Future Girls

AKB 32nd Single Future Girls

64 Nakanishi Yuka SKE48 Team S
63 Kaneko Shiori SKE48 Team E
62 Hirajima Natsumi Graduated AKB48
61 Yamauchi Suzuran AKB48 Team B
60 Matsui Sakiko AKB48 Team A
59 Tomonaga Mio HKT48 Kenkyuusei
58 Isohara Kyoka SKE48 Team S
57 Ichikawa Miori AKB48 Team B (Team N Conc)
56 Iwasa Misaki AKB48 Team B
55 Tashima Meru HKT48 Kenkyuusei
54 Ogasawara Mayu NMB48 Team N
53 Maeda Ami AKB48 Team K
52 Sato Sumire AKB48 Team A
51 Kikuchi Ayaka AKB48 Team A
50 Yoshida Akari NMB48 Team N
49 Yabushita Shu NMB48 Team BII

Next Girls

AKB 32nd Single Next Girls

48 Oba Mina AKB48 Team B (Team KII Conc)
47 Kobayashi Ami SKE48 Team KII
46 Ishida Haruka AKB48 Team B
45 Mutou Tomu AKB48 Team A
44 Yagura Fuuko NMB48 Team M (Team A Conc)
43 Ota Aika HKT48 Team H
42 Saito Makiko SKE48 Team S
41 Matsumoto Rina SKE48 Team KII
40 Jonishi Kei NMB48 Team N
39 Umemoto Madoka SKE48 Team E
38 Tano Yuuka AKB48 Team A
37 Kodama Haruka HKT48 Team H (Team A Conc)
36 Kuramochi Asuka AKB48 Team K
35 Nagao mariya AKB48 Team K
34 Katayama Haruka AKB48 Team B
33 Sato Amina AKB48 Team K

Undergirls

AKB 32nd Single Undergirls

32 Fujie Reina AKB48 Team B
31 Kimoto Kanon SKE48 Team E
30 Iriyama Anna AKB48 Team A
29 Oya Masana SKE48 Team S
28 Yamada Nana NMB48 Team M
27 Furukawa Airi SKE48 Team KII
26 Miyawaki Sakura HKT48 Team H
25 Kawaei Rina AKB48 Team A
24 Matsumura Kaori SKE48 Kenkyuusei
23 Takayanagi Akane SKE48 Team KII
22 Kizaki Yuria SKE48 Team S
21 Kitahara Rie AKB48 Team K
20 Takajo Aki JKT48 Team J (Team B Conc)
19 Umeda Ayaka AKB48 Team B
18 Minegishi Minami AKB48 Kenkyuusei
17 Shibata Aya SKE48 Team KII

Senbatsu

AKB 32nd Single Senbatsu

16 Suda Akari SKE48 Team KII
15 Watanabe Miyuki NMB48 Team N (Team B Conc)
14 Yamamoto Sayaka NMB48 Team N
13 Yokoyama Yui AKB48 Team A
12 Shimazaki Haruka AKB48 Team B
11 Itano Tomomi AKB48 Team K
10 Miyazawa Sae SNH48 (Team K Conc)
09 Kojima Haruna AKB48 Team B
08 Takahashi Minami AKB48 Team A
07 Matsui Rena SKE48 Team E
06 Matsui Jurina SKE48 Team S
05 Shinoda Mariko AKB48 Team A
04 Kashiwagi Yuki AKB48 Team B
03 Watanabe Mayu AKB48 Team A
02 Oshima Yuko AKB48 Team K
01 Sashihara Rino HKT48 Team H

Announcements

  • Miyazawa Sae refuses to report to AKB48’s Team K and decides to stay with SNH48.
  • Shinoda Mariko announced her graduation from AKB48 with the concert at Fukuoka Dome as her requested final peformance.

Thoughts…

On June 8, 2013 AKB48 held their 5th general election for their 32nd single. It was also the first time we at Selective Hearing held an open viewing party on Skype. To be honest I did not expect anyone but the regulars to reply. But we did get a good mix of regular panel members and first-timers from the SH community and it was a blast.

With that said, on the behalf of myself and the Selective Hearing staff we would like to thank those who were able to make it into the call. If you asked to be in the call and we could not reach you because of technical difficulties or it was too damn early in the morning, hopefully we can catch you the next time.

Before I go on to the post election analysis I would like to address something that bothers me and that is idol fans passing the opportunity to watch this event. I understand that some of you out there who are not AKB fans may think of the election as a glorified popularity contest (which it is) meant to fleece fans out of their money (also true); but it’s also very entertaining.

To see people on my various social media feeds so easily dismiss this event because it’s associated with AKB is very narrow minded.  If you are a disenfranchised AKB fan then perhaps you are excused as you have already been through the wringer. I know I have a few on my social media networks who are like that, but most on my feed were fans of Hello! Project who choose not to even attempt to gain an understanding of the event and why people were excited to stay up in stupid hours of the morning to watch live.

In our Skype watching party we had a few people who were new to the AKB experience and it was great to hear their reactions to the spectacle of the election. I admire those people for having the cojones to step out of whatever their comfort zone is to join us, openly ask questions and at least gain an understanding of this particular event.

Who I do not respect are those who choose not to watch and yet still talk shit about these types of events calling them stupid or a waste of time and making dumb comments about the major news items (i.e. graduation announcements) that come out of these programs. I believe that those of you who are of this mindset have no right to talk trash about something you refuse to gain knowledge about.

So perhaps next time there is an event and it is streamed (not all of them are after all) try to join a viewing party, leave your prejudices at the door and at least make an attempt to watch. Who knows? The worst that can happen is that you actually end up expanding your idol horizons beyond whatever bubble you choose to encapsulate yourself in.

Analysis

Let’s get to the actual election itself. To say this was an odd set of results is an understatement. It has been a weird year for the AKS organization so while this was not completely unexpected there were many surprises that made this more than the predictable snooze fest of the past couple of years.

In all 30 AKB members ranked, followed by 17 SKE, 8 NMB and 1 each from JKT, SNH and the graduated group of members. The strong showing of SKE (especially in the Undergirls) is starting to show that last year was certainly not a fluke.

The overall result prompted one of our panel members to state, “AKB48 is my favorite sister group in AKS.” Think about that one and you’ll get it.

Future Girls

Hirajima Natsumi

Early surprises were the rankings of Hirajima Natsumi and Iwasa Misaki into the Future Girls. Hirajma was expected to rank somewhere and while it was kind of lofty to expect her usual spot of 26, she did get the reverse of 62. So same thing right? But in general this was an early feel good moment.

Iwasa Misaki

Iwasa Misaki took a huge drop in rank from 33 to 56. For what reason? Who knows? She seemed to be in a good position to level up with her faux enka singles and such. She did not look too pleased to be called early in the proceedings.

Next Girls

Jonishi Kei

Kodama Haruka

Moving on to the Next Girls Jonishi Kei and Kodama Haruka finally ranked while Kuramochi Asuka and Sato Amina fell out of the Undergirls. This group was a mix of happy and sad. One one hand it’s great to have Jonishi Kei and Kodama Haruka somewhere in the top 64.

Kuramochi Asuka

On the other hand it sucks to see Kuramochi Asuka drop from 22 to 36. She seems to be in the middle of a push with her single being recently released so it’s strange to see her fall down the pecking order. Sato Amina also dropping was disappointing but there is a silver lining.

Sato Amina

With Amina being the center of the Next Girls hopefully their video will tell epic tale of the turkey leg. You all know that would be the best AKB video ever if it’s made into a drama version.

Undergirls

Kitahara Rie

As mentioned previously SKE48 once again dominated the Undergirls. The shock in this group is that they were joined by Kitahara Rie who dropped from 13 to 21. As it was stated one of our staff’s Twitter accounts:

 

But hey, Kitahara was pretty much almost a full-fledged SKE member anyway so let’s put a positive spin on this and say she continued the SKE dominance.

Miyawaki Sakura

Kawaei Rina

Miyawaki Sakura ranking was probably about the cutest thing ever and if you were not moved by her cuteness you have no soul. It was also great to see the local bakajo Kawei Rina hit Top 32 status. Do her friends Haste and Waste get some credit for her rank as well?

I expected Takajo Aki to rank significantly lower than she did. After all, she appeared to have a poor attitude about being deported to Jakarta with Nakagawa Haruka. But she seemed rather happy and did not have the “I’m gonna kill you bitches & quit!” look on her face.

Takajo Aki

Happy Takajo is much more appealing than bitchy Takajo.

Umeda Ayaka

Of course it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows as Umeda Ayaka dropped out of the Senbatsu going from 16 to 19. It’s not a huge drop but with all the competition this year she was the one marked by many pundits to have a hard time stay within the top 16 and unfortunately that was the case.

Minegishi Minami

The last thing to mention in regards to this group of members is Minegishi Minami. First she showed up without the bad wigs so that is good. Although I read many differing opinions on her haircut, I thought she looked pretty nice.

Sure her hair hasn’t quite grown out evenly yet but at least she’s back to having some on top of her head. Second, fans seem to be rather forgiving in regards to her scandal. I’m sure more than a few of you out there felt that she would have dropped further down the list. Going down 3 spots isn’t exactly going down to the depths of despair is it?

Senbatsu

At this point in the program nothing was guaranteed as it usually is. Normally one could start calling out which members would take up these spots with about 80% – 90% accuracy within 1 or 2 spots. This time? Well it wasn’t so easy due to the unpredictable nature of the voting.

Suda Akari

Suda Akari 02

The top 16 started with someone few expected to rank this high, Suda Akari from SKE48. A sign of things to come or just am anomaly? At first it felt like an anomaly as the world went back to normal with NMB48’s top 2 entering the Senbatsu as it was destined to be by the idol gods. The question was who would rank higher? The winner ended up being Yamamoto Sayaka with an approximately 7000 vote margin.

Yokoyama Yui

Yokoyama Yui 02

Yokoyama Yui 03

Then Yokoyama Yui was announced with her expected freak out needing assistance to get down the stairs to the main stage area. Unfortunately she was more composed this year without the signature unintentional hilarity that her acceptance speeches are. A small disappointment but it’s all good.

My personal hopes were dashed when Shimazaki Haruka was announced at #12. No Paruru going Center Nova. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. It was interesting watching her after she took her place in the Senbatsu seats. She was sitting there with a dead stare and no movement during the rest of the announcements. Either she was in shock or her low batteries put her into power saver mode?

Itano Tomomi

Itano Tomomi did not get power voted into the Kami 7 and her final ranking dropped her further down the list from 8 to 11. So no power voting by Tomochin fans or just no fucks given because she’s leaving? Either way she had the same expression as last year, disappointment and dissatisfaction.

Miyazawa Sae

Speaking of that let’s talk about Miyazawa Sae who came on stage with an angry look on her face announcing that she will not go back to Team K and instead will stay with SNH48. This is understandable as she wanted to make SNH as viable as the other international sister groups and the plug got pulled before she could accomplish that. Whether this is career suicide or some sort of personal mission, there is a lot of mixed reaction to this defiance and outright rejection of her concurrency duties.

I would like to think that Miyazawa can bring SNH up to speed with the other sister groups but politics are really going to get in her way. Hopefully she manages to sift through the red tape to accomplish whatever goal she has in mind.

Kami 7

Sasshi Center

With some of the old guard out of the way the Kami 7 welcomed Double Matsui (Rena and Jurina respectively) into the fold much to the joy of members of the Selective Hearing Panel who have either one as their oshi. Then Shinoda Mariko was announced at the exact same spot she was in last year. Instead of telling the younger generations that she was going to crush them she announced her graduation from AKB48 effective next month after the Fukuoka Dome concert.

Shinoda Mariko

By the tone of her speech one could tell this was coming. Well that is if you have some understanding of Japanese or some crazy ass intuition. At this point in time this was the most shocking moment of the program as no one really expected Mariko to say she intended to leave at this point in time. The short time line definitely does not leave a lot for overseas fans to attempt to get tickets to Fukuoka Dome and save money to fly over to Japan.

More power to those who are going to try. I’m warning you, getting tickets to Mariko’s last concert is going to be a crap shoot and is not a sure thing at all. Also, don’t expect to go the reseller route since ID checks at AKB concerts are fairly strict now.

After the dust settled from Mariko, Kashiwagi Yuki was announced at number 4 dropping one spot from last year.

Watanabe Mayu

This made for an intriguing top 3 as not many actually expected Sashihara Rino to be there. Her preliminary rank was just a joke right? There’s no possible way she’ll be top 2 and her name will be called at number 3. Nope, Watanabe Mayu got called to the stage and the panel expressed disbelief along with the whole Twitterverse. Really, my Twitter stream blew up the minute Mayu went up either cheering Sashihara Rino on or crying about how Mayu was robbed.

Top 2 01

Top 2 02

Top 2 03

One of the funniest moments of the show happened shortly after Mayu sat down when Oshima Yuko realized who was left. She had a WTF expression which was further emphasized as she went to give her runner-up speech. Yuko was very classy in defeat and this frees her to leave now doesn’t it? That might suck for some of you it will most likely happen now that there is a new queen bitch in town.

Yes people, Sashihara Rino was crowned as the top girl in the AKS family with 150,570 votes. 14,067 more than Yuko. This marks the first time that the top spot has been occupied by a non-AKB member. (and probably a staff member too) Lets think of this on the same level of Chris Jericho defeating the Rock & Stone Cold Steve Austin on the same night. This shit ain’t gonna happen again in regards to firsts.

Sashihara Rino

Sashihara Rino 02

If you look back at Sashihara Rino’s history within AKS this could have not been more perfect as hers is the ultimate comeback story isn’t it? Going from being exiled to the kids table to being the top dog in Senbatsu. If you believe this is a work, it’s a great scripted storyline that surely will inspire many people. You must also thank China for getting Sasshi to the top.

Sasshi Chariot

What I found strange about Sasshi’s coronation as “The One” is that she didn’t get to sit in the ugly chair. Instead she was paraded around the arena on a platform to wave to her royal subjects or something like that. It was weird and not exactly fitting of her character.

Either way congratulations to Sashihara Rino. Let’s hope AKS doesn’t give you a shit song and finds an actual artist to not give you an ugly portrait like previous election winners.

Wrapping up

If you look at this entire election it may be signifying some winds of change blowing in the AKS world. Some of it not so good. The show itself had a few annoying flaws such as the Google+ integration with the constant stream of fan messages and videos playing in the background. It felt like social media overload and it was slightly over the top.

5th Election Commentators

I get that G+ needs to be pimped and such but it was way too much for myself and probably those who just wanted to watch the stream with minimal interruption.

What was the worst were the commentators at the bottom of the screen talking over the announcements of the rankings. It was distracting and there there was no option to shut them up. I know that my Twitter feed was demanding that George and his top hat (and bag) get the fuck out. Hopefully next year there is a way to just watch the raw feed without the overbearing extras taking up real estate on the screen.

I heard that the English feed of this was pretty awful again, but that’s just because the translators could not convey the feelings of idols in the same manner. Perhaps some training on how to speak like an idol? I would love if a translator could do a Lemon lisp in English.

In regards to change in respect to the various AKS family members? If Yuko decides (or is gently “coerced”) to stay a bit longer, she may end up drifting between top spot and #2 depending on who her competition is at the time. I’m not sure where that leaves Mayu but I guess we’ll see what happens within the coming year.

In general the unpredictable nature of the voting this year made this way more entertaining than it should have been both during the program and after on social media. It sure made staying up in to the wee hours of the morning (or late hours of the afternoon for some of us) very worth it.

Stay tuned for further analysis next week with our Election Fallout special podcast.