If you know my last name, you will get that joke.
We all should have been clued in when it was announced the 2009 Elder Club tour was titled Thank you for your LOVE! The big announcement has been made. The announcement that I have been “expecting” for a long time now. The entire Hello! Project Elder Club will be graduating in March 2009. Not to say I told you so, but I did “sort of” predict this back in April of this year… “Trusting The Hello! Process”
In that post I said that H!P and UFA would most likely be doing a lot of “pruning away” of the elders in order to stay contemporary and profitable. Specifically, I predicited the extinction of the Elder concept, and the graduation of most of the Elder members before the year end. I didn’t think it would be everyone, but the obvious move has been in the air for a long time now. This is most likely going to be “the end” for many idols, though obviously not for all. For some this is merely the long overdue next step in their careers…
Abe Natsumi, Nakazawa Yuko, and Yaguchi Mari have already been doing a lot of acting and television outside of H!P. That will obviously continue. And I’m sure we will see some singing in their futures as well.
Maeda Yuki always been a “fringe” H!P member at best anyway. Will her enka career continue? Probably. I don’t think the H!P banner helps or hurts her career either way. As for Iida Kaori and Sugiura “Tsuji” Nozomi, they have already moved on to parenthood.
Matsuura Aya is beyond H!P, and has been for a while now. I doubt her career will skip a beat!
Yoshizawa Hitomi and Ishikawa Rika. We just got a glimpse of what’s next for them, Hangry & Angry. So obviously their careers are moving forward. And I am sure this new unit won’t be their swan song.
Fujimoto Miki has already moved on in a way, judging by the style and promotion of her most recent single. Then again, that single didn’t take the J-pop world by storm…
As far as the H!P Eggs that are also members of Ongaku Gatas, my guess is they will continue to be Eggs. I would be really surprised to find out that Noto Arisa is part of the graduating class. I know all of the reports are saying “all of Ongaku Gatas”, but I still hold out hope since the Eggs weren’t mentioned.
As for the rest, this may possibly be the last time we see many of them in a performance medium. That’s not to say all of their performance careers are over. I am just saying that there is nothing presently on the horizon for any of them. But I really don’t know. Only time will tell.
It’s a sad and happy moment at the same time. Now if I can be selfish for a minute…Now I am in a quandry about the Jan/Feb concert at Yokohama Arena. As many of you know I will be in Japan next week to see Morning Musume, Berryz Kobo and Matsuura Aya. And I was seriously considering returning for H!P Winter 2009. This announcement definitely makes me want to go. But now the tickets will be hard as hell to get a hold of! What to do?
Only time will tell…
CK in California