So while I posted the actual numerical results for the AKB48 Senbatsu Election first day count, I know I’m absolutely late to that party right now as every blog seems to have a list up. I was thinking of posting something earlier, bu I stayed up until 7:30 AM watching the livestream and I needed to get a little sleep before I go to work today. So instead I’m going to give my thoughts on some of the notable things that happened this year.
Biggest winner of the night goes to SKE48?
If anything is going to convince me that SKE48 needs to not be in the Senbatsu election it’s this year’s results. A friend of mine suggested that SKE, NMB and HKT have their own separate one, and this year I tend to agree. While in the past SKE48 has mainly shown up with Matsui Jurina and Matsui Rena, this year SKE48 had a lot of members in the three groups (Undergirls, Next Girls and Future Girls). The biggest section of girls in SKE48 were in the Undergirls, which had an incredible 8 members among the sixteen girls in that ranking section. Watching this part live was actually incredible, as twitter erupted with people talking about SKE48. It was almost humorous how often the announcers were calling SKE.
Further, with so many girls ending up dropping rank, especially many Future Girls and Next Girls who were once Undergirls, this year has definitely seen the rise of SKE48, for better or worse. A good part of me wonders if this is organic (that is, more and more fans are getting an interest in SKE48) or if this is management pushing. I mean, SKE48 got to perform two songs at the election, Aishiteraburu and Banzai Venus (the first only senbatsu and the second all SKE48 members) whereas NMB48 and HKT48 only got one song, even though by this point NMB48 has had four singles and is certainly an established group within the 48 groups.
In any case, while I am conflicted about SKE48’s placements in the group, it’s a really great thing for their fans to see so many girls up there!
Oota Aika’s meteoric drop
OK, while this might not be major news for everyone, but Oota Aika is one of my all time favorite idols and is my AKB48 oshimen, so I’m going to talk about this. Basically, Aika has the biggest drop in this election, from 25 to 52. This is pretty major, especially considering the first election when she actually was able to get into the bottom of the senbatsu. She also lost over 3000 votes, so I’m wondering what happened.
Anyways, not gonna lie, over here tears were shed for Lovetan. She also had one of the most notable speeches (at the time it had the most +1s of any of the future girls speeches by far), and I can only hope that she’ll improve her rank next year because she’s really a sweet girl that deserves a higher rank.
Rise of NMB48… sort of?
While there were only five members of NMB48 that ranked and all of them were in Team N (thus, no Team M ace Jo Eriko), I think this is only the beginning for NMB48. While Yamada Nana, Fukumoto Aina and Ogasawara Mayu didn’t rank very highly, the relative high rank of Yamamoto Sayaka and my oshimen Watanabe Miyuki (I really can’t choose between her and Lovetan) really cements them for me as being the Jurina and Rena of NMB, that is the members that are essentially the aces of NMB and members that will most likely appear in AKB singles to come.
Sashihara Rino’s rise
This year saw a pretty big change, which was Sashihara Rino rising from #9 all the way up to #4. Member rankings change every year, but having a member climb that much when they’re already that high in the rankings really says a lot about Sasshi. Perhaps it was the boost from Sore Demo Suki Da yo (her solo single), or the fact that wota of other groups might be fond of Sasshi being a wota as well. She’s been getting a pretty solid push and it seems to be working. It will be interesting to see if Sasshi gets more screentime in PVs in the future than she has in the past, now that she’s firmly one of the top members.
Jurina and Rena’s switch
This was probably the biggest surprise for me of the evening. While Matsui Jurina and Matsui Rena have always both been popular members of SKE48, for the past two years Rena has gotten more and more popularity than Jurina, who was the original ace of SKE48. However, Jurina managed to take back her position as SKE48’s number one member after having quite a year so far of illness and joining AKB’s Team K. While I really like Rena, Jurina has always been the SKE48 ace to me, so it really feels to me like Jurina’s taking back her rightful place. Rena’s a great member, but Jurina is the ace of Team S.
Mayu and Yuki’s switch
This was the other major switch in rankings of the evening and in a way it’s very similar to Jurina and Rena’s situation. Mayu was the original ace of Team B and was the original member who got a push on that team. However, last year Kashiwagi Yuki gained a lot of popularity and was able to take the #3 spot in the elections. This year I was honestly not expecting to go back to Mayu, but perhaps hings like her solo single (Synchro Tokimeki) helped her reach the top. I like both members a lot, and Yukirin really seemed to be proud of Mayu, so it didn’t feel like there were any hard feelings.
This year was kind of an interesting year, compared to the votes gained last year. For example, I was fairly confident that Oshima Yuko would take #1 again this year. Her popularity is really strong, and the fact that she won the election by over 36000 votes shows that her popularity isn’t going away this year. However, while she did gain over 100,000 votes this year, a major feat, she actually lost around 14,000 votes from last year, which is really odd. Mayuyu gained quite a few votes, but Yukirin actually lost about 3000. Since AKB48 certainly isn’t doing worse than last year (with Manatsu no Sounds Good’s amazing sales) it feels like there’s a change happening, and perhaps more and more people are discovering other members, changing oshimen from the top members, or just voting for different girls. With Mayu’s rise in votes and Yuko’s drop in votes, if things remain the same it might be a tough race for #1 member.
Of course, a lot of members gained votes or remained mostly the same. But these drops up in the top members as well as the drops with other members who ranked lower (Oota Aika lost 3000, Takajo Aki lost just under 8000, etc) are really interesting, and I think show just how interesting next year’s election really will be.