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.