I am so horribly disorganized recently I realize I should have had this written up sooner. But to be honest while Sayashi Riho's graduation is most certainly a big deal it is not so much for me.
When I got into Morning Musume it was after she joined and from friends that were already into MM I already knew something of the group post 9th gen's addition from them. I am sure that colored my interest in the girls when they showed up in my viewing of MM's PVs. None were Riho fans so she did not have the bonus interest others had, though from the start I could tell that she had something special with her presence.
Yet I am rarely someone who connects with the Ace of a group so while I could appreciate Riho for what she brought to the group my interest was focused on other girls. Which is probably why I feel as positive as I do about the future of the group. I know losing Riho, especially after losing Michishige Sayumi, is going to be hard for the group. She may not have been my favorite but she was well loved by many. But I believe in the girls that are still with the group. I would like to believe Riho does as well, which is why she chose in part when she did to graduate.
Seeing Riho smile as she is in the image included makes me truly believe that she is doing something that she believes to be right for her. She will be missed as a member of MM but she still has plenty of time to do something on her own. And hopefully without all the pressure of being the group's Ace she can continue to shine brightly, for herself and for her fans.