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8 Years of Gokki Goodness!

Posted by maiZe August - 26 - 2009 8 Comments

On this day back in the year 2001, Morning Musume`s 5th generation was selected from the Love Audition 21. The group of Takahashi Ai, Konno Asami, Ogawa Makoto and Niigaki Risa joined the power house of Morning Musume, who had just released their hit, The Peace! Let’s take a look back at the momentous occasion which brought the current leader of Hello! Project and Morning Musume and the current sub-leader of Morning Musume into the fold.

It’s amazing to see how much Ai and Risa have changed over their 8 years in Morning Musume. When they were chosen, they were awkward, insecure little girls. Aichan was a few weeks shy of turning 15, and Risa was around 2 months from turning 13. They were
BABIES back then!! I love how from the 4 of them, Risa is the only one who smiles (before she breaks down into tears) when her name is called. The others look absolutely shell-shocked. As I watch these old audition results, I’m always so amused at how different the reactions are from the reactions you see when someone wins something like American Idol.

When they first joined, I was very against 5th generation. I was a new Morning Musume fan, but I got started on Morning musume stuff pre-5th gen (obviously). I filled myself with TV appearances of 4th generation Morning Musume, watched Yuko’s graduation concert and Green Live… And seeing these 4 newbs (even though I was a H!P newbie myself) irked me ’cause I felt like it would take time away from my favourites.

It took me a while to warm up to 5th gen, though as I mentioned in my Anime Expo posts, I fell in love with Ai with the release of Souda! We’re Alive, just 6 months after 5th generation. Makoto caught my attention through her roles in Hello! Morning skits, and I enjoyed Risa and Asami’s personalities after watching the Okajo Dumbest Member test (LOL at Risa naming China’s capital “Chan pon chan”).

Ai’s been in my top 5 of Morning Musume since 2002, Risa made her way up there by 2004, and I can confidently say that these two have been top two Morning Musume members since my previous #1 Musume graduated on May 7, 2005, the one and only Ishikawa Rika. That’s a good 4+ years with these two girls at #1 and 1 (I really can’t pick between the two…) for me.

I think today, the anniversary of the start of their official journey as Morning Musume and Hello! Project members is a great day to celebrate the awesomeness that they have brought to the Hello! Project collective, and the awesomeness that is their friendship.

Who would have thought that two of those little girls in the first video of this post would eventually become the leader and sub-leader of Morning Musume, and that Ai-chan would become the leader of Hello! Project? When Elder Club graduated earlier this year, there was a lot of talk about how Ai-chan would handle all the responsibility that would be passed on to her with the graduation of Nakazawa Yuko. I think it will be interesting to watch the summer Hello! Project concert, for this will be the first one under Ai-chan’s leadership. I do have to say that the graduation of Elder Club hasn’t decreased my interesting Hello! Project in the slightest… If anything, Morning Musume’s recent visit to LA at Anime Expo has skyrocketed my love for Morning Musume, which had previously been fading. And this renewal of affection for the group is mainly attributed to the two girls I’ve been going on about in this post.

These two really seem to be leading the group well, as evidenced by one of Morning Musume’s latest DVD magazines (Vol 23). Each of the girls sat down and described each other in “one” (lol, yeah right. XD) word… Let’s see what was said about subleader:

I have to say that I aboslutely love JunJun’s answer. “Papa.” With her and Ai-chan saying that she is very dependable (and Reina saying she’s a clock), you can see she’s a very stable support for Ai-chan as her subleader. She looks out for the others and you can feel the warmth the other girls feel for her (as shown by LinLin and Eri’s answers). Sayumi is the only odd one out… She’s not very considerate towards her subleader. XD

In the Hello! Project blogosphere, Ai-chan has been scrutinized by fans from the moment she became leader. When she took over the position, many bloggers expressed their lack of faith in her ability to lead. However, as you can see from the answers of the girls, Aichan is highly respected and she truly leads by example. They all obviously admire her and aspire to reach the level she reaches when she performs… Except Reina who just talks about Ai-chan’s choice in clothing, which I found quite amusing… And JunJun. “Mama”. XD I love how Leader and Subleader are “Mama” and “Papa” to JunJun. It’s so cute.

As for Ai-chan and Risa’s answers for each other, it gives you a glimpse into their close relationship. They’ve been together for 8 years now… They’re obviously close friends. Risa is Ai’s pillar of support in the group, which makes a lot of sense as the main responsibility of Morning Musume falls to Ai, and I’m sure she needs someone to fall back on when it gets to be too much.

Risa’s answer regarding Ai makes me think of their Futarigoto – A close friend (actually, Ai’s response makes me think of that Futarigoto as well). She calls her stubborn, but she says it in such a lighthearted way, that you know it’s something that likely annoys her to no end at times, but is also one of Ai’s most endearing traits.

These two have grown up together, have made each other better and have worked hard to make Morning Musume into a unifed group ever since they began their tenure as leader and subleader over 2 years ago. I say they have made Momusu into the unified group they are today, for they’re the ones who really dealt with incorporating JunJun and LinLin into the group, and I’m sure that was a new challenge for them as the two girls are from a completely different culture.

Watching these two grow up and growing up with them has been a joy and I look forward to watching, hopefully, at least a few more years of them with Morning Musume. When these two eventually graduate, it will be the saddest graduation concert in my history of being a Hello! Project fan. Elder Club’s graduation was sad, but I think the mass departure made the concert less emotional for me. The more intimate 1 or 2 member graduations have always hit closer to home, and having the one on one messages from each member (BAAAWWWW Mako-chan & KonKon graduation). If I thought the first half of 5th gen graduating was sad, I haven’t seen anything yet… And I have to say, these two girls just HAVE to graduate together, ’cause I can’t see see them being in Morning Musume without each other.


I guess to end this off, I just have to say HAPPY 8th ANNIVERSARY AS MORNING MUSUME MEMBERS AI AND RISA!!!! <3 All of your hard work has definitely brought a smile to this fan for 8 years and I look forward to supporting the two as they continue forward! ... And just because, here's a final moment of Ai and Risa awesomeness from a recent appearance on Music Fighter (for Naichau Kamo).

8 Responses so far.

  1. Aprilis says:

    I understand where you’re coming from… but I hope the two of them won’t graduate from MoMusume together! It’s bad enough to imagine one of them not being in the group, but to imagine both of them gone like that? No, that’ll be too much!

  2. Julia says:

    I’d never seen that video of their names being announced before. Gaki was so precious. <3

    And that last photo of them is hot. xD

  3. maiZe says:

    @Aprilis: I don’t want the two of them to graduate at the same time, because like you said, Morning Musume without them just would never be the same for me. But at the same time, I don’t think I could handle seeing them without each other in that group… XD Ai without Risa or Risa without Ai would be like one of them missing an arm or a leg. I’ve said it before, but once those two graduate, I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep focused on Morning Musume.

    @Julia: :O You’ve never seen the 5th generation audition special? Gaki is totally adorable there. XD I love 5th gen’s audition… Though I remember the first time I watched it, I was already a big fan of 5th gen, I was completely disheartened when I saw that Ai-chan couldn’t remember the lyrics to Aya’s Love Namida Iro. My Ai-chan bubble was burst! XD (Though it was quickly mended…) Wendy tells me you’re going to Fanexpo this weekend. I’m gonna be going on Saturday. I could bring you the whole 5th gen audition video if you wanted.. o_O Also, yes… Isn’t it a great photo of them? I love that one of the few press photos from AX just happened to be a Leader/Subleader photo! I’m sure the photographer had no idea about the greatness of taking a photo of those two together.

  4. aainaa says:

    Ai, for me, is somebody who can be said to have no talent in term of leadership, but she really worked hard for it which is the reason why i love & respect her.. u can really see her giving her best at it… i remember linlin say something about Aichan inviting her to Aichan’s room just to break the ice between them, started from that linlin also began to open up more to other members as well.. Aichan even let all the members just to call her ‘Aichan’.. it just show how close the members are to her.. i think this is the first time something like this happen in MM.. Ofcourse, previous leader of MM are great, but they are great in their own way… for example Yossie is known like a big-sister kind of leader while Aichan is more like the friend type.. i have to say i love how Aichan handle herself as leader…

    Risa on the other hand is born with the leader-ship talent in my opinion… i remember watching Alo Hello 2 where she have to reassure Yossie to follow her way… she was only 17-18 that time while Yossie was 22.. haha :D… she is a great support to Aichan, & she will definitely will be a great leader is Aichan graduates (which is the thing that i don want to happen..)

  5. maiZe says:

    @aainaa: I think there are different types of leaders. Those who can move you with words of inspiration and encouragement, and there are those (like Ai) who cane move you through their actions. She’s admitted herself that she’s not a good speaker. You can see it just from the DVD magazine, where she has the hardest time thinking of things to say to the camera. However, from the words of the other members, I think her hard work speaks for itself and she doesn’t NEED to be a good speaker to lead the girls. Also, the fact that she looks to be striving for a closer bond with all the members is another sign of a good leader, in my opinion.

    I think it’s cute how she’s trying to get the other girls to call her Ai-chan, and the variations the girls are using (ex. Linlin calling her Ai-neesan). Though, it’s not really the first time that this has happened. I know that 4th gen didn’t call Yuko “Nakazawa-san” when Yuko was still leader of Morning Musume. As for Kaori, hmm… I’m not sure what the newest members were calling her when she graduated. And for Hitomi, well, I think Koharu just calls all her sempai by their last names. I feel like through the entire DVD, she was calling everyone by their last name. And 8th gen was just too new to call Hitomi by a nickname before she graduated.

    But really, I think Ai has great leadership abilities seeing as she is able to inspire the others to do their best. A leader should be able to bring out the best in those they lead, and I think Ai is really doing that.

    Risa on the other hand, I think she is more of the “good speaker” type of leader. Though that’s not to say she’s not a hard worker, as I find she’s most improved member of Morning Musume through the years. If she does end up being the leader or Morning Musume one day, I think she will do a wonderful job, as I’m sure she has the respect of all the girls as well.

    I’d say that Ai and Risa was the strongest Leader/Subleader duo Morning Musume has had, and I think it’s due to a mixture of their strengths, which I mentioned above, and their deep friendship. Hitomi and Miki are good friends, I think, but Miki had mentioned that she didn’t get along with all members of Morning Musume, so that would make that duo lose some points. As much as all the girls loved Yuko, I think she was a scary sempai, so her duo with Kaori also loses some points… And with Kaori as leader with either Kei or Mari as subleader, it just doesn’t seem like the group was as united as they are now under the leadership of Ai and Risa… So that’s my reasoning.

    It will be a very sad day for me when either of these girls leave Morning Musume.

  6. ladybird says:

    To be honest those two were never my favourites. Ai seemed boring and awkward and Niigaki’s ponytails were just Ewww. But time passed and suddenly Risa seemed like the only truly honest member. Her eyes were kind and when compared to the other members she truly shone. Well, Ai stayed boring but her voice and the solo performance of ‘Osaka koi no uta’ during Rainbow 7 concert grew on me. I respect her as the perfect leader and the main voice of Momusu these days. Just one more thing, I HATE the way she touches her hair all the time. 😀

  7. maiZe says:

    @ladybird: HI!!! Yay for de-lurking! ^_^ I love Ai-chan’s awkwardness. It’s just so endearing. XD And her awesomeness in all performances just really makes it impossible for me not to love her.

    Risa’s just too adorable. She’s the mommy of the group!

    I was browsing around youtube the other day, and I came across Risa and Ai doing Koe at one of the 2006 concerts… And buuuh, I totally should have put that clip in this post. But oh well. XD

    Anyway, come back to wotachat soon! ^_^ We like you! XD

  8. […] because I had spammed too much Aichan and Risa related posts at that time since: 1. August is the gokkie anniversary, 2. September is Aichan’s birthday and 3. October is Risa’s birthday. […]