Hello!Project: The Line-up’s a-changin’!

If you follow Hello!Project even remotely closely, I’m sure you have noticed the numerous changes in the line-up the past two years. It began small, and yet seemed so big, starting with Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin graduating from Morning Musume in 2010. Suddenly with only five members remaining, it made sense for new member auditions to be held. And that is exactly what happened. Four new girls were added to the group to bring the total up to nine: Sayashi Riho, Suzuki Kanon, Fukumura Mizuki, and Ikuta Erina. And then it was announced that Takahashi Ai would graduate. After that I started predicting what would happen, just for fun.

I had figured that bringing in four new girls instead of just two or three would mark the beginning of a new generation of Morning Musume, which would mean that the then-current members would soon graduate, though how soon their graduations would take place I was uncertain. I figured Ai-chan would graduate first, but I didn’t expect it to happen that fall. It seemed too soon.

I also didn’t expect Tsunku to open auditions again so quickly. However, I think it was a very smart move on his part. With four more new girls coming onto the scene, it made it a little easier on the fans to say goodbye to Ai-chan, even though it was still a sad thing to see her go.

I thought Niigaki Risa, the Momusu leader after Ai, would hold onto the position for at least a full year, but only two singles later, she graduated along with Mitsui Aika, who suddenly decided to graduate due to health issues regarding her leg. All at once, Momusu dropped down to eight new members and two senpai members!

While these things were happening, S/mileage’s Ogawa Saki decided to graduate because she wanted to go back to a normal life. And Tsunku opened auditions for S/mileage. Five girls joined as sub-members, but right away one of them had to leave the group because it was discovered that she had anemia and couldn’t perform well with the condition. Then Maeda Yuuka, a fan favorite, decided to graduate, shocking S/mileage fans everywhere. ;A;

Now Morning Musume auditions are open once again, and auditions for a band featuring Tanaka Reina (Morning Musume member) have just closed. Amidst all this, It was announced a little over a week ago that Mano Erina, currently Hello!Project’s only soloist, will graduate next February. I have to say I saw it coming.

Erina has been going strong as a soloist since 2009, and at first I thought she would remain the solo soloist for several more years. But especially during last year’s singles from her, I started to notice changes. Her music videos have become more cinematic rather than just regular PVs–they resemble movies rather than just music videos. She also stopped playing the piano in her videos, except for one occasion where she touched one key at the very end of the MV. I could tell she was moving more and more towards acting. Then I figured she would probably want to fully make that transition soon. My feeling of this grew stronger after her latest PV was released: “Song for the DATE”. Even though it might not reflect her actual feelings, it showed me her talent for acting all the more, and that she has truly improved at singing powerfully. I thought to myself, “She is probably ready to graduate now.” And then the information came. I was right.

Erina expressed that she wants to continue acting and singing, but see how much more she can grow doing those things on her own. She hopes fans will continue to support her, and I definitely will.
Translated (English) article: http://www.takamaruyo.net/?p=3445
Original announcement: http://www.helloproject.com/news/1207211800_mano.html

Morning Musume, I think, will gain anywhere from one to three new members, though it is entirely possible no one new gets in. I don’t think Tsunku would add another four at this point because the 10th generation girls still haven’t had much of a chance to prove themselves. The spotlight is on Reina and Riho for the most part. I don’t think Reina or Michishige Sayumi (the current leader) will graduate anytime soon, at least not for another year, because the 9th and 10th gens are still too new. If the two Rokkies left now it would be too hard on the current line-up, even with the potential addition of new members.

Berryz Koubou has had the same line-up for most of their career. That doesn’t mean it will never change, but I don’t think it will change soon. Still, I’m kinda waiting for some sort of change with Berryz or C-ute, since all the other groups have changed in one way or another. Berryz and C-ute have done a lot of collab songs lately…

C-ute, unlike Berryz, has had several line-up changes over the years. Beginning with eight members, they now consist of five, but I think they are complete as they are and probably won’t have any more line-up changes for a while. The members who before seemed to be more of supporting members have grown a lot and now often share equal lines and screen time, and it’s really refreshing. Like I said before though, I’m kinda waiting for some kind of change with this group and/or Berryz… I doubt there will be one, but you never know.

I wonder if Mano Erina will do songs mostly for the movies and dramas she is in, or more than that? I look forward to what she will release on her own. :3

S/mileage… I honestly haven’t paid much attention to them after Yuuka left, even though I do like them. I don’t have any prediction for what they might do next, really…

Buono! is a group I really loved when they were doing songs for Shugo Chara!, but after the break and then continuing with their own songs they definitely have a different sound. It’s not a bad thing! It’s just different. o.o I did like how previously their center rotated every two or three singles, but now Suzuki Airi is basically always the center. There’s nothing wrong with that either, but I’d like to see that rotation again. Since there are only three in the group, it would be a good thing to do to keep things interesting.

Mitsui Aika, who graduated from Morning Musume a few months ago, did not leave H!P (yay!) so I’m curious as to what she will do next.

I wonder what new things will happen? Will we see a new group? A new soloist? What will happen to Mobekimasu without its Ma (Mano Erina)? We’ll see! My predictions don’t go very far and could be completely wrong. XD

What do you think will happen? Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve said? Leave a comment and let me know!

P.S. H!P got a facelift! o.o

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