After looking at the Morning Musume & AKB48 rivalry, I began thinking deeper into the situation. I’ll be honest. Morning Musume is not the same girl group they once were. If you were to try to argue me that they are, I’d call you a fool. I’m not talking in terms of popularity or commercial success. I’m purely speaking in terms of personalities. There was a point when Morning Musume was the most interesting group of girls in Japan. They started with a core group of girls and each time they added members, they did a fantastic job of replacing ones lost. The second generation saw the addition of Yasuda Kei and Yaguchi Mari. The third brought about the ever loved Goto Maki. I’d say that the fourth, fifth, and six generations were still strong although arguably weaker as they continued.
I think it was during the Lucky 7 auditions when things started to unravel. I’m not even beginning to talk about Kusumi Koharu, but the auditions before in which no member was added. Expectations were high and maybe too high. Koharu did eventually grow on me, but if you look at her contributions to Japan’s most beloved girl group, they were dismal. Then look at Mitsui Aika. Again, something is missing. I love her to death and want her to succeed but still sometimes she looks lost in what to do next. Look for her on air. She’ll be blankly staring off into space. As far as JunJun and Linlin, I think they ultimately had the most potential but were so mismanaged. Instead of really pushing them forward and making a new core around them, it seems they are only used as support characters. The Chinese in me blames it on that. But this was almost 3 years ago when they joined. Someone needs to be pushed in front and given the spotlight to lead MM. I’m not saying leader Takahashi has to be it. Looking back at all the memorable names in MM history. Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yaguchi Mari, Goto Maki, Kago Ai. The stickiness which those characters would stay with you has never since been matched. Personality wise, MM is a shell of itself.
So I didn’t make this post because I wanted to shit on Morning Musume. I desperately want MM to turn things around and be a successful group again. Some of the members now are my personal favorites, namely Kamei Eri. But how do you find and add great personalities. I don’t think you can scrap Morning Musume which I think if one of AKB48’s advantages and one of the reasons why they’ve become so popular. It’s a fresh set of girls. The grass is always greener.
But when I look at the future of AKB48, I could see it happening the same way. Look at the core members. They are very strong personalities. People are falling in love with them. And it will be hard for people to let go when the time comes. Who do you replace those members with? Maeda Atsuko? Takahashi Minami? Oshima Yuko?
Will the people be interested in someone like Miyazaki Miho as a new poster girl? Or even Watanabe Mayu? Kashiwagi Yuki? No matter how lovable those members are, I don’t see them as the personalities that the current figureheads holds.
So what then? Will it be the same case? Or can management find a way to plug the holes left by previous members? A few members here and there are manageable. But in 5-10 years when the entire face is changed, that’s when we’ll see if my prediction will be true. The inevitable decline of an idol group.