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[Translation] Morning Musume '14 = Tale of Eight Dogs! The Traits the Other 9 Members are Inheriting from Michishige Sayumi

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On September 30th, at Morning Musume '14's Nippon Budoukan concert, the new members of the 12th generation were revealed. Ogata Haruna, Nonaka Miki, Haga Akane, Makino Maria; these four possess potentials to become great talents one day. After Michishige Sayumi leaves, these girls will be added as part of Morning Musume '15 to write a new chapter in the history of the group. Also, this 10-person lineup that had revived a time of miracles for Morning Musume '14 finally comes to an official end.

The day right before the 12th generation members were officially admitted, in a show of the miraculous bonds of trust and mutual reliance fostered under the care of Michishige Sayumi, the 10 members of Morning Musume '14 used their day off to hold a takoyaki party together. Such a gathering on their own private time was a first in the history of Morning Musume, and a fitting episode to add to the legacy of this 10-person lineup.

We could go on talking about the greatness of Michishige Sayumi as a leader, but the remaining 9 members from the 9th generation onwards are also amazing individuals in their own right that have gathered under the star that is Michishige Sayumi. In a sense, it recalls the story of The Tale of Eight Dogs. Much like the gathering of eight samurai in the tale, each with their own virtues of "Benevolence", "Duty", "Etiquette", "Wisdom", "Loyalty", "Trust", "Filial Piety" and "Harmony", they are cast in a legend of their own.

Even so, to have assembled such a collection of members can be called a matter of fate, or even an impossibility in itself, to the point where it feels like the cast of Tale of Eight Dogs have been revived in the present. This actually seems more plausible than the alternative. To carry the spirit of Michishige Sayumi into the future, the 9th generation members and those who came after them have been so assembled. Which is why, now, we shall assign each of the virtues of the samurai from Tale of Eight Dogs to each of the members from the 9th generation onwards, to see how they will carry the will of Michishige into the future.

Benevolence: 9th gen, Suzuki Kanon
The kindness and affection demonstrated to others. If we had to pick someone from the members who represented the trait of kindness, there is none other. If you were to search for someone in this world who could express such a level of affection in their smile, there is no one else. For Michishige Sayumi, she is one who always treats the other members and the fans with the utmost kindness. The person who will inherit this trait is Suzuki Kanon, 9th gen member.

Duty: 9th gen, Sayashi Riho
Instead of pursuing her own desires, to devote oneself to doing the right thing. As one who stands in the center, in both singing and dancing, she is the one who leads Morning Musume in their performances. Her stoic image is far from average or common, her aloof nature is subtle and solemn, her love for Morning Musume backing her every move. For Michishige Sayumi also, it is not only for her own sake, but for the sake of Morning Musume that she is always prim and proper. The one who will inherit this trait is Sayashi Riho, 9th gen member.

Etiquette: 10th gen, Iikubo Haruna
One who is proficient in social etiquette, the model member who is capable of navigating tricky social relations with ease. As a sub-leader from the 10th generation, the one in charge of flattering others, her skill at handling others will surely make her an indispensable part of Morning Musume from now on. As for Michishige Sayumi, from the time she took the leadership role, even though she was stuck in the midst of a bunch of kids, she never once showed any displeasure, and strove to create an era of Morning Musume where everyone got along. The one who will inherit this trait is Iikubo Haruna, 10th gen member.

Wisdom: 10th gen, Ishida Ayumi
The ability to grasp the situation as it is, and recognize the truth behind things. This girl who is infamous for her "Daishi Feeling" is nevertheless someone who takes a wide view on things, able to objectively observe herself and her surroundings from the view of a third party, making her crucial to things. For Michishige Sayumi, she too was able to view herself and the other members from the side of the audience, and elevate everyone's strengths up to the next level. The one who will inherit this trait is Ishida Ayumi, 10th gen member.

Loyalty: 9th gen, Fukumura Mizuki
Straightforward with no hidden sides, the heart of one who will devote herself wholeheartedly to a cause. As subleader and one who supports the leader in all things, she is one who is never double-faced, who loves Morning Musume and its fans more than anyone else. This too, is much like Michishige Sayumi who is always herself be it at work or in private. The one who will inherit this trait is Fukumura Mizuki, 9th gen member.

Trust: 10th gen, Kudo Haruka
To be completely truthful and honest. Even as the youngest member of the group, she would never use that as an excuse to fool around, and instead focus on improving wholeheartedly. Just like Michishige Sayumi, who when she first joined could barely keep up at singing and dancing, surely she will also grow and evolve to match her predecessors. The one who will inherit this trait is Kudo Haruka, 10th gen member.

Filial Piety: 11th gen, Oda Sakura
A child who is obedient to her parents. The parental figures for the members are basically the past members of Morning Musume who have come before them. As the sole member of the 11th generation, she has had to carry the weight of expectations on her without falling for her own hype, and continue working hard to surpass her seniors. This is much like how Michishige Sayumi has been working hard to overcome the past legacy of Morning Musume that overshadows everything they do. The one who will inherit this trait is Oda Sakura, 11th gen member.

Harmony: 10th gen, Sato Masaki
To attend to those older and your older siblings. This girl is able to cling to anyone, and regardless of age or seniority, she is able to express how much she likes someone, which makes her an irreplaceable presence. Surely she will continue loving the other members, and be loved by them in return. As Michishige Sayumi herself once said, "I was born to become part of Morning Musume", she has come this far while respecting her seniors. The one who will inherit this trait is Sato Masaki, 10th gen member.

Nothing in Particular: 9th gen, Ikuta Erina
As there are only 8 traits, she is the only one who was left over after assigning the rest. But this is hardly a negative thing. She is much like Geronimo, a character from Kinnikuman. Even though she was chosen without displaying much evident talent, she clawed her way up, the only one with the guts to make her own miracle. Come to think of it, Michishige Sayumi too was someone who, when she first joined, was someone you would never imagine could have become as great a leader as she is now. The fact that Morning Musume exists to allow such people to follow their dreams is in itself wonderful. The one who will inherit this trait is Ikuta Erina, 9th gen member.

Conclusion
Before her graduation on November 26th at Yokohama Arena, Michishige Sayumi will be drilling her will and spirit into her juniors. Such spirit will surely also be inherited by the 12th generation members who will commence activities from now on. The greatest leader in history, Michishige Sayumi, may be graduating on November 26th (Wed), but her spirit will live on in Morning Musume. The strongest lineup that was the 10 members of Morning Musume '14, as people are starting to call them. The one person who will be hoping for her juniors to surpass her more than anyone else, that has to be Michishige Sayumi.




Source: http://news.aol.jp/2014/10/03/michishigesayumi/

[Translation] Honestly, we have no idea why Morning Musume is popular, so we asked the fans directly instead!

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As can be intimated from Morning Musume's national tour titled 「GIVE ME MORE LOVE ~Michishige Sayumi Graduation Special~」, Michishige Sayumi, who has been in the group for 11 years, will be graduating at the final show of the tour at Yokohama Arena.

Morning Musume...the fact that they were once the top idols of the nation is well known. After experiencing turbulent times, we have also come to hear of their popularity starting a revival in these past few years. So what draws the fans to these girls? So we approached these fans directly at one of their concerts at Nippon Budoukan held in the later half of September, to ask about what they charmed them!

- There were many fans wearing Michishige T-shirts
When we reached the venue, like the last time when we came to cover Berryz Koubou's concert, the female fans really stood out. At a rough estimate the female fans were about 30-40% of the crowd. Even taking into consideration that this was a graduation tour, we still saw an overwhelming number of fans, regardless of gender, wearing the "Michishige T-shirt".

- The performance level is amazing
The first views we heard were "Their formation dance is wicked cool!", "They sing live and they're good at it!", and this was the majority of the opinions voiced. The units belonging to Hello! Project never ever scrimp on training, and their standards of singing and dancing were all held at high levels. Which probably led to how their concerts are viewed as amazing.

- Quality music
There were many fans who also said "the music is good". Just like the popular tunes of their past, their songs continue to be catchy and the lyrics still reflect a unique character. Their producer, Tsunku-san, seems able to draw out the best of the girls with his unique vision.

- The weight of their legacy is different from other idols
The most expressed views were, "They have the weight of their history to bear", "the legacy they shoulder is different from other idols". Morning Musume originally debuted in 1997, and this is the 17th year they have been active. As of October 1st 2014, their entire roster of members past and present comprise of 38 girls.

- High levels of professionalism
According to the fans, the first thing drummed into the new members isn't dancing or singing skills, but pride as a member of Morning Musume. So that they wouldn't drag into the mud the legacy of Morning Musume that their seniors had built up before them...... Apparently this is linked to their high levels of professionalism to live up to the standard.

- Morning Musume will not disappear
"We don't have to worry about it ending" -- such a view was extremely interesting. Even with the cycle of members being added and leaving, in the end Morning Musume is still going strong after 17 years. For other idols, the worry about them disbanding is often heard, but for fans here, "this just doesn't happen with Morning Musume", so there's a sense of assuredness in permanence.

- Grand welcome when you join, and graduations are...
Apparently, when new members join, they are greeted with 100% welcome. How the new members' personalities will reflect on Morning Musume, the fans apparently have fun watching over how events play out. However, this also leads to graduations being about 1000% more depressing. "It's because she decided it for herself", there were many fans who said this while still in tears themselves.

In conclusion, the fans are drawn by "The pride of those who would defend the legacy of Morning Musume, and how the current members continue to grow and evolve". How will these girls hold up after the most recognizable of them, their leader Michishige Sayumi, graduates? We will see how things turn out.




Source: http://rocketnews24.com/2014/10/02/493364/

[Translation] The Reason for the Momusu & S/mileage musical Lilium Being Such an Unusual Hit

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The DVD for the musical 「Lilium ~Girls' Purity Musical~」 starring selected members of idol groups Morning Musume '14 and S/mileage of Hello! Project has marked its entry on the Oricon DVD Weekly Rankings at 9th spot for the week of October 6th, 2014.

The Oricon Weekly Ranking takes the combined sales of various genres of DVDs ranging from movies, anime, TV shows and concerts, encompassing the whole market to reflect on the overall sales ranking. For Lilium to have entered the ranks of the top 10, it had had to contend with the likes of movies and anime to make the list.

"It's common for Johnny's related stageplay DVDs to enter the top 10 of the Oricon DVD charts, but it's rare for any other stage productions to even rank in. In the first place, most stage productions don't ever see a DVD release to begin with, but even taking that into account, Lilium has been the most unusual hit to emerge." (Source: Ongaku Rider)

Girls' Drama Club Musical 「Lilium ~Girls' Purity Musical~」stars a cast of 16 members drawn solely from Hello! Project, featuring 7 members from Morning Musume '14, all of S/mileage, and three members from the Hello! Project Trainees. The entire cast take the stage as vampires, in the setting of a quiet sanatorium located deep within the woods, as a dark fantasy of a tale of love and hate unfolds. This is the explanation Geinou Rider, who is familar with idol productions, gave us.

"While there are comical elements, as a whole a dark atmosphere permeates the entire work, and cruel elements are far from uncommon. For a musical starring idols, it can be considered extremely challenging content. During the musical's run in June, the reviews and opinions pouring in for places like Twitter led fans of theater who were not Hello!Project fans to attend the shows, leading to same-day ticket sales to sell fast. As a direct result, the prequel to Lilium, the D-Stage 12th DVD 「Trump」(whose scriptwriter was Suemitsu Kenichi, who also wrote Lilium) experienced a rapid surge in sales, leading to low stocks on Amazon Japan."

Lilium was quite the hot topic from when it first hit the stage. It seems quite a natural conclusion for its DVD to have been a hit if so, but it appears that a number of retailers sold out on their stock completely on release date, and there were many fans who couldn't even lay hands on a copy even if they wanted to.

"For Lilium to have received so many positive reviews beforehand, they had to have prepared greater numbers for first press release compared to other Hello! Project stage DVDs, but even then they must have underestimated the popularity as supply failed to meet the demand. If they had prepared more stock beforehand, it is entirely possible that their Oricon ranking would have been even higher, but even with this current situation, the company must find this a happy problem to be facing." (Source: Ongaku Rider)

After the DVD release, such views were seen on Twitter:

"Watching Lilium at the start of the day, the content's depressing but it feels great"
"Watched Lilium. It was amazing. Really awesome."
"I watched Lilium again. I love it so much I cried."

These are just some of the opinions expressed, with continual praise being posted regularly. It seems like the popularity for this will continue spreading at this rate.

In other news, the scriptwriter Suemitsu Kenichi (who wrote Lilium), is also involved in another musical starring S/mileage that begins October 4th -- Girls Drama Club, S/mileage's JUKEBOX MUSICAL 「SMILE FANTASY」at Zenrosai Hall Space Zero, until October 13th. Said to be a direct contrast to the darkness of Lilium, this musical promises to be a cute and pop-like musical.




Source: http://www.news-postseven.com/archives/20141005_280515.html