Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2nd Senbatsu Elections Results: How the AKB World was Rocked Again, This Time by the Fans

In case you haven’t seen the results of the 2nd Senbatsu Elections, they’re over here in my news blog (

Quite a number of interesting things happened in the announcement of the results of the 2nd Senbatsu elections, but all were overshadowed by the fact that YUKO BEAT ACCHAN! That’s right, Yuko Oshima, Team K center and last year’s 2nd placer, got 31,448 votes to beat Atsuko Maeda, AKB48 and Team A center for the longest time, and last year’s number 1, who received 30,851 votes this year, short by only 597 votes.

Remember that voters are paying fans who pay through purchasing the latest CD, via becoming official paid members of the AKB48 fanclub, via being official subscribers to AKB’s Live On Demand Service, among others. Acchan didn’t necessarily lose votes, there were just much more voters this year as AKB’s fanbase has increased. (For example, Acchan only got 4,630 votes to take last year’s first place.)

Partial results were released twice during the span of the voting period, which was two weeks, and for both of them, Acchan lead Yuko by a brief margin, but it seems Yuko fans were just waiting for the right time to cast their votes for the surprise win. Either that, or Yuko fans went crazy with buying CD’s at the last minute.

I’m actually a bigger Yuko fan than I am an Acchan fan, but even I preferred Acchan to take the #1 spot over Yuko. In a time where AKB’s popularity is fast increasing, I thought a change in center might be a risk and too much of a change for the group. Possibly, the center would only change for the next single, as is what is promised anyway, but if Acchan’s speech was accurate, then the one who ranked #1 is actually pushed as the #1 girl all through out the year. We wouldn’t know that until we see if Yuko gets center position the rest of the year since Acchan was center even before the 1st Senbatsu elections. Acchan’s speech was very humble, how she felt that she didn’t meet the expectations of being the #1 girl last year, but she will continue fighting to get more votes. When Maeda was making her speech, I was concerned that she might announce her graduation. I don’t want Acchan to graduate yet, but if she wanted to, this would have been a great time to, to fully pass the center position to Yuko. Acchan has a lot of things going for her outside AKB, although I believe AKB is still the most important factor of her popularity. I don’t think it would be good for Acchan’s career to quit AKB right now, but the timing would have made sense, but I was relieved that she didn’t announce her graduation yet.

Yuko fans have much to rejoice about! The crazy, cute girl finally gets to become center of AKB48, if not for just one single, then a whole year. For any conspiracy theorists out there, don’t think there’s much rivalry between Yuko and Acchan on a personal level, they are actually good friends.

I was a bit saddened by the fact that my favorite AKB girl, Mayu Watanabe, dropped a spot from last year’s #4 to this year’s #5. The reason why I chose Mayuyu to become my #1 Oshimen was precisely the Senbatsu elections. When I was trying to decide who my #1 favorite girl is, I thought, if I could vote for the first Senbatsu elections, or if there would be another one (and as it turned out there would be), who would I vote for, and I decided the girl I couldn’t let cry if her rank went down because I didn’t vote for her was Mayu. So this time I could vote, I did vote for her. And she still ranked lower. At least it was only one spot, and since it was Tomochin who beat her, I find it acceptable. I was surprised about Mayu’s speech, how she said the CG Revolution would be put on hold this year, (CG = Mayu, CG Revolution was what she used in her appeal video), apparently, CG Revolution meant she wanted to be #1. She really seemed serious about being sad about not being #1; I thought she was fine with just ranking really high. Originally, I was thinking, if I had a lot of votes, I would cast some for her, and the rest for Nacchan, since Nacchan needs it more than Yukirin or Tomochin, for example, but because of Mayu’s hopes, if ever I get more votes next year, all my votes will be going to Mayuyu! Mayuyu for #1! And I was actually thinking all this time, if there really is only one girl that can replace Acchan as the center of AKB, it is Mayuyu. And since Acchan has been dethroned this year, it makes the election for the #1 spot next year more exciting! Mayuyu may really have a shot at being #1, if not next year, then eventually!

It’s also interesting that the Skirt Hirari top 7 remained the same. At first, I thought the Skirt Hirari 7 was something I made up, since I noticed that it was always the top 7 in the Senbatsu elections who performed Skirt Hirari in the big concerts, but when Haruna Kojima remarked that she was glad she remained in the Skirt Hirari 7, I said, wow, the Skirt Hirari 7 does exist. Haruna mentioned that she prepared a speech to being #10, since that was her rank in the first partial result, (although she was #7 is the second partials) but I’m glad Haruna stayed in the Skirt Hirari 7, and am happy that they remain the same.

Tomochin outranked Mayu, Takamina and Haruna (all three ranked one spot lower because of Tomochin), from last year’s #7 to this year’s #4, and since she’s my second favorite, I’m happy for her too.

If anyone was replacing someone in the Skirt Hirari 7, I thought it would be Yukirin over Kojima, but I’m glad Yuki made it one spot higher this year to #8.

I’m very happy that Jurina Matsui this time made it to the top 10! I was disappointed she was only #19 last year, and from the first and second partials, Jurina only ranked #18 and #15, so I’m very happy with Jurina’s high rank this year. Also, I’m glad Jurina beat Rena! Don’t get me wrong, Rena is one of my favorites too, but I just love Jurina much more, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Rena outranking Jurina and possibly replacing Jurina as the center of SKE. Jurina should stay the center, and when Rena was finally announced before Jurina, I thought there is order in the world! (Little did I know the shocking revelation between rank #1 and #2.) Since Rena is #11, she also is in the media Senbatsu, the top 12 which would be used for media appearances. Rena’s victory is also very remarkable, from a #29 Undergirl to this year’s #11 Senbatsu. Rena predictably did very well this year. The Jurina-Rena match up was close too, Jurina beat Rena by only 86 votes.

Sae and Tomo~mi did predictably well too, Sae climbed from #14 to #9 this year, while Tomo~mi stays in the media senbatsu by dropping only 2 spots to #12. No big news on Mariko, she stayed at #3, which was also predictable.

Besides the media 12, we still have the 9 other Senbatsus.

One of the biggest news for me was Harugon finally made Senbatsu! For the first time in her career, she becomes Senbatsu, and through fan votes, no less, following in the footsteps of “big sis” CinDy. Hooray for Harugon. Only Harugon (#20) was the Senbatsu I didn’t predict would make it (, I was able to predict non-Senbatsu from the last elections Sasshi (#19) and Rena, and even Akicha, would make it. Really glad those three made it, and I was very pleased Aki made it all the way to #13; she’s one of my favorites too.

Sayaka also made Senbatsu, yay! In the partial results, Sayaka ranked in the lowest Senbatsu rank at #21, and at the first partials was even tied to last year’s Senbatsu Lovetan, but I’m glad Sayaka went up to #17 to stay Senbatsu. This is five spots lower than last year’s, but I’m relieved she made it.

Miichan was happy to rank higher, from #16 to this year’s #14, and I was happy as well for her, but Erepyon ranked lower, from #11 to #15. I don’t mind, as long as she made Senbatsu I was happy for her.  Kitarie dropped from #13 to #16, last year’s miracle girl Amina dropped from #8 to #18, while Myao dropped from #18 to #21, all three were former Kenkyuuseis.

My predictions (again here: were pretty good for the Senbatsus, except for Harugon, which was a pleasant surprise, I got them right; I even suggested Yuko could possibly beat Acchan, and I was right that Lovetan and Mocchi would have a hard time retaining their Senbatsu status, as they dropped to the top 2 Undergirls. It’s interesting that Harugon is now more popular than Lovetan (even Sasshi is, although I predicted that, I mention Sasshi because of her Sashiharasment stunts on Lovetan), but at least this should mean Lovetan will center the Undergirls. The drop was disappointing for Mocchi, but at least there’s next year.

The Undergirls were very hard to predict. I got Nacchan, Yuttan, Yonechan, Haachan, Natsumi right, although the last three ranked low, eventhough they were Undergirls last year. (Although I really wanted Nacchan to make Senbatsu this time.) I also predicted Moeno, Umechan, and Kumi, but I was surprised Kumi only ranked #38, I thought she would have ranked much higher, although I’m relieved she made it in after her name disappeared in the second partials when her name was there in the first. I picked Harugon to be an Undergirl, but was glad she made Senbatsu instead. I’m disappointed Nacchi didn’t make it, and her name never appeared in the partials. Nacchi is one of my favorites and deserves more support. I thought Ayaka Kikuchi would make it, and she even ranked in both partials, but I wasn’t very surprised she didn’t make it. Another big surprise to me was that Team KII center Manatsu Mukaida didn’t make it, and her name never ranked in the partials either, but instead it’s Akane Takanayage, who would be the only KII girl who would make it in. I’m as interested in this Akane-Manatsu development as I am the Yuko-Acchan one. Who will center KII on their 3rd stage? This is smaller scale so they could easily make changes so I’m very curious who SKE management would now focus on. AKB might not change their face after the next single, but what about KII? It seems order was only maintained with Team S.

I also guessed that Komori and Reinyan would make Undergirls, and I’m very happy for Reinyan, but I guessed wrong on Maachan, Chikarina and Krisu. I predicted Nakayan and Tanamin would be the only original members of their original teams who wouldn’t make it, but they are joined by Nacchi, and Maachan, and I almost forgot about dear Kana. I hope Nacchi doesn’t decide to graduate yet because of this as I predicted she might be the next to graduate.

Big surprise was Team S’ Oya Masana ranking high at #23. I knew she was getting a lot of push from SKE Management, but I didn’t expect her to beat Kumi by so much. Haruka Ishida was another surprise for me, I didn’t know she was that popular, but I guess she is, ranking up at #27. I thought none of the Kenkyuuseis would make it again this year, so I’m surprised three made it, but I’m glad it’s my favorite current Kenkyuusei Haruka Shimazaki who topped them, ranking high at #28. If there were only 9 Undergirls again, she would be the first and only Kenkyuusei to make it, but as is, she is also joined by Suzuran Yamauchi (#36) and Atsuki Ishiguro (#40). Lastly, I like Sumire Sato, but I didn’t expect her to rank well at #31.

Here are some stats:
Team name (number of members in Senbatsu, number of members in Undergirls
Team A (7, 4)
Team K (6, 4)
Team B (6, 5)
Team S (2, 2)
Team KII (0, 1)
Team Kenkyuusei (0,3)

My top ten biggest winners of the 2nd Senbatsu election, in order of degree of success (in my opinion):

#1 Yuko Oshima (for beating Acchan and becoming #1)
#2 Jurina Matsui (for making it to #10 this year, and remaining the top SKE girl even if the partials suggested Rena would beat her)
#3 Rena Matsui (for being elected as media Senbatsu and ranking high at #11 from last year’s #29)
#4 Haruka Nakagawa (for making Senbatsu for the first time in her career)
#5 Akane Takayanagi (for being the first and only KII girl elected as Undergirl)
#6 Aki Takajo (for ranking #13 despite being and Undergirl at #23 last year)
#7 Rino Sashihara (for being elected Senbatsu despite ranking #27 as last year’s Undergirl)
#8 Haruka Shimazaki (for being the top Kenkyuusei, ranking high as an Undergirl at #28)
#9 Tomomi Itano (for beating 3 of the Skirt Hirari 7 to be #4 from last year’s #7)
#10 Sayaka Akimoto (for staying Senbatsu at #17 despite ranking #21 from the first two partial results)

I don’t want to call anyone losers, but I believe there is most disappointment (meaning they are disappointed in themselves, not others are disappointed in them) in Atsuko Maeda, for ranking only #2 and being dethroned by Yuko for the first time, and Natsuki Sato, even Manami Oku, Sayaka Nakaya, and Miku Tanabe, for being in the organization for so long and be beaten by even Kenkyuuseis, and Manatsu Mukaida, for not making it, but having another KII girl, Akane, make it, perhaps putting Mukaida’s position as center of KII in jeopardy. Lovetan and Mocchi might be disappointed in their positions as Undergirls as they dropped two spots each from being last year’s Senbatsus. Girls who expressed disappointment from ranking lower than last year include Nacchan, Yonechan, Myao and Amina, but I’m just glad they hung on. I also hoped Kumi would rank much, much higher.

It should be interesting what happens now. I really don’t think there will be consequences as a result, like I don’t think their sales will drop or they will lose fans, but I’m most curious about how AKB Management will deal with the current results. We know what will happen with the next single as that is what this election is all about, but what about the single after that? Will Yuko be center for a year instead of Acchan? Will Akane be center of KII instead of Manatsu? Will Harugon get a lot more push?

We have to remember that although Amina ranked very high last year at #8, this didn’t mean she got more push than the girls who ranked lower than her. AKB Management gave us control of who would be Senbatsu and Undergirls for one single. And that’s all they promised. After that, AKB Management gets to decide again, so it should be interesting to see if any changes will take place after the next single because of the results of these elections.