Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Thing with Hello! Project... (and my waning interest in the company itself)

Okay, so recently I opened up an Ask.FM account for this blog and myself, so if people wanted to ask me a question, it's there to do so. I haven't done such a thing in a long while, so it would be intriguing to see what people have to say to me... though, it could also open up a can of worms, because whilst I may be charming and all that crap, I also have a few who dislike me heavily for the fact I bash some groups, and say what is on my mind. I don't own a filter, and for many, that is a big issue. So, yeah, this can be a double edged sword, but hey-ho, there we go!

Anyways, in regards to my Ask.FM account, I currently only have one question and answer, which goes as follows:
What do you think it would take to peak your interest in H!P again? Or do you think the thought is futile at this point?
I honestly don't think it's futile, because I'm pretty sure they'll bounce back again and peak my interest. However, as of late, their music (aside from that of CG and ANGERME) is a bit rehashed, and my interest in their sound has waned considerably because of it. I think if they finally changed their sound after so many years of what they've been producing, it'll interest me. That, or a new group that is consistent in producing quality sound like Country Girls, and one that won't become boring and stagnant after their first five releases.
Now, I really want to change this answer, because I've realised quite quickly that, when it comes to H!P and me voicing my dislike for them as well as my waning interest, people immediately think that I hate the music, and that I hate the PV's, which, actually, I do not. If 2016 is indicative of anything, Hello! Project has actually had a fabulous year, and I have liked a good chunk of the music they have put out. Some I don't like, granted, but that comes with anything you get in the music industry - you don't like everything thrown out there, no matter how much you want to. Music is subjective, as are music videos. Your opinions also happen to change over time, so what you might not like now, you could like in a few years.

Like, for example, Dot Bikini is a song I hated way back when, however I quite like it now. Same with Moonlight Night by Morning Musume; I really did not like that song, however now, I find it really great. This is how it goes sometimes, and for me it is no different. It's a 50/50 chance, always.

What I don't like about Hello! Project is the Management. What I don't like is the constant abuse of recycling songs and refusing to change up their leads. What I don't like is how they're slowing down their releases - for ALL groups - or how they only bother with pushing one or two groups and leaving the other so many floundering. The way they make it very clear that one group is getting better PV's than the others is also highly annoying to see, though sometimes their cheap ways are nice to look at, too, because they can get creative... if they want to.

There is also that issue where, as of late, Hello! Project really do not seem to push their members as personalities. This may be more to do with the fact I myself do not keep up with current affairs, or watch variety shows and TV specials, however, I very rarely see many members outside of Iikubo Haruna, Kudo Haruka and Ikuta Erina doing much outside of Hello! Project itself. Reasons why other groups prosper are because the agencies and companies allow their members to flourish on TV, and let them shine elsewhere, away from the stage and PV camera lens.

Even though I hardly watch variety shows, I know this can be an issue for a group when they don't do it, and it really is becoming a big one for H!P. There is only so much that can be done with concert MC's and weekly questionnaires, both of which I hardly look at, but really, that's my issue there.

So, when I say that I dislike Hello! Project, it honestly has nothing to do with the girls or the music they put out, but the management itself. The music and videos are 100% subjective to you, but the management these girls are under is, in my opinion, shocking, and that is what is pulling me away from them altogether. They are doing the bare-minimum, if that, and I honestly ignored it long enough, until finally that piece of string snapped in two, leaving me at this point.

So, to answer that Ask.FM question again; To get me interested in Hello! Project as a collective again, management would need to start caring. They would need to start pushing all their groups, showing off all the girls, and basically start showcasing the many talents that lie within Hello! Project, because Hell, it is there, you just need to look closely and pray they make use of such talent and personality, because when they don't, it's wasted, and when they do, it's highly overused to a point where the girls have just had enough - just look at what happened with Suzuki Kanon and Sayashi Riho.

And no, this does not just go for Hello! Project; all companies and units have their own issues. Heck, if I said CuteBlack - of which holds Houkago Princess - was perfect, I would be lying. It's just that in this time where Idols shine and stand out amid the crowd, everyone but Hello! Project is doing what they can to get their girls noticed, and that's... well, that is pretty devastating, if you ask me.

I want to say I hope that Hello! Project will turn around, that they will push other girls and start giving all groups a fair chance in single and video releases, but right now, I don't think that's ever going to be the case. Sure, they are currently pushing Makino Maria of Morning Musume to being a center, however that's been a clear promotion since Sayashi Riho graduated. So, I don't hold much faith, and for a long time I probably won't, because this is Hello! Project, and I just seem to feel disappointed by them time, and time, again.

If you want to ask me any questions or throw out a general inquiry, feel free to go to my Ask.FM and fire away. It'll be interesting to see what you have on your minds in regards to Idols, Blogging, or general stuff. Until I see you next time, though, take care, and live long and prosper!

Toodle pip~


  1. It's nice to hear your perspective on this. I actually thought you were close to leaving the fandom (rather, stop being a fan) altogether, going by previous posts.

    I will admit that I still adore H!P and the music, but I won't deny that it has its issues. We do tend to be focused on the main faces (the idols themselves) that we forget that they have higher ups who dictate their careers. The music, the lyrics, the appearances and gigs... it's "easy" to forget that those are things outside an idol's control (Upcoming's curtain-pulling notwithstanding).

    I generally don't dwell on it too much because my focus is on other things. (I attribute it to me being jaded from seeing far too many nerd meltdowns on the Internet this year, nevermind my various projects. The recent Berikyuu fandom catfight on the Hello Project Confessions Tumblr only added to this. If it wasn't for the fact the main attraction for me is the idols and (more so) the music, along with the saner parts of the fandom making themselves known to me, I'd stop being a fan at this point. This is also why I emphasized "stopped being a fan" rather than "leaving the fandom.")

    Regardless, your honesty is appreciated and your feelings are valid. You get my respect, Chiima. (bows)

    1. My interest in H!P is indeed wavering anyway. The members, I don't care about any more, because of how well Management are handling them (oh wait, they're not doing it well, are they), sowhilst the groups MV's and music can intrigue me a bit, it doesn't mean I will necessarily care for the groups like I once did.

      But yes, we do only look at what is on the surface sometimes. I'm a bit more aware right now in regards to the management, and really, it's not just H!P; HouPri have their issues, AKB do, etc, it's just I am way more invested in HouPri and it's members, so I do care for them more than Hello Pro.

      I don't think I'll stop being a fan of H!P, in some regards, even if I only stay a fan for the music or videos. They were one of the first umbrella companies that I got into as a Jpop fan, so there is going to be something there for me, sometimes. Is what it is. And you alwaaaays have my respect <3

  2. The thing is Up Front Group, that got to manage H!P entirely after Tsunku retired, has several other groups that usually get shafted by H!P products.
    These days they're REALLY pushing The Group Formely Known as THE Possible and You Kikkawa. As for H!P? Tsubaki Factory is getting a debut after 2 years, when no other act has got a full indie year.
    ANGERME, CG and Kobushi are doing great, and they're pretty much carrying H!P to major idol scene(in fact, Kobushi is always on some idol festival), but Morning Musume is dissapointing me and with °C-ute disbanding I'll unsubscribe Hello!Station soon. I still think things will get better after some time, but it will be a long time.

    Changing subjects completely, with Love Live being mainstream there are a LOT of idol anime going on. Have you ever watched one?

    1. It's been a downward spiral even when Tsunku was there, that's the thing. But yes, it's much worse now that he has gone. I mean, it's good they are pushing other Up=Front units, however they need a balance - UFP has never been good with balance, it seems. And yeah, I'm actually glad about Tsubaki - they had the time to grow (like C-ute), rather than be thrown right under the bus like other groups. Kobushi are kind of paying for it, they're still a bit awkward.
      It's good they are at least going to festivals, that is something, but it'd be nice to see them do more in terms of variety - if they were simply a performance group, who did not focus on being Idols or talents etc, it'd be understandable, but H!P market them as Idols, so they should present them as sch, too.

      I'm actually not an active watcher of anime any more. I tried some Love Live!, but preferred PriPara for how much more exciting it seemed, and it's different take on 'becoming an Idol'. I still prefer the more original Idol anime's that got me into Jpop, though; Mermaid Melody and Kirarin Revolution.

  3. I want to take this chance to be honest as well.

    I agree with you on management. It's been crap for ages, and when they did get their act together, other companies have already been on the bandwagon and H!P was too late into the game where others are already halfway (ie. handshakes and individual handshakes, etc.). How do they get the girls to catch up and get noticed?

    The rules they have on the girls in terms of social media and photos with fans (outside of events and promo) are so darn strict that they're only allowed ameblo blogs and frickin Twitter that is heavily monitored. It screams ancient other than the love ban rule, *eyeroll*.

    I also feel like their revamp of Green Room (forever cries) to Girls Night Out and Hello! Ste are cheap versions of what could've been their variety gigs on TV and Hello!Morning, and what not they had on Utaban. Except hey!! Youtube is free! Pffft.

    It screams cheap - along with their MVs (most of the time, as you say they can get creative when they want to), and the girls don't deserve that when they have dreams so big, or talents so huge that it gets wasted. (Forever jaded over Zukki and her wasted variety potential)

    With the onslot of NEW girls they're producing and new groups they're forming - management is not doing enough to get them noticed. I've no idea what the hell the higher-ups are thinking. They really need to get their sh*t together.

    Especially since they'll lose C-ute next year, who is probably their best bet right now in terms of gaining new fans??? (I don't really crunch and watch for numbers, haha)

    Other groups besides CG (due to Momoko) needs to be noticed A LOT more than how they're fairing at the moment.

    Morning Musume also HAS NO MORE NAME RECOGNITION. I don't know why they're not doing more to push other girls besides the obvious. MM is a mess because they placed EVERYTHING on Riho's shoulders for years. To be frank, MM is how it is now because management depended on JUST ONE GIRL to hold the group together all throughout her tenure. That's not how it works dude. Riho was no Takahashi Ai. Nor was she as old or mature as Ai was when management placed everything on Ai's shoulders during Platinum Era. And Platinum era was ANOTHER era where management placed everything on ONE GIRL'S shoulders, history repeating itself much? =__=

    But eh, we're just fans. There's little we can do except watch them crash and burn (and I honestly hope not), or reborn from this mess by some new hire or someone new providing new ideas and the willingness to TAKE A DAMN RISK. H!P's been playing it safe for far too long.

    But um - my long rant aside - I agree with you on many lines with this, and just letting you know you're not alone!

    1. In regards to the twitter and ameblo, it's pretty much the same with any Idol group - Houkago Princess have really strict policies (because past members kept talking to fans and meeting up with them, etc), and they are no longer able to DM or really respond to others. It's not just H!P that do this, but every other company. It is how it is now, and it will only get stricter, I believe.

      I don't watch Hello! Sta etc, but I know it's a great way for fans to keep updated and in the loop. Didn't know they were downgrading it all.

      I have a feeling H1P higher ups believe that, the more groups they produce, the more fans will continue to care? It doesn't matter about marketing - mass producing will (apparently) get them noticed and adored! Sadly, it's only within the fandom they are doing this - H!P need to buck up and put their girls on TV and radio so much more, and not just one program etc. Even freakin' HouPri are getting different radio slots for different members, being on TV programs and the like.

      In regards to MM having no more name recognition... YEAH, YOU'RE RIGHT! It's all about AKB now,. H!P aren't getting people into Idols, and what new young Idols do know of H!P or MM, it's cause their mothers and fathers probably loved them back in the day and remember them fondly. That's how Zukki found out about H!P; her parents.

      Also management are fucking idiots anyway, I think I mentioned it somewhere in regards to Riho's leave, that they placed it all on her and now that MM is flailing, it's karma, cause H!P didn't think to give anyone else limelight. Now, after 2 years of 12th gen being there, doing nothing, getting no attention or recognition and no push (aside from Miki, who they are now pulling away... why!?), they're pushing Maria, and whilst the fans who know of her are delighted, a lot of people who don't know MM will be highly confused.

      I think H!P are gonna throw everything onto Maria's shoulders, next, and that's... kinda bad, cause she's rather incapable of it right now.

      I LOVE THE RANT!!!

    2. I really should get into other idol groups, seems the ameblo and Twitter thing is an umbrella rule regardless of agency. It is better than Korea though, where they have the idols make their own Twitter and Instagram and get swarms of hate messages and whatnot everyday on top of everything else. I guess it's hard to strike a balance between giving them leeway to connect/interact with fans vs. control that isn't overbearing. The idol-fan relationship is a tricky one!

      I wouldn't say their Youtube stuff have downgraded more like it's gotten a bit better because (bless whoever is producing them) they're experimenting some stuff. Girls Night Out has two (or three) of the girls going (and staying) in a Japanese prefecture for some time and introducing views to the food and tourist spots. Which is good I guess, but I'm still salty that they took Green Room away for...this, haha. And Hello! Ste now has a quiz show corner where different groups taking turns to do answer questions and the winner gets a solo segment on their live tour. Except they do it between group members and I would have liked seeing different members from different groups interact. Upcoming (previously Music+, urgh) is the new "Green Room" but is the only show I think hasn't changed too much except in name. That said, I still think they should get the girls making TV appearances so they don't look so "green", lost, saying what needs to be said, mixture of all three, LMAO.

      And yeah, they really are only getting members to takeover the same timeslot/program and not scattering them in different radio shows... Sigh.

      I agree too, the girls who DO become Kenshuusei or an MM member (that isn't from the KSS) only know of H!P because of their parents, and I don't think that will be good enough in terms of the agency's longevity. That's relying on the "good ol' days" and I think H!P needs to churn a new narrative for itself because relying on that "good ol' days" - while keeps the old fans - doesn't always guarantee that it will attract new ones (and MAKE THEM stay fans).

      And I think you did! I think in a Riho Graduation Post or something, and I thought "I COMPLETELY AGREE, THAT'S TOTALLY WHAT HAPPENED". I'm sad they're moving away from Miki (because some Japanese old hats don't like Japanese returnees/expats apparently, ugh), but Maria...? Of all 12th gen? (I would've preferred Ogata but management are idiots, as you say ;))

      I agree, I don't think Maria's able to handle that responsibility just yet. She may prove us wrong, but the 12th gen still feels so "fresh" to me because management's just not putting them out there. So frustrating to watch.

      Glad the rant was appreciated! Haha!

  4. Hello! Project is no fun for me anymore. And I think we became a fan around the same time. It's not only the very uninteresting H!P year that made me turn away, I also just got sick of fandom shit. Frankly I haven't followed H!P since early 2016 and I felt disappointed about the previous year already. As a supporter of 9ki, the departure of Riho and Zukki just made me feel.. Bad. I don't know. To me it felt as both Morning Musume and H!P were falling appart. Neither of them were my kamioshi but 9th generation is too precious to me. Then they graduated. Felt like it was a sort of "goodbye" for myself as well.

    As for the fandom.. This is nothing you should take personal. There are just these few "rotten apples" who took away the fun for me and it got worse with time and I just got really sick of it. When I first talked about being a little sick of the fandom, just saying that simple sentence, some people got offended immediately telling me I don't need to stay. Well anyways, they got what they wanted: I left the fandom about a year ago. People never realize it but all of that got me into a very big depression which I suffered from for a long time. Even right now I haven't completely recovered yet.

    Sorry for this quite personal text. I wanted to share it since it feels nice to know I'm not the only one losing slightly interest, no matter what the reason is though. I mean yeah the fandom shit is the main reason for me, but it's also not interesting enough for me anymore I believe.

    I also wanted to apologize. I am someone you know, I mean we used to talk a lot and had a really good relationship as friends. I kind of turned into a dick at a point by cutting you off as one of my friends. If it helps to explain, the depression I got was a consequence of all sort of happenings. One of my close family members died and ever since I've done things that might have been harsh for other people. It's hard to explain how I actually feel, but I have a lot of difficulties with trust and keeping friends. Even the smallest disagreement might have made me cut off (really nice) friends... So I hope you can forgive me.

    I hope by now you might have realized who this is >< Since I kind of want to refrain myself from being connected to H!P and the fandom I rather not say or put my name here (sorry). Sorry for the long post on your blog!