So, er... Happy New Year?
So yeah... this happened. The announcement that Mitsui Aika would go on Hiatus to study English abroad, and then the surprise, live graduation announcement of Oshima Yuko. It. Happened.
2014 is looking so bright already!
Okay, I jest, but what a way to start the year of 2014, right? Mitsui Aika finally does something, except that that something is not Idol related and includes her going out of the country (come over to where I live, sweety) and Oshima Yuko stuns everyone by announcing out of the blue that she will be leaving AKB48 this year, shocking even the other members who she had not even told about her graduation. Wow. Double Wow.
This is definitely one way to open up the New Year, and I am sure it has shocked and surprised many!
Now given that this is the one most were surprised by, I will first talk about Oshima Yuko's sudden graduation announcement. It was definitely surprising, and I was taken aback by it when I first saw the News on the Idolminded Twitter Feed... that said, I was not shocked by it. In fact, I expected that Yuko would graduate at some point soon, just not this soon into the New Year (or so late into 2013, actually). Still, I expected it. It's been a while coming, and I'm surprised she made it through the whole of 2013 (nearly) without announcing her graduation.
Still, this is a sad announcement, but it does feel like the right time for Yuko to graduate. That said, it will mean we have once again lost a great, spirited member of AKB48, and I will be sad to see her go. I like Yuko a lot, she has a quirky, interesting look about her that is appealing, cute and sexy in a way. She is very eye-catching, and one of the better members of AKB48. So yeah, I'll be sad to see her disappear from the group (though I am sure she will still be seen in acting).
Of course, her departure does open up a few doors for the other members; we could see a few nooblets come into the spotlight of AKB48, and I'm pretty sure that Senbatsu this year will be interest, not to mention that Mayu now has no competition in the form of Yuko or Mariko or whoever else to stop her from finally becoming the centre and most loved member. Unless another Sasshi case happens (Minegishi, please) I doubt we will see anyone else take the centre spot... unless Yuko stays around that long into 2014 to get to Senbatsu. If she does, it's a sure thing she will be the Top this year. Her Graduation would help her get there.
Still, whilst I am quite sad at the idea of never seeing her beautiful face in AKB again, I am happy she is going to be pursuing something else; it's been fairly noticeable for a while now that she was thinking of leaving, probably around the time Acchan graduated actually, and given the amount of other members she knew and loved have also left, it seems like it is the right time for Yuko to go as well. AKB48 is changing, and whilst Yuko is undeniably the most well known and popular member there, she is also changing and wants to pursue other things.
Personally, I hope that she goes into acting; I like her as an actress, she's the best in AKB48 that I have seen, and I think she would soar in the Japanese film or drama industry.
Next up is probably the news that people are less interested in, the fact that Mitsui Aika has announced her Hiatus in order to study abroad, learning English. Why talk about this, Chiima? It clearly isn't as important as Yuko's graduation, right?
Wrong! I find this piece of news every bit as important as Yuko's graduation. In fact, I find it even more shocking... but that may have something to do with the fact that I do like Mittsi, plus, this news was totally unexpected.
I didn't expect H!P to surprise me much with news this year, or at least I hoped the only surprising news would be about a new group (didn't happen. Tut!) but instead, Mittsi announced that she would be jetting off abroad to study English, thus going hiatus from her Idol career. That shocked me a lot, but it also put me at ease as well; Mittsi is finally doing something, rather than doing nothing. Cruel as that may sound, despite her small singing and MC segments in H!P concerts, Mittsi really didn't do anything as a solo Idol at all. She didn't release a single, hold many (or any, even) events, and since her graduation from Morning Musume, she has pretty much been a sitting duck, which I think upset and annoyed her fans a lot. We wanted to see her do something, but she didn't.
And now she has something to do, except it does not include Idol activities. And why not? If Mittsi can't perform like she used to, then why not use her head instead? That, and this is a great opportunity for her. Being a part of Morning Musume was a great experience and her dream I'm sure, but she's 20 (soon 21), and she's still young. If she's going to study abroad, then now is the best time for her. She won't be sitting around any more, waiting for what if's and maybe's concerning her Idol career, but instead she will be doing something for herself and gaining experience and learning about a totally different culture. This will also help her decide on what sort of direction she wants to take on in life, too.
Personally I am glad that Mittsi came to the decision to study abroad, because it's nice to finally see that she is doing something rather than waiting around. It has been painful for me to just wait for news of what she would do as an Idol, but to know that she is now going to use her time to study has eased my mind about her. The news was indeed shocking, but it's reassuring to know that Aika has made a decision and is going to try something new. I will miss her terribly, but it will be a great opportunity for her.
Oh, 2014, what a nice way to introduce me to the New Year! Thanks for making it memorable already!
Osima Yuko News Links
Mitsui Aika News Links