The Idol Deadpool: Yuuka’s Done, Who’s Next?

Maeda Yuuka To Leave S/mileage – Pure Idol Heart
S/mileage member Maeda Yuuka to leave show business – Tokyograph
Yuukan’t just leave – idol love
S/Mileage’s Battleship Has Been Sunk – Selective Hearing
Maeda Yuuka Will Be Graduating in the New Years Eve :( – Chuu Sugoi Idol
S/mileage loses another original member – Janakya Mottainai
Would telling the truth be so awful? – Janakya Mottainai

Is Aika Coming Back? – Bikkuri Project
Who Will Be Next To Graduate? Pinstickers Guide – Morningtime
Big Bang, soon to implode? – Seoulbeats

Here’s a whole bunch more posts on Maeda Yuuka’s decision to leave Hello! Project and S/mileage.

Danielle of idol love has a surprisingly poignant take on Yuuka’s departure, focused less on her than on the way her departure brings out a sense of fragility regarding Hello! Project in general. There’s now concern – and I know she’s not the only one to feel it – that other popular members of the collective could also leave, especially considering Yuuka’s stature in H!P at this time.

Meanwhile, Greg of Selective Hearing goes with the dramatic route with the wota equivalent of a policeman on his last day before retirement, not expecting anything to happen… Well, something like that, at least, as he picks over the details and rumors swirling about the news.

AimxAim of Jankya Mottainai has an interesting pair of articles. The first is the typical shock and what will happen post, noting that Yuuka’s departure makes a third gen of S/mileage inevitable. Her second post is a little broader in nature, taking aim at idols she thinks are liars, including Yuuka for the tried-and-true “pursuing my studies” excuse for leaving H!P. I do think that she’s being at least a little unfair here, letting her emotions take over the essay (which she freely admits) – but more to Nishikido Ryo than Yuuka, I think. Airi IS a child and has more of her career handed to her, I’d say – Ryo as an adult, and as a member of a collective that is still very popular in Japan and not on the decline, probably has a much more difficult time juggling whatever obligations are dealt him, and probably a good deal more pressure. Which isn’t to belittle what Airi accomplishes, or what Shige accomplishes for that matter… But different people feel pressures and busy schedules differently. Just cause one person can do something doesn’t mean anyone else can.

As for the whole “why not just say the truth” thing… Well, this IS Japan, and polite lies are a very important part of what keeps the social fabric intact. (Kyoko Mori even wrote a book called Polite Lies which I’d recommend to anyone interested in these kinds of insights.) By telling the least hurtful version of events, these public figures are being good citizens and following the Japanese way of deflecting conflict. There may be some relief for us overseas fans if they were blunter and more honest, but we don’t factor into this at all. Domestic fans, however, understand this ritual and accept it as the way they expect it to be.

Meanwhile, following up on idol love, speculation is indeed running on who will be next to go. Celestia’s article on Aika possibly leaving Morning Musume actually predates the Yuuka announcement but grows more relevant as a result of the news. Chiima of Okay! Musume Time also brings up the speculation about Aika’s status, especially given that magazine cover declaring an 11-nin Morning Musume, and Celestia has her usual array of evidence to back up her ideas. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing her go at this point – my ideal MM line-up right now would be Sayumi as the last veteran, leading ninth and tenth gen to new levels of genkiness – though this would certainly be an ignominious way to leave the group. Meanwhile, Morningtime comes up with odds on everyone currently in H!P and their chances of leaving. It seems intended for humor more than actual odds-making, so I wouldn’t place any bets based on what we find here.

And lest we forget, there ARE other idol groups out there, and a very major one that seems at risk of breaking up. Megan of Seoulbeats goes over the recent history of Big Bang, of course focusing on Daesung and G Dragon, and finds the future not looking too bright. However, she is willing to be proven wrong, and I think if they can make it through with all five members performing in Japan this January, they’ll do fine for a while longer. That said, Megan does bring up the inevitability of military duty for the boys and that certainly would have an impact when it happens.

But all of this is the nature of pop music and idols, right? We’ve become so used to the idol machinery extending the lives of our favorite acts that we often forget that pop is based on a sense of the ephemeral, that it’s supposed to be fleeting – and when it’s just right, it’s lightning in a bottle, nothing more and nothing less. In that way, it makes us appreciate what we’ve got, for as long as we’ve got it – and that’s a life lesson we should all learn, and learn well.