Sunday, June 8, 2014

6th Senbatsu Election Results: Mayuyu Finally Wins #1!!!

It's been a long journey. It was for the 2nd elections when she launched what she called the CG Revolution, and instead, she ranked one rank lower than the 1st elections, from #4 to #5, where she would remain for the 3rd. She would finally get to #2 by the 4th elections after Acchan bowed out of the elections, but what many expected to be a Mayu vs Yuko fight on last year's elections was spoiled by Sasshi as Mayu ranked #3.

Mayu got replaced with Jurina from cocentering Uza with Yuko after she had difficulty with the steps, and some say that management may have given up on the thought of making Mayu the new center of AKB after Acchan and Yuko, especially as she was returned to Team B. And, eventhough the preliminary results haven't often been very telling of the final results, some of us have fairly given up on the idea that Mayu can beat Sasshi this year. To be honest, I was all set on making this writeup about how Sasshi is the first to top the elections for two straight years. Then, they announced ranked #2... is from HKT! Oh my gosh, MAYUYU IS #1!!! Even though she kept her composure for most of the night, just before the announcer announced her name for #1, when the crowd started chanting "Mayuyu!", she started crying. Mayu received around a 50% vote increase this year from last year, from 101,210 to 159,854. I guess us Mayuyu supporters finally woke up and realized if we want Mayuyu to rank #1 this year, we have to do something now.

Mayu Watanabe has been the long-time ace of original Team B, and since Maeda Atsuko, the long-time ace of original Team A, and Yuko Oshima, the long-time ace of original Team K, have taken turns battling it out for the #1 position, it is only fitting that Mayuyu takes her turn at being the face of the new AKB, upon the graduation of Acchan and Yuko.

Ironically, Rino Sashihara was a teammate of Mayuyu in original Team B, joining the Team by their 3rd stage. Don't get me wrong, I love Sasshi. I liked her way back since ori-B, and I like her now that she's in HKT. I like her despite the dumb things she's done with her life, and I did not believe she should have been fired for them, and that her transfer to HKT was enough. I really love HKT and I love what she does for the group and her hosting is one of the biggest reasons I think Hakata Hyakkaten is one of the best AKB shows there has been despite looking relatively low-budget. I think she is very cute, very attractive and is one of the best entertainers in the entire AKB family. Despite all of this I felt that she may not have been the best person to be the face of AKB. I was shocked when she ranked #1 last year, and I wasn't sure why she was voted by the fans as such. I understand that fans may have wanted to show their support to her, that despite her bad decisions, it was the right move to keep her with the family, but so much as to make her #1? Even in HKT48 Tonkotsu Mahou Shoujo Gakuin (episode 3), when asked why she thinks she ranked #1, Sasshi admits that it was probably because of how caring the fans are that they gave her support. Considering her votes this year was less than 8,000 that of last year (which is still a lot since she got 141,954), maybe some of those kind of support votes were no longer cast, although despite this, her hardcore fans were still able to push her as high #2. I can imagine that Sasshi is probably a bit disappointed since many signs suggested that she would still rank #1 this year, cementing her claim to that spot, but #1 last year and #2 this year for someone, who people hardly gave a chance at winning #1 ever and her being the #1 was just the butt of the joke of the very first episode of AKB's Bimyo (Sept. 29, 2011 episode), is already an amazing feat. Continue to do good work, Sasshi!

#3 is Yuki Kashiwagi, in reality a contender to the #1 spot, but would also be considered by many as an amazing feat for her if she could pull it off. Oh, she's also a member of original Team B. (So is it time for my Team B to take over?) I believe all three of Mayuyu, Sasshi and Yukirin are good personal friends. Heck, Sasshi wouldn't dare make fun of them on camera if she wasn't comfortable with them, and many are familiar with how loving the Mayuki combi is.

#4 is also a top contender for the #1 spot as she has been positioned in that spot ever since she debuted, SKE48's Jurina Matsui. I foresee a good fight between Mayu, Sasshi, Yukirin and Jurina next year. The vote difference between the top 4 against everyone else is really high. Jurina is over 90,000, while #5 is less than 70,000. Although votes of #1 and #2 are significantly higher than #3 and #4, that gap can be bridged in one year's time.

#5 is the other Matsui in W Matsui, Rena Matsui, cementing the SKE duo's spot in the Kami 7, being their second straight year in it.

#6 is Sayaka Yamamoto, finally entering Kami 7 as being the first (nonformer-AKB) NMB member to be voted in Kami 7. My only surprise here is why it took her so long as she has the face, the body, the voice, the talent, and the personality to be one of the top girls in AKB.

#7, and last member of Kami 7, locking in her position as one of AKB's top girls is 9th Gen Haruka Shimazaki. Paruru entering Kami 7 should be as remarkable as when Sasshi first entered Kami 7 two years ago, but with the amount of push Paruru has received since she was a Kenkyuusei and the support that is given to her to this day, it was rather expectable that she should rank this high after the graduation of Kami 7 members Acchan, Yuko, Mariko and even her beloved Tomochin. I love Paruru despite her being ponkotsu and (people say) saltiness, so more power to her.

#8 is Kojima Haruna, the first of the last three original AKB members still in AKB. I, as well as most of those who watched it, loved Kojiharu's trollish speech, when she pretty much said, "I, Kojima Haruna, announce my graduation... not!!!" I could certainly understand why Kojima would want to graduate at this point, but I feel AKB still needs their last three original members for a few more years, so you stay right there NyanNyan! Speeches like that are what make Haruna so popular to this day. Of course there are her looks and talent.

Minami Takahashi, AKB's general manager and second of the last three original AKB members still with AKB is holding strong at #9.

#10 is Suda Akari, my pick for breakout star last year. (My pick the year before that was Rino Sashihara, and the year before that was Rena Matsui.) Despite not having as much push as many of the other members, she was able to propel herself into Senbatsu through fan support, and this year she goes as high as #10. One of the top three fishermen of the AKB family (Yukirin and Milky the other two), Dasu gained popularity as someone who can fish your heart once you get to talk to her. Relatively not even one of SKE's top Senbatsus before last year, she has pretty much become a mainstay of AKB Senbatsu starting last year, and her visibility has increased way more as a result. Deservedly so.

#11 is Sakura Miyawaki, my pick for breakout star this year, and is the first nonformer-AKB, HKT48 member to make into Senbatsu. She started out two years ago as the only HKT girl to get elected, and then last year, she was the highest ranking (nonformer-AKB) HKT member when she moved up from Next Girls to Undergirls, and now, she moves a group higher again as she moves to Senbatsu. She has been chosen for AKB Senbatsu before in singles like Uza, Sayonara Crawl and Labrador Retriever, and I am excited at the thought that we will get a mainstay (nonformer-AKB) HKT member in AKB Senbatsu. (Well, she should now be a mainstay.) Sakuratan is my third favorite HKT member, and since she has beaten all current (nonformer-AKB) HKT members for three straight years, I am willing to concede the center position of HKT to her. And her speech about an unnamed rival was epic, particularly when she revealed that the rival she was talking about was Sasshi. (And Sasshi brought her usual awsum humor with a "bring-it-on" face.) Sakura wasn't the first pick to be HKT's center, but now I believe she has earned that spot, and a spot on AKB's mainstay Senbatsu. Sakura is adorable and is so lovable.

#12 is Sae Miyazawa, a familiar face and always voted in as Senbatsu, an original member of Team K and transferee to SNH (yes, concurrent member of SKE, just like Rena is concurrent with Nogizaka, and Sayane and Sakuratan with AKB and Yukirin with NMB... so yeah, lot's of dual memberships, so I'll just mention their first teams.) I am very happy that Sae is reliably still voted in as Senbatsu.

#13 is Yui Yokoyama, another 9th Gen mainstay of Senbatsu as this is her fourth straight year to be elected in Senbatsu, Yuihan has grown from a shy, talented performer to becoming a more "guigui" Team K captain. I believe she is one of the most talented girls in AKB and she deserves to be in Senbatsu.

#14 is Rina Ikoma, the first Nogizaka46 girl to have concurrent membership with AKB. Her first election puts her straight into Senbatsu. What might be interesting is how would the results have been if all members of Nogizaka46 were eligible for the elections.

#15 is Aya Shibata, SKE's rising star, an original member of SKE's Team E; she has also propelled herself from being unranked two years ago, to center of undergirls (#17) last year, into Senbatsu this year. She would have been my pick for breakout star this year or last year if Dasu or Sakuratan hadn't been around.

#16, the last member of Senbatsu is Rina Kawaei, another fresher face who has been pushed by management into the limelight, and has now proven that she deserved that push. She was impressive in one-shot group BKA48, and she certainly is adorable.

One of the highlights of the night was, first, when Anna Iriyama phoned in to give her speech as she ranked at #20 in Undergirls. She was understandably absent as she had been the victim of an attack by an idiot in an official fan event just a week ago, where she incurred some injuries, as believed by some, to protect Rina Kawaei, who was the attacker's target, who stood beside her. Then, when Kawaei ranked #16, people like me expected Ricchan would just phone her speech in as well, as she sustained injuries as well, but she was actually there to the surprise of most to give her speech in person. This is her first time to be elected in Senbatsu so I'm guessing she was told of her rank beforehand and was probably given the choice to attend in person or not, and given that it is such a big moment, even more so with everything that has transpired, she probably opted to receive it in person.

Another big moment was when forever Kenkyuusei Kaori Matsumura ranked in at #17 to become center of Undergirls. There was a chance she could have ended up in Senbatsu but fell a little over 1000 votes, but despite this, perennial underdog making it to center of Undergirls is amazing. Kaotan was my favorite SKE Kenkyuusei before Ryoha Kitagawa came along, so I have been a fan of BBQ for quite some time.

The biggest drop in terms of surprise-factor was probably that of Miyuki Watanabe. After Milky tasted Senbatsu the first time last year at #15, she dropped back to Undergirls this year to #18. What people had hoped that the top two of NMB (again, when I say these things, I avoid including concurrent members or former members of AKB) would become mainstays of AKB Senbatsu may have become less certain. Just when we thought fishermen do well, Dasu even outranks her. This solidifies Sayane's lead on her, but what does this say about NMB now?

It might not be fair to compare NMB with SKE but even if we can compare NMB with HKT, HKT has more or less the same number of girls rank as NMB (depending on whether you count concurrent members or former AKB members or members who have been fully transferred away from their group like Maachun), even though HKT is around one year younger than them (in terms of the existence of the group) and has about half the number of members that NMB has. I feel NMB has the worst promotion among the AKB groups, maybe they aren't terrible, but they aren't as good (again I'm talking about how they are promoted, the group itself is very good), things like they get the worst TV shows (Geinin was excellent though), and though they hadn't had an original stage for so long, HKT still doesn't have one at all. I am happy that my NMB oshi is still NMB's #3, Nana Yamada is at #29, and with other popular girls Fuuko Yagura (#41), Miru Shiroma (#43), Kei Jonishi (#58), Shu Yabushita (#59), Riho Kotani (#61) and Akari Yoshida (#72), but NMB has a lot more darlings that haven't ranked including the likes of Rina Kondo, Jo Eriko, Yuka Kato, and a personal favorite of mine Sae Murase.

Speaking of HKT, my HKT oshi, Haruka Kodama may not have reached Senbatsu (which she said on her blog was her target), but she ranked #21 at Undergirls which is already quite impressive. She is the second highest ranking HKT member (I will not count Sasshi when I say this). Since this is the second straight year she has ranked HKT's second, I hope she gets to center her team again.

Surprisingly, Moriyasu Madoka ranked #25. Her reserved nature was thought to distance herself from fans, but this solidifies that she has her fans's support. Mio Tomonaga outranks her friend Meru Tashima, as dual centers of HKT from their second gen are showing their popularity. The adorable Mio is at Undergirls at #27 while Meru is at Next Girls at #38. Although I love Meru, and I agree that she is like the second coming of Jurina, she is becoming similar to Manatsu Mukaida, although positioned at center and may have all it takes to keep it, is outshined by even older girls. I love Meru though, she is very beautiful and her personality is very entertaining. Ponkotsu and very lovable Team H captain Chihiro Anai ranks at #39, very adorable and excellent dancer Aoi Motomura is at #48 and Natsumi Matsuoka debuts in the ranking along with them at #64.

Aika Ota, original member of Team B, ranked in Senbatsu at the first election, and had slipped to centering Undergirls the next year, to member of Undergirls at #25, to member of Future Girls at #52 by the 4th elections. Her voluntary move to HKT has effectively revitalized her career as she moved to Next Girls at #43 last year to #42 this year. A more mature, but still very cute and entertaining Aika Ota is a treat to watch as Captain of New Team K4.

My second favorite HKT member Anna Murashige finally ranks in at #67, and you know I did "mentaiko" along with her in her speech. Fail "guigui" character works when you're cute.

So many HKT cuties were not ranked including Haruka Wakatabe, Kanna Okada, and personal favorite, half-Filipino Emily Yamashita. Surprising though were lesser pushed Hiroka Komada making it to #79, and Riko Sakaguchi ranking as high as #60, surpassing even Anyan and Nacchan.

Speaking of surprises, this was the first time SKE's Yukiko Kinoshita ever ranked, and she ranked well at Next Girls at #40. Yukko was promoted to Team S along with Suda Akari, and seemed to receive more push than Dasu, but the pair seemed to be in good terms, and Dasu was so happy when Yukko's name was called out. Yukko is a very beautiful half-European girl and is one of the best dancers in SKE. Newly promoted Haruka Futamura also made it as far as #34 to debut in the rankings and lesser pushed Tsugumi Iwanaga debuted at #46 and Mizuho Yamada at #54. SKE old-timer Riho Abiru also debuts at #74 while Miki Yakata makes a comeback, after not ranking last year, at #73

I still love SKE and I am concerned about the ranking about some of the SKE girls. Although still with Undergirls, personal favorite Akane Takayanagi slips from #23 to #31 this year, while her partner Airi Furukawa, after two straight years as Undergirl, slips to Next Girls at #37. The adorable Oya Masana is a perenial Undergirl as she has always been voted in as Undergirl except the first elections, despite not enough push from AKB management. She ranks in at #30. A top favorite of mine, the very cute Kanon Kimoto, slips back to Future Girls at #50 after being Undergirl last year. Another favorite of mine, Madoka Umemoto, after debuting at #39 at Next Girls last year drops down to #68 of Upcoming Girls, along with Saito Makiko, from #42 of Next Girls to #75 of Upcoming Girls, and the very pretty Ami Kobayashi, from #47 of Next Girls to #77 of Upcoming Girls. These ranks aren't so bad though, considering they have over 200 members.

On the other hand, one of my SKE favorites, the adorable Kyoka Isohara, climbs up from debuting at Future Girls last year at #58 to #44 at Next Girls. The very pretty, new girl Nao Furuhata also debuts at #55.

Unfortunately still unranked are so many of my SKE favorites, headlined by one of my top favorites Anna Ishida, and newbie and almost instant favorite Ryoha Kitagawa.

How are the transfers doing, though? Yuria Kizaki is still voted in at Undergirls at #23 after being transferred fully from SKE to AKB, despite the possibility that she could break through to Senbatsu. Aki Takajo, who is back at AKB after her stint at JKT is still at Undergirls at #26. Reina Fujie, a personal favorite, still holding strong all these years, is this year's center of Next Girls at #33, after her transfer from AKB to NMB. Ayaka Umeda, after centering Undergirls during the third elections and reaching Senbatsu the fourth, is down to Next Girls at #35 after captaining Team B and being transferred to NMB. Former AKB now NMB Miori Ichikawa is at #53 Future Girls, rising from #57 last year and #58 the year before that (although #39 her debut year the year before). Mina Oba is at #56 at Future Girls now that she's at SKE from AKB, from #48 Next Girls last year but #57 Future Girls the year before. Now SKE from AKB, Suzuran Yamauchi is at #69 Upcoming Girls, from #61 Future Girls last year and #54 Future Girls before that. My biggest concern regarding the transferees is Mayu Ogasawara, moved from NMB to AKB, who ranked #54 at Future Girls last year while at NMB, but is now at #76 Upcoming Girls. Maachun is my second-favorite NMB oshi (I still call her that even if she's not in NMB anymore) and I was concerned she won't get pushed in crowded AKB unlike in NMB where she was in a very good position. I know AKB probably had good plans for her, but they need to start pushing her soon. Of course, there are transfers who still have not ranked such as the highly entertaining Chiyori Nakanishi from HKT to AKB, who is pretty much in the same boat as Maachun. Sumire Sato, who had always ranked the last four elections while in AKB, is now unranked in her first year with SKE. It could also be argued though that some of those who ranked may not have ranked at all had they not been transferred.

Of course, in AKB themselves, some more success stories include the strikingly beautiful Tomu Muto who was #45 Next Girls last year, and center of Future Girls at #49 the year before that, but now is at Undergirls at #24. Another is a personal favorite, Juri Takahashi who ranks for the very first time at a very high #28 at Undergirls. Quite frankly, when I didn't hear their names get called early, I thought they wouldn't be in the ranking this year, so I was pleasantly surprised when they did get called, hopefully solidifying their slot at Undergirls. Also surprisingly ranking only for the first time is the very beautiful Rena Kato, another personal favorite, at #32 in Undergirls. The three musketeers also make it in the rankings their first year, Mako Kojima is at #36 Next Girls, Nana Okada at #51 Future Girls and Miki Nishino at #62 Future Girls. Yukari Sasaki, the girl that played the fictitious Aimi Eguchi in live events, debuts in the ranking at #47 Next Girls. Saho Iwatate, my current favorite Team 4 member, debuts in the ranking at #66 Upcoming Girls. The young cutie Ryoka Oshima also debuts in the ranking as the last member of the the Upcoming Girls at #80.

Then there are the reliables, Rie Kitahara is still at Undergirls at #19, so is Minami Minegishi, the third of the remaining three originals, at #22. The very cute Yuka Tano solidifies her popularity as she has been with Next Girls for three straight years, first at #45, then at #38, and now back at #45. Misaki Iwasa, former center of Next Girls two elections ago (#33), this time centers Future Girls at #49, after ranking #56, last year.

Asuka Kuramochi drops down to #52 Future Girls this year, from #36 Next Girls last year, from Undergirl the year before that, Senbatsu the year before that, and Undergirl the two years before then. Haruka Ishida joins her at #57 Future Girls, from #46 Next Girls last year, and #50 Future Girls the year before that. Mariya Nagao will be centering an original song for the first time as she centers the new Upcoming Girls, at #65. She was #35 Next Girls last year and #39 Next Girls the year before that. Ami Maeda is at #70 Upcoming Girls, from #53 Future Girls last year, #42 Next Girls the year before that, and #37 Undergirls the year before that. Miho Miyazaki returns to the rankings at #78 Upcoming Girls, after dropping out of the rankings the last year, #38 Next Girls the year before that, #27 Undergirls the year before that, and Senbatsu during the second elections.

Oh, and another of the biggest moments of the night, was when Miku Tanabe made it into the rankings! She ranked at #71 Upcoming Girls. Miku Tanabe is the last original member of either Team A, K or B remaining with AKB that has not yet ranked and I have been imploring her fans to support her for years. I was so happy to hear her name called out.

Again, remember that there are over 200 members currently, so even ranking #80 is a big deal. With so many members, and so many favorites, it's easy to understand that not all of them can rank.

Over 2,000,000 votes cast (from paying fans, like official members, subscribers, cd buyers), this now highly anticipated event has concluded and the question has now been answered, will Sasshi retain the title, will Mayuyu finally beat her, or will there be another surprise dark horse to take the title. In the end, Mayuyu is now the Queen of AKB (well, it said so on the cape they gave her), and I must say, as a Mayuyu oshi, it didn't just feel like Mayuyu is #1, it felt like Mayuyu and all of us fans of her were #1.

By the way, here are links to my post on my news blog about the results, and my thoughts on the previous elections:


  1. Fellow PH akb fan here! A bit off topic but have you tried buying CDs from cdjapan or somewhere else to vote for the SSK? Did it arrive on time?

    1. Hi there fellow Pinoy! Yes I do order from CDJapan, and the CD's do arrive in time for me to use the voting tickets for the elections (both senbatsu and request hour), although I personally use EMS shipping (available when you select method of delivery). Although it costs some hundred pesos more, it assures me that I get it and it arrives fast (like around a week), although I can usually only track it online until it arrives in the country, and no further than that. Other reminders: use an address that is easy to find (I use my work address) and don't order it with too much weird stuff, it might get held at customs where you have to get it yourself and pay extra. If it only has CD's, DVD's, magazines and the like, it should be fine. And don't have it shipped with something that will get released at a later date, have it shipped separately or with stuff released before it. Hope this helps!

    2. Good to know! Tnx man. Glad to know there's another akb ph fan. We're really numbered lol. Hit me up at stage48 if you wanna chat, new user Yukirin9. Tnx again for the info!

    3. Sure thing, will hit you up at S48, I'm over there too as Silver Rain so you can also message me first. Let's do what we can to spread the fandom and support our AKB girls!