H!P Girls part 6 – Kago Ai

Kago Ai. She was never anything other than pure entertainment. When appearing on tv shows she had an infectious liveliness and always seemed to be laughing along even when she was the butt of the jokes. Her Utaban appearances, whether with MM or Mini Moni, were always hysterical. Watching her on Ayaka’s Surprise English Lessons was always worth the time too. And, to be fair, despite not being the prettiest by any means she was cute. By the time the scandals hit she was also starting to grow up and it seems a shame that we never got to see her full potential in H!P. Some of her songs with Tsuji in W were a million miles away from what I’d have expected. Who’d have thought during their Morning Musume days that when given a unit together they would also be given a song like Shiroi Iro wa Koibito no Iro to sing? It’s a beautiful song and they do it justice. Even when given songs that were more in keeping with their earlier lively somewhat bonkers image – such as Robokiss – they were actually perfect bubblegum pop songs. Fun, lively, catchy as hell and still sounding great all these years later. Oh and the happy version of the Robokiss pv never fails to make me…well…happy. Fitting that. Her energy during the Musume days was also a ‘charm point’ to use that old term that doesn’t seem to get mentioned anymore (a cynic would say something disparaging about the current line-up here). Kago – such a force alongside Tsuji – always had such gleeful vibrancy. Okay so if you watch The Peace pv you can see that neither can dance but that makes their dancing just so much cuter. Oh and in the Renai Revolution 21 pv the two of them are ultra kawaii. So sweet. Yes their singing left a lot to be desired but even so somehow their sheer force of personalities compensated. Their humour, their irreverence, their lack of fear (they never held back their thoughts) all just made them worth having involved. It enriched Morning Musume and by extension Hello! Project.

Then of course came the scandals. Little Kago was a bit of a naughty girl. Underage smoking and an older boyfriend prematurely ended her singing career (for the time being at least). To look at her now – slowly trying to rebuild her life and career as an actress – I think she does look like she’s been through a lot. She was just starting to blossom in W and it almost seems like instead she’s wilted. But she’s back in the sunshine now and I hope she does rebuild her career. It’s never nice to think of someone self-harming. That level of unhappiness is heartbreaking. To live with that kind of self doubt or hate day in day out is a horrible thing. And to think that she was like that even in her Musume days it seems surprising and just goes to show that the public image can mask a lot. Kago seems to have suffered out of proportion to the things she did wrong. At the same time I do understand the reason that certain rules are in place and I totally endorse them. Well at least with the younger members. When it comes to someone like Yaguchi Mari I’d have rather she’d stuck around for several more years. Bugger the no boyfriend rule we missed out on so much Yaguchi. But back to Kago and I think she suffered more than she deserved. But smoking, despite being widely popular, is actually a pretty horrible thing to be doing and can cause just as much damage as cutting your wrists. In fact it can cause more. If not too deep a cut will heal. The damage smoking can cause is far harder to heal. As for the older boyfriend, well she was young and when you are young you can fall in love so easily. It’s understandable but it’s also not something an idol should be doing. Even so I can’t say I think any worse of her for it. She seems like the sensitive type who may actually have gotten some confidence from such a relationship if she’d not been famous and thus exposed. Her troubles were also not helped by certain things that were going on in her family if what she’s said about her money being spent without her knowledge is true.

Anyway I’m hoping she becomes successful again. If not through singing then through acting or maybe tv work. I think with her personality she is made for the chat show or tv gameshow circuit. I also hope she finds happiness and love. Even if it’s just within herself. Kago. She never failed to entertain. What more could you ask for from a celebrity?

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