——Even after you graduated, within Hello! Project groups such as Morning Musume。'21 and ANGERME gained momentum and many new fans. As elite members, what do you think is the greatest thing about Hello! Project ?
Gotô : Being in Hello! Project made me a better person. I learned how to behave with others and I think I would've been a much more mischievous girl if I hadn't joined Hello! Project. Being surrounded by adults of all ages and working in a group of girls every day since being a teenager, where the words "I can't do it" isn't tolerated, has given me a lot of mental strength. Even now, there are times when I miss the fun and the tension of this friendly competition with other members !
Takahashi : Gotô-san always says things like she was "ignoring the rules" but from my point of view, she was one of the most reasonable members. I've been saying "I want to sing songs created by various people", and I did so thanks to Morning Musume. I became a person who will definitely accomplish what she puts into words. I felt really sad when I graduated, but I think I've really understood the importance of being true to your words thanks to this experience.
Suzuki : Every year, all the Hello! Project groups would get together to perform during summer and winter tours, and it was a true battle for °C-ute. We wanted to show the fans and the other groups how much we had grown in half a year. Even during the rehearsals, I was paying a lot of attention to the other groups, thinking "She's got cute!" (laughs). When older members were rehearsing, I would watch monitors, and study them.
Takahashi : I know ! I miss that.
Suzuki : Being able to learn from your seniors and also being stimulated by the more energetic juniors makes it an environment that keeps you on your toes.
Takahashi : Each of the members has a burning desire not to lose to anyone else, but we also take pride in the individuality of our own group. We don't envy or want to imitate the other groups, but instead focus on owning our unique skills, and I think that alone naturally raises the level of Hello! Project as a whole. Even after graduating from Hello! Project, I still amazes me every time I see the group perform.