We all know that Japan has a thing for large girl groups, just look at AKB48 and their immense popularity. Also, there is Morning Musume, Idolling!! and PASSPO. There are plenty more larger groups out there, but right now these are the four I know the most about (well in terms of AKB48, I know little xD)
So, why is it that these groups are so popular, and what about the smaller groups within Japan?
Well, I guess it is all because of the 'cuteness' factor, and not so much the singing factor. In the case of AKB, it is all about the talent, but also about the sex appeal a girl has (hence their extreme popularity, because they went one step further than Morning Musume). In Japan, it's all about the face, and that determines the popularity of a group. Not their voices.
But it makes me wonder how a group like 9nine, C-ute and other 5-nin groups fare when they are competing with the bigger groups. In terms of C-ute, who started out as a 7-nin group, they were quite big, but are even more popular now as a 5-nin girl band. It's the same with 9nine. Even though they started off with 9 girls (hence the name), they seem to have become more popular as a smaller group.
I think this is because there is more diversity within each group when you have less members. There is a higher chance that your favourite will be picked for centre, or to get more lines, but there is also a bigger portion of screen time for them, giving you plenty of eye candy. This is something which bigger groups like Morning Musume and AKB48 can't do with the amount of members they have. I find it hard to see one of my favourite members of MoMosu most of the time because she is the least popular, and her screen time is taken over by the more popular members such as Reina Tanaka and Takahashi Ai.
And I don't even watch AKB48 PV's, but I can tell that they are filled with Maeda Atsuko, and that would make me feel slightly sickened, because she annoys me to the death.
Even though I really do like the bigger groups, I think it's better when they are 5-nin or less. Look at how much popularity S/mileage spawned, and when auditions were announced, the fans were outraged! It shows how much love there is towards the current 4-nin group, and adding someone new in may mess up the entire line up. It seems that because the group is smaller, there is more chemistry between the members as well as their fans, because there is less of them, and they can each become friends easily.
It's like Morning Musume. Once LinLin, JunJun and Kamei Eri graduated, I wanted at least one single out of the new 5-nin group before the 9th Generation came trotting along. I think that as a 5-nin group they would have worked really well together. There is great chemistry between them all, so they should have at least one song.
Okay, I'm rambling now.
My point is that I think that the smaller girl groups are better, because there is more spot light to be thrown around as well as the great chemistry between girls in their respective groups. I am not saying that there isn't great chemistry between the members of AKB48, Morning Musume, PASSPO or Idolling!!, because surely there is, but because these groups are so big, and with members who vary so much in age that there's a gap (this excludes PASSPO, they're all near enough the same age and great friends) it can cause some conflicts between both the members and the fans, but with a 5-nin group, especially when so close in age, there is more of a bond between them as there are so few, but they are truly closer than the bigger Idol groups.
Blaaah random rant thing >.>