Monday, 30 September 2019

Kenbishi Kunogi - The Graduation Appreciation Post

On September 28th 2019, Kenbishi Kunogi of NECRONOMIDOL celebrated a live show that brought together the joys of her birthday and the sorrow of her graduation. With 9 short months in the group, Kunogi fell into darkness alongside her peers and stunned the audience with her idol-like aura, but now she's ready to start anew with her solo activities and take a new path, one that is supported by her former management and group mates.

Though she only held a short tenure within NECRONOMIDOL, Kunogi had her own trials she faced during her time in NECRONOMIDOL and created lasting memories that she could not have captured if she had not been welcomed into the group earlier this year. Now she will move forwards, and though the decision for Kunogi to graduate was sudden for the fans - I can only guess that it's a different matter behind the scenes - it seems like Kunogi herself is confident in this new venture she is taking, but before her solo activities are fully in motion I want to take a moment to appreciate Kenbishi Kunogi.

Her time with NECROMA was short, but she will continue to be an idol. But for now, let's appreciate the Kenbishi Kunogi I knew, even though she has graduated and moved forward.

It's Graduation Appreciation time once more.

Kunogi is cute as a button, entertaining to watch and someone who has a true idol-aura on the stage, and perhaps a little shyness when she's off of it. A rather bewitching girl, I immediately clicked that Kunogi was the type of member I would like to follow when both she and Michelle joined NECRONOMIDOL back in January of this year, however that feeling flip-flopped a little before I eventually went on to meet the members in-person back in July of this same year when NECRONOMIDOL travelled to the UK. It was then that I realised how much I liked Kunogi and how she was my second favourite member within the group I had come to love since last year.

And then I learned of her graduation with the rest of the world, and I paused.

I saw the news on Twitter, a tweet sent from Kunogi's own account that I translated from Google, of course.

"I won't be able to meet you, and I will continue to do my best in solo and band activities..."

The comments below that told of the fans' sadness, as well as Kunogi's own English message herself apologising for making everyone sad was all I needed to know what this was about: Kunogi would leave NECRONOMIDOL despite still being so new within the group. I would be losing a member that I really liked, someone I wanted to see flourish in a group I adore. More than anything though, I wanted to watch her confidence grow.

So when I read the news, I cried.

When you become an idol fan you learn a few things. One lesson you learn is that no idol is a permanent fixture within a group, because more often than not someone will graduate, and perhaps a new member will join, or maybe not. Eventually, everyone will graduate and the group will continue or it will end. This is normal, but it does not make it any less heartbreaking for the fans, especially when you have invested so much time, emotion and money into one particular idol or group.

Another lesson you learn is that graduations can come quickly. Though some companies announce graduations well in advance, chika idol groups are a different matter. Some graduations can happen within days of the announcement being made, whilst others can happen within two months. In Kunogi's case, the graduation was announced with just over a week's notice.

It felt sudden. It still feels sudden, and in many ways it hurts. But I understand why it happened. I get why Kunogi needs to go her own way. I get it as much as a fan can get it. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but I understand.

But it sucks. It will always suck. No matter how much you get used to graduations, no matter the amount of Oshi-loss you go through or how much you convince yourself it's normal, that it'll happen again another day, it will hurt like a bitch. That's the way of the idol - a graduation is there to remind you that along with the brightness they bring, there is sadness when that bright spark of happiness leaves a group you follow. It's there to remind us that nothing is permanent.

Still, even a fleeting moment of joy is a moment worth cherishing, and despite Kunogi's own short tenure within NECRONOMIDOL, I want to say that I do treasure those small moments I had where I watched her perform, as well as the seconds I spent talking to her during cheki and meeting her in the interview room at Hyper Japan.

I want to say that despite the sadness I feel knowing that she is no longer a part of NECRONOMIDOL there is still happiness., because regardless of how long she spent within the group, Kunogi made her mark on the group. She became a part of NECROMA's history, showcased her character, gave us little snippets of who she is and shared her presence with the fans. And she will continue to do that, but she'll do it in a new way - it'll be her own way, if we have to put it in a cheesy manner.

And yeah, graduations are sad and remind us that nothing is permanent, but graduations are just as hopeful as they are hurtful, for a graduation means a new beginning. With this Kunogi is ready for a new start outside of NECRONOMIDOL, and I can only feel hopeful for Kunogi now that she is getting ready to create a new image for herself away from NECRONOMIDOL.

I'm confident that she can do it, though that might just be the fangirl within me talking. Still, it doesn't hurt to have confidence for the idols you love.

I do want to acknowledge that - regarding the reason why Kunogi graduated NECRONOMIDOL so suddenly - I don't think it was necessarily right what Kunogi did, but this is human error at the end of the day. Kunogi, like all of us, is just as human as we are, and she is prone to mistakes and simply going against things she knows she shouldn't. Still, I hope that this incident allows her to figure things out for herself a little more, and I hope she learns from it and grows, because that's what we want from our idols: For them to grow.

Still, I want her to be happy. What fan doesn't want their idol to be happy? And regardless of the amount of time she spent within the group, I appreciate all the work Kunogi put into the group, the strength she gave them and the image she helped them to create in their 5th year together. I appreciate how she brought her own brand of energy to NECRONOMIDOL, how she was able to help Michelle along in the world of Idol that Michelle knew nothing about, and I appreciate how she shined on stage.

I appreciate everything that Kunogi did as a member of NECRONOMIDOL, and I appreciate the time she spent on the fans both in person and on social media. I appreciate Kenbishi Kunogi, an idol who became a part of NECROMA's history, even if it was for only 9 short, entertaining months.

And now that she has graduated and is taking her own path with her solo activities and working alongside her band, I look forward to what Kunogi has in store for us all. in music, image and more, I want to anticipate the next chapter that Kunogi will create and follow her as a fan. In this instance I am lucky - the idol I like is continuing to pursue music activities, something few choose to continue once they have graduated. Thankfully I will get to watch Kunogi grow as a performer, and thankfully I will be able to continue supporting her from afar as a fan of idols and music.

I am extremely thankful for that. Not everyone is able to see their idol continue in this field of music, idols and entertainment.

As an overseas fan I am incredibly lucky. I was able to meet Kunogi at Hyper Japan as both a fan and an interviewer, I was able to talk to her casually and tell her I thought she was cute. I learnt a little more about her Princess-like look and her cute personality during the cheki event, I found out about her insecurities through one of NECROMA's staff members and learnt of her stage presence when I saw NECROMA's live. Sure, the meetings were brief, the experience was minimal in comparison to others, but what I learnt was valuable. I know enough to understand that I like Kenbishi Kunogi and to acknowledge that I am her fan.

And yes, I will miss her. NECRONOMIDOL will feel empty without her, the dazzling presence on stage that she created will be missing, and I know that when I look back at pictures from Hyper Japan Festival 2019 there will be a melancholy feeling of nostalgia.

She fit right into NECRONOMIDOL, but sadly NECRONOMIDOL did not fit with her. it is just how it was meant to be...

With this, I want to say that I hope Kunogi continues to grow. I hope that her departure from NECRONOMIDOL will see her come out of her shell more and that she realises she is loved and appreciated. I hope that she comes to understand her merits, to have her overcome the insecurities she faced during her time in NECROMA and to realise that she does have fans and people who will follow her diligently. Above all, I hope that the girl we see on stage - confident, bubbly, happy and dazzling - is a girl we can see off-stage, because I want Kunogi to feel comfortable in her own skin.

I want my idol to be happy, like any fan should.

In many ways Kenbishi Kunogi is impressive, and in many ways she is cute and charming. Thankfully I could experience various sides of this adorable idol in person, and I hope that I can experience them all over again as Kunogi tackles her solo activities head on. It will be difficult, but I am hopeful that I can see Kunogi perform again one day, and I hope that when I see her next she will be more confident in herself and her abilities.

But now that she has graduated I wish her happiness and luck, and I congratulate her on her graduation. Thank you for everything, Kunogi. I am so happy that you could be our Idol from the darkness for even a short while. You made every moment worth it.

Kunogi-chan,  ありがとう、おめでとうございます!

Thank you for everything. I look forward to your next chapter and the brilliant new stage you will stand on. Please work hard and remember that we support you. Good luck!

Chiima / Kelly~

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