On August 1, 2009, it was announced that ℃-ute member Plum Field Drawing Science [Erika Umeda] would be graduating from Hello! Project on October 25 of that year.
Actually, this would be the first time since the departure of Maiha freakin’ Ishimura [Stone Village Dance Wave] that a Hello! Project Kid has successfully left the agency without being shrouded in suspicion and scandal.
I’m not going to talk too long about “THE CURSE.” But let’s look at this image starting from the left on the bottom row:
Maiha – graduated October 2, 2005, so she could go to private school ‘n’ shit and wear cute school blazers.
Megumi Murakami – left October 31, 2006 due to scandalous photographs and to ruin District7642′s life.
Erika Umeda – graduates October 25, 2009 to pursue a career as a fashion model.
Notice who HASN’T been X’d in that row? THAT’S RIGHT BITCHES, IT’S
Miyabi Natsuyaki – dodged a fucking bullet in June 2008 when those videos and screencaps of her with a Johnny’s boy were leaked, but for reasons unknown to humankind (secret deal between Johnny and Tsunku? Pony Canyon paid off H!P to keep her in Buono? Body is too fappable? [so where the hell is her 2nd photobook]) was allowed to keep her job.
NOT IN THE ORIGINAL PICTURE BUT PHOTOSHOPPED ANYWAY: Kanna Arihara – left July 11, 2009 due to inexplicable bunions of death that may or may not have been caused by a boyfriend, but we can’t tell you exactly other than that our source is NOT 2ch.
THEREFORE, if we disregard Kanna as a data point (because she wasn’t an original H!P Kid), and factor in that Miyabi SHOULD have been fired, we can forecast the trend as follows:
Name: Pure Water Help Chronicle [Saki Shimizu]
Current Situation: Captain and eldest member of Berryz Kobo. Turns 18 this year. 0 photobooks, gets shit line distribution in BK songs, got beat out by Momoko Tsugunaga a couple of years ago for shortest in the group.
Probability of GTFO: HIGH. It’s not like continuing as an H!P member has much to offer her, and she has a good enough head on her shoulders that she can probably get into college.
Name: Arrow Island Dancing Beauty [Maimi Yajima]
Current Situation: H!P Kid beauty queen. Keeps showing up in UpToBoy magazine. 3 photobooks, turns 18 early next year, one of the anchor members of ℃-ute aside from Airi.
Probability of GTFO: MODERATE to HIGH. On the one hand, she COULD do the college jump and still get decent work in the entertainment industry as a gravure model. On the other hand, she has enough to do as a lead member of ℃-ute, and she’s pretty much guaranteed a photoshoot in every UpToBoy issue for the rest of her youth while she’s with UFA.
Name: Heir Long Peach Child [Momoko Tsugunaga]
Current Situation: Rat.
Probability of GTFO:
And then, taking the top row from RIGHT to LEFT [note change in direction]:
Name: Virtue Long Thousand Nara Beauty [Chinami Tokunaga]
Current Situation: Most tanned member of H!P Kids, which is charming in its own way. Turns 18 next Japanese school year (May 2010). 0 photobooks. Often considered “the third tower” behind Yurina and Maasa.
Probability of GTFO: MODERATE. Like Shimizu, it’s not like she has a whole lot to do, but she’ll probably wait until her high school years are over.
Name: Ought Wisteria Jasmine Flax [Maasa Sudo]
Current Situation: MASSIVE. Turns 18 next Japanese school year. 1 photobook (which kinda came out of nowhere). Weirdest Engrish name.
Probability of GTFO: MODERATE. They kinda threw her a bone with the one photobook, but otherwise, see Tokunaga’s entry.
Name: Bear Town Friend Logic Nara [Yurina Kumai]
Current Situation: Able to pick up cell phone signals with the top of her head if she stands in an open field. Turns 18 in Summer 2011. A “semi-front” member of Berryz who sometimes gets a lead line if they need to split a verse between 4 members. 2 photobooks.
Probability of GTFO: LOW to MODERATE. After Maiha’s departure, there was at least one theory going around of “the Cinderella curse” (based on the cover to the single “21ji made no Cinderella”) that suggested Kumai would be the next Berry to get it. However, with high school graduation still a couple of years off, decent line distribution, and a new photobook recently released, Kumai actually has a fairly comfortable career within H!P.
Name: Middle Island Early Precious [Saki Nakajima]
Current Situation: Quickly maturing into one of the more photogenic members of ℃-ute. Occasional sub-unit stints with Athena & Robikerotts (tie-in to some shitty anime) and Guardians 4 (tie-in to a non-shitty anime). 0 photobooks. Doesn’t turn 18 until freaking 2012, for God’s sake.
Probability of GTFO: LOW. Still has plenty of years ahead of her, and actually gets some decent work with sub-units.
Name: Bell Tree Love Logic [Airi Suzuki]
Current Situation: Everyone’s frickin’ favorite H!P member whose name doesn’t rhyme with “Bakahashi.” 4 photobooks, gets every damn line in every ℃-ute song, also has talents in cartooning, golf, and flugelhorn. Turns 18 in 2012.
Probability of GTFO: LOW to NONE. This girl is a Hello! Project lifer. She has a hypnotic grip on her fans that has not been matched since Miki Fujimoto and I’m pretty sure the only reason the wotas haven’t figured out some freaky Airi-sama Dance is because they’re too busy fapping to her photobooks.
Side Note: Just graduate ℃-ute and go solo already, you overly popular bitch.
Name: Mount Well Thousand Saint [Chisato Okai]
Current Situation: Chisapuppy. Turns 18 in Summer 2012. Did one sub-unit as a member of Athena & Robikerotts. 0 photobooks. Would go gay for if she was a boy.
Probability of GTFO: LOW to MODERATE. Like close friend Nakajima, has enough years ahead of her that she doesn’t have to worry about it, yet at the same time, it probably wouldn’t tear her up too much if she found better work elsewhere.
Name: Reach And Go So Gay Yeah! [Risako Sugaya]
Current Situation: Pears am big and juicy. [H!I quote] Keeps getting lead lines even though she doesn’t deserve it. Can’t sing falsetto to save her life. 3 photobooks. There is never a wrong thread to post her. Turns 18 in 2012.
Probability of GTFO: LOW. Again, has plenty of years ahead of her, plus she has an attractive enough face (and curvy figure) to keep her in the spotlight regardless of any lack of talent.
Name: Reedy Field Dance [Mai Hagiwara]
Current Situation: Baby of H!P Kids. Will never turn 18 because the world will have fucking ended by then. Actually got a solo photoshoot in UpToBoy recently, which in terms of awkward weirdness is like seeing your little cousin that you’ve known since she was a baby wearing a bikini for the first time. Except Maimai wasn’t wearing a bikini, thank goodness.
Probability of GTFO: LOW. I can see UFA squeezing a couple of photobooks out of her once she has the chest for it. Also has one of the better line distributions in ℃-ute after Maimi and Airi, with a decent set of pipes to justify it.
Tags: Airi Suzuki, °C-ute, Berryz Kobo, Chinami Tokunaga, Chisato Okai, Erika Umeda, H!P Kids, Hello! Project, Kanna Arihara, Maasa Sudo, Mai Hagiwara, Maiha Ishimura, Maimi Yajima, Megumi Murakami, Miyabi Natsuyaki, Momoko Tsugunaga, Risako Sugaya, Saki Nakajima, Saki Shimizu, Yurina Kumai