It was all anti-climactic in the end. Hollywood tweets by Mashiro were just window dressing:
ごめんなさいね、あの、新宿MARZキャパぎりぎりのひとです ありがとう ので、
「なるべく荷物はなく」「管理はしっかり」「まわりのにんげんには愛を」そして ほんきであそびましょう ね おねがいしました!
— ましろ (@zenkimi_mashiro) November 23, 2016
This news item on the Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da website says it all; Aza is withdrawing immediately, and Gomochi at the end of December.
I have caused a lot of harm with the pictures that leaked and by my actions. Members, staff members and related personnel, fans who have supported me, I feel like I have let you all down.
I originally planned on retiring this month due to poor health. However, i never thought i had to retire due to this case that caused a whole lot of trouble for all involved. I truly am sorry.
Everyone who supported me and cheered me on, I truly thank you. Starting today, I will officially withdraw from the group. Thank you.
I truly apologize for the actions brought up by my selfishness, lack of thoughtfulness and not thinking about my actions. I feel like i betrayed a lot of good people who had good faith and their hope in me by actions that will have effect on my future endeavors.
In regards for now on, I will retire as a member of Zenbu Kimi no Sei da at the December 30 Hibiya Liquid Room concert. Please forgive my presence until that time.
It was the most likely scenario, but that doesn’t take away the sting. The mysterious auditions and the timing of the two departures, especially with Aza claiming illness, I’m reading that as all very deliberate.
This Natalie.mu piece covers the show and the messages, yes, but it also mentions the why, the photos, the contract violations. As our friend mentioned to me the other day, this got to be a fairly buzz-worthy story in the music press and among wota. Here’s the final chapter.
Idol won. Not idols, but idol — entertainment with a revenue model that’s predicated on people paying for access to the performers, where success is measured in the level of financial obsession of the fans, that’s what won out.
Rules are rules. Like plenty of people have said, there are rules, the rules are known, and everybody who gets into idol knows what the deal is from Day One. It’s not a great arrangement, but it is a transparent one. Aza and Gomochi were exposed as breaking those rules, and the usual punishment, forced withdrawal, has been doled out, or at least used as an excuse to protect the rules and maintain plausible deniability for management in the future.
Where does Zenbu Kimi no Sei Da go from here? Remember that our anonymous friend surmised that acceptable candidates from the auditions will be added in their place; I’ll bet on that. We may see Aza’s replacement quite soon, or they could wait until 2017 for a fresh re-start.
A lot of folks have some pretty raw emotions over this, and I get it, but I also caution that it’s not a time to write off the group on principle, simply because we never should have had other expectations (but if you’re doing it because of emotion, knock yourself out; gut feelings are hard to grapple with). Zenkimi will continue to make cool, exciting music, and the new members will slide right into place as is almost always the case, and life will go on. Stick it out; they’re nowhere near their peak yet.
Garry of Idol Is Shit fame was at the show; I said that I’d add his reflections, and here they are:
Garry also mentioned that the mood at the business side of things, at buppan after the show, was quite high, and that the two “troublemakers” [that is, Aza and Gomochi] made out like bandits in the cheki lines. He also said that, though people were obviously upset about the loss of the members, it seemed clear that the other fans were much less bothered by the photos than they were with losing people they cared about. It’s interesting — go thank him for his contribution! [also: edited for clarity; I need a reader sometimes]
Enormous thanks to the same anonymous source as before for the translations and ongoing help