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5 22/7 Characters 'Graduate' Following Cast Members' Departure from Franchise

posted on by Alex Mateo
Rhythm mobile game ends service

The official website for the 22/7 idol project announced on Sunday that the following five characters have "graduated" from the series, following their cast members' graduations:

The 22/7 Ongaku no Jikan (22/7 Music Time) rhythm mobile game ended service on December 22. The game launched in May 2020 for iOS and Android devices.

Takatsuji officially left the group in November. The project's announcement had explained that Takatsuji had been absent from work without prior notification many times before, often with no way to contact her, and causing interruption to the group's activity schedule. The staff debated the situation, and after consulting with Takatsuji, decided that it would be better for the group to continue activity without her. The Buzzwave agency has also terminated its contract with Takatsuji. The agency additionally deactivated her Twitter, Instagram, and SHOWROOM accounts.

Ruri Umino, Mizuha Kuraoka, and Aina Takeda recently announced their departures from the group, with Umino and Kuraoka leaving at the end of November, and Takeda leaving at the end of December.

Umino expressed that she would like to devote herself to voice acting opportunities.

Kuraoka stated that she wishes to restart and find the place where she can be most like herself. She is not sure what her future holds or if this is the right decision, but she wants to take a step forward.

Takeda went on hiatus in January in order to concentrate on her academic studies. She returned from her hiatus in March. She revealed that she had been thinking about the future during that time, and had decided to graduate from 22/7 shortly after returning. Her dream had been to become a model that who could be active in variety shows.

Hokaze graduated from the franchise in December 2020. Hokaze had 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.

The project announced in September that the idol group is auditioning for new members. This marks the project's second audition in five years since the initial recruitment in October 2016.

The 22/7 anime premiered in January 2020. 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 2020.

AKB48 founder and producer Yasushi Akimoto is producing the titular "dimension-crossing" idol group. The group 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 members Umino and Moe Suzuhana were diagnosed with the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in May. Six of the group's members tested negative for COVID-19 after they were in close contact with Umino and Suzuhana.

Source: 22/7 project's website and Twitter account via Yaraon!

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