...to reign in Hell

In a surprise announcement that has left fans reeling, Satan (aka Koharu Kusumi) is leaving Morning Musume and Hello!Project, at the tender age of 17. Like fellow “graduate” Erika Umeda, she’s announced plans to become a model; unlike the 18-year-old Umeda, however, she has a stack of popular photobooks and DVDs attesting to her solo popularity, so she’s guaranteed some initial success.

This is on top of the mass exodus of the grownups earlier this year, and the curiously-handled retirement of Kanna Arihara, so it’s been a rough year for H!P fans, and with star-pimp Tsunku bringing ever-younger girls (6? WTF?) into his stables, I suspect it’s a bit nerve-wracking for the surviving members as well.

[Update: pimp-blogging reveals that she didn’t jump, she was pushed. That should make both fans and fellow members even more nervous about the organization’s future.]