These days K-pop fans treat After School like total flops just because the group’s past its “Because of You” glory days, but they’re really not THAT far gone.

Their songs chart decently enough by mid-tier girl group standards, their Orange Caramel sub-unit is a big hit,  they’ve got a handful of members with successful solo activities, and they’ve got some presence as hallyu stars in both China and Japan.

That’s why I’m surprised to learn that the girls are desperate to make a full group comeback in Korea, but it’s Pledis’ lack of finances that’s stopping them.

Queen of Trot Lizzy and Onew’s Mrs. Robinson Jungah have both expressed their desire for an After School comeback over social media recently, with Lizzy revealing that it’s a lack of cash that’s standing in their way.

We need money for a comeback but we don’t have any… I also want one [a comeback],” Lizzy wrote.

How bad is Pledis doing that they can’t afford to fund an After School comeback? I know they lost Son Dam Bi and Hello Venus and that Nu’est crashed and burned, but I assumed they’d be getting some dough from Orange Caramel and UEE.

After School hasn’t promoted in Korea since 2013’s romantic stripper anthem “First Love,” so I’m guessing that Avex Trax has been paying for their Japanese activities for the past few years.

Perhaps Pledis invested all their money into Seventeen and have now gone broke? A 13-member boy band can’t be cheap, especially one that was in the works for years before they even debuted. At least Seventeen’s been successful so far, so that’s something.

Whatever happens, I hope Pledis doesn’t disband After School. I stand by the group’s graduation concept and have always thought that it’s a great idea when used properly.

My advice is for Pledis to keep After School in the basement until they get enough cash to do the group’s long-awaited comeback justice, and then relaunch with a handful of graduations (UEE and Jungah, obviously) and a number of fresh new members. Maybe even do a survival program, something similar to The KARA Project, and have Kahi and Jungah as judges.

And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rehire Shinichi Osawa, who did the group’s ridiculously good Japanese singles “Heaven” and “Shh,” although his sound might not be commercial enough for Korea.

Either way, I look forward to an After School comeback. I refuse to give up hope!