[DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

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[DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by Renzel on Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:13 pm

What do you guys think of After School's Graduation System? What are its pro's and con's related to the entertainment industry? and also to the members and the whole group as well?

Feel free to share your opinions below and let's all discuss about how the Graduation System affects After School Smile

Here's my opinion:

I really think the Graduation System made After School one of the most unique and versatile kpop groups out there. Because of this system, new members will be enrolled and new talents can be added for the group itself to grow. AS can discover more new generation members that can add to the youthfulness of the group as the other members grow up and mature.

The only negative side I found on this system is that it is unpredictable whether our ultimate bias might graduate sooner or later. (this happened to me in the case of Kahi T.T) It is very painful to realize that sooner or later, our biases might graduate and pursue a new life or new career without the rest of the girls. It's very hard to think that you can rarely see them again interact and have variety shows together.

However, we should always think positively and hope for each of them to have a better future after After School. After all, this Graduation System showed and proved how much each members are very strong and brave in accepting the fact that one of them might leave soon. This also showed the bond on each members on how much they love and appreciate the presence of each other.

At the end of the day, let's just think, Is After School going to be the After School we love and like now, if not because of the Graduation System? think again. we can't surely deny the fact that the Graduation System is already tattooed in After School's name itself (:
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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by jupalfan on Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:00 pm

I think it's very smart on Pledis' part. When other groups lose members like Wonder Girls or Kara's situation, it hits the group really hard and throws their continued existence in jeopardy. But with AS it's natural, and while yes they might lose some fans, the fandom knows it will happen from the start. Same thing with the members, they all know what they're getting into. Regardless if the departure is amicable or not, Pledis actually protects itself better than other companies; I mean just look at with happened to CCM.. yeesh.

It will always suck when our bias graduates, but I remember Kahi saying that it ensures AS's survival for generations to come. It also means AS can evolve in ways no other can, with new members and concepts. So at the end of the day I like it b/c otherwise we probably would've never met UEE, Raina, Nana, Lizzy, E-Young, and Kaeun. Though Jooyeon should never graduate.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by PlayboyzAdam on Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:40 pm

I think the graduation system is a great idea. It allows the artist to leave as they wish. I don't like the idea of an After School member being forced to stay in After School against their wishes contractually. If Pledis doesn't use the graduation system to force After School members to leave then I have absolutely no problems with it.

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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by Roriline on Mon Feb 03, 2014 1:45 am

The graduation system was a good way to set the group apart from the other idol groups in the boom of 2009. Plus it is a good market strategy as they can prolong the group for long after the original members quit and not get as mugh backlash because they can point back and say "this is what we advertised from the beginning". However it means that the popular members have a right to leave when they feel they're ready for solo projects and that could mean that in the end you'd have a group of mid to low tier members in popularity barely making it by.

It could also create the effect that the Japanese girl group AKB48 has where instead of being a stepping stone into the entertainment industry the girls overstay their welcome. Though their concept is entirely different it's a risk if After School ever gets a boost in popularity that girls would stay there too long and keep the group from moving forward into new territory.

I personally think the graduation system is a good idea if it works. It's going to be a little controversial when members leave or get addes. Since we don't know under what circumstances they're leaving and there will always be someone yelling "replacement!". Both Soyoung and Kahi have career's after graduating and Bekah seems to be doing well too.
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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by hzohrabyan on Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:51 am

I actually love this system. Of course it is sad to see 3 of original line up members graduate, but still I never felt like they were forced out of group. SoYoung said she wanted to do acting and that's what she is currently up to, she always thanks PGz for congratulating her on AS debut anniversaries and she even worked with Kahi in the same drama and they were in really good terms. Bekah said she wanted to study design and again she is doing what she loves and we PGz and PBz love her craft! Her handcrafted products always sell out very quickly and she visited Korea last year for the PLEDIS CEO's wedding, met almost all members, was featured in Kahi's album and again this shows that she is in very good terms with PLEDIS and AS members. Ah Should I even start talking how she supports AS's comebacks through her tweets and always stays in contact with PGz and Pbz.
Oh and Kahi , I believe she was already mature enough as an artist to go solo and it was the right decision. Her singing has improved A LOT and through her SNS and blog I could tell that she was having fun, doing what she likes, enjoying time with her loved ones and eating delicious food. I loved her comeback song , the MV and the beat of the song were really cool, but something was missing .. I don't know how to put it in words. I guess it was the lyrics of the song , they kind of made the whole concept look "cheap"?!
I love Kahi a lot , but there is something wrong lately , she kind of seems depressed to me (I really don't want to be judgmental) , but the recent accident when she tweeted about the mangers and company, she thanked fans for sending gifts almost a month after her birthday cuz she wasn't able to go to the office for 1 MONTH, she was not in the recent video, in which ALL PLEDIS artists congratulated fans with Lunar New Year. Whatever the problem is (hope there is none, I am just making wrong assumptions) it gets settled really fast and she continuous to shine and come back even stronger! Appa fighting!!!
I love PGz and PBz community so much, We really are a very peaceful community, always respectful and understanding and I love how we always support both current and already graduated members. I mean even in AS daze there are always news about SoYoung, Kahi and Bekah!
Just to sum up , I really think the graduations system is what sets AS apart form other girl groups, It makes them really united and at the same time each of the members seem to be a ready product to do solo activities. Love our talented group and their devotion to After School and their fans! star: Smile 

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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by OKDR on Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:58 am

Well the system has its pros and its cons.

They did copy that from Morning Musume, but MoMusu still does it differently.

Pledis cons on the system are mainly based on the fact on their second year they started releasing songs with less continuity until reaching the just one release per year status.

If they were able to keep the group active on that department, people wouldn't get the feeling the group has those much changes.

In fact, they have just seen 3 members go, and additions kind of got stop at the moment. Which I believe it's a pity.

The girls did asked for that, but if they were able to grow to 10 members and stand a whole year promoting like that (at least), I am sure people wouldn't have arguments to call additions as replacements.

Also, AS has yet to meet another song that attracts the general audiences taste enough for them to win anything again. Although, at least, the last two releases did regained some sells status.

Pledis also lacks a lot on the way they plan the whole display of the system (they lack mostly on communication for everything except the way they'd handled SEVENTEEN pre-debut exposure). We hardly know about the members-to-be aka Pre-School Girls, and other groups with similar systems, do get an A+ in that subject.

They've seem to know how to get a hold of youtube for promoting their rookies better (HV and NU'EST's own home-made shows); I wonder why they don't do the same with AS less busy members.

I've got the feeling E-Young's been finally getting nurtred to become more useful to the group (maybe we'll be able to listen a full-produced or even written song from her soon), but they also lack the power to make AS side projects equally succesful.

If they kept supporting Kahi's solo while she was still the leader, with a couple more of releases, I am sure her audience would've expand enough for her to gain a better result now she's graduated. As someone said here, it seems something's off with her. Although I also believe she got everything she wanted with her post-graduation activities, for some reason she seems disappointed and blames Pledis.I don't think it's fair, but the fact is back in the day, they didn't try as hard as they did with OC, who weren't instantly succesful (they did well with their first 2 singles, but it was actually Bangkok City the one hit that brought them to the top).

Although they admire Japanese companies like H!P or AKS a lot, they still lack some sense on knowing how to mimic those strategies in a way that works for the K-Pop market.

Is the same for Son Dambi and how she just stopped releasing music because of a supposed plagiarism issue and I also read a lawsuit with some company went on. When she was ready to come back, the results weren't the same anymore. She released a digital single last Christmas, but if she doesn't get another release soon, that would mean nothing, as well as she didn't go to promote that on TV.

The way Pledis doesn't handle more regular releases (for HV and NU'EST it's also been a while already), does affect AS and their soloists the most. While HV are still rookies and they seem to be doing just fine (same for the boys), for a soloist is harder out there, so it is for a group a certain amount of people out of the fandom (and even inside) disregard them for the system concept, as well as for their musical choices. They complain they don't like this or that, they don't want Braves Brothers producing them, yet they claim their best song is BoY... stuff like this, contradictory and confusing, but their last argument is always the "members change" issue and that whenever a girl joins, another one is "forced" to graduate.

If they could se group joining like two members in two different come backs that weren't too much spaced from each other, then watch that line up come back at least 3 or 4 times during a year; when the next graduation would happen, they couldn't be using the "replacement" argument that much.

It was unfortunate how when E-young joined, Bekah was already in & out, then out for good; as well as when Kaeun was announced, a couple of days after Kahi decided her desire to graduate wasn't something they could stop from happening. Those two facts make people forget how So Young did leave before the new addition happened, which forced the company to push the next one forward. It makes also forget the fact nobody graduated before or after Lizzy joined.

Some people stopped liking the group right after Uee was added, some forget she was the first addition but still claim they like the "original" line-up over any other one (meaning Uee was part of it too), and say they rather seen OC debut without being added to the group. Which is funny because it was after 2 of them joined that the group actually gained some recognition. But since things like this (mutizens and strong sells) haven't repeated yet, most people still see the system as bad.

Another factor of the AS system is how they allow for members to pursue side activities, even if they are not strong singers or the best dancers, they can always improve, the important thing is they do have some talent, whether that's acting, modeling or playing instruments. That was also stated on their main concept, and lately it seems less unique as there are so many idol groups out there, all of them had tried pushing their members to become actors, models, etc.

For AS is the reverse thing, though:

Uee joined in because she was already a promising actress with idol training (as she was a former 5Girls member), that's why as soon as she joined, her acting activities were promoted as much as possible.

Nana joined in because of her visual skills and the fact she was a model. Surprisingly, she's one of my fav vocalists from the current line-up.

We all know why E-Young was chosen over Ara back in the day. In spite Ara's vocals can kill.

And Kaeun's main reason to become an addition instead of, let's say, Nicole, was because of her Japanese level which would be useful for their Japan activities (It was supposed to be Ara, whom is also said to be good at that language, but she was transferred to HV).

Even with that, the group never stops being an actual group. They work their dance routines hard (Kahi's main legacy), they do evolve vocally (most of them do), and they try to go out there and promote as a strong team, instead of looking like a bunch of individuals put together.

That's because the way they have adapted the system, allows the group to embrace new members, teach them, learn from them, and establish a bond that you won't easily encounter in every girl group.



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Re: [DISCUSSION] The Graduation System

Post by albeitalways on Mon Feb 03, 2014 9:26 pm

I don't really have a problem with the graduation system. I know it sucks when one of my favorite members leave the group, but that's just the way it goes.

My real gripe with the system has more to do with Pledis's management--the way they handle the group's promotion. Specifically they have no idea how to work the graduation system to their benefit.

I am not happy with how many chances Pledis has lost already to expand their fanbase. As some of you have already mentioned, their once-a-year promotion in Korea isn't enough anymore. As everyone knows, the only way to gain more momentum among Korean fans is to have multiple releases. The closest we've got for multiple releases was only during 2009 and 2011. (I am not counting Kahi or Orange Caramel's promotions as part of After School, by the way.) Pledis needs to do more with them, if they want After School to remain in the list of girl group rankings. There was a girl group ranking that's been released recently and wow. After School is third from the bottom, just before Rainbow and Dal shabet. So much has changed since 2009. They're not improving, they're stagnating even with their Korean fanbase. And that makes me sad knowing how much effort they've been through, but Pledis can't seem to get the right timing.

Also, when new members are added, they're not doing much to help that member get known. I think the only added member that got the appropriate spotlight were Uee and Raina. I remember when Nana and Raina were added during BOY. Raina got a lot of lines, since she is one of the main vocalists of the group. Nana barely got any. Same with Lizzy in Bang! Heck, Naliz just shared a line together. They did better with Eyoung, but she wasn't highlighted as well during Virgin. Eyoung doesn't have much exposure outside the fandom to be honest. I am glad that Pledis is promoting her and Kaeun better.

So that's the thing, how are new members supposed to attract fans if they're not given a decent amount of exposure on their first promotion with the group?? Also, how can fans warm up to the new members if they're not promoted decently. This is why I'm always apprehensive whenever Pledis announces they're adding a new member with almost every Korean comeback they've had so far.
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