And Funaki graduating just sucks, for all the obvious reasons, but also because I think she was right on the cusp of Legendary status within H!P. Maybe she is for some, but for me it was only within the past couple of years that she really found her voice, and Angerme's membership bloodletting left her as arguably the group's best singer and dancer. She would have been a cornerstone member of both Anju and H!P for the next however many years, but she noped-out. So few girls reach the level where H!P immortality becomes a possibility, and it's a bummer to see one pass on it.
Posted 13 December 2020 - 04:53 AM
Posted 13 December 2020 - 05:21 AM
It's hard to narrow down, as there were a number of "All-Stars" throughout the years.... what criteria are we using for a legend? Like the members that will be known for years and years to come, not just ones that were all-the-rage when active?
Posted 13 December 2020 - 06:04 AM
what criteria are we using for a legend? Like the members that will be known for years and years to come, not just ones that were all-the-rage when active?
Pretty much that, yeah. The Mount Rushmore types.
Posted 13 December 2020 - 02:58 PM
I'm doing three tiers. First one is who I think is recognizable on name alone. Second and thirds are my personal bias for various reasons.
My H!P Rushmore Top Tier (I stuck to four to fit the Rushmore theme! xD) - Names that I think, have recognition on name alone and who I feel people would know outside of the H!P fandom.
I picked Sayumi and Momoko mainly for their ability to break out of the standard H!P mold and make a name for themselves outside of their groups. Goto and Matsuura for their legendary soloist abilities, Matsuura is slowly gaining that Yamguchi Momoe status for basically retiring and living the normal person life. And I feel like Momoko will also gain a bit of that as time goes on. If Yaguchi Mari hadn't had her scandal, I wonder if I would have picked her over Momoko? Because she was so in there with the public on TV and then BAM, scandal!
My 2nd tier are my personal legends and are totally bias towards me.
Kamei Eri - She left at the top of her game and never looked back. A real legend move.
Sayashi Riho - I respect her for leaving to follow her passions and explore new roads. She could have easily stayed, but she did the right thing for her and I find that admirable.
Tamura Meimi - For the same reason above. She could have easily stayed in Up Front and been a member of M-Line, did some musical work, been fine. But she went out there and did her own thing and she's getting good roles because of it AND releasing music too!
Tsuji Nozomi - She was able to turn her shotgun marriage and being the shadow to Kago Ai around and make a name for herself as a mama idol. People know Tsuji, she's a blog queen and a YouTuber now. That's respectable on so many levels.
Suzuki Airi - She's making a name for herself as a soloist and I hope it goes well for her. Her accompanying Suzuki Masayuki on the DADDY!DADDY!DO! song only helped to get her fact out there. But COVID2020 really hindered her. Only time will tell if it works out for her or if she falls flat like Abe Natsumi.
Konno Asami - She started out as a nobody who couldn't sing a note then left Morning Musume to continue her schooling, rejoined H!P and then left to become a newscaster. That's a power move if I ever saw one. I respect her for leaving to start a family, but I feel like you can do both?
3rd tier, girls I wanted to add but I don't believe really met the mark.
Takahashi Ai - She's made a name for herself in fashion and design and I honestly didn't think I'd say that about her back when she was in H!P. She was always about the singing.
Wada Ayaka - She's using her education and putting herself out there now as almost an anti-idol. I respect her for it and hope it works in her favor.
Mano Erina - As much as I HATED her singing, she always was a good actress and I'm glad she's continuing to find work. But after her marriage and move to Spain, it seems to have slowed down.
Kudo Haruka - Speaking of acting, I almost put her in my 2nd tier, but she's still pretty new at it and the fact she landed a big role right out of her graduation to Morning Musume almost made me put her up a notch but one lucky break doesn't make you a legend just yet.
Fujimoto Miki - I call her the anti-Tsuji. She's basically doing the same thing now, but not as flawlessly? She's got that classic Miki-bite that's for sure. As much as I LOVE Miki, I couldn't put her into my top tier because I don't think she's as well known as some of the other members of H!P over the years. I don't see her doing a lot of work outside of the standard B-Idol stuff.
Girls who I would have added but I didn't think make the mark.
Posted 13 December 2020 - 03:27 PM
I'd add Natsumi Abe to the list. She's not quite as relevant now, but she was a huge deal in MM's prime, and most people in Japan over 30 would probably still recognize her due to the sheer media saturation of MM in the late 90s to early 00s, where she was the face of the group.
Posted 13 December 2020 - 03:55 PM
^^I really like your post, Shoujo. I pretty much agree with everything you say, even though I might sort them a bit differently. But I agree with the way you thought about it.
^I wrote the post before you posted yours Al, but that's pretty much what I mean in the next part.
The legendary Mount H!P-Rushmore:
- Matsuura Aya
- Goto Maki
- Abe Natsumi
- Michishige Sayumi
I know that Abe has watered down a lot, and is basically retired now. But back in the day she was the ace. Did she struggle when Goto arrived? Sure. But she gained it back by the time Goto graduated, and had a decent solo career. I can see why you'd add Momoko here, she's probably one of the best known members of modern H!P, and the whole thing with Country Girls was pretty interesting. But she didn't make the cut for my top 4.
I wasn't even sure if I should add Sayumi here, but I guess as the longest serving member of MM and coming from being a super-shy tinear to become a persona who made a niche for herself it's okay to add her.
There's a bunch of others that will always be remembered imo.
- Kago Ai, from her fascinating time in the group over all her scandals to her slow recovering at the moment.
- Yaguchi Mari, who was the variety member for a long time.
- Tsuji Nozomi, basically for everything Shoujo has said. But in general the Two Top as a duo are legendary.
After this I do wonder if I should go with the opinion of the general public, because they would definitely focus on the Golden Era mostly. Therefore, legends 2010 and up:
- Tsugunaga Momoko, again for what Shoujo has said.
- Wada Ayaka, well, again^.
- Sayashi Riho. If there was anyone to challenge Abe it was her. Not the best singer in the group, but somewhat around her made her the ace. (For Riho it was stage presence.)
- Sayu would also count under this category of course.
Then there's those that I'd call the "missing Legends". Girls that left too soon and therefore will always be mentioned as legends.
- Kamei Eri
- Maeda Yuuka
- Shimamura Uta
I feel reluctant adding those, because especially when it comes to Maeda I don't think they've been that great. Eri, sure, made a name for herself in her many years in MM, that's okay. Uta was special, but that didn't help her in getting any foot into any entertainment door after resigning and now she's stuck in Tik Tok limbo. Maeda was popular, yeah, maybe a bit angelic, but she was only really special because of her sudden resignation.
I'm not sure if I would add girls like Meimi or Mano here. Might as well add Junjun, who has become a rather popular actress in China, or Linlin, who has become a full blown producer. Those are girls that simply made the best out of their entertainment roots. Same with Duu, actually.
There's some that I feel should be added but not don't feel that legendary to me after all:
- Fujimoto Miki. I didn't even add her to the Kago/Yaguchi/Tsuji bunch because after leaving the group... well, she did OG stuff. But not much. To me she's on a level with Yasuda Kei and Nakazawa Yuuko: If you know MM you know her. But if not?
- Takahashi Ai. Sure, she made fashion her thing, but I feel like her tenure and omnipresence in MM for so many years justify that status more.
- Tanaka Reina. Hm. She was definitely legendary for her time, but her time was the rather dull Platinum Era. She could be something like Abe, but in worse times.
- I guess in ten years people will call Fukumura Mizuki legendary. She has the dedication, is the longest serving leader in MM and she's not half as bad as I always make her.
Posted 13 December 2020 - 11:43 PM
You guys hit one the others that I was considering.
Natsumi Abe: Seemed like a no-brainer to me at first, but I wavered based on how little we've seen of her in the recent past. But Al's right that any fan over 30 probably sees her as a Legend, as they should.
Momoko: Definitely for me. A core member of three fulltime groups and one of the few H!P idols to gain recognition outside of the H!P bubble post-Golden Era.
Sayumi: Another definite for me. Aside from being MM's one-person promo team during their darkest years, her run as leader was itself legendary, and sealed the deal in my mind.
All three of them are probably more universally seen as legends than Mikitty, and I'm happy to accept that my consideration of her is pure bias on my part. Probably the same for Airi, tbh. They're on roughly the same level for me.
Kamei, Takahashi, Nakazawa and Miyabi were other names that came to mind as idols who just miss the cut, although no special appearance would push a crowd into a frenzy more than that of Kamei.
Posted 14 December 2020 - 06:00 AM
Posted 14 December 2020 - 11:54 PM
If we're talking legends, Sayashi really does have to be added. She was a star from the moment she showed up on the audition footage, even as the MM of that time was struggling bad. Even countless girls joined H!P because they looked up to her. Performance levels were off the charts and she kept her composure even with all the stress. In terms of post-Golden Era, she's got one of the most recognizable names out of recent former members.
I mean H!P pretty much became dance-focused because a member like Sayashi was there... groups like Anju (who were still S/mileage) were still doing typical "idol dances" up until their name change in 2014 to keep up with MM's dynamic. More and more dancers got added to H!P over the years as staff noticed the affect that having a trained dancer had on performances and fans.
I'm pretty sure I compiled a list before, but it's probably outdated by now, so here's the current count of girls who had joined H!P because of/looked up to Sayashi specifically:
Posted 15 December 2020 - 01:35 AM
Riho never crossed my mind, but I think you make a good case. I still don't know if I'd put her on that level, but I wouldn't argue too much with those who would.
Posted 16 December 2020 - 04:29 PM
Natsumi Abe (The original ace. She was the face of Morning Musume and early H!P)
Maki Goto (If Nacchi was the queen, Maki was the princess)
Rika Ishiikawa (She was in a lot of the big H!P units and sub groups)
Honorable mentions to Kaori Iida and Yuko Nakazawa because of their OG Musume legacy.
3rd Tier (bridge between old H!P and new H!P
5th Tier (New H!P)