Let me be clear about this. I wasn’t expecting this announcement. If you haven’t already heard, Mitsui Aika is graduating from Morning Musume effective on the earliest possible graduation stage. This means that in two weeks Mittsi is going to be graduating alongside Gaki-san. There are a couple of things that I want to say before I lose the burn to write about it and get boggled in my own graduation activities.
First and foremost,
I am a fan of Morning Musume, the group. I may love certain members and may not love other members but I am in love with the group. Considering the root of Mittsi’s problems, her leg injury, put her out of commission for months on end. There was a time when you wouldn’t even notice that she was a part of the group. She’s in promotional materials for AI BELIEVE, but she appeared in ? one concert? the final concert. After that she finally made a big comeback announcement. As far as I know her performing has been minimal since then. She’s there! But not 100% there. The dreaded foot injury is something that should ring a bell for those of us who follow C-ute. Kanna mysteriously disappeared for some time before being dropped (not graduated) from the group. When I had heard about Mittsi’s injury, I was hoping this wouldn’t be the case. But Mittsi appeared for promotional materials, songs, etc. She just couldn’t perform on stage!
But there was hope and she was recovering. I personally felt that she was going to break the precedent set forth by Kanna and really be the first true recovered Morning Musume girl. In light of this announcement, alas it was not to be. Months of being out of the public eye, rehabilitation and probably more importantly months of missed or incomplete rehearsal and practice… that’s all devastating to the career for any one. If Mittsi could’ve come out of this and remained relevant to the public eye, she should get a purple medal (get it? her color is purple).
For the group, I would imagine this was difficult for some of the newer girls when they might have had to re-learn formations for one member out. They might have had that planned out already so perhaps not as bad. But still, it lowers the group’s morale. There was actually a time, where Mittsi was so out of commission, we had a magazine image featuring the 11 girls of Morning Musume. Mittsi is of course #12…
I recall when fans first saw this, SOME didn’t notice that Mittsi wasn’t in it. In fact, I myself missed the fact that there were 11 girls and not 12 girls. There’s going to be an entire generation of fans that will be confused at first because they don’t see Mittsi there and see her elsewhere around the same time frame. There’s also going to be an entire generation of fans that will be massively confused at her appearance in promotional materials but her lack of appearance in other things. Granted, there will be fans who do proper research and many of us who are currently invested as fans know. But for the future fan that has yet to know, this will be a landmark of misplaced confusion. See Renai Hunter for a severe case.
I would say the most controversial thing about Mittsi’s graduation, is that she is being pushed into Gaki-san’s graduation concert. Today is May 4th and the upcoming graduation concert is May 18th. That’s two weeks. Certainly, two weeks is a very awkward time frame for re-organizing plans for the concerts as well as production schedule for graduation goods. However, really the most controversial thing would be that she is graduating at the end of the ULTRA SMART concert tour. The end of the ULTRA SMART concert tour has the special distinction of being called, ULTRA SMART Niigaki Risa Graduation Special.
Now yes, I am a big fan of Gaki-san. I would be lying if I said this doesn’t disturb me. On one hand, this is Gaki-san’s night. Takahashi led the charge on her concert and had everything personalized to her tastes. You can definitely see it. Gaki-san’s tour? Well, I can’t say that I feel that the tour was really made for her, so Gaki-san already lost out on that. Now the addition of Mittsi to the graduation agenda, kind of dampens this further. I’m glad that Mittsi gets a proper send-off. In fact, I’m glad that I’ll get to see two graduations! But I do feel salty about Gaki-san sharing her concert. It kind of reminds me of when JunJun and LinLin graduated with Kamei. I felt that was a bad match. In the end it turned out all right (to me at least). Perhaps it’ll turn out fine for Mittsi and Gaki-san. THEY BETTER HAVE MITSUI GRADUATE FIRST, THEN GAKI-SAN. Sorry… just thinking out loud.
Now depending on the area you’re from and the fan environment that you’re around, there’s going to be a mixed bag of reactions and comments. The fandom that I am around seems to be rather two sided. One side is an absolute bashfest of Mittsi and the other side are the defenders. To be honest, it doesn’t make me rage but it makes me … disappointed? I guess that would be the word. It makes me disappointed that Mittsi gets made fun of so much etc. The defenders, I seem to notice mainly because of the bashfest. Mittsi fans seem to be on the defense every now and then. It’s a product of the bashing that Mittsi gets, that we end up having such a schism in fandom. Not that I’m calling anyone out for being a fan of Mittsi or anything, I’d rather be calling out bashers. I just feel like I see this kind of divide here with Mittsi more than any other girl. I suppose the second girl to get this treatment would be Gaki-san, but it’s nowhere near as severe.
*sigh* So tl;dr, I’m disappointed that Mittsi gets the treatment she does. I personally don’t dislike her to the point that I would bash her. I’m not the kind of person to bash the girls for a group that I love and respect. But at the same time, I don’t jive with those kind of comments etc. It isn’t funny and it’s mostly uncalled for. My view on Mittsi is that she hasn’t had the time to shine on me. To be fair, with kyuukies coming in and the whirlwind of graduations etc, it’s hard. Initially, Mittsi was in my bottom ranking guaranteed. She’s now second to last. But during her time with Morning Musume, she’s proved herself to me. If anything, this entire process of health recovery (she isn’t the first girl to think of her health first) on top of her duties as a member of Morning Musume has been endearing.
Mitsui Aika, congratulations on your graduation. May you live a healthy life! Word on the streets are that she’s not graduating from Hello! Project so she may still yet be in the limelight! I know that you’ve truly enjoyed your time in Morning Musume and many adoring fans have enjoyed your presence as well! I respect your initial wishes to keep up with the group and I respect even more the fact that you’ve thought all of this through. Like I said, it’s been endearing. I’ll always remember you for being a trooper.
I’ll try my best to forget how you stole my dear Gaki-san’s night.
~Siggy, who is now so hype to see two graduations in one~