Noteworthy

Itsumo Genki On The Current Malaise Of Hello! Project

In Which H!P has (de)evolved

What I’ve been writing about great blogging in recent Noteworthy posts can all be cut-and-paste here – I don’t know why, but the wotasphere has been fairly bursting with great writing in recent days.

At any rate, Isilie does a beautiful job in this essay, criticizing Hello! Project as it now stands from a position of loyal fan love, an appreciation of H!P’s history, and a clear desire to see some major changes take place. She begins with something of a narrative, framing the start of her essay with her and her brother watching a recent H!P concert and enjoying themselves in the process. However, this benign start leads to murkier waters and a questioning of song choices – specifically, how the current H!P chooses some of their songs from older H!P repertoire – shines a rather depressing light on the talent pool and direction H!P currently exhibits.

For me, two particular examples stand out: the first is a quote Michishige Sayumi gives about Takahashi Ai and her role in Morning Musume; the second example is the decision for Shin Mini Moni to cover a song by T&C Bomber. In the case of the latter, Isilie spends a good deal of time, unfolding a killer argument about the images of different H!P units, the vocal abilities of different groups, and how H!P has sometimes royally botched these things for reasons that are a puzzlement to most everyone. Reaching this far back into H!P history is already something of an impressive feat, but tying it together to reinforce her argument so elegantly, in a way that makes her sad conclusions impossible to refute… Wow, that just brings a tear to my eye.

Isilie closes her blog post with a matching narrative to the beginning – instead of watching an H!P concert, she’s watching the video for Maeda Atsuko’s debut single “Flower”, and has an unexpected reaction to it. Certainly, the undertones of this chosen ending won’t be lost on wota: the migration of fans from H!P to AKB has been a frequent enough theme that we can’t help but wonder if this is what’s taking place. However, Isilie uses this moment to explain why she is still a dedicated H!P fan and will remain so – and she’s quite convincing about it, too. This isn’t the halfhearted whims of someone with their eye on the door, but a clear-eyed acceptance of where H!P stands and why that doesn’t affect her loyalty for the idol collective.

So yes, here’s another must-read for all you folks out there. Isilie is bringing bad news for H!P fans, but it’s something they’ve doubtless heard before and probably even suspected all along. What makes this essay stand out, then, isn’t just the masterful way Isilie breaks the news, but also how she manages to hold out hope for H!P’s future… tenuous as it is.