New S/mileage Members Announced!!! Then Excitement Fades…

Never in my life have I had my interest go up so rapidly and then right back down. To my shock, surprise, and bewilderment it was announced that S/mileage would be adding five new girls to the group. On the news side, three new girls were added along with two former egg members in the form of Nakanishi Kana, Kosuga Fuyuka, Takeuchi Akari, Katsuta Rina, and Tamura Meimi.

Leave aside the discussion about whether or not it was the right decision. We’ve had that argument before on our podcast.

But back to the topic at hand, the announcement. I never would have expected the addition of more members than already in the group. For common sense reasons it throws the current balance of power off and runs the risk of the group completely shifting their personality. It’s a bold and gutsy move, one that I can respect for it’s willingness to make real changes.

But right as my excitement was growing, I found out what you would call stipulations. These members are some sort of sub-member second class citizen to removed or moved into different groups should things not pan out. I don’t understand what this means and am still waiting for actual clarification. So there’s no need to rants or tirades. The dust will settle and the details will be sorted out.

Everyone is glad that their member made it. Or they’re sad that theirs didn’t. It’s all pretty standard to formula. But what’s also playing it by the book is the lack of commitment by Tsunku, Hello Project, Up Front Agency, whoever it is insisting on making these decisions.

That’s the real the discussion here. The air of indecision that comes along with this announcement. It’s the feeling that someone is trying to cover their ass should this be the deemed a mistake. Like someone is making sure that they have an escape route all planned out.

My point is, I’m not going to get on a plane if the pilot is wearing a parachute and has one hand ready to hit the eject button. Why even do the whole new member event if it’s going to be cheapened in this way? Have Koharu, Aika, and the Chinese members influenced them in such a way that their utmost fear is getting burned again?

This really feels like a two steps forward and one and a half steps back situation. I can’t see a series of events that leads to a member being removed three month or six months down the line. Either it’ll be too soon to tell or it’ll be too late to rip them out of the group. No one is going to want to play the bad guy and be the executioner of a girl group.

All I can see is a sense of fear and loads of indecision. And trust me, I know a thing or two about being indecisive. It’s not a good thing when trying to get people into buying what you’re selling.

At this point we can only sit back and see what happens,

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  1. I’m just as shocked as you are but having watched the auditions very closely, I can see why they couldn’t cut it down to 1 or 2 members. However weren’t they also supposed to add the 10th gen of morning musume from this audition, like they would get to choose? If so, did all the girls say, “no I’ll take Smileage?”… for MM that’s got to hurt.

    As much as Smileage had a really unique personality in H!P, I think the girls they are adding are going to really help the group but I think Morning Musume could have used the arrival of the cavalry a lot more.

  2. Ohh I just noticed that they didn’t add Miyamoto Karin to Smileage which leads me to believe that they may be holding her back for Morning Musume’s 10th gen because she was clearly the best singer of the final 12 and Musume certainly needs another strong singer.

    • I was very disappointed when Miyamoto Karin didn’t make the cut, but it would definitely be a great move if she was placed in Morning Musume.

  3. It’s certainly a bold move. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out in the long run.

  4. It’s pretty much all about drama. Auditions are exciting because we don’t know who’s in and who’s out. The whole sub-member process extends this drama for another six months or so.

    It’s terrible for the girls’ state of mind, but it’s great for business. Fans will become fans of certain members and fret over whether they’ll get the axe. It will create an atmosphere of excitement, and things will never be boring.

    Essentially it turns S/Mileage into a reality TV show of sorts, and that could be a brilliant move.

  5. Well what to say, I called the whole Jang Dayeon pretty wrong it seems but well, after hearing they had signed 5 up I was excited (apart from Tsunku’s love of the number 9 apparently…) my mind was full of ideas, ideas about a power shift in the group from old to new, them being made a direct rival to MM, to challenge them for flagship group status perhaps?…..

    But as it turns out it was like “congratualions your now a part of S/mileage….but your sort of not really at the same time” to me it just seems a glorified way of smilpy adding 3 new eggs to the ranks,

    it’s the ultimate covering of your own tracks, do the people in charge of selections, at least for this anyway, have so little faith in thier abilities, or do they feel as though none of these girls are good enough, which it sort of feels like as this decision lacks commitment, at a time perhpas where a ballsy decision needed, or at least probably should of been made thier nerve failed?

  6. Tsunku did say before hand that they would be adding at the most g new members. SO when I heard he picked 5 girls, I wasn’t surprised. He always lies to up the ante and let’s not forget on several occasions he has added in an extra girl for the cut in Momusu auditions (i.e. Tsuji in 4th gen and KonKon in 5th gen). It also seems pretty clear they are prepping for a baby Momusu since the current Momusu is … dwindling…to say the very, very least.

    However, I am bittersweet on the sub-member thing. I think that the addition of extra girls could give them a boost. And I like that they are being given a challenge like the original S/mileage had before their fate is certain. I personally don’t think he will drop any of them (they are getting too much publicity over it), but this whole idea of “You could be dropped from S/mileage or H!P in general if you don’t get better by the fall” is so hypocritical in a sense. Correct me if I am wrong, but no other group or additional members tacked on to groups were told they wold be dropped completely before. Even when S/mileage was going major, he didn’t tell them they’d have to end S/mileage completely. Just that if they didn’t achieve the task they would have to decide on a better time for their debut. It really does seem like a way to cover their ass if this doesn’t go the way they want or wota get too pissy over it. And sure they could become Eggs or form a new group, but then what was the purpose of picking these girls if you were just going to eventually make them Eggs? Should have held an Egg audition if you wanted more. And I highly doubt that if they weren’t “good enough” for S/mileage then they wouldn’t be “good enough” for a fresh new group.
    Love the auditions, love the turn out, but the shit behind it is really shady in a way.

    Karin for 10th Gen!

  7. Not really any different than how he treated the first s/mileage girls… Remember their Smile campaign? If some new girls just up and got in without really feeling like they earned it it would throw off the dynamic of the group a great deal. Fans will and have been complaining that the new girls won’t be tested and won’t go through the work that the originals had to and will coast on their fame.

    To actually go back would cause a lot of fan upset. I don’t think that’s the point – you’re right it would be dumb. And when something is very, very dumb the best thing to do is presume that it’s obvious not that you’re the one eye’d chick in the land of the blind. It seems more reasonable that they’re trying to re-create the same feel the first girls had upon entering to keep that as part of the group’s dialog.

    Will anyone get bumped out of the group? Most likely not. However it needs to feel like that in order to have the same ‘work hard for this’ that the original girls created in their smile campaign.

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