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One of the members of beloved YouTube band Babymetal has permanently left the group. The official Babymetal website announced in a statement on Friday that Yui Mizuno, who performs as Yuimetal, will not return from a more than yearlong hiatus.
Yuimetal has not performed with the band since 2017. She missed several shows in Hiroshima, Japan, in December after reportedly falling ill. The band considered canceling the performances, according to a statement from management, but Yuimetal insisted that the show go on. According to a statement from the band, Yuimetal had been planning on returning to the group through much of 2018, but ultimately decided to leave. Her reasons for leaving were not expressly addressed.
The entire statement from the Babymetal website reads:
Thank you for continually supporting BABYMETAL. We would like to inform you of BABYMETAL’s new beginning which will be effective starting this month’s BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN performances.
YUIMETAL had expressed her desire to return performing with the group in the following months after last December’s performance due health concerns. During her absence, both SU-METAL and MOAMETAL as well as the entire staff team had been preparing for her awaited return. However, YUIMETAL came to a decision that she will not be performing at BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN and that she will no longer be a part of BABYMETAL. We thank her for all of her contributions and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
This month’s BABYMETAL WORLD TOUR 2018 in JAPAN will mark the rebirth in which SU-METAL and MOAMETAL form the core of BABYMETAL.
We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the fans for the continued support and look forward in what’s next for BABYMETAL.
Yuimetal released a statement regarding her departure as well. “As BABYMETAL, I am thankful for having a lot of valuable experience,” she said, according to NME. “It was days I feel blessed. It was a live, fun and happy time that everyone laughed and became one. I will also strive hard to see you again someday as Mizuno Yuji. Thank you very much for 8 years.”
The announcement came in conjunction with the release of a new song, “Starlight.” The music video does not appear to feature the remaining members of the band, Suzuka Nakamoto and Moa Kikuchi, dancing in their peppy, metal-inspired outfits. The enthusiastic choreography that is common among their releases is also notably absent. Instead, the catchy tune accompanies primarily muted tones, with bursts of shocking red. The lively dancing is replaced by dramatic, emotional shots and wide views of a desert landscape. Even the music itself feels far from classic Babymetal.
That doesn’t mean that the new track isn’t good. It just diverts from the tried-and-true formula that made the band a viral YouTube sensation in recent years. Whatever the band does next, we’ll be watching—but regrettably, without Yuitmetal.
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Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.