Sorry, I already used “Up Up And Away” a few years back. (Thank you Maniac for this alternative headline!)
Do you remember last month, when Up Up Girls (Kari) were being awfully shady about the future of the group, promoting a “final live with the current line-up” and all that? Generally making everyone panic with the idol equivalent of vaguetweeting?
Don’t worry, that new line-up was just new members. Okay, cool. A bit odd to be adding new girls after a decade without any additions but I won’t complain…
Oh wait, never mind, they were just saving the bad stuff as a surprise for later. Everyone except Azusa are out of the group!
— upupgirls-official (@uugirlsofficial) October 23, 2020
God damn it.
I’ll be real here. I think this is a bizarre route to take for a group that has existed without any major overhauls for 10 years now. It’s clear now that Up Up Girls are trying to expand as a brand in the same vein as their predecessors, Hello! Project. And I give props to Azusa for wanting to continue Kari in some way or another, even if that means being the only original girl left (and for that matter, the only girl who was around this present year). But I have many questions. Why a mass graduation rather than a disbandment? Will they go down the whole KAQRIYOTERROR method of rebranding with a name change and everything? Why did they wait until now for this announcement? Will fans still be willing to follow a group that suddenly loses almost its entire line-up after a decade of (semi) stability?
When groups like KAQRIYOTERROR, NECRONOMIDOL or MIGMA SHELTER are forced to start anew after losing almost their entire line-up, it’s a letdown, but the possibilities of a member overhaul being successful feels somewhat realistic; if the group wasn’t already in its infancy to begin with, then their history is usually filled with a rollercoaster of graduations and new member additions that transforms a plane crash into just a car hurtling off a cliff. But with Up Up Girls (Kari), who have been established with the same set of relatable faces for a decade (and even longer if you followed the members during their Hello!Pro Egg days), I honestly can’t imagine it. To me, it feels like if the Backstreet Boys gotd rid of everyone except Brian and replaced them with a bunch of strangers. It’s uncomfortable, confusing and I don’t know how well they will pull it off.
But maybe they will pull it off. For now though, I’m going to thank Saki, Akari, Konatsu and Manami for their many years of hard work and wish them the best for the future. And then I’m going to wallow in my pit of sadness and confusion until the next surprise member rebranding.