do like the 9th gen as a whole, but I wish that Tsunku had given them more time rather than rushing through the audition process and choosing 5 finalists who were so young and unsure of themselves (other than Riho).
But, in the end, Tsunku chose four amazing girls, surprising us all with his decision to choose Riho and not Mogi (cry) as well as choosing a talented and beautiful egg to join Morning Musume. With the added spark of the then-shy Erina and the funny, bug-impersonator Kanon, 9th gen were formed.
Okay, individual comments, go!
Fukumura Mizuki was the surprise of 9th gen, being called out on stage without knowing that she was actually going to be a member of the group she had idolised for so long. I really like Mizuki now, though I wasn't really overly bothered by her presence in the group at first. I think she has a fantastic voice, and her shy nature is endearing. In a way, I find her quite sneaky and playful when she's with the other members of the 9th gen, and I really enjoy watching her on Hello! Pro Time. Whilst she really needs to come out of her shell a bit more, I do like the girl. She isn't my favourite 9th gen member, however she has an endearing nature and is really beautiful. I just wish that UFA would utilise her talent more rather than focusing on a certain 9th gen member...
Ikuta Erina, aka Eripon, is my favourite member of the 9th gen and probably one of the biggest turn arounds I have seen. She started off as this shy, overly awkward new member, but has now really come to show off her true character. She's got a great personality that is made for TV, and isn't shy about her love for other Idols. During then audition process, I wasn't really sure of the girl, however, I had a feeling that she would get into the group, and in the end, I was right. Her awkward nature at first annoyed some fans of Morning Musume, whilst others really liked it. However, after her true nature showed, a lot more people started to like her. Whilst Eripon may not be the greatest singer, she is still a great personality, and has recently started to be featured more in the PVs in term of how much she is shown rather than how much she sings. Another thing that's great is that currently, with her job on Oha! Suta, she is promoting Morning Musume to children as well as the shows fans.
Sayashi Riho was the one girl that everyone wanted for 9th gen, and whilst I was on the fence with her, I didn't mind. In fact, during the audition process, I actually really liked Riho, but when I heard her shouting the lines she was singing I was more than put off. However, when she was chosen, I accepted it. She's a great dancer, and for her age has an incredible amount of talent, however... she can't sing. Now, I don't care how many of you kill me over this, I just don't think that she can sing, and that is my personal opinion. In the end, my opinion changes nothing, however I can still voice it.When Riho became a member of Morning Musume, a lot of people were happy. There was a new talent in the group, one who the fans absolutely adored, and I think straight from her audition process, it was pretty much guaranteed that she would get a front position in Morning Musume. Well, she did, and whilst a lot of people rejoiced, it also pissed some fans off in the process. I wasn't really used to seeing someone so new get such a push whilst the rest were faded into the background, and it did honestly annoy me. But in the end, I have come to accept that Riho is a front girl. However, it does not mean that I like her singing voice. I really don't like it, and her personality doesn't make me feel any differently towards her either. She's boring, her singing is bad, but she is one hell of a dancer, and I understand why she is a front girl.
Funnily enough, I really didn't like Kanon during the audition process. I thought that she was irritating, and I didn't want her to get in. But when she did, I fell head over heels for her personality. She's my 2nd favourite 9th gen member now, however I still adore her quirky, funny personality, especially her bug impersonations. I don't know how many people liked her exactly, but I know that she gained a few fans during her audition process thanks to how she auditioned. I think that Kanon is a great actress in a way, from her audition, and she is definitely the biggest personality of Morning Musume right now. She's innocent, but has a mischevious side to her that you can't help but love. At the beginning of her Morning Musume days, she was the weakest member of the group with no prior experience in the entertainment industry, and obviously had a hard time adapting to a certain routine. However, she has recently proven herself to be a great asset to the group. Whilst she isn't really pushed, and is probably the most unpopular member of her generation, Zukki is actually a pretty decent singer. Her voice is strong, just like her character, which makes me like her more. I honestly do wish that she was pushed more, because she is a great member who has a great voice (in my opinion, better than Riho's) and she really deserves to be given a chance. Sadly, I don't think that will happen any time soon...
Moving onto the new members of S/mileage, I will say that this was definitely the biggest surprise of the year. Nobody was expecting, and I know that a lot people did not want this. I, on the other hand, was happy about this. Why? I don't know, I guess I was just caught up in the moment, but in the end I was excited at the prospect of new girls in one of my favourite H!P groups. And now?
... Not so much, to be honest.
A lot of speculation went into these auditions, such as why and who was graduating? Whilst I put it down to one of Tsunku's earlier messages about the group, back in 2009-10, that they were subject to change as he felt they were complete, it turned out that S/mileage was in fact losing one of their original members, Ogawa Saki. Are you fucking kidding me...?
So, in the end, the reason for auditions was because Saki was graduating, as UFA said. Though whilst I still try to believe this, it makes me wonder why the fuck UFA didn't say anything until 3-4 days before she was actually set to leave. So, she asked to leave in May (apparently) but they were too bitchy to actually give her a graduation concert? Assholes. In all honesty, I am believing more and more that this new generation is the reason she left. Considering that Saki and Yuuka were the most shocked by this announcement, I actually do think that the new generation made these two decide to graduate.
And because of the new generation, Saki's sudden graduation and Yuuka's soon-to-be departure, I can see why people are starting to flee the S/mileage ship. Heck, even I don't know what to think of the group any more. After Saki left, I thought that the group wouldn't appeal any more, only to be thwarted by Yuuka. Ii like Yuuka a lot more now, however as she's graduating, I only really like 3 members, and even then my fandom of them isn't enough to make me like S/mileage as much as I used to...
In all honesty, I actually wish that Tsunku had kept S/mileage as a pure all Eggs group. If there were ever going to be auditions, this is what the fans would have wanted the most. S/mileage started out as a group made of Eggs, which was why it was so great - the girls had the experience, and they had the talent and the fan base already, but in the end, the auditions were open to the public as well, and when S/mileage didn't take in Karin (which pissed off a lot of fans), quite a few people called it quits on the group - especially when Saki left to pursue 'school'.
In the end of it all, I feel that S/mileage's new generation is more of a downfall than a boost. The girls were great before, but with the addition of these new members, it seems that S/mileage has lost its spark. To me, and probably a lot of other people, they are currently a sinking ship unless 2012 proves otherwise.
Nakanishi Kana is, undoubtedly, the underdog of this group. She's the most inexperienced of the new members, however, I find her personality pretty entertaining. Whilst her gorilla obsession is weird, she is a great personality. Okay, I haven't really watched her much on Hello Pr Time, but I like that she isn't afraid to show her stupid side. Whilst she is probably the least popular member in S/mileage right now, she's one of the few members that I actually liked during her sub member status. I was a pretty avid fan of Fuu-chan, however when she 'graduated' from being a sub member due to her health, I seemed to latch onto Kana a bit more. In the end, I'm more of an Akari fan, however I still like Kana. But I will admit this: The girl can't sing, and in Mini Skirt Postwoman she sounds horrible. They auto-tune the shit out of the girl, and she still sounds bad. Oh well, she has a few years to improve, and if not, she can do a Sayumi and use her looks in the industry, cos she's a pretty girl.
Tekeuchi Akari was either going to get in, or she wasn't. Like Miyamato Karin, people wanted Akari in for her talent, or at least... I did. Whilst I didn't care who got in (other than Meimi, I didn't want her in), I liked Akari and Karin a lot. In the end, Akari got in, meaning that S/mileage at least had one ounce of new talent in the group. I really like Akari, and as she's a former egg, I support her place in the group more than Kana and Meimi's. Akari is a happy, cute looking girl with such a derpy face which is what makes me like her. I think she's adorable, and the fact that she's talented in singing and dancing really makes her shine. She's probably the best out of the new S/mileage generation in my opinion, and really does deserve to be in the group.
Katsuta Rina... where to begin, really? Katsuta is definitely a talented one, however, she doesn't have the cuteness that the other S/mileage members have. Whilst she may have the maturity and the talent, you really can't ignore the fact that she's the most unfortunate looking out of all the members. Now, don't get me wrong, I like Rina enough. She's a great singer, and she probably has one awesome personality, but as well know, the Idol industry focuses on looks, but in all honesty... Rina has awesome legs! As S/mileage is a miniskirt-based group (how long will that last?) her legs really live up to the groups image. I like Rina, not excessively, but I like her enough to the point where I am happy she is in the group and glad that she was chosen as a main member.
Oh yay... Tamura Meimi. As you can probably guess, this part will turn into a rant...
Tamura Meimi is my least favourite member of S/mileage, and ranks 30th in my favourite Hello! Project members list. She was the only one during the S/mileage audition process that I didn't like at all. Her voice is a shriek to me, and I find her somewhat irritating. However, she was a really popular auditionee during the audition process, and much like Riho with Morning Musume, had performed with S/mileage before in a Shugo Chara play. She has prior experience with singing and acting (shrieking, sorry), I will give her that, and I can really see that she has such a passion and love for S/mileage that no one can miss. I admire that about Meimi, however, it doesn't make me like her any more than I already do. I don't find her endearing in any way, and her forehead (now covered, thank fuck) and fangs scare the shit out of me. However, she has the legs that fit the S/mileage image, and even her voice fits the S/mileage tone as well, but in the end, I don't like her. Though her spastic nature is funny.
I can see why she was chosen for S/mileage, but in the end, I still go ew when I see her.
10th Gen? That was a surprise, but not as big as a surprise as the S/mileage auditions, let's be honest. However, the sudden announcement of the 10th gen auditions was something to get excited about, especially so soon after the 9th generation had formed and also right after Takahashi Ai's graduation announcement.
Whilst a majority of fans feel that 10th gen was rushed, I am a part of the minority who feels that it really wasn't. It took a lot of time to get these girls - longer than the S/mileage auditions, in fact. I feel that Tsunku took his time choosing the right girls to enter group, and the fact that were a lot more finalists and about 3 days for the girls to practice their singing and dancing techniques, Tsunku had quite a few girls to choose from who were all willing to improve to become a member of the group. Also, all of the girls were pretty talented in this audition, whereas about 2 were truly talented in the 9th gen auditions (Riho and Aina).
For me, the 10th generation auditions were the most exciting part of the year. I liked most of the girls, and I liked how it took a while to choose four of them. I also enjoyed that Tsunku was trolling the fans by saying that he would add all of the auditionees, though not everyone was happy with that comment. But, in the end, Tsunku chose four girls who are all actually really good - the fact that two of them were my favourites, especially Haruna, made me happy. For me, this audition experience was much better than 9th gens, and Tsunku certainly raised the tension with these girls.
And even though the girls have yet to debut, they're already more popular than the 9th gen were when they started in the group. I really like this generation, but then again, that's my personal opinion~
Iikubo Haruna was a surprise for some fans, but a much anticipated age-gap filler for others. As my favourite 10th gen auditionee, I was ecstatic that she had become a member of Morning Musume. Currently, she's my favourite member tied with Ikuta Erina in all of Hello! Project. Whilst she is still new to the group, there really isn't much to say about her other than 'Yes, a new member I can perv on without feeling guilty!!!'. I think, in all honesty, I really just loved her nature throughout the entire audition process, and whilst she is currently the weakest dancer in Morning Musume ('tis true!), I still really like her. If anything, she should do modelling to promote Morning Musume, or appear in Dramas and such, because she's already done acting and modelling before~
Ishida Ayumi, or as I like to call her, Baby Predator, is certainly the Riho of her generation. She's a great dancer, but she butchers her lines (or shouts them, whichever...). I actually liked her during the audition process, and thought that she would make it into the group, so when she did I was happy. Right now, I don't like her as much as I do other members, however I like her enough. Whilst her face scares me, she is a pretty girl. She's a mean dancer, much better than Riho in my opinion, and I feel that she and Riho should get a dance number together. I'm still not sure about Baby Predator at this point, though I feel like I will like her more and more as time goes on. I'm actually sure that she's going to be the front girl of her generation along with Satou, but right now that's undetermined. It seems that she's made out to be the face of her gen, but right now it's uncertain.
But thank goodness we have another dancer in the group! Whoo!
Satou Masaki is the girl that I really didn't like during the audition for 10th gen. She was bland, and her hair didn't suit her at all, plus she seemed to be a terrible dancer, however now that she's more at ease, she's become better at showing off her dancing skills. Not the best singer (she mumbled Jishin Motte), but it seems that Masaki is set to be the face of her generation already. She's cute and quirky, and has a great face that is definitely Idol material and camera-friendly. Even Tsunku finds her the most photogenic out of all the 10th generation members. Whilst I wasn't keen on her at first, it seems that Sato is growing on me, especially as she seems to be an air head. For now, we'll see how long I like her~
Kudo Haruka is a former egg with a 'husky' voice which she seems to talk about a lot. Whilst I don't exactly care for the girl, I find her extremely annoying already. She has this bossy nature which some people really do like, and whilst it's nice to know that she has a strong head on her shoulders, I'm not overly keen on it, especially when she talks down to members who are older than her (if she does that, I don't know). But even as an Egg, I wasn't too keen on her. It's more so how she looks, I guess. To me, she looks like a bobble head doll in a way. However, she is cute and I can see why people like her. She has a great voice, and is probably one awesome dancer, though I actually don't see her as Morning Musume material. It seems like she would be a good leader, though, with her domineering nature.
And thus concludes this post about my thoughts on the new generation that came in 2011! Yes, I have my biases, but I'm honestly more so surprised at the amount of members I don't really care for when compared to the members I dislike or absolutely adore. I have more members that are okay rather than members I don't like. In the end, though, the members have time to grow on me. They only came about this year, so I am still subject to change, right?
Anyway, I hope that you all enjoyed my 2 pence piece on the new members ;) Hoping you're all having a good Day-Before-new-Years.
Also! What are your thoughts and opinions on the new generation? Though some are okay, I like most of them it seems. Think about it ;)