22/7 Project's Chiharu Hokaze Graduates From Franchise
posted on by Alex Mateo
The official website for the 22/7 idol project announced on Wednesday that Chiharu Hokaze, who plays Reika Satō, is graduating from the franchise. Hokaze revealed that after repeated discussions with staff, she has decided to graduate in order to pursue a career as a voice actress, as she had found voice acting for 22/7 to be particularly rewarding. Her final activity with the group will be the live concert to mark the release of the "Boku ga Motteru Mono nara" single on February 28, 2021.
The 22/7 anime premiered in January. The series had 12 episodes, plus a 13th "extra episode" titled "8+3=?" featuring all 11 main cast members. Aniplex of America streamed the show as it aired in Japan on FunimationNow. The anime debuted on Crunchyroll in February.
Nao Sakai's 22/7 +α manga adaptation of the anime launched on the Sunday Webry manga website in January and ended with the second volume in April. The manga tells an original story that will is not told in the anime.
AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto is producing the titular "dimension-crossing" idol group. The group based on the concept of "idols who cross dimensions" has eight anime idol characters, with their respective voice actresses performing as idols in the real world. Sony Music Records and Aniplex received 10,325 applications for the idol group and held five rounds of auditions.
Group member Aina Takeda is going on hiatus in order to concentrate on her academic studies. Takeda will not participate in the Mission Paradise special event for the 22/7 television anime on January 11, but she will still be part of project activities until the end of December. The website will make an announcement when Takeda is able to return from hiatus. She plays Tsubomi Hiiragi in the project's anime.
Mizuha Kuraoka, who plays Miyako Kōno in the project's anime, went on hiatus due to health problems in February. The announcement stated that Kuraoka has had several recurrences of poor health, and she and the project's staff took measures toward her recovery each time. However, she has been unable to completely recover. After various discussions involving staff, it was decided that Kuraoka should go on temporary hiatus. She returned from hiatus on September 20.
Similarly, group member Urara Takatsuji went on temporary hiatus from her idol activities due to poor health in February. Like Kuraoka, Takatsuji also had several recurrences and took measure to encourage recovery. Still, she did not completely recover, and discussions led to the decision for her to go on hiatus. She returned from hiatus on May 15.
Mei Hanakawa also left the 22/7 idol group in December 2019 for health reasons. The group had announced in October 2019 that she would go on extended hiatus due to her health, and had planned for her return after she recovers. Despite Hanakawa and the staff's best efforts, she did not recover, and that it would have been difficult to continue performing. Uta Kawase is replacing Hanakawa as the character Nicole Saitō.