Thursday, June 9, 2011

Acchan Regains Her Throne! Maeda Atsuko Elected #1 in 3rd Senbatsu Elections! Plus More Surprising Results!

The insanity that is the 3rd Senbatsu elections has just ended, and at its close we find Maeda Atsuko taking back the #1 position as AKB's center!

In one of AKB's most exciting annual events, where [purchasing] fans are able to vote, #1 girl from the 1st elections, Maeda Atsuko, after losing the #1 spot to Yuko Oshima in the 2nd elections, regains her #1 spot this 3rd election by getting 139,892 votes, 17,049 votes higher than Yuko's. I was so concerned that because Maeda has been really busy the past months, with TV shows and movies, that if her rank dropped this year, she would already announce her graduation, but by retaking her throne, I think Maeda should stick around some more. It's too early for her to leave AKB.

There is nothing to smirk at Yuko's results, she got four times more votes than she did last year, as she keeps the position she had in the 1st elections at #2. I think it was great for AKB that Yuko got to take away the #1 position from Maeda for the second elections, but I think it's also great that Maeda gets to take it back this year. Now that that has happened, and it has been shown that they can beat each other, next year should be fair game for everyone!

A huge but pleasant surprise is Yuki Kashiwagi's huge rise in rank, from skirting at the edges of the Skirt Hirari 7 at #8, she goes all the way up to #3! I'm not necessarily very happy that she beat Mayuyu, my oshimen, to become Team B's most popular girl (not that Mayu would mind since she loves Yuki), but since Yukirin is my third favorite girl, hey, if you're going to beat Mayu, you might as well beat everyone else! Yuki's new subunit "French Kiss" probably helped push her some more, but her popularity has been there ever since, so in a way, it's not that surprising she reached #3 this year. I'm hoping she takes #1 next year! Go Yukirin!

Mariko Shinoda is still staying strong, eventhough she drops a rank to #4 thanks to Yukirin. Mayu Watanabe stays with her rank from last year at #5, although I was hoping she would rank higher, I'm glad she at least stayed at #5 and didn't drop a rank. Thinking she would drop out of last year's Skirt Hirari 7, Haruna Kojima actually gains a rank this year by going to #6, as she trades places with fellow AKB original member and No3b's member Minami Takahashi who ranks one spot lower at #7.

The big surprise here is that it was Tomomi Itano who got booted out of Skirt Hirari 7 by dropping from last year's huge leap to #3 to this year's #8. Tomochin had a very successful solo single this year, so I was thinking and even hoping that she would increase in rank, and although I had felt that if anyone would finally break up the Skirt Hirari 7 from the last 2 years, it would be Yukirin who would be able to get in, I did not think at all that it would be Tomochin whom she would replace. Either way, #8 is nothing to scoff at, it's not like she lost votes, her votes more than doubled from last year, there are just way more voters this year than last year, and she has next year to start making waves and go back to Skirt Hirari 7. Although being media senbatsu is hardly something to be sad over.

Another huge leap this year is the girl that I identified would be the girl to watch out for this year; Rino Sashihara leapt from last year's #19, to this year's #9. She's climbing up the ladder, starting as Undergirl in the 1st elections, to Senbatsu in the 2nd, and now Media Senbatsu in the 3rd, the adorable, cute, funny and very entertaining Sasshi is the top former Kenkyuusei in AKB. Her own TV show Sashiko no Kuseni, and her new unit Not Yet probably helped, but really, Sasshi was pretty much destined to climb the AKB ladder, with her charming and very entertaining personality to her very attractive, girl next door looks. When her name wasn't called for a long time, I was already thinking what if Sasshi made it all the way to Skirt Hirari 7 this year?! Maybe next year!

Rena Matsui finally beats her friend Jurina Matsui as the top SKE girl, rising a rank to #10, and being the only non-AKB girl in the media senbatsu. Rena has proven to be a force to be reckoned with, originating from less-pushed beginnings, making a statement that it's not just management push that determines your popularity.

Handsome girl Sae Miyazawa drops 2 ranks to #11, but stays in Media Senbatsu. Aki Takajo is also a rising former Kenkyuusei, like Sasshi; they were both Undergirls in the 1st elections, to Senbatsu in the 2nd, to Media Senbatsu this year. Akicha gains a rank to reach #12 this year. It's worth noting that Akicha's votes, qualifying her as the last at Media Senbatsu this year, is almost as much as the votes of last year #1 ranked Yuko Oshima got from that year's elections, at more than 30,000.

Rie Kitahara would be the 3rd highest ranking former Kenkyuusei. She gained 3 spots this year to end up at #13. Former SKE topgirl Jurina Matsui falls four spots as she drops out of Media Senbatsu to #14 (much to my sadness as she is my SKE oshi). Minami Minegishi stays put in Senbatsu eventhough she falls one rank to #15, while Tomomi Kasai also falls out of Media Senbatsu from its edge at #12 to this year's #16. TomoTomo surprisingly suffered from this election, but don't count that duo out, they can come back next year.

Sayaka Akimoto stays at Senbatsu at the same rank, #17, much to my delight, and I thank everyone who voted for her for continually supporting her. Sayaka Fighting!!!

The 1st election's big surprise, Amina Sato stays put as Senbatsu this year also at the same rank, #18, proving to her detractors that her rank is not a fluke.

Constantly pushed new girl Yui Yokoyama proves she deserved the push by debuting in the elections as Senbatsu at #19. Yui has a prominent role in the second season of the AKB drama Majisuka Gakuen and being included in the unit Not Yet were just some of the push she received in her first year in AKB, and the pretty girl is showing that she does not disappoint.

From last year, it could be determined that there would at least be one new Senbatsu this year, because of Erena Ono's graduation last year, but apart from Yui, Team K original member (now Team B) Yuka Masuda leaves Undergirl status (as she did recently with Everyday, Katyusha) as she rises five spots this year to make it to Senbatsu at #20. Go Yuttan!

Asuka Kuramochi jumps back to Senbatsu as she ranks 2 spots higher as she dropped from Senbatsu to Undergirl last elections. Mocchi is the last Senbatsu at #21.

Centering the Undergirls this year with a 10 spot jump in rank to #22 is Ayaka Umeda! I love Mocchi, but it would have been awsum for Umechan if she had made it to Senbatsu this elections! Center of Undergirls is great though!

Another leap in rank, Akane Takayanagi, the sole KII girl to rank in the elections last year, jumps 12 spots to #23. The very lovable KII leader is still the most popular girl in KII, and personally, I was actually hoping for her to jump so high that she reaches Senbatsu! She could be the first KII girl to become AKB Senbatsu! Maybe next year! Go Churi!

After a successful bid in last year's election to become Senbatsu for the first time in her career, Haruka Nakagawa falls to Undergirl by losing 4 spots to #24. I'm still happy for Harugon, #24 is very high for a group of about 200 girls, and she deserves to rank high. Fellow Watarirouka Hashiritai member Aika Oota slips a little more by dropping 3 spots to #25. From Senbatsu in the 1st elections, to center of Undergirls in the 2nd, I hope Lovetan is not getting discouraged as #25 is still a very high rank. Right after them is their Watarirouka Hashiritai leader Natsumi Hirajima who stays at #26 for the 3rd straight year. I wanted to see Nacchan in Senbatsu, but staying at a high #26 is already very good.

Miho Miyazaki finally drops out of Senbatsu, falling 6 spots to #27. Although her rank has been dropping, #27 out of around 200 is certainly not bad.

New group NMB48's center Sayaka Yamamoto debuts in the elections as Undergirl at #28. After being one of the lowly members of AKB, Oya Shizuka enters the rankings this year at #29, with the Shuukan AKB special episodes about her probably helping. Oya Masana, Team S' #3 girl drops 5 spots to #30 to stay at Undergirls. Nito Moeno loses 2 spots to become #31 and stay at Undergirls. Mika Komori also loses 2 spots to #32, at Undergirls.

Sawako Hata becomes the 2nd KII girl to rank in the elections, debuting at #33. She probably gained even more fans after topping the quiz at Shuukan AKB (which has always so far been topped by an SKE girl) where her shyness prompted the show to do a special on her.

Sumire Sato drops 3 spots to #34. Suuchan is still one of the most popular girls of her generation at that rank though.

9th Gen Mina Oba of newly created Team 4 debuts in the election as Undergirl at #35. The 9th Gen girls are great, and although I wouldn't have thought that she would be the highest ranking girl in 9th Gen, I do love watching Minarun, as I think she is a very interesting and attractive girl.

Becoming Team S' #4 girl, Akari Suda debuts in the election as Undergirl at #36. From someone I thought was a quiet girl beside Yukiko Kinoshita (who was promoted to Team S the same time as her), Akarin kept growing more and more beautiful! I have become one of her fans so I am very glad that she was voted in this year.

While fans were wondering if she would make it in last year, Ami Maeda debuts in the election rankings this year at #37. Also debuting is Sakiko Matsui, at #38, as the hard working pianist's efforts pay off.

Debuting at #39 is the second Team 4 member to make it, top girl from 10th gen and newly promoted Miori Ichikawa. I wasn't sure if she could actually make it in this year, but it seems her popularity is more than hype as she is here to stay. She is adorable, after all.

Rounding up the rankings at #40 is Reina Fujie, who drops 7 spots but stays on at Undergirls. I'm very glad that the very beautiful Reinyan stays on as I adore her.

Sadly, this year, after 2 straight elections, Natsumi Matsubara, Rumi Yonezawa and Haruka Katayama drops out of Undergirls. After ranking well at #27 last year, Haruka Ishida also drops out. Very sadly for me, formerly #3 girl of SKE, Kumi Yagami disappears from the rankings. Although Jurina is my SKE oshi, even her position in my heart is in danger when it comes to Kumi. That's how much I love Kumi. So when the announcement for Undergirls ended and Kumi's name wasn't called, and I really didn't think Kumi would make it to Senbatsu, I was very much disheartened about Kumi. Kumi is still one of my top favorites, and I hope her popularity increases in coming days. Darling Kumi should be one of AKB's top girls.

Another one of my favorites that dropped out was last year's top ranking Kenkyuusei Haruka Shimazaki. Ranking as high as #28, Paruru's push became less and less, possibly because she didn't need it as much, possibly because she was more shy and was less able to speak as well on the mic as her fellow 9th Gen teammates. Her lack of exposure possibly hurt her popularity a lot. I hope this beautiful girl gets more popularity and exposure in the near future. I'm always happy to see her. Fellow 9th Gen Suzuran Yamauchi drops out of the rankings with her.

I'm very happy at the success of the girls, but I was hoping that my KII oshi Anna Ishida would make it in the rankings. As last year, KII center Manatsu Mukaida is absent from the ranking, and unfortunately, none of new Team E made it in this year, not center Kimoto Kanon, nor another E favorite of mine, Kyoka Isohara. Oh, and if there was only room for more Team 4 members! Including my favorite from 10th Gen, Shiori Nakamata! Oh well, when you have so many girls in the AKB family, they can't all be in the top 40.

I'm hoping they shake things up a bit next year. For example, if they made it less than 40 (like top 18 will be Senbatsu, and 19-30 would be Undergirls) it would really shake things up. I know that seems to be counter a growing group, but I think that would make things interesting!

Biggest winners this year were Atsuko Maeda, for reclaiming her throne, a true drama with a great ending, (because even if Yuko lost the throne, it was nice that she would be giving it back to someone she already beat anyway), Yuki Kashiwagi, with her big leap to #3, Rino Sashihara for her 10 spot leap to media senbatsu, Aki Takajo, for making it to media senbatsu, Rena Matsui, for beating Jurina, becoming the top SKE girl, staying in media senbatsu and gaining rank, Sayaka Akimoto and Amina Sato, for hanging tight and proving their popularity, Yui Yokoyama, for proving she deserved her push, Yuka Masuda, for jumping up to Senbatsu, Asuka Kuramochi, for jumping back to Senbatsu, Ayaka Umeda for her jump up to become center of Undergirls, Akane Takayanagi for increasing in popularity, Natsumi Hirajima, for hanging tight to her rank, Sayaka Yamamoto, for proving she deserves to be NMB's center, Oya Shizuka and Sawako Hata, for the leap in popularity, Mina Oba, Akari Suda, and Sakiko Matsui by showing it is their time to shine, and Miori Ichikawa for proving she deserved her push.

Congratulations to the winners! And for those who weren't able to make it this year, we have a whole year to work with, because there is still next year!

(For my summary of the results, view here: