Congratulations Ai. Welcome 10th gen. – Itsumo Genki
Ai-chan Graduates Her Way – Pure Idol Heart
Ai-chan’s graduation. – Zombie Zombie
I Just Realized – Bikkuri Project
The End of an Era: Takahashi Ai’s Graduation Concert and the Future of Hello! Project UNCENSORED – Not Another K-Blog!
The tributes to Takitty continue to pour in from the wotasphere. While some of us can’t wait to dig up her body, sodomize it vigorously, pour lime on various limbs, and then dance around her desecrated corpse, others are hoping to bury her with dignity in a cave, cover the cave’s entrance with a huge rock, wait three days or so, and hope she pulls a Groundhog Day when she revives and sees her shadow. Oh wait, all of that is wrong – Takitty’s not dead, she just left an idol group to move on with her life.
Isilie of Itsumo Genki finds herself going back to Ikimasshoi and remembering what Morning Musume was like way back when Ai first joined. In this genkiness she sees the future of the current line-up, the challenge Tsunku faces with no Takitty to rely upon and a wide range of fresh talent at his disposal.
Gaki of Pure Idol Heart focuses on Takitty’s personality and strength, paying tribute to her tenure as leadership despite her own misgivings at how she fared. He then includes the goodbye statements from the current Musumes and notes how this departure fits into the grand cycle of Morning Musume.
Verilian of Zombie Zombie harkens back to when she first encountered Takitty, then later took her central role in the group for granted, and how Ai has grown on her in the past year. Verilian is glad that Takitty had a good run – which is something of an understatement – and looks forward to what Morning Musume will do without her.
In a pithy but amusing post, Celestia of Bikkuri Project shares a couple of insights gained from listening to the graduation concert.
Last but by no means least, there is the tribute on Not Another K-Blog!!!, which was recommended to me and which I do not regret reading. Even though it’s quite long. And even though it made me feel like a cynical sonuvabitch for not liking Takitty as much as this blogger does.
My first reaction when I read this post was, “I hate when people use the word ‘literally’ in the wrong way.” My second reaction was being impressed at how this was basically a concert review that kept veering towards hagiography but managing to avoid that lapse by a sliver. As much as blogger kjpop is enthralled by Takahashi Ai and is very much into the experience being created by these graduation shows, there’s still that Graham Greene-esque chip of ice that acknowledges some of the harsher realities of idol life.
This is a lovely, lovely tribute to Takahashi Ai… But it’s written in such an emotional manner that if you’re not as enchanted by The Bland One as kjpop is, then it’ll fall flat. We are warned in advance, thankfully, so it’s not like kjpop is unaware of this. And if you are a Takitty fan, I think this would be exactly the kind of well-detailed, lovingly rendered portrait of the idol that you could ever want. In its own way it’s about as complete as Hello! SayuNii’s own excellent post, but with a different rhetorical emphasis which makes it unique.
And I must admit, I was myself moved by the account of the fifth gen reunion onstage – I hadn’t realized it’d been five years since Kokon and Makoto’s own dual graduation (and their last single with MM was probably the last one I truly loved, now that I think of it), but I found it quite touching to see them all together again. And I think that’s why I love Jpop so much, and why I admire Kjpop’s fortitude in writing this: being able to let loose with one’s emotions unabashedly, to profess love for someone one really doesn’t know but has nevertheless changed one’s life. There’s a bravery in that, isn’t there? And whether it’s GP Basic’s Amet or an almost-naked Shihono Ryo or Ohmiya doing their thing or Takitty graduating, that burst of emotional truth speaks volumes of what matters to us as humans.
That said, why did a later group shot with Aika in a wheelchair and Takitty in denim drag king gear make me laugh out loud? And STILL makes me laugh each time I look at it? Probably because I AM a heartless sonuvabitch deep down. A right bastard with a soul as black as pitch. A politically incorrect boor who thinks gimpy Aika and studly Takitty are the makings of a bad seventies buddy film. A total dickweed, plain and simple. And I must embrace that within me, as well. I guess.
Kjpop doesn’t see much of a future for Morning Musume now that Takahashi is gone, but is willing to be proven wrong. This loving tribute does end with some important, even scary questions for fans to ponder, and I’m glad it ends on that note because it’s time to look forward, to consider the future, and to hope that Morning Musume will soldier on the way it has for fourteen years. Past is now past, and the future is SO fucking bright.
Though maybe we should shoot Aika, now that she won’t ever have a chance at being a thoroughbred ever again.