Who didn't see this coming?
What I like about Morning Musume lately, member-wise, is that it's really easy to tell who's going to graduate. Most of the girls are still relatively new to the group, so it's pretty obvious the only real members fans have to worry about graduating are the Platinum Era members. And now the last of the Platinum Era, Michishige Sayumi has finally announced that she too will be graduating at the end of Momusu's fall tour. Depending on who you are, you're either jumping for joy or crying into a pillow. Me personally, I can't say that this announcement took me by surprise. Had the announcement been two years ago, I would have been a lot more surprised. But now, with Sayu being the Morning Musume member with the longest tenure, it's far from surprising. In fact, I feel like lately I've been doing a really good job at expecting graduations. I know that any H!P members graduating are going to be the older ones, and AKB48 has too many members I don't care about that are graduating. All of the younger members aren't going anywhere anytime soon; it's basically all the veterans that are moving on to non-idol pastures. Now if only I could apply that same expectancy to disbanding groups. I still can't believe that BiS is disbanding, and now I have to add Bump.y to the mix.
Back to Sayu, I was either expecting her to graduate in late 2014 or early-to-mid 2015. She's been leader of Morning Musume for 2 years, she's about to be 25, and she can hold a career for herself in variety outside of Momusu. She'll be more than fine outside of the group. What interests me (what always interests me whenever a prominent member graduates) is how Sayu's graduation is going to affect Morning Musume. Obviously, someone else will have to take the leader position, but I'm not sure if it's going to Mizuki or Haruna or if the both of them will be joint leaders. I guess Ikuta Erina for sub-leader isn't happening any time soon. Also, the 12th Generation will be entering into the picture at some point; probably Sayu will introduce them at her graduation concert, and then they'll debut with the group in 2015. I do wonder how that will also affect the group dynamic, if at all. The most interesting thing about Sayumi leaving to me is that her departure marks the last of the Platinum Era members leaving the group. Think about it; after Sayu leaves, all the Momusu music videos from Morning Coffee to Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game will have no current members in them. Watching old music videos will be even weirder now that everyone who's in them up to Maji Desu ka Ska! is gone!
I know that Michishige Sayumi has always been one of the most divisive members in Morning Musume, and Hello! Project in general. It's really weird though, because when I read comments and articles about people who hate her, they really hate her. I can see where that comes from though; Sayu's always been infamous for her "Poison Tongue" personality on TV along with her narcissistic act of being the cutest member in Morning Musume. Actually, she is pretty adorable... and she doesn't even looked like she's aged that much in the past decade... Maybe she's a vampire who doesn't suck blood but sucks youth instead! What was I talking about again? Ah, yes, Sayu's idol personality. I say idol personality, because everyone knows that Sayu's poison tongue/narcissist personality is mostly fabricated. But I do wonder if any of that ever leaked over into her real personality. I mean eleven years is a long time to maintain that persona. Personally, I never really found Sayu to be all that offensive. That's probably because I've never watched much of any Momusu television programs or even Sayu's appearances outside of Momusu in variety shows.
But in Morning Musume singles, I liked Sayu. Once Momusu started getting younger new members, all the old members of the group sort of stuck out. Like you could tell there was a clear gap between the old and new generations. Visually, Sayu seemed to fit in really well with the 9th and 10th Generation, especially once Reina graduated. I don't want to say I won't miss Sayu, because I do like her presence as an older generation member in Morning Musume. But I also think that now is a god time for her to go. I mean, think of all the eras she's been through! Sayu has been a member from Shabondama to now; that's over a decade of different lineups and images. And I'd like to think that she left a mark on Morning Musume. Maybe not as a great singer (lord no) or a great dancer, but as a girl who started out with no talent whatsoever and still found a niche for herself in Morning Musume. Sure, that niche generated a lot of backlash, but if there's one motto in the entertainment world, it's that there's no such thing as bad publicity. I have to admit, I'm surprisingly chill about this graduation announcement. Now if one of the 9th or 10th gen. girls announces graduation, that will take me by surprise. But I get the feeling that's a long ways away. So farewell to Sayumi, may her Poison Tongue grace many variety shows!