Forgive, but I have to read the thread later. Here, though, is some more stuff I've been thinking about
Check out these videos and see how many times, if any, the uke fall the same way...? It seems to me that they fall differently every time. It might seem like a small detail, but I see it as a big pointer. It points to the forms being alive.
Granted, ukemi is a trained response, and much is learned about the art through uke's role, and undoubtedly kihon waza can be considered a paired form, but my opinion is that it should still be a living thing, and as such, it should be subject to the infinite variety that is the hallmark of life.
What we see instead, more and more, is a paired collusion, one were a silent deal is made, wherein nage agrees to employ architectures that allow uke to do their beautiful ukemi over and over again (the same way!), as uke agrees to allow nage to do their loose and open architectures over and over again. The result is so cosmetic, so sterile, so artificial.
All spontaneity is gone for the sake of having open hakama fly through the air. In an art where Takemusu Aiki is held up as an ideal, and in a practice where spontaneous training and/or live training environments is used less and less today, it would seem that this collusion in the name of beauty is the last nail in the coffin for Aikido.