This is far from what I wanted to see when I popped open Team chat this morning:
— あの (@aNo2mass) September 30, 2019
Ano, long-time member of You’ll Melt More! and one of the most popular individuals in the idol game, has withdrawn from the group.
The official statements from management:
— ゆるめるモ！@ミニアルバム発売中 (@ylmlm_staff) September 30, 2019
Also this Natalie.mu piece has a little bit of Ano perspective. All in all, it sounds like this was neither sudden nor long-brewing, but was more of a breaking-point situation.
Like (probably) most of us, I can’t imagine You’ll Melt More! without her in it because she’s simply always been there. During my formative years, YMM was my first trip through the more highbrow end of the chika scene, a place where raw creativity met deceptively powerful performance; their YOU ARE THE WORLD album remains an absolute classic, just loaded with music that runs from “oh yeah, sure, idol!” to “I’m sorry what?”. I went out of my way to watch hours’ worth of clips of their performances from that era, with and without bands and on stages of all sizes, and one of my most enduring idol memories is seeing Ano, during a huge performance of “ONLY YOU”, absolutely hurl herself into the audience, so completely in the moment that it was less a stage dive than an embrace of personal oblivion. Which, of course, was a big part of her persona, the girl with crippling social anxiety who lost it all on stage.
You’ll Melt More! has had its membership ups and downs in the past, and graduations here and there, and this is why you have a trainee group handy, but it’s reasonable to question whether the group persists, or for how long. Kechon’s been there since the beginning IIRC, and Younapi and Chiffon are far from new. And while many more idols are idoling far longer and deeper into their lives now than ever before, cleavages in the norm are natural spots for people to consider potential changes for themselves. And with quite a few of their upcoming performances canceled and the second management statement reading a little bit uncertainly, speculation on that front is justified.
Regardless of all of that, Ano is a beloved figure, and I’m sure that plenty of people are feeling this loss. Such is the way of idol, unfortunately, and may Ano find what she wants in this life.