Is Tsunku Ready to Graduate Ai?
Takahashi Ai. The 24 year old leader of Morning Musume, Hello!Project’s HBIC, best vocalist, most beautiful member, etc etc. Whatever you may label her, EVERYONE knows who she is(well, anyone that matters anyway).
She(and her slightly retarded, not as pretty fellow gen-mate Niigaki Risa) recently celebrated nine years as members of Morning Musume. Impressive, yes?
But even Iida Kaori thinks nine years is a tad bit too much. Leaving Risa aside, is Tsunku ready to graduate Ai, a member with almost a decade of experience? Is it fair to leave her in and kick out JunLin, two members who will be legendary for years to come?
Well, no, in both cases.
Ai-chan is in so many ways such an important element in H!P that Tsunku wouldn’t dare get rid of her unless he were sure that Momusu would be “successful”(whatever that word means these days in the J-Pop market) without her.
She is the most popular member. If you were to go up to a random person in Japan and ask who they knew from MM, the majority would point out Ai-chan first(claiming they don’t know any other members comes second). Ai is also the most promoted member of Momusu, thus why she has this popularity. In J-Pop, it’s a matter of promotion, promotion, promotion. No matter how much you suck(i.e. Sayumi and AKB48′s Beginner[which will obviously sell amazingly], as long as you get your name out there, people will eventually succumb to you.
Plus, Ai is just not hate-able.
Role As A Leader
Let’s face it, Ai has taken quite some criticism as MM’s leader ever since Miki decided to GTFO. I won’t lie, I initially thought she was no good as a leader. Her personality(Virgo, after all~) just isn’t suited for a leader role. Sure, she’s always been a stand out talent but her personality wasn’t ever her strong point(she’s adorable, but that’s it). Former leaders like Yossie, Yuko, Mari and Miki all fitted the role perfectly(Iida not so much) but Ai’s quiet and soft-spoken personality just didn’t work out.
I still think she’s MM’s weakest leader but I won’t deny that she has stepped up to the responsibility especially well and has lead MM through a lot these past 3 years. Of course, members like Sayu, Reina, Gaki and even Linlin would look better in the leader position.
The Power of Ai-Chan
She’s the groups strongest vocalist and the best H!P has ever had once you think about it. Again, it’s a matter of taste(Miki or Ayaya could easily take that place) but her range and vibrato do it for me. Even so, I prefer Eri’s voice, knowing that Ai’s is “better”.
She’s flawlessly beautiful and her dancing is superb. She gets the most solos in all the singles, thus singing the most. But here’s something you probably didn’t know. In songs like Kimagure Princess and Nanchatte Renai, Ai sings every single line.
It’s true. Similar to how Inaba Atsuko did for Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~ MANY years ago, Tsunku uses Ai’s precious voice as the background vocals in each line of the song.
The best way to hear this is to listen to the song through headphones and then slightly unplug the headphones from the jack. Enough so you still hear the music but it’s noticeably different than the original. Here you’ll hear the “second layer” of the song and really get to see how much Ai there really is~
What’s your opinion on Ai-chan? Do you love or hate her? Is she really that important for H!P?