Oct 24 2007
Today, in honor of Gaki-san’s birthday, and the fact that I’ve finally reached the top of my list of favorite current Morning Musume members, it’s my thoughts on Risa “mayuge-beam gaki-san mame athena sub-leader nii-nii” Niigaki.
Why do I love Gaki-san so? It’s not because I think she’s the best singer in Morning Musume, or the prettiest in Morning Musume either. She’s one of the best (warm and rich voice) and one of the prettiest (isshun anyone?), but that’s not why I love her. She also happens to be, in my opinion, the most improved in all aspects of being an idol in the history of morning musume, but even that’s not why. It’s because watching her on stage or on tv shows or PVs or whatever never ever fails to make me happy. Risa just projects this aura of genuine radiant happiness and enthusiasm wherever she goes. And on those occasions when she’s not happy, well, she projects that loud and clear too. She’s not called the reaction queen for nothing after all. But most of the time she’s wearing her dazzling smile and practically flying off the stage with the energy she’s putting into her performance, how could anyone not love her? And out of all MM, she’s the girl that seems like she would make the best friend. You can tell everyone in the group loves her, she’s the one the new members seem to be looking to, and from watching her ongoing friendship with Ai-chan, it’s clear how much she values her friends.
Another thing that I love about Risa is that she has that underdog factor going on. For a long time she was the girl who was known for two things, wearing pigtails all the time and… having eyebrows? She had the enthusiasm and the talent, but was rather rough around the edges, and she was pushed aside in 5th gen in favor of the lovely Ai-chan the adorable kon-kon, and the humorous makoto. For her entire time in MM she has, mostly, been in the back or the corner, getting to sing her line or two because she has vocal skills, but she’s never been the star.
Only recently is she getting a bit more recognition with the 10th anniversary unit, and now the anime thing, but she’s still one of the least spotlighted members of the group. Despite all this, she goes on, with that smile on her face, and we never once doubt her passion for being a member of morning musume. That passion doesn’t seem to have wavered since she was openly sobbing with joy on the show where it was revealed that she had passed the audition, and when interviewed about how she felt, her reply was something along the lines of “it’s like my dream has come true”.