It has been several weeks and I am slowly adjusting to this change. It still has not fully registered that two of my favourite members, Suzuki Kanon and Tamura Meimi, is no longer with Hello Project. I have accepted that they have moved on to bigger and better things in their life. Nevertheless, that does not stop me from missing them.
Insert exasperated cry here
These graduations were some of the saddest I have seen. I stayed up in the wee hours of the morning just to see these concerts. Of course, I felt like I was dying during my classes later on those days, but those are minor details.
Meimi was one of my favourite members of ANGERME. I have taken a liking to her since she starred in the Shugo Chara musical. From her debut into S/mileage, she has shown significant talent and professionalism. She was a great singer from the beginning, and she continuously improved until her very last day in the group.
I did not shed many tears during this graduation concert. It was a sad, but beautiful concert. They performed newer songs like “Tsugitsugi Zokuzoku” and “Itoshima Distance”. I particularly loved their “Marionette 37ºC” performance.
Meimi performed “Shooting Star” and “Tenshin Ranman” with the younger members (3rd and 4th generations). She also performed “Smile Fantasy!” with her generation-mates and Ayaka. Hello Project leader, Yajima Maimi, even provided a few words.
The tears really started flowing when they performed “Kousaten”. Even some of the members were crying on stage. Near the end of “Kousasten” there was a short preview of Maho giving Akari reassurance by rubbing her butt. I burst out laughing when I saw that. Aikawa you have just gone up my favourites list by a few spots!
Meimi’s graduation dress was a shock to me. It is customary for graduating idols to wear dresses with their official colour. However, Meimi’s dress was bright orange with a hat to complement it. I did not want to assume, but her dress reminds me of the dress worn by Mei from “My Neighbour Totoro”. It is not quite the same, but there is some resemblance. If this was her intention, it was pretty innovative since Mei and Meimei (Meimi’s nickname) are closely related.
Tamura Meimi performed “Jitensha Chiririn” as her solo song. The whole concert hall was lit in purple.
The actual graduation ceremony was pretty sad. Meimi read her letter reviewing her history with the group. In her speech/letter, she said a few words of encouragement to every member. It was a truly a memorable experience.
The concert ended with “Tomo yo”, one of my favourite songs from their last album. Meimi has officially graduated from ANGERME and Hello Project. She now begins her life as a musical actress.
This graduation was a little harder for me to cope with. Kanon was my absolute favourite member of not only Morning Musume, but of Hello Project as well. Her wide and inviting smile will surely be missed. She brought energy to the group. She spread the message for all girls to love their body, no matter what size or shape they may be. She broke the physical stereotypes of Japanese idols. I really respected her for that.
I cried so much during this concert. I cried from beginning to end. I cried randomly throughout the day when scenes of the concert replayed in my mind. All the people that saw me on that day probably thought I was crazy.
The concert started off with a bang. They performed songs like “The Vision”, “Tokyo to Iu Katasumi”, “Mikan”, and “Wagamama Ki no Mama Ai no Joke”.
Maimi read a letter to Kanon. She also read a letter written to Kanon from Riho. It was completely unexpected since Riho graduated last year.
My rate of tears increased when Kanon read her letter. The graduation dress she wore was a floral dress with a pretty green bow. I usually hate floral clothing, but this looked really nice on Kanon. After her letter, she performed “Never Forget” as her graduation song.
After her solo performance, each member said some brief messages to Kanon. This part of graduations always makes me cry the most. You can hear the messages in the clip below. Maria, Sakura and Mizuki’s messages hit me the most.
Immediately after the messages from the members, the group performed “Utakata Saturday Night”. At first, I was amazed that Kanon was performing such a vigorous dance in her graduation dress. However, during the performance Kanon changed her outfit not once, but TWICE. It was an amazing feat. I was amazed that she changed on stage so quickly.
The concert ended with “Ai Araba It’s All Right”. Kanon was the last member to leave the stage shouting her thanks and appreciation to the fans. I cried for a long while after that.
Kanon has now begun her life as a social worker. It is a very different life from an idol, but it is a virtuous and valuable job.
Congratulations to Kanon and Meimi and good luck to them in their new lives!
**Disclaimer: None of the pictures or videos belong to me. Credit goes to the rightful owners!