Well, what the gosh darn heck did I wake up to?
At Hello! Project's summer 2014 concert, Berryz Koubou announced that after spring 2015 they will join the likes of Aira Mitsuki and amU and go on indefinite hiatus. I write "hiatus" with very emphasized imaginary air quotes. Because we all know that a J-pop group going on indefinite hiatus may as well be the kiss of death. Yes, Saori@destiny came back from the dead, but she is a very fortunate exception. Anyways, I don't have many words for this announcement. All I can really say is did anyone not see this coming? Berryz Koubou has been around for ten years now. Ten years is a long time performing the same songs with the same people all while being under a contract. Even if you don't take into consideration the girls' ages, I'd think that the girls of Berryz would want to explore other career paths after ten years of being an idol group. All the members are into their twenties now, and I can't see Tsunku adding more members to the group either. Futsuu 10nen Idol Yatterannai Desho!? practically foreshadows this announcement.
As you can tell I'm very torn up about this. Truly. I may not even be able to go on living. Look, this isn't like when BiS announced disbandment. I've never had a deep love or admiration for Berryz Koubou. They were never my favorite Hello! Project group, nor one of groups that got me into idol music. No doubt they've done songs that I've liked, but never would I put them in my top 5 idol groups. And maybe that's because of when I discovered Berryz. A lot of the singles they've released over the past 2-3 years haven't exactly been songs I adore. Their last single wasn't awful, but even then, I've noticed that they've just lost their group dynamic. None of the girls look like they're enjoying themselves much, except maybe Momoko. Maybe I'm wrong and they just all have no idea how to look alive when they perform anymore. See? If I were actually a hardcore fan of Berryz Koubou, I wouldn't be talking about them so callously. But I'm not. I'm not going to lose any sleep over this announcement. Well, it did occur to me that with this announcement, Buono! is pretty much kaput, but beyond that, I'll be fine. It's not like I actively review their material anyways.
Okay, now I'm sounding bitchy. While Berryz Koubou isn't my favorite idol group, I can appreciate what they did for the idol industry. Because Berryz inspired several other idols in now-famous idol groups, mainly ones ending with 48. The time that Berryz debuted (and C-ute to an extent), there wasn't the idol boom that exists today. But many idols like Takahashi Minami and Kojima Haruna were around the same age as the members of Berryz Koubou. Seeing Berryz, girls their age, performing as an idol group, inspired them to pursue being idols. So if not for Berryz Koubou, AKB48 may have never existed. Or it may have existed, just not as long or even in the same incarnation of today! Actually... can I please visit this alternate timeline? What I'm getting at is Berryz Koubou has a range of fans, and that's not just exclusive to future J-pop idols. A lot of international fans (including many idol bloggers) have soft spots for Berryz Koubou. I guess Chiima and I are just terrible people. But I do see how Berryz Koubou left an impact, and furthermore I recognize that they will be missed. I'm just not going to be the one doing the missing.
Actually, it's kind of a bummer that they're not officially disbanding. Because if they were, Berryz could go out in a final grand farewell concert. They could spend these last few months highlighting the best parts of their career, maybe even do a dance submission event like BiS did for nerve. Fans could put together farewell projects, all leading up to the big day. A disbandment would be final, yes, but isn't that better than just leaving things hanging so pitifully in the form of "indefinite hiatus." Because that gives UFP an excuse to just let Berryz Koubou go out with a fizzle, one last little concert, some awkward goodbyes, maybe a halfhearted, "We'll be back." There's absolutely no closure. Even if I'm not a huge fan of Berryz Koubou, I don't think they deserve that. If this were Perfume announcing they were going on indefinite hiatus, I would be livid. At the end of the day though, this is how things are. For anyone who is a huge fan of Berryz, I am sorry. Indefinite hiatus is a really shitty thing to announce, and I'm so sorry for the ambiguity that comes with such an announcement. But hey, at least Berryz has a few more months to release stuff.
So how are you readers holding up after Berryz Koubou's announcement? Are you shocked? Sad? Nonplussed? What do you think the members will end up doing after hiatus?