Cheers to a new series I had no intention of making! *raises glass of water* What is CIHAF, you ask? Well, it’s a really bad acronym, for starters. I tried really hard to make a stupid, funny one but to no avail. Either way, CIHAF stands for Crap I Hate About Fans, and that’s exactly what I’ll be talking about. The bullshit theories, hypotheses, and complaints that spew from fans’ mouths each and every day. Fact of the matter is, it ain’t for the weak of heart–especially if you do the things that I’ll be posting about. Btw, I’ll give you cookies if you end up pronouncing CIHAF as “Psy Have.” <3
To kick off this brand spankin’ new series, we’re going to be discussing something that is especially prevalent in Morning Musume fandom: line distribution. The topic is the equivalent to a beaten-to-death horse but somehow people still find ways to keep whining about it.
Morning Musume has never really had completely fair line distribution. There’s always been that one girl who has a tad more lines than the others or maybe there’s a couple who gets majority of the song. Back in the early days, Natsumi Abe was quite the front girl, so much so that she basically got a solo with the song Furusato.
When the Golden Era began, there were so many members, it was hard to pinpoint just who was leading or getting the most lines. Arguably, this was the fairest time of Morning Musume, when truly, you’d think it’d be the exact opposite. With so many members, it’d be easy to shaft a few to the background and spotlight a couple here and there much more easily. But that wasn’t the case at this time. This is clear to see in one of my favorite MoMusu songs of all time: Souda! We’re ALIVE.
In my eyes, Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari was the last single of the Golden Era. And there’s a break from that single to Egao YES Nude, which begins the Platinum Era. I’m not sure if there’s a particular name for that time period or if most just consider it the declining part of the Golden Era. Either way, that is when we start to see declining sales and dwindling member numbers. At this time, we see a bias toward Miki Fujimoto, Ai Takahashi, and Reina Tanaka. But all with good reason, those three were the best vocalists at the time. In Aruiteru, those three(plus Koharu) were the only ones to get solos.
And soon, we turned to the Platinum Era, also known as the most stable lineup that kept the same 9 girls for a solid 2 years. Early on in the Era we saw an overwhelming devotion for Ai Takahashi and Reina Tanaka. Slowly but surely those lead singers also included Eri Kamei and Risa Niigaki. Despite being a talented quartet, there was quite a bit of overlooked power named Linlin. Unfortunately, most of us–including Tsunku–found out a little too late how much of a powerhouse she really was. By that time, she was already gone.
Now we stand here in the Colorful Era. Full of vibrant girls, fairly weak vocals, yet strong dancers and entertainers. And still, still, after so many years, we’re still stuck on the fact that some girls don’t get a solo rather than focusing on how fun it is to watch these girls thrust their chests and wave their hips. Why? Just why?
It’s true, it is very discouraging not to see one of your favorite members–an underdog at that–being pushed a little more or only hearing them whisper a syllable. Do you think I enjoy barely seeing Kanon? And it seems as though the only time people want to talk about her is to mention her weight. Do you honestly think that rubs me the right way? Of course it doesn’t!
But this is idol territory, this is how the industry works. Those who are going to make the company money will be pushed hard while those who still need some work are going to shafted a bit. It’s even more prevalent now since Morning Musume has fallen from their pedestal from over a decade ago. Back in the Golden Era, it wasn’t really necessary to market strategically in order to sell–they already had all the popularity in the world from Love Machine, why would they feel it necessary to be more strategic? Or maybe they did market strategically and I just don’t see it. Who knows? But for the most part, the group was already massively popular and there was no need to push the envelope even further.
Ever since the Platinum Era, sales declined and promotion was a thing of the past. Even though that Era is basically my child and I love the sense of unity & love, it hurt them. They needed a way to get themselves back up on their feet and become that huge staple group that they once were–if they still want to continue. This is why we’ve had 3 auditions, a change in musical style, and a focus on dancing. Morning Musume are trying–and prevailing–to get their wings back.
We have to push certain girls because those are the girls that are gonna bring in the money. If we have girls in the front that really have no strong point, or aren’t immediate fan favorites, or aren’t eyecandy, why would we ever expect them to sell? It’s like putting a carrot and a chocolate cake in front of an obese person. Do you honestly think they’re going to choose the carrot? Hello! Project and UFP are promoting what they know is going to please the fans. And guess what? It’s been working thus far.
It’s really time to stop complaining about the amount of lines Riho gets or the lack of lines the others get. Here’s a thought: maybe they can’t fucking sing. Maybe it takes a lot of goddamn editing to spruce up their voices enough to even be featured on the track. Maybe they aren’t fucking worthy of solo lines. I’m not saying Riho is the motherfucking bomb, either, cause she isn’t. She sounds like a dying cat majority of the time but I’m not gonna sit here and say she can’t sing. She has the potential, she just needs work. But that doesn’t mean that we can all hate on her or call her untalented just because management sees money signs every time they look at her.
We all need to stop, think, and understand before we say another word about who gets what amount of lines. There’s a huge difference between, “Man, I wish I could see Zukki more often!” rather than, “OMFG! KANON IS ALWAYS SHAFTED. I fucking hate that bitch Riho! She takes up all the lines! OMG SUCH A WHORE.” Calm down. Take a chill pill. Relax. Remember that this shit is all about business.