Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014: And So Goes By Another Year... ~2014 Year End Review: The Extended Edition~

WARNING: I don't do short posts... at least, not on here. YOU ARE WARNED!
** Also, apologies if this is poorly written. Once again, I have pulled an all nighter XD

With the year coming to an end, it just would not be right to end without a Year End Review for my blog, and with only a day or so until the New Year officially rings in, now would probably be the best time to bring forth the post that everyone has planned, written, re-written and then cried over many times to my own blog, except... I never drafted it, I never cried over it. I just wrote it, like I always do.

There's no planning like, er... no planning, right? But, that's the way it goes here on the O!MT Bus, and that's the way it always will be. I wouldn't have it any other way, to be hones with you all.

So as we get into the Year End Review for 2014, why not grab yourself a drink of something, maybe a few biccies (cookies) and pop on a relaxing, nostalgic song as we turn back the clock and work over the year we are leaving behind us, ready to jump into the New Year. Even though we are in our final days of 2014, please, sit with me and take a look back? I would really appreciate it...

Another Year goes away, and a new one begins its story. Funny how time flies by, eh? It really feels like 2014 was more of a long-lost memory to me than a year that I fully remembered, because honestly... it's something I don't remember much of. In fact what I have come to remember, it was after thinking about what happened this year a lot, because every time I look back, it feels like these things happened in 2013... in a way, it has been a turbulent year, one which has had its ups and downs, the good and the bad times, the tears and the smiles... it has had a lot happen in it, in both my personal life and my online world. No matter what, even if I forgot something through a cloud of personal issues or a busy schedule, it has been a year that has been exciting and busy. Throughout 2014, I seem to have found myself something to do, something I don't think I fully achieved even last year.

Now, before I fully get into this post I want to ask you a question that I asked just last year, back when I did my recap for 2013, and it is this; Was 2014 a good year for you? In addition; What were the ups and downs for you, and how did you cope with them? How was your life with Idols? For these questions, please think about it and look back on 2014 and what it had to offer - think about how it allowed you to grow, to progress in what you do, and in how you came to love Idols even more this year, or even in how you have lost a little love for Idols. Please, no matter what, think about the year you have had, and what has happened throughout it.

We cannot go into the New Year without looking back, because whilst being stuck in the past is not a good thing, looking back on memories is; let these memories grow, and think of them fondly.

With that said, now I will be taking my own look back into the Year that will go by. For the Year of 2014, it's time to reminisce. Through all of the fog and a more turbulent life, I wonder just what my year truly was like?

Turning back the clock before the year goes out, let's return to 2014, from the beginning...


2014 in My Personal Life

My personal life, compared to last year... it was definitely a year where I grew, I believe. If I think that last year I grew, then this year, I grew even more as a person. I experienced more, and I learnt a lot of things because of that experience. I also faced some hardships I suppose, though everyone will experience these hardships as well - I know that this is not something only I go through.

At the start of the year, I lost my job.

For a while that knocked me for six, I won't lie - at first I was okay, but when the realisation settled in, I was a lot worse than I had anticipated, and so at that time, I took a break from blogging to help myself and also to rest; granted, I had been planning that break before my redundancy happened, however I think that when I lost the job, it boosted that desire to not write for a while, and it helped I believe - It helped a lot to not have to focus on my blog, even though I missed it dearly.

Actually, I did get that job back, only I worked on Saturday's rather than a few solid days a week, but I couldn't complain; I had some semi-regular work, and that was good enough for me!

Though losing my job (and regaining it!) in the beginning of the year was a down-point, there was a high point that came along in May - the birth of my baby nephew, Damien! For a long time, we have waited for my older sister to have a child again since she lost two other sons back in 2011 and 2012, so when Damien finally came along... well, we were really the happiest people around! We waited for him for so long, and honestly, he is perfect. Last year we didn't know if my sister would go through the full pregnancy, so we were extremely nervous, however my nephew was successfully born, and his parents are so happy, and so is the rest of my family!

And, just because I want you all to know, my older sister is pregnant... again. She found out about two or so months after Damien was brought into this world, and, again, its another boy... my family seem nervous about this pregnancy, though I'm somewhat at ease about it. I have a feeling it will be successful, much like Damien's birth, so I look forward to a new addition to my ever-expanding family come 2015! Also, my sister has an interesting name for her yet-to-be-born son... -laughing loudly-

For the rest of my family, my younger sister was able to go to conventions and such a lot more this year, thus progressing her social life at a higher level than mine (haha). She also got to see BABY METAL live this year, because she's a lucky duck and all, and she had a good time, I'm sure! I hope her 2015 is as good as 2014 was for her, for sure.
 In regards to my youngest niece, for a good chunk of 2014 she was a big part of my life, like always - we played and hugged and I watched her grow up, however the day I left for University... well, I bawled like a baby, because I didn't want to leave her. I didn't want to leave any of my family, but I had grown seriously close to my niece. That said, since returning home for the holidays, I've realised that she's become a bit of a diva...

I suppose this is what one calls the Terrible Two's!

Moving along! Back in June this year, I did something that I had always wanted to do, but never had the money to do so, or the guts... however in June of 2014, I went on my first trip abroad! I think that this alone helped me to grow a little, because whilst I stayed with my amazing friends (Hi Sarah, Hi Mychuu <3) I did do the travelling alone, and that experience itself was a scary one - I was a bit of a wreck when I was going to get on the plane, but in general, I get nervous over everything. Still, I did it! I made my first trip abroad, and I did it alone in the travelling department! I feel somewhat proud!

(Left: Sarah | Right: Mychuu)

I went to Holland for my first trip, and whilst it doesn't seem to be that far from the UK (it's an hour by plane) I am glad I did it - I got to experience another country, I got to meet some of my long-time friends I had made online (I've known them for as long as I have had this blog!) and, obviously, I had an amazing time! I am so happy that I got to meet Sarah, Mychuu, Kate my other friends, because it was pretty much a dream come true to be able to actually talk to them in person, and hug them properly. We also got to talk about Idols and, for Sarah, SHINee (seriously, if I ever said 'Shiny', she went 'SHINee! *^*' XD) a lot, as well as spend time together and have fun. Also, I got to eat a lot frozen yoghurt!

Holland is a beautiful country as well, guys, and I hope to go back again when I have the time and money to. Meeting my friends and seeing a different country was a great experience for me, one I don't ever want to forget, and one I want to experience all over again. So when I can, I hope to return to Holland, to see the country, experience the culture, and to meet my friends, because I miss those girls, and I know that I need to visit them again soon. And hopefully, rely on them a little less xD

... I never wrote that Holland post, did I...? Oops...

In August, not too long after coming back from Holland I think, I was able to take part in a small county-based film for the county I live in - the production crew is one I have worked with before, and they are a really wonderful group who do mostly Historical based short films, though they have shot a Dr Who Fan film before, and once again I was able to work with them as a part of the cast, rather than the crew. Whilst I don't think that I am in the final edit of the short film (I was only background fodder XD) it was fun to dress up in period costume for the shooting and to also be in front of the camera rather than behind it, which is where I usually am unless I film for myself. Honestly, it was great, and again the group I help out with from time to time are an amazing bunch of people, and I hope to work with them again!

Still in August, I was also able to go and see my friends from where I used to live! This time, it was in preparation for my best friends 21st Birthday, as her mother had thrown her a surprise party... it's not easy keeping a secret, guys. It was really fun to go back and see my friends though, and as a surprise, me and my best friend were also able to see a friend who we haven't seen in 5 years again, so it was overwhelming and emotional for all three of us. Honestly, the Summer of 2014 was really fun, overwhelming, amazing... it was wonderful, and I was probably at my busiest, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I was able to experience a lot, from June up until August, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Then, September came around.

September was a lot of things for me this year. Firstly, I turned 22. I also officially quit my job because, a week after my birthday, I was going off to University. So it was a month of celebration, tension, excitement, sadness... a lot of things went on inside of my head, I swear, and I was scared shitless. University is a big thing, so don't take it lightly, and I was going to be living with a bunch of strangers, without my parents... I was terrified, but excited at the same time.

And I am really glad that I did it.

Upon coming to University, I have made new friends, rekindled my love of writing poetry, stressed over assignments, been to a local theater production of Avenue Q, went to my first ever Diwali festival with my friends, experienced Bonfire Night with an amazing group of people, been absolutely drunk, and joined the University Newspaper as a writer. I've done a lot more than I would have done in college, and because of it, I am also a lot more sociable now than I was even last year - I have opened up a lot more, and despite being so scared before about going off to University to be on my own and juggle a personal life as well as a University degree... well, I'm happy I have done it, and I can't wait for the new year to roll around, because I miss it. I miss what University allows me to do, and I even miss the stress it puts me in.

In September, I was a crying wreck - I didn't want to leave because I was scared, but now I'm happy there. Where my University is, that is my home now, and I like it. I can do more there, the restrictions are a lot less than they are where my parents live, and also, I have a life there. It is a life I never had before, and I am glad to have that way of living now.

I know I am with my family for the holidays, and I am really happy that I am here, but I honestly can't wait to go back home - in my personal life, it has been one heck of a year! 2014 has given me a lot of things, and I am happy with what it gave me. Through all the downs, there was an up to follow, and despite all of the changes, I am still a happy person. Personally, 2014, it's been awesome!

So, leaving behind my personal life, where I have grown and changed plenty I believe, experiencing a lot more than even I expected, let's get down to another part of my life that is the in-between of Idols and my home life - my blog! For 2014, what did I experience blog-wise? We shall have to take a looksy...~

2014 in Blogging

Let's just say that blogging for 2014 has been slow, if anything. Compared to last year, my writing has dwindled drastically, but I suppose that is all down to a hectic life throughout the entire year. I was a lot busier, and I had a lot more to do for myself, so my focus on the blog was there less than it would normally be. Of course, being the person I am, I felt completely guilty about that.

No matter what though, despite how lacking my writing has been, despite my own feelings of thinking I am useless or a bad writer, I have loved writing for the blog. I've had my ups and downs with it, yes, however I have always found my love for it again no matter what, and I think that this year, my love for writing was because of you guys - despite whatever troubles 2014 brought me, you all gave me a push and encouraged me, and you made me want to write even more, allowing me to remember that I really do love writing, and that most of all, I love this blog as well.

Actually, thinking about you guys, is it just me, or did the comment count go up by quite a degree? I've had more comments than normal, which makes my heart swell, and you guys have just been seriously amazing, sweet and kind to me - you don't have to be, by the way - and, when I was at a point where I felt really down, I would get a comment (on any random post) that would make me think 'Oh! I feel so happy!'. So, with this sudden up-surge of comments, even though I don't think I deserve your beautiful kindness, I want to thank everyone - with these comments, you have all helped me to feel a lot happier, especially in times where I felt sad or useless. You made me smile a lot through 2014, so again, thank you!

In terms of blogging in general though, even for Idolminded and Selective Hearing, and especially NekoPOP, I have really been behind and not given it my all, and I feel really bad about that, but honestly, I've not really maintained my own blog, either - this year, my Digest seems to have stopped, though I hope to get that back on track in the New Year, and my videos have not been updated for a while... but, all that said, I am now officially a busy bee! With my University life, assignments due and more, I've had little time to focus on my online life, and more time to focus on the Now of my personal life.

And, however sad it is to not update my blog, my personal life comes first - I can't leave that behind, even if I do love my blog so much. Still, I do hope I can manage my time better come the New Year, because I do miss this blog.

For 2014 in Blogging, I know I haven't really reviewed or given you much, and I apologise for that. Hopefully in 2015, I will do a lot better, but for what you have given me in 2014, dear readers, thank you; you really made what little I did blog worth every word, and you gave me so much happiness with your comments, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And now, with Blogging and my Personal Life of 2014 done and dusted, it's time to get to the real deal, the nitty gritty, the part of the post you may all have been waiting for; it's time to talk about the Idols and what 2014 brought us. For the Year going by, what did we have this year in terms of our beloved Idols?

2014 in Idols: Of Disbandment's, Graduations and Loss

When I look back at 2014 in terms of Idols and what they gave us, I won't lie; it feels sad for me. 2014 as a whole was a very sad year for Idols, not in terms of music, because the music was as happy as can be, but for the amount of graduations, disbandments and losses we have experienced this year in general. For our Idols, this year has been less than kind, however it will help to look back... somewhat.

The Loss:

I'm going to start off with the losses, because that's going to be the hardest thing to write, and also because I don't want this post to feel sadder towards the end. So, here we go...

In September 2014, the K-pop fandom hit a hurdle, and lost two members of the group LADIES' CODE; EunB and RiSE had both passed away after suffering from critical injuries after a tragic car accident. On the 3rd of September, EunB passed away on the day of the accident and then, four days later, RiSE also passed away.

Reading this news was completely heartbreaking. I'm not a fan of K-pop, but when I saw this news and read what had happened, I cried and I cried. I felt sad, scared, sorry and lost; this was the worst news to hit this year, knowing that two young women had been taken away from the world. I know we can't stop what happens, but even though I wasn't a fan of this group, or that I didn't know these girls until I heard this terrible news, I still felt for their losses, because they were two young girls who should not have gone so quickly, not when they were just starting out in life.

Losing these two lives was hard for many fans this year, not just the fans of LADIES CODE, but fans of music everywhere - they were in a terrible accident, and they passed on because of their injuries, and it has been hard for so many people who loved them, watched them, and supported them. September of 2014 was a hard month for so many people this year, and even though I was never a fan of this group, it still hurt to read that all of them were in this horrific accident, and that two of the members are now no longer a part of this world.

When the K-Pop fandom was hit with the news of EunB and RiSe, there was a piece of news that arose in the Japanese Idol fandom days after the LADIES' CODE accident had been reported; a member of the underground collective, ALICE PROJECT, had died in the month of July.

This is also one of the worst pieces of news to hit this year for me too, because another death had happened, and this time to a 17 year old girl. All of these girls were young, with Karen as the youngest, however it is Karen's death that worried me the most, and still worries me; sadly, we know how EunB and RiSE passed, however Karen's is shrouded and kept secret - and that is worrying, for me at least.

When I heard the news, of course I cried - another young girl had been taken away, and she was still a kid - it is heartbreaking.

All three of these deaths have been saddening, and I still think about these girls even now - trying to write all of this out makes me cry, and it's hard to phrase everything, but from the year, this has been the worst news I have encountered. We have lost girls, girls with lives ahead of them, from a world where we think Idols are eternal, to tragic accidents, and we have all felt their losses.

This happens everyday, to Idols, stars, everyday people... and it is heartbreaking, no matter who it is. For the Idol world, we lost three beautiful young women who had so much ahead of them. What we can do now for them is pray and think of their families, and wish the surviving members of LADIES' CODE good health and a happy life. We cannot really do much else.

For these girls, we sadly cannot turn back the clock.

Idols in Danger:

Before we move onto disbandment's, I wanted to talk about this a bit too, because for 2014 this was a serious matter.

I think we all remember hearing the terrifying news that two members of AKB48 had been injured in an attack - Iriyama Anna, Kawei Rina and a staff member were attacked with a hand saw, all sustaining injuries.

This news was scary, and it changed how staff went about handshake events in general after that, I hear; some groups followed suit in cancelling their handshake events like AKB48 did, just in case of another attack, whilst other Idols went on with theirs just as planned. Later on though, the staff of AKB48 went to extreme measures to keep the safety of the girls their top priority, and added extra security, which was not well-received by the fans, if I remember how the internet was going about it. No matter what though, these girls and a member of staff were hurt, and everyone was threatened, so the precaution was called for in my opinion - it is a scary thing to go through, and whilst I was not there, reading that news piece was scary, and I felt terrified for those who had gone through it.

Though 2014 was a happy year, it also seems to have been a terrifying, saddening one... No wonder the year seems to be a bit of a blur for me, right now. I seem to not like looking back at the things that deeply hurt me as a fan of J-pop and Idols in general. In general, I doubt anyone likes it, so I will stop talking about it and move on.

The Disbandment's and Graduations:

Taking a step back from the heartbreaking and terrifying parts of 2014, I want to move on to the disbandment's and graduations of the year gone by - we're still on a sad note, granted, however it is not on the same level of sadness. So now, without further delay, let us take a look back at the disbandment's and graduations that 2014 has given us.

 Even if it is sad, we can get through it together...

Throughout the year, there were many Graduation or Disbandment announcements, with one of the first being BiS; the group decided that, even without getting to Budoukan, they would all go their seperate ways. This wasn't a surprise to most people, it was in the cards that they would eventually disband because BiS wouldn't last forever, however I was still shocked by the announcement. I didn't follow the group a whole lot, however despite that, I still cried when I watched their final music video. In July, they officially disbanded, and whilst I wasn't too deeply affected by it... well, a group I had respect for is now gone. I actually do wish I had payed more attention to them, because in all of their wackiness, I did find them weirdly appealing.

Then in April, it was announced that Bump.y would be graduating all of the members in June, thus disbanding the entire group. And yes, I was sad.

I have (had) followed Bump.y for a while, so hearing about their disbandment was a sad one, however I wasn't that surprised at the time, either; their releases had been dwindling, and some of the girls were doing better in their acting careers than their Idol careers, so in a way, I suppose I somewhat expected something like this to happen. It doesn't make it any sadder, though, and I am sad that Bump.y disbanded - they were a legitimately great group who, with each release, improved more and more, and continued to show me how amazing they were. They were one of my all-time favourite Idol groups to follow, and now that they're gone, I'm down a group, and I doubt I'll find someone just like these girls to replace the hole in my Bump.y-less heart.

The saddest thing as well was that, when they left the Idol world, they didn't even have a goodbye release. That's sad for me ;_____;

Still, I will have Bump.y in my heart no matter what. Though they had a short run, much like BiS, the time I spent listening to their music and enjoying what they produced is still there, and that is all I can ask for - no matter what, even though they left me this year, I will always have Bump.y in my playlist and my memory.

I nearly forgot all about it, but at the start of the year, we had the disbandment of AKS' Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 - a loss from the sub-unit section of AKS. Actually, AKS seems to have had a few losses this year, but it does seem like a really big loss when it comes to Watarirouka, because though I don't seem to follow AKS a lot, I really did like this group - they were cute, fun and had a sweet appearance, so it was a shame to know that this year, it was their time to go as well. It is a shame, really.

Though I did not pay attention to all of the disbandments that happened this year, I did know that both Aither and DiVA gave their last hurrahs this year too, leaving many fans heartbroken in their wake, much like Bump.y did with me; Aither have been around for only a year, so their disbandment comes as a bit of a surprise, and DiVA aren't that old as a group either, so to hear that such young groups are leaving the Idol world is a shame... sadly, this is how it is meant to be. We can cry, and we can whine, but we can't change what has happened.

One of the saddest announcements of the year for me, however, in terms of departures from the entertainment industry, came from Ono Erena - this year she announced that she would retire from the industry, after working as a soloist for two years. This announcement surprised me, and it made me really sad, because Ono Erena was one of my favourite acts along with Bump.y. This was a shock for me, as I was losing a group and a soloist I adored and thought the world of, so to have them both go was hard, especially Erena.

In my eyes, she was brilliant, and she was doing well as a solo artist, but I suppose once she had achieved creating a solo album, that was her limit - it was what she wanted to do, and she had done it, and so no longer needed to be in the spotlight, so left. I may be wrong about this, but I think this is how I see it to help myself understand why she left so early on in her career. Still, I can't fault Erena for wanting to leave, we all have times where we want to stop, but I miss her dearly, and I miss the music she made. Whilst she was around though, I was entertained, and I loved her a lot.

But... well, I really miss her, and I cried when I saw the announcement stating that she was going. It broke my heart.

We have also had our fair share of graduations this year, too, with two of the biggest graduation announcements, and graduations in general, being those of Oshima Yuko from AKB48, and Michishige Sayumi from Morning Musume '14. Though we probably saw it coming... well, it didn't stop us from bawling like babies, did it?

Yuko's graduation didn't phase me much, I must admit, however Sayumi's did. From when she announced it, to when she actually graduated, I cried - I cried more than I thought I would, and probably a lot more than I care to admit, but yeah, I cried; because Sayumi has always been there, and knowing she was going, and then gone, was emotional for me. Losing Sayumi this year was losing that last little bit of the Morning Musume I came into, and knowing that I would never experience it again. Losing her was hard, and in a way, I still don't think I'm over it. Where I don't mind much not seeing Yuko in AKS, I do mind a bit with not seeing Sayu. Then again, I didn't care for Yuko like I did Sayu, though I did like Yuko in AKB - she was fun.

Also, when it comes to Yuko, with how much her graduation date was pushed back... I seriously thought that she would never leave!

Still, in terms of the Idol Industry, these are two of the biggest losses we have had in terms of graduations, as they are both rather big personalities on TV and in their respective former groups, so to know they are both gone is sad, but I hope they are happier. Still, Sayu's last hurrah made my 2014 that little bit sadder, and I am still recovering from the feelings I experienced when watching her graduation concert.

Sayu!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;__________________;

Okay, mop up the tears, Chii. Breathe, and move on...

(These were the two who actually GRADUATED)

In terms of a smaller groups graduation, once again, HouPri lost. A lot. of. Members. Six, in fact, with three Dismissals, one Withdrawal, and two actual Graduations.

... Geez.

Dismissal Buddies~
The start of the year was pretty rough for HouPri, if you ask me; Yamakawa Risa and Sakurai Riho were both kicked out due to breaking their contract, Risa for saying she had sprained her ankle, then being found to be walking with some fans of HouPri's the next day, and Riho for being found to have a boyfriend via a private twitter account - two members gone, because they broke the rules. That was a sad time for HouPri...

Just after, I believe the group took on a new Apprentice, however she quickly withdrew from the group due to transport issues, so another member: Gone.

Both Kyoka and Rin graduated from the group of their own accord, thankfully; Kyoka seems to be living a normal life right now, whilst Rin continued doing a bit of stage acting before joining a fashion-acting-Idol group, Yellow☆Candle, and then in August, Marina was Dismissed for basically missing work even after she had recovered from her illness. So, once again, HouPri has lost a good chunk of members this year, with all of the member losses affecting me; I actually liked all of these girls, especially Riho, Risa and Rin, so to lose the girls I liked the most... damn, that hurt.

I'm glad that at least two of them were normal graduations, however. Seeing too many HouPri Dismissals in one year ain't good for the heart, you know?

Still, despite the staggering amount of losses on HouPri's part, with the recent additions of Maika and Himari,, the group actually feels like it's doing better, and that the girls are closer - last year I said the group was strengthened, despite Hitomin being dismissed, but actually, it feels even stronger this time around... I think, for real this time, HouPri actually can keep their act together.

I've been wrong before, though.

There have also been a bunch of other graduations in many other groups, especially the 48's (we don't need to go through all of those, that would take years on its own...). This year, Fudanjuku's leader Bukiya Momotaro decided to graduate from the group after the release of their latest single because, coming up to the age of 30 (she is 28), she had begun to wonder about what to do with her future. Whilst I'm sad that Momotaro is leaving Fudanjuku, I know that she is also a young woman with a lot ahead of her and, especially now that she is reaching an important point in her life, she needs to focus on what she wants to do, so I respect her decision, and wish her luck.

With Idoling!!, the group has lost two members this year that I know of, the first being Goto Kaoru, and the second being Kikuchi Ami; Kaoru left for family reasons, whilst Ami is, as far as I recall, pursuing a career in being a talent for variety shows. Whilst I'm not really a follower of Idoling!!, it's sad that both these members have left, however they also know what is more important to them, which is good as well; they are putting themselves before being Idols, and that is what matters, I believe.
 Otome Shinto, too, lost members this year - both Arakawa Chika and Aoi Wakana decided to graduate from the group, with Chika leaving due to her health, and Aoi wishing to become an actress, as opposed to an Idol. The announcement surprised me greatly, because I didn't expect it in the least, and I thought that Otome Shinto would stay just as they were a little bit longer. I'm not sad about it now, because the girls knew their limit had exceeded what they could do, and they went their own way, however at that time, it was sad for me because this was the Otome Shinto I had come to really like, even love... still, as long as they are happy and healthy, I am happy as well. Also, the new Otome Shinto is cute!

And then, in happier news...

Berryz announced their disbandment for 2015! Awww, yeeeah~

Seriously though, other than announcing it, they're not actually doing the deed until 2015 anyway, so that post will happen next year... still though, totally called it, and totally anticipating Hello! Pro without them, even if their music is some of the best H!P has to offer.

Of Newbies and Reboots:

Moving swiftly on...

Whilst the year seems to have been prevalent in losing a few groups and members here and there, I feel that it has been equally successful in gaining some new Idols, too. For one, Cupitron made their debut as techno trio this year, and PASTEL CALLA made their performance debut in not only Japan, but also the USA with plans to release their single debut in the on-coming year.

Even with the disbandment of BiS happening only this year, it seems a few of the members have also moved onto other groups which have debuted within months of the members leaving the former unit!

Ange☆Reve made their debut as well this year under ArcJewel, home to the Doll Idols, and though many may not know this group, SAY-LA had their stage debut and are under the Get-Crazy banner, home to READY to KISS, and includes former Houkago Princess member and ArcJewel/Ange☆Reve auditionee, Shiraishi Rika. So no matter what, she debuted under the same company HouPri was once under whilst she was there, no less so, yeah~

Still, I don't think even the newest of groups could beat the amount of new Idols that have popped up in pre-existing units, because really, there were a lot of newbs who came along this year that I noticed, more-so than the amount of new groups.

First off, Morning Musume finally got their long awaited 12ki, and then S/mileage gained themselves three new Smilers to the roster as well, surprising the fans, but also pleasing them greatly. Personally, I'm happy with both sets of the new members added to their respective groups; Hello! Pro is changing, what with Sayumi now gone and Berryz leaving the ship come March next year, so of course, the groups themselves will change, and what better way to update and re-create than to add new members? Yeah, exactly.

Speaking of re-creation real quick...

Hiiiiiiiiiiii recycled group/member! How ya doing?

Actually, I do like the idea of Country Musume being rebooted, because it's nice to have a an old(y) group back again, but with younger, shinier members. Also, those girls are cute, and whilst the name Country Girls will surely find me some weird results on google before I actually get to the Idol Country Girls themselves, I do think that changing the name from 'Country Musume' to 'Country Girls' is a good idea - now they aren't tied to Morning Musume as a 'sister group' any more, and can be their own thing... kind of.

I just hope they shy away from being like 'old' Country Musume, and become a group for themselves. I also hope that Momoko isn't shoved to the front, because whilst she's fun, she's also the one member who has had experience above the others, so... let the girls shine, and stay in the back, Momoko, kay?

But yeah, I'm glad this group was rebooted, because I was genuinely sad when it was announced that no winners were chosen, so the group wouldn't happen... Now, it has, so I'm happy again! YAY!

In general though, regarding MoMusu 12ki, AngrySmiles 3ki and the new set of Country Girls, I look forward to what they all bring to the Hello! Project deck, whether it is in personality, skills in dance, or vocal talent - no matter what, I look forward to it all, because I'm a positive person when it comes to my Idols, and I know that they were all chosen for a reason, and that for that reason, they will shine regardless of the obstacles thrown their way. Until I see what they are made of though, I won't pick favourites.

Okay that's a lie, OOHaru is my favourite already, with Haga-Hime and Mikkichi following closely behind. That's it though, promise.

But yeah... three new generations, 12 new girls, all in Hello! Project and ready to make their stage debut this new year! I can't wait!

Moving back onto Newbies and such, again, lots of groups seem to have debuted a bunch of new faces - with Otome Shinto, their graduation brought along a few new faces... four new faces, actually. That was surprising, because I expected two girls, not four! Still, with this surprise, the new girls are just as cute and terrible at singing as the last two, so of course, I am a happy bunny.

Because y'all can't be in Otome Shinto if you have semi-awesome vocals!

In Fudanjuku as well, they finally gained a new member through Momotaro's graduation with Kariyase Light. Though I didn't necessarily want anyone to graduate from Fudanjuku with the addition of a new member, I am honestly happy to see a new face in the group, and a girlish face at that - now, Ryouma has a cute brother! Still, I will miss Momotaro, but I also look forward to Light's addition to Fudanjuku.

For other groups, Palet also gained a new member, a year and a bit after the graduation of one of their members back in March 2013, whilst Starmarie gained three new members after one of their girls withdrew earlier this year. Prizmmy☆, who lost a member back in March this year, also gained a new member just a month after void = filled. And before I even forget, SUPER☆GiRLS added two new members from GEM and one from Party Rockets to their roster after the graduation of then-leader, Saori, bringing up the group count a little bit. Doll☆Elements also introduced a new member to their group, too.

And of course, I can't forget the latest additions to HouPri, can I? Both Maika and Himari made their HouPri debut this year, with Maika starting off as a Cadet before being promoted to the Regular lineup within two months, and Himari coming in as an Apprentice and only recently becoming a Cadet alongside fellow 6ki member Michishige Saho. Since joining, both Maika and Himari have proven to be pretty stellar additions to the group already, with Maika's talent and previous career in the Entertainment Industry giving HouPri more of an edge as well as talent; already she has been in Idol Karaoke contests and has performed at a live event where Idols sing solo, and in a way, it helps that she was previously known, even if only a little. As for Himari, whilst she has no background history like Maika's, she seems to have social skills the other members don't, and her talent for art and creating designs is pretty awesome - no matter what though, when it comes to the newest members of HouPri, they both give something to the group that is unique to them.

In short, there are a lot of new girls in various Idol groups, and they are all fine additions, if you ask me. My preference is on those two HouPri girls though, just sayin'~

Of Houkago Princess in 2014:

When it comes to Idols and Me this year, I think I can honestly say that, for following Idols, I have been shockingly bad at it - my mind was elsewhere, and I can't help that. Still, I somehow managed to continue following HouPri.

It's pretty obvious at this point that they are my Top Idol Group for 2014, and my Top Idol Group in general, because they're the one group I have watched over consistently throughout the past year. It's either sheer determination, or just blind love for this little indies group, but even when I was too busy to look at other Idols or even watch PV's, I always made some time to keep updated with HouPri - they are the group I want to support the most.

To be honest, I do believe that part of the reason for keeping myself so involved in the Houkago Princess fandom is because I am one of the few Western fans who actively follows them and updates on their new releases, new members, graduations, etc... and this year, I think I did that more than ever. Indeed, my updates have not been here on this blog, however I update the Facebook Fanpage page for HouPri as much as I can, and I try to keep the generasia and fansite updated with the latest information I have, and I constantly check blogs/twitter and any other updates...
 In short, I am a crazy fan.

From the beginning until the end of 2014, Houkago Princess is the group I have pretty much followed without fail - I admit that there was a time when some of the members were being dismissed that I wondered why I should bother, because I had so much heartache from the group and its losses, but after reading their blogs or seeing their pictures I would feel happy to be their fan, and wonder why I thought about leaving the little fandom for Houkago Princess. Really, why would I? I freakin' love these girls!

I've found that, since following them so closely just to find news, news I share with others as much as I can, I have really fallen in love with HouPri more than before, and that now, I have become invested in who the girls are when they are in HouPri - typically, I don't invest myself in characters much, I just like the image (I'm a shallow cow) but with HouPri this year, their characters have become the appeal for me, so I have grown to like the girls individually... even if some of them are more commercial than others Hiii Re-Tweet Saorin <3

TLDR; Houkago Princess took up my entire 2014, and the other Idols nearly didn't get a look in... nearly.

Of Idols in 2014 (in General):

I'm not bluffing when I say I probably followed about all of two groups this year. I am serious.

Idols have not interested me that much this year, and I partly put that down to planning for a lot of things in my life this year, such as saving up to go to Holland, going to Holland, doing film work, going to University... stuff like that, and then also, partly due to the fact that after Bump.y and Ono Erena stopped their Idol activities, I had no interest in many other Idols at that point in time - a group and a singer I adored were gone, so what was the point?

For most of 2014 in general, the only other group aside from HouPri I was following at that point was Morning Musume, and even during the Summer, my interest in them was waning a bit. It's not because I was bored by them, I was just preoccupied, so I didn't have much focus on them. T'is the way it is.

And if that isn't convincing enough, then this should be; for most of the year, I didn't watch any PV's. In fact I'm pretty sure I still haven't watched some of what C-ute have released, or S/mileage. I've really not been paying attention at all - the only reason I watched the latest Morning Musume music videos was because of Sayumi, and that was due to her graduation coming up.

That said, nothing could stop me from ignoring the giant-ass bitch slap Johnny's sent our way this year.

I use this image cos New Sexy Zone SUCKS
I really feel like next year, if things don't perk up, I'ma gonna boycott Sexy Zone, because this is not on.

2014 was a cow of a year when it came to SZ really, because some twit in the higher ups thought it would be cool to take Sou and Marius from the roster, and keep it as Diva Queen, FuFu Hunchback and Sexy Kento in terms of the group lineup, and honestly, I am still pissed off about it! I vent about it quite a bit on Facebook sometimes actually, because it makes me seethe - it's one of the few things of 2014 that really got to me, but yeah, it got to me good!

Seriously, someone in JE needs firing, and i ain't Sou or Marius! BRING THEM BACK!!! Bring Back The TWEENS!!!

That said, the only other things that concerned me in the Idol world this year were the following:

- Michishige Sayumi's Graduation
- Berryz Kobo's Disbandment Announcement (WHOO!)
- New members of H!P groups
- Christmas Songs
- Music in general

Aside from those things, everything else just went over my head after that. Stuff like new releases and such, unless it was from HouPri, didn't bother me too much,but I will say this; with not watching a lot of PV's this year, I seem to have focused more on just listening to music, rather than watching and listening, which I like. I've also found a few songs I want to keep listening to, some that have become solid favourites for me, so despite begin busy, I've found some songs I find good. As in, I can listen to them forever good.

2014 for music, it was pretty damn happy, and it made me smile, so there we go!


... And I actually think that's it for my year gone by. I may have forgotten a few things along the way, because I'm like that, however this is a good majority of what I remember from the past year. Whilst more things did happen in my personal life, there is some Idol stuff to remember, some fondly, and some not-so fondly, but instead with sadness... 2014 was a turbulent year in general for Idols, fans and the like, and it is a year we won't forget too soon, if ever.

Through all of the sadness, the loss, the tears, the hurt and the anguish, we still managed to find happiness in our Idols. Even though this year was not the brightest, I hope that you all found an Idol who made you smile, and a song that made you sing.

2014 is coming to an end, so please look back as well at the year gone by and think about what it did for you. What did it bring, and how have you grown?

Until next time, please, take care, and remember to look back on your own 2014 with fondness and care.

Much Love,

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