The following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing Staff and/or our affiliates or partners.

The 2014 AKB48 Election is coming soon and this will determine the center for the group’s 37th single.

Of course this year things are different. Perennial front-runner Oshima Yuko is no longer eligible, nor is any former member who left due to scandal or graduated over the past few years.

This leaves the field wide open in theory. The following are eligible to declare their candidacy for the election:

  • Members of AKB48, SKE48, NMB48, HKT48 and Team 8.
  • Nogizaka46’s Ikoma Rina
  • JKT48’s Nakagawa Haruka and Chikano Rina

Everyone else? Well sorry, but they’re left out in the cold. That kind of sucks for other members of JKT and all of SNH48 doesn’t it? Especially since the noobs of a newly formed team get to put their names in and they haven’t been given the opportunity to do so as of yet.

But I’m sure there are more than enough members for people to vote for once the final candidacy list is compiled. So a shortage of who to choose when the time comes won’t really be an issue.

Another change is the number ranking spots. It has been increased from 64 to 80 with places 65-80 being dubbed the “Upcoming Girls”.

I don’t know about this. The ceremony is long enough already. Is it necessary to make it longer by adding a mercy category? It’s not like anyone is going to know who is getting into these spots other than hard-core fans right? Well that’s what it would appear to be like to a casual fool such as myself.

Hopefully this doesn’t lead to a trend where they just let everyone get a ranking. That would defeat the purpose of an election. Someone has to lose. This isn’t the Special Olympics where everyone is a winner.

But if AKS would like to continue adding more ranking places I have a few suggestions for possible group names:

  • “Snowball’s chance in Hell Girls”
  • “Future Endeavour Girls”
  • “Graduation Girls” (This goes on the assumption that those in this grouping would do so as soon as possible after getting such a shit ranking.)

As is customary with this event we at Selective Hearing will be holding another contest. This year’s prizes are yet to be determined but I’m sure I can find something on the next Japan trip that will make it worth entering.

If you want to place a vote in the election you can purchase AKB48’s 36th single. (on sale May 21st) The deadline for voting is June 6th with the results announced at Ajinomoto Stadium on June 7th.