Elder Club To End – Everyone Graduates 1 March 2009

I really don’t know how to take this. According to this thread on Hello!Online every member of the Elder Club is graduating on 1 March 2009. Yes that’s everyone. No more Elder Club. That’s Nakazawa Yuko, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, Yasuda Kei, Yaguchi Mari, Ishikawa Rika, Yoshizawa Hitomi, Tsuji Nozomi, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto, Fujimoto Miki, Inaba Atsuko, Satoda Mai, Melon Kinenbi, Maeda Yuki, Matsuura Aya, Miyoshi Erika, Okada Yui and Ongaku Gatas. Well that explains the Mega Best’s. The final performances will actually be on January 31st and February 1st according to this site.

Apparently the members are staying in UFA but I wonder. With sales for most of those who are still releasing music being low will they really be staying in UFA? With Hangry & Angry being launched I can’t believe there is any way that Rika & Yossie will be ditched. Maybe Ongaku Gatas will carry on then too. They still seem to have some popularity. I really hope so as otherwise I can’t see Konno staying in the music industry. Konno along with Yaguchi and Iida is a firm favourite of mine. Nacchi as well come to think of it. I think I’ll be lucky to still see releases from just one of them to be honest.

But for the likes of Yuko who hasn’t released any music in ages this seems like the end of an era. I can’t see Inaba Atsuko having much to do either. After all she’s never had any solo work or any group since T&C. Backing vocals is probably the best she’ll get. Kaori is a mother now and I don’t think we’ll see her as a singer again (damn).  Yaguchi and Yasuda aren’t singing anyway anymore except for the Elder Club concerts. In fact when I look through the list there’s only really the Hangry & Angry pairing that I feel any confidence for. I loved V-U-den but it looks like Yui and Erika have had their day. And then there’s Nacchi. Will she continue? Her sales aren’t great but she’s still getting top 15 singles so I really hope UFA will allow her to continue. Although her last photobook being called End of Summer could be portentous. In recent times she has sold the most singles of all the Elder Club, based on the Wiki so I really hope UFA allow her to continue. There’s still a market there and with a relaunch on a new label maybe she can increase her popularity again?

Maybe there lies the one ray of hope. Perhaps this will be a good thing for some of them (although definitely not for all). The Elder Club didn’t do much and the individual music releases by what few members actually got releases never seemed to be marketed that aggressively. Perhaps by removing these well established members from the Hello!Project ‘idol’ image they can be reborn? Maybe be given a chance to have a fresh start? I think the problem in the past has been that too many of the members have been given nothing to do. For instance when Ayaka left she’d done nothing for years other than Elder Club concerts. It was a stupid situation to put talented singers into. Maybe it’s not a bad thing that the Elder Club is being disbanded. I think the answer though depends entirely on what plans UFA actually have for these members. The same UFA who disbanded V-U-den. Hmm. No, I’m definitely worried!

You can’t continue to stagnate. Change is inevitable. The way the Elder Club members had been treated for the most part invited stagnation. Relying on an ever decreasing number of fans and not enticing any new ones meant that this was bound to happen in the end. I just hope UFA do have something good up their sleeves for those members who want to continue as singers. Yuko and Yasuda act a lot and maybe they don’t want to continue? After all they have been in H!P for a long time. Yaguchi is a great tv presenter. Tsuji and Iida are parents. But the rest? Surely the likes of Miki Fujimoto, Miyoshi Erika, Okada Yui and Maatsura Aya want to continue in the music industry? If so I hope they get the chance to.

Edit: Hello!Online has translations of Tsunku and Yuko’s comments here.

Anyway because it’s all new and shiny, a poll. You can pick as many answers as you like…

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5 responses to “Elder Club To End – Everyone Graduates 1 March 2009

  1. To be honest, I never understood why people thought Kaori and Tsuji would ever be returning in the first place. They were both far more likely to continue in their familial roles than to return to showbiz. Like the people who kept wishing for Hello!Morning to come back, it was just wishful thinking, and very very improbable.

    Melon Kinenbi has a bit of a cult fan following, from what I understand, so they could survive a label change and, if necessary, a name change. For a group that’s been together so long with no changes in the lineup, their closer to a proper “band” than any of the others have ever been, so I could easily see them surviving in some form.

    Aya and Nacchi, I would think could still do music, and maybe Miki.

    Yuko is way too into her plays these days, and seems to enjoy herself immensely, if her translated blog entries are anything to go by, so I’m not really worried about her.

    I’d like to see Yuki Maeda continue, but I think perhaps she may merge into the more traditional Enka market with slightly less pop-ish arrangements of traditional tunes.

    Konno, sadly, will go back to her studies. Good for her, though! She always realized, quite rightly, that education was more important anyways.

    Kei and Atsuko, I have no idea what they’ll do, but I hope they’re happy.

    Which leaves the variety idols, Mari, Mai, and Makoto. Of the three, Mari will continue to dominate all in her path, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That little girl is bigger than all of us!

    Erika, sadly, will fade into obscurity, unless she joins Yui on the gravure idol path. Erika has an unconventional beauty which may or may not appeal to fans of the genre, but either way, Yui’s future is secure due to her…two talents.

    Which brings us to Yossy and Rika. The Wonder Twins of GothRockPop. They seem set to take the world by storm, and I think they just might. I can forsee one possible timeline where their time in H!P is as much of a footnote to their later careers as Atsuko’s time in OPD is to most of her H!P fans…of mild interest, but not the real reason people are into them.

  2. Yaguchi will definitely be alright. There’s no stopping her ascent towards total tv domination. It’s only a matter of time before we get 24 hour Yaguchi tv. 😀

    Well I love Konno. I really hope OG continues for that main reason really. Well that and the fact I’ve liked their 3 singles. But the realist in me expects to be waving goodbye and good luck oh kawaii one.

    I can’t believe in a million years Rika would be ditched. Not unless she wanted to leave singing behind her. Yossie I’m maybe not so sure about when I think about it. H&A could be a one release kind of deal. If so and if OG gets disbanded I can’t really see Yossie as a soloist. I could see her branching out further into tv though. She’s already done some presenting and a lot of guest appearances. She could follow the Yaguchi path. As for the Melons, well that may depend on them. If they aren’t offered a contract at UFA maybe they will find another label. Something indie. But given how long they have been together maybe they’ll just call it a day.

    Due to past success I think Nacchi and Aya will get to continue, always presuming of course that they actually want to.

    I also never expected Iida or Tsuji back. I’m sure Tsuji when she got married had said that if she does return to the entertainment world she’d want to do something different.

    I think Miki Fujimoto’s saving grace may be strangely that she doesn’t do ‘pop’. I think she’ll have a good chance of continuing as a singer, doing her own kind of thing.

    I’m not sure what to make of the whole gravure thing. I’d support Yui in anything but I’d rather see her singing. You never know your luck. Given her ability to be way too sexy/sexual for H!P maybe she’ll get the chance to sing on a more adult orientated label.

    Ah Pex I just realised what I should have said in my main post…just this once, everyone leaves. 😉

    You could write a thesis on all the possibilities thrown up by today’s news!

  3. Pingback: [Blogs] The Elder Club Reactions Are Pouring In (Pt. 1) | International Wota·

  4. According to Google Translator Microbes, the second line on the latest update says that “Eri Mano has renewed vegetable profile page”, whatever the frell that means. 😀

    Still, very interesting. As I understood it Erina was never in the list of fired people, and Ami Tokito was never in H!P to begin with. As for what Miki and Mako are doing there…it’s anyone’s guess, I suppose.

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