The graduation announcement:
First of all, I’m still a much bigger NMB fan, and so I’m actually still more impacted from Miyuki’s transfer instead of the Acchan graduation announcement.
I’m pretty shocked at the announcement, only because I had Yuuko, Shinoda, and maybe even Kojima Haruna pegged for graduation before Acchan, and a few days ago I was entertaining the thought of Yuuko finishing first in the election and going out on top. Those 3, I think, are in far better shape to transition into the entertainment world, whereas Acchan is still not quite there; her dramas have been tanking and her acting is criticized roundly.
On the other hand, I’m actually thrilled to hear this.
I’m a late blooming fan, coming in right before the Beginner single, and I really came to the fandom just by watching AKBingo episodes. Acchan was so ace back then. She did all the punishment games and was generally hilarious and funny to watch. It was cool to see and I could definitely see how her charm was able to attract a large fanbase. She just had “it.”
But, as I kept watching, there was a distinct lack of Acchan. And whenever she appeared, she looked so half-dead.
Now, me being a big Back to the Future fan, I read stories about all the work Michael J. Fox did to create the movie. He’d film a TV show during the day, then BttF at night. In interviews, he didn’t even recall filming certain scenes. And we all know what he’s like now.
I kinda shared that same concern with Acchan. Magazine shoots, acting in dramas and movies, theater work, variety work, solo debut… it’s not normal or healthy. I think on her blog she wrote that she gets 4 hours of sleep. That’s just not right. I really thought there was something wrong with her the past year or so. It kinda confused me how people just would not notice this and continue to be her fan…
Hopefully this retirement will give her a break.
That said, I am still concerned with her talent level; Flower is a very marginal and vocally weak song and I don’t think she has chops to pursue a solo singing career. She tends to play the same aloof and sad character in every drama/film. Even the Moshidora film, she seemed to be super aloof and sad, whereas the anime had a tsundere lead. Maybe by quitting she can actually focus and break out of those roles.
As for the timing of the announcement with respect to AKB48, I think it’s perfect. She started when there was nothing and led them to the top. She’s going out on top and will be recognized as such. I’ve been wanting to read Calvin and Hobbes lately, and I found this quote from Bill Watterson when asked about why he stopped work on the comic. It’s very applicable to Acchan’s graduation.
This isn’t as hard to understand as people try to make it. By the end of ten years, I’d said pretty much everything I had come there to say. It’s always better to leave the party early. If I had rolled along with the strip’s popularity and repeated myself for another five, ten, or twenty years, the people now “grieving” for Calvin and Hobbes would be wishing me dead and cursing newspapers for running tedious, ancient strips like mine instead of acquiring fresher, livelier talent. And I’d be agreeing with them. I think some of the reason Calvin and Hobbes still finds an audience today is because I chose not to run the wheels off it. I’ve never regretted stopping when I did.
It’s been a wild ride for me and AKB48. I’m glad to have caught it just at the before their rise, and definitely glad to have understood and seen the rise of Acchan by watching the older stuff. She’s definitely entertained me and made my life a little more fun, and that, no matter how small or big, no matter how much a fan I am of her or not, is always worth something.