Restarting the Old Rusty Engine
(For the 2nd Time too)

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Friday, November 03, 2006

When Will We See Aibon Again? Some New Thoughts...

Heard from a buddy at that Aibon (Kago Ai) was spotted by his friend in Japan, that she was walking into a TBS building a week ago, with some old guy and a young girl. A possible comeback maybe? Collecting her previous/final paycheck? No wait, that would have to come from UFA... So what is it? Negotiating a new contract? Or just another lookalike? Furthermore he said that there were rumours that Aibon is re-continuing her singing lessons again...

Now, I've heard so many rumours and speculations like that about Aibon, that I really am weary from the feeling of waiting and hoping for the sky to drop. Yes, I am anxious to know about any news about her. Even asked my sister, who is in Japan now, to keep an open ear for anything Aibon-related. But I needed something concrete.

But it's hear-says like that, plus the case of Meguru's leave that gave me a new thought on this case.

Truth to be known, the girls in Momusu like Takahashi Ai hopes that Aibon will come back soon. On 14th October, during a Young Town Doyoubi radio show, Sanma-san asked about Aibon briefly. Ai-chan says that Aibon will be back, but Mikitty interrupts in to say "actually, we don't know". (Don't hate her for that, she is probably trying to save their ass from being scorched if the conversation about Aibon had continued.)

Here are some more of my thoughts on the fate of Kago Ai.

The return to the dorama screen
Recently while patrolling, I dove into, and the guys there gave a different (and hopeful) opinion, which in some way may attribute/enforce some truth in the walking-into-TBS-building story above. Source here.
I discussed before on the chance that Aibon may not come back, and that UFA is possibly waiting for Aibon's contract to be over, and then they can give her the boot. However, when Aibon is finally a free agent, she can freely negotiate contracts with other labels or TV studio. Possibly do some acting work in doramas, like Mari Yaguchi. She already had two dorama stints in 2001 and 2003 under her belt(not counting the Brementowns series), and her co-stars have praised her highly. In another way, yes, we may get to see Aibon again, if Aibon has any desire to be back in the entertainment biz. But she may not be able to sing.

Recording with UFA rivals
UFA's rivals like Avex, decided to recruit her. I'm not too keen on this option, looking at the under-utilised condition of Suzuki Ami, but something is better than nothing. Kago Ai is a reputable singer with a cute voice. A good complement to the likes of Otsuka Ai, who also have that kind of high-pitched singing style. Though they (the recording labels) may have to face the problem of associations with her previous scandal record, but it's totally up to them, if they want to take her in. UFA may or may not extend a stopping hand on this (they can if they want to), we'll just have to wait and see.

The grey line in W / UFA contract
We have a quite a number of kaisans and graduation cases this year. In a way, us fans have been educated on the contractual agreements in the entertainment business and the way labels handle their talents. :) But heres my take:

I know I assumed that UFA is probably waiting for W contract to be over. However... why is it that Murakami Megumi and Yaguchi Mari gets terminated immediately? Isn't there a notice period served before termination, given by either party (agency or artiste)?
Now suppose that there is a clause that says "termination with immediate effect is applicable, if both employer and employee agree mutually agree on the decision", so either Aibon or UFA is holding back on the final say.
Additionally, assuming that Aibon is the one holding back (most likely), and there is most commonly a supporting clause "If the employer finds a misconduct or breach of contract on the fault of the employee, the employer has the right to terminate the employee with immediate effect", then why didn't UFA terminate Aibon in the first place? Remember that the longer UFA keep Aibon, the more the agency suffer loss in maintaining a suspended talent.
Although I can think of at least 3 counters to my previous statement, but I think they are still not strong enough reason to it, and are not good business decisions also. Unless UFA is made out of idiots, adding maintenance costs on top of monetary loss for some trivial pride is never a wise decision.

And that's what gives me more hope. UFA may NOT really want to give Aibon the boot. But rather keep Aibon out of action, as her penance. For how long? As long as UFA can afford, I think.

Okay, some may think that I may be back in a state of denial again, coming up with theories to support my own thoughts, but still it makes sense, yes?

As usual, keep your hopes up... we may get to see some news later on.

Although I may come to a point where I am looking back at this post and Aibon still did not come back, but I am glad that my loyalty towards Kago Ai has never faltered and has never changed. Hope yours aren't either.

Peace ^_^


CJ Marsicano said...

Two things:

Mari Yaguchi still works for H!P/UPW. All she did was leave the band and go solo. I don't think she'd be MCing concerts or doing things like that Hawaii trip with Nono if she wasn't.

Second... this sounds to me like part of the delay may have been Aibon's break from her singing lessons (thanks in no part to the suspension). Oh lord, I hope there's a return of W soon, I've been pining for it.

Mick a.k.a. jinryuichi said...

Thanks for comment, CJ. ^_^
Yaguchi is not terminated for good. Just terminated from her service with Momusu. Still I do not think such a termination can happen so abruptly without any compromise. Which is why, I'm still hopeful on the possibility that Aibon is still connected with UFA somehow. I hope you're right about the second one.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Aibon back and W back in business as soon as possible. This article offers a good summary of the issues, but the prospects are bleak:

1. The smoking incident occurs as Japanese authorities are launching an effort to squelch underage smoking, which is illegal in the country. Reinstating Aibon might be seen as an affront to these well-publicized efforts, which involve vendor penalties and the replacement of all relevant machines.

2. The fact that Aibon's suspension is "indefinite" calls to attention the fact that Upfront Management, her employer, has no immediate plans to return her to W and Hello Project. This is the first indefinite suspension in the agency's history. Why indefinite? Because it's going to be a long, long time.

3. However....It's not to the advantage of Upfront Management to toss away talent so popular and which they've spent so much time and money cultivating. Moreover, the launch of the strange "Curious Nono" segment shows they're trying to do something with at least one half of W. In other words, W isn't a dead entity.

4. Smoking is an addiction, and it's unlikely that UFM is going to risk the same problem happening again. You can bet that the papparazzi's cameras will be trained on her for the slightest pull of tobacco smoke. Aibon can legally smoke in February 2008, her birthday, and all corporate risks disappear at that moment. Therefore, as troubling as it appears, it's unlikely W will resurface until that time.

I want to believe that Aibon's reinstatement will happen much sooner, but there's diminishing evidence of this. Compose blogs, write emails, and make your voice heard. Prove that what I've written above is wrong.

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