Countless groups step onto the Kpop stage for the first time every single year. As fans of the genre with a distinctively western approach, many of us follow tons of idols, regardless of gender or label, almost obsessively, and this includes tracking trainees and pre-debut groups as they prepare to grace us with their talents and make us fall in love. There is so much hope in their eyes and joy in their hearts when it is, after years of hard work and toil, suddenly time to enter the fray.
But unfortunately, just as many groups disband each year as debut. Some barely make it out of the gate before folding (there was a girl group that disbanded after something like three days this year) while some make the decision after years on the grind. Today I want to tip my hat to one such quartet, 100%. As part of TOP Media, this group debuted with seven members in 2012. In 2014 one member took what has proven to be a permanent break from the stage, in 2016 a second member left, and in 2018 their leader died suddenly of cardiac arrest. After years of largely promoting in Japan, the four remaining members entered the military in 2019 in very quick succession – where they spent much of the pandemic. On September 21, 2021, Top Media announced that at the end of October, as their contracts come to an end, the group had decided to disband.
This is the flip side scenario to what I talked about in Monday’s post with Highlight coming back together and the members pushing forward to continue to actively work in the entertainment industry. Though I don’t know 100% incredibly well, this is definitely a group that I’ve been familiar with and listened to with every comeback. I don’t know the story behind this decision and I don’t know if they are happy with the move or if it was pushed upon them as a group that never quite reached the heights that so many dream to achieve. I can only hope that they are ok, understand that they are still incredibly young, and can have rich, full lives doing something that satisfies them completely. I just want them to be happy.