Sunday, June 19, 2016

On: AKBGroup Election Results Part II


Continuing on from my last post, I will share my reaction and general thoughts on the results of the 2016 AKBGroup Election. Undergirls is a group that SKE48 has dominated for a number of years. I fully expected the same to happen this year (and actually expected quite a few SKE girls to rise into senbatsu itself as well) but SKE didn't dominate nearly as much as they had before. Neverthless, it was nice to see Souda Sarina (SKE), my favorite draft member rank so high. Churi dropping out of senbatsu was sad, but I kind of expected it. Nao dropping in rank rather than rising into senbatsu like I had hoped just sucked. Nao is a younger member of SKE and will be one of the members to support Jurina as a front girl in the years to come - SKE really needs some of these younger girls in senbatsu or at least high Undergirls. *sigh* But hey, Takeuchi Saki ranking so high was a definite plus in SKE's ranks - maybe the fans are hinting that they want Saki to take the center lead rather than Ryoha? 

NMB having two members rank in Undergirls is definitely an improvement but they really need a second name in senbatsu. Shiroma Miru may be the best bet for next year. Nako ranking in was nice, poor girl works so hard (and she's super young still!). Mio dropping was meh for me. I knew she didn't have a good year and I don't like her, but I was a bit surprised to not see her higher. Her fans seem to be extremely loyal to her. Regardless, I was pretty ok to see where she was. It's not a terrible position, but it was clear from her speech that she expected a higher rank for sure. Undergirls overall though, was a win for AKB in my opinion. Oshima Ryoka, Kawamoto Saya, and especially Komiyama Haruka show that they're definitely the future of the group, jumping straight into Undergirls. Kato Rena rises - just a bit - but she keeps her position as a lead member of the group. Iriyama Anna, although this is her last election, managed to rank at #18, her highest yet and Kojima Mako gracefully took the #19 spot showing that she is poised to enter senbatsu by next year. Overall, I was satisfied with Undergirls and so happy that this shows that the main group's girls may not be as overshadowed by sister group members after all. 


Ah, the top 16 ranks. Oh jeez. What to say, what to say. Well, first thing first - AKB WON BIG!! It was about time that homegrown AKB talent was acknowledged and here we go - three newcomers to senbatsu are homegrown AKB members! Takahashi Juri has been knocking on senbatsu's door since two years ago. I knew this girl would eventually make it to senbatsu the question was just when, and here she is - at #15! I can definitely see her being touted as the 3rd general manager of the group in the years to come and (I love you Yui, I really do but...) I can see Juri being an amazing general manager. Okada Nana comes in at #14. Of the 14th generation, Nana is also a member that was knocking at senbatsu's door, especially with her exploding popularity. During her speech, she admitted to being bulimic, and it being the reason why she had to take a leave of absence for her health. I felt so bad for the girl - clearly it took lots of courage to talk about her struggles and I hope that she is able to overcome this and come back stronger than ever. Finally - Mukaichi Mion. She is a true next generation ace, jumping all the way to senbatsu from Next Girls and at #13! I definitely see all 3 girls gaining much from their positions and possibly making their way into the legendary kami-7 in the years to come. 

Kitahara Rie at #12 maintains her status as the highest ranked NGT member. I have to say - Rie's fans really came through. I really expected her to drop out of senbatsu but I like her, so I'm glad she's there. The general manager Yokoyama Yui dropped a spot to #11. Yui is difficult for me. She's my kamioshi. I think she's amazing, but I don't think the role of general manager was one that should have gone to her. She is more motherly toward the other girls and while she can give excellent advice, I think that the full weight of the role is crushing her at the moment. I hope she can become stronger and truly lead the group, but at the moment, I'm not sure she will be successful in this role. Interestingly, I didn't vote for her. I knew she would make senbatsu. But, I didn't see much resolve or passion from her to rank higher. She never really claims, "I want #1". It's more like she pushes the other girls forward. The issue with that is, the other girls will not only move forward, they will surpass her. Yui is still trying to consolidate her role as a general manner and for that reason alone, it's far too early for the younger members to use her as a stepping stone. 

Muto Tomu at #10 was a super happy surprise! I know many expected her to fall out of senbatsu but nope, Tomu is here to stay! Haruppi at #9 surprised the heck out of me. I expected her to make senbatsu but not so high! Well, I suppose it'll be harder for management to ignore her and keep her out of the AKB senbatsu then. I still believe that sister group members should be limited to 2 representatives though. So -- I say kick Sashi out because she doesn't need the extra promotion and finally let HKT be led by its true first generation aces - Haruppi and Sakura. Paruru at #9 was stunning and absolutely graceful. I really wanted her in kami7. T__T Dasu at #8. Honestly, I couldn't care less about Dasu right now. She works hard and she definitely deserves it, I just find her annoying. Sakura taking #7 cracked me up. I recall saying last year that Sakura was rising in ranks but not actually doing much growing up at all. I foresaw a stall or drop in ranks and a tearful breakdown. Boy, was I right. Sakura right now is at a point in her career where she'll have to work really hard to overtake the members above her. It's probably the first true reality check she has had in a while. 

Kashiwagi Yuki at #5 was a big wtf moment for me. Like, I had an inkling she would drop to #5, but I was still surprised when it happened. Especially since she lost a HUGE amount of votes. Sayaka at #4 was meh. I expected her there when Yukirin was called so it wasn't a big surprise. If Sayaka doesn't join the next election however, NMB will really need to step up their game. For the top 3 spots my heart was honestly beating like crazy. On the one hand, I knew it was going to be Jurina, hands down. On the other, I couldn't help thinking if SKE hadn't done so great because all these extra votes were pulled for Jurina to enter the top 2. But nope, Jurina made #3 and she also declared she wouldn't graduate in the next 5 years. So much for a new era in SKE~ lol. 

The top 2 was horrible. I didn't want to get my hopes up but I totally did and was crushed. I actually stopped streaming as soon as #2 was called. Meh. I'm glad it's Mayuyu's last election. If she opts out of the election, I hope Sasshi finally decides to leave and stops talking about being/becoming a legend. She already was. After her first win, I really respected her - making such a huge comeback! She won an election - only two other girls had been able to do that at that point! When Mayuyu won, I was like, "Yes! Another legend!" And Sashi was all like, "Imma win next time!" And I was like, "Yeah, it's probably gonna happen. You don't need to win because you're plenty popular on your own but whatever." And she did win. And then she's like, "I want back-to-back wins!" and I dipped out. Like I totally stopped respecting her. At this point, it wasn't an underdog story for me anymore, it was a story of someone that had become overly ambitious. I honestly cannot wait until her overwhelming presence leaves the 48Groups. 

The final comments I have are about Nyan Nyan Kamen. Okay Kojiharu, I get that you wanted to make the election fun, but that was super anticlimactic. In her last election, she ranked 16. From an original kami7, that's the worst rank ever. Announcing her graduation? Expected. I was not surprised. I laughed at Yuko being the Wan Wan police though, that was funny. Kojiharu never took on a leadership role like Minegishi and Takamina, she was still in the group to more or less bring face recognition to it. It's high time she graduates and the extra stunt was more amusing and slightly embarrassing rather than truly impactful. Oh well.

Well, that wraps it up! If all the girls who said this will be their last election do truly sit out for next year, that means that we'll have 5 new spots in senbatsu up for grabs and I couldn't be more excited to see who will make it in! I'm banking on Komiharu, Kojimako, and Shiroma Miru for sure making their way in but whatever the case, it's sure to be another interesting event! 


  1. Great analysis but to single out Sasshi as overly ambitious is a bit too much. Not saying it's true because I think she is but you make it sound like she's the one with that kind of attitude. Mayuyu also tried hard to achieve back to back wins and certainly had the rank 1 in mind in these past 2 years. How are they different? Only difference is that Mayu failed and Sasshi succeeded. I like both of them, but they are understandably fighting only for their own benefit.

    1. Oh, absolutely! However, that's exactly why I singled her out, because she had already won twice (by a huge margin the second time which was pretty much unbeatable). Even though I wanted Mayu to win (and this is just because Yukirin ranked so low in the prelims. I would have supported a Yukirin win more so), I knew there was a 0.001% chance of her winning. Sasshi winning a third time was in my opinion, overindulgent. I mean, at least Yukirin and Mayu (even Sayaka) were hesitant to enter the election. Sasshi really wasn't hesitant at all. She has a great fighting spirit, I'll definitely give her that. She would make a great politician. But let's agree to disagree :)

  2. I wouldn't say that her margin of victory in 2015 was unbeatable. She had around 28k votes more than Mayu. In 2013, she had a gap of 50k votes and Mayu won the following year, though I suspect she only managed to do it because Sasshi fans got overconfident after seeing first day results. Of course it's easy to say now that Sasshi winning this year was pretty much a given, with 243k vs 175k but the preliminaries gave Mayu fans some hope that maybe she could win.
    I do hope Sasshi opts out next year. If she doesn't then I too think she's being overindulgent. I read an interview on Stage48, after the 6th election, she said if she'd won in 2014 she would not have participated in 2015. In the end, I think she wanted to challenge the myth of nobody able to win in a row. Also winning the election 3 times is her way of proving to her haters that her victories are not a fluke or a joke and her votes are not unsustainable (unlike poor Yukirin who took a nosedive after her fans tapped themselves out last year TT_TT) My wish of seeing Yukirin wearing the Queen Of AKB cape virtually impossible if this last election turned out to be her last like she heavily implied.

    1. In 2015, Mayu's vote count showed that her fan voting power had tapped out. It wasn't a 50,000+ jump like in 2014, it was much, much smaller. She was able to raise her vote count again in 2016 but it wasn't enough to have even beaten Sasshi last year, let alone this year. Then again, hope can be quite irrational.

      I'm pretty sure that by the second time she won nobody took her as a joke or believed that her vote count was unsustainable. I would argue because she had already proved she's legit, is why she has haters. Even if she wins 5 times, those that didn't acknowledged her win the first time, won't acknowledge it at all.

      I wouldn't mind Yukirin running next year. Mayu and Sasshi should definitely bow out but Yukirin running would hopefully push her to win. I wouldn't like her to graduate without having won the crown at least once (like poor Mariko did).

  3. I adore Yui but I admit that the role of General Manager doesn't suit her but I can't think of anyone who can replace Takamina :( But let's give Yuihan more time to develop :)
    I'm very happy that Muto Tomu ranked so high. Was afraid she'd drop out of senbatsu after making it to the dangerous #16 spot.
    I was a bit disappointed in Sakura's reaction. Sixth place is a very privileged rank but she was just so bitterly disappointed that she couldn't hide it. Yep, top members become more and more ambitious and greedy and speaking of overambition...
    Actually, I've always thought that Sasshi was the more "selfless" one out of her and Mayu. Despite her huge mainstream popularity, Sasshi never gets the opportunity to center an A-side single unless she wins sousenkyo and she does everything she can to promote HKT members everywhere and the group as a whole.
    Mayu, while she hasn't centered an A-side since Kibouteki, is always nearly featured prominently in the front row in 2nd/3rd position and always the favourite to center old songs like Flying Get or Heavy Rotation.
    Next year, I don't want either Sasshi or Mayu to enter the election. Yukirin&Sayanee would have their chance but they don't seem in the mood for another election. We're propably going to see Jurina claim the triple crowns.

    1. Agreed! By the time of the election, Yuihan had only been GM about 3-4 months. She just needs time to develop and establish strong ties with not only the members of AKB, but the sister groups too. She has certainly hit the ground running since the election, going out to Jakarata and interact with JKT :)

      I think Sakura thought that her center would mean she would rise higher. I honestly think that was wishful thinking - Jurina has centered plenty AKB singles but that doesn't necessary translate to huge leaps in the election. I too think she was too bitter. She has an excellent rank!

      You make an excellent point here. However, I for one never thought she would center a single (outside of the election) because of her mainstream popularity. Centers are usually given to the face(s) of a group or a girl management wants to push into mainstream popularity. Sasshi is neither. She's clearly the most popular member of HKT of course (and if you ask me, should be considered a face by management standards), but by and large, Sakura and Haruppi are the faces of HKT. Mayu is the face of AKB, the flagship group which translates into preferential treatment. Sasshi is at a point where she's fine being more in the back, like Kojiharu or Yukirin. At least in my opinion anyway. She's influential and popular enough that her position in singles doesn't affect her mainstream popularity. This will begin to happen to Mayu as well. We already see in in team B where she's at a #3 position, just like Sasshi is in HKT.

      I agree, no Sasshi or Mayu. I can see what you mean with Yukirin and Sayanee and I completely agree that Jurina is bound to win the next election. Unless Sakura is able to latch onto some of Sasshi's votes. In that case, it may be a very close and interesting election!

      Thank you for your thoughts!