We just had our first day of AKB48 Sousenkyo results, and only one word can describe exactly what the fans and the idols just witnessed:
While the preliminary round of Sounsekyo should be taken with a grain of salt, there are plenty of takeaways for this one night alone. The preliminary round will not guarantee the final senbatsu lineup nor will it guarantee the winner, but let’s take a look at a few of the takeaways from this one night.
Tani Marika is This Year’s Moriyasu Madoka
Last year, Moriyasu Madoka placed 11th on the preliminary round, securing a spot in Undergirls when all was said and done. This year, Tani Marika placed 11th on the preliminary round, with 14,324 votes. If you place this high on the preliminary round, it is easy to say that you have clinched a spot in this year’s Sousenkyo. Last year, the minimum amount of votes needed to rank was 9,500, so Tani Marika will make Sousenkyo for the first time in her career. Senbatsu seems like a stretch, however Undergirls seems more realistic.
A Push from Management Does Not Guarantee a Spot
This really pains me to write because I am a Shiroma Miru fan (she is my NMB48 oshi now that Yamagishi Natsumi is long gone). But I did notice that Miru wasn’t the only one who did not rank in the preliminary round: no Kojima Mako, no Kawamoto Saya, no Nishino Miki, and no Anai Chihiro. Even members who did rank the past two years didn’t rank this time around: no Nagao Mariya, no Umeda Ayaka, no Ogasawara Mayu, etc.
This does not mean that members listed here won’t rank. There is plenty of time for some of them to crack the Sousenkyo lineup. But this goes to show you that even if members get a push from management, a Sousenkyo spot is not as solidified as one might think.
Look at last year’s final rankings. One of my favorite Team BII members, Shibuya Nagisa, was the first member to be promoted from kenkyuusei to 2 teams at the same time. She had the push from management. She did not rank when all was said and done.
SKE48 Wins the Preliminary Round
A lot of SKE48 members ranked in the preliminary round, most of whom did not rank at all last year. In total, 27 members from SKE48 ranked this round, only one shy of AKB48’s 28.
Yes, these 3 members, Kamata Natsuki, Hidaka Yuzuki, and Kumazaki Haruka, all ranked somewhere. After SKE48 saw several members graduate in a short period of time, it is good to see that the fan base is still holding up strong, essentially giving these 6th generation members a chance to shine in an otherwise competitive Sousenkyo field.
Also, SKE48 has 6 members in the preliminary Sousenkyo senbatsu. When all is said and done, I would not be surprised if the Nagoya faithful kept at least 4-5 members there.
NMB48’s Turnout is Alarming
I say alarming because there are members who have made it somewhere in the Sousenkyo ranking, at least for the past 2 years now. While I may say that there is still plenty of time to bring some of your favorite NMB48 members into Sousenkyo, that does not mean NMB48’s preliminary turnout was not alarming.
NMB48 had only eight members rank in the preliminary round. Members such as Yoshida Akari, Ichikawa Miori, Kotani Riho, Umeda Ayaka, Fujie Reina, and of course Shiroma Miru, did not rank this time around. By the time the final results are revealed, perhaps NMB48 will have more members to represent their squad come June 6th, but these first day of results do seem pretty disheartening.
When Yamamoto Sayaka is crying in frustration due to how bad the preliminary results were, you know that something is wrong.
One Day of Prelims Can Throw Predictions out the Window
I wrote my predictions article nearly hours before the preliminary results were released. Then they get released and my prediction to have Kizaki Yuria at 16th overall was thrown out the window. While the preliminary round can end up being horse you-know-what when all is said and done, seeing Yuria, Takajo Aki and my AKB48 oshi Minegishi Minami this low on the prelims is pretty disheartening.
Last year, Yuria was at a healthy 24th place in prelims, while Miichan and Akicha placed 41st and 64th respectively. On that rainy night of Sousenkyo, all three of them ranked in the Undergirls lineup, so not all hope is lost.
Basically, I would not be surprised if all three did manage to make Undergirls, or even if one of them can crack Senbatsu. But I would not be surprised if one of them fell to Next Girls or Future Girls. That is just how unpredictable the Sousenkyo can be.
This Year’s Sousenkyo is Wide Open
Like I said in my Sousenkyo predictions article, this year really has no favorite to take the Sousenkyo pennant. Last year, Sashihara Rino was the overwhelming favorite, with a 12,000 vote cushion against Watanabe Mayu, but still lost on the final result by 10,000 votes. This year, Sasshi is still #1 in the preliminary round for the third straight time, but this year is different: she has about a 5,000 vote cushion against the #2 seed, Kashiwagi Yuki.
There is so much intrigue with this year’s sousenkyo because any of these 4 idols could take the crown. Yukirin could win Sousenkyo in the name of AKB48 (and maybe NGT48 too?). Sasshi could win and be the 3rd 48G member since Oshima Yuko to win two Sousenkyo pennants. Mayuyu could be the first ever back-to-back Sousenkyo winner. Jurina could be the first ever Sousenkyo winner to represent SKE48. This is anybody’s race, which is what makes this year so exciting.
Again, preliminary results in a competition like this should not be taken so seriously. Members who ranked now may not rank later. For example, last year Hirata Rina ranked in the preliminary round but ended up not ranking at all during that Sousenkyo night in June. A lot can change in the span of a few weeks.
June 6th is going to be one wild and crazy night.