With one week to go before the 6th Annual AKB General Election, it’s time to once again push aside the movie coverage and post up one for the idol otakus.
Each year, each member gets 90 seconds to try and encourage fans to vote for them. With the number of members growing each year (there are more than 100 when sister groups are combined), it can be a bit tedious to watch all these videos.
Lucky for you, I’m semi-unemployed with plenty of time to kill so I took an entire morning to watch all 100+ videos and filtered them down to the most entertaining ones.
This year, the top 80 members will get to participate in the group’s 37th single which will be released in August. Of course, the goal for each member is to land somewhere in the Top 16 Senbatsu rank which will allow them the opportunity to be featured in videos, TV shows and publications.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s jump into the videos. No need to wonder what they’re saying. I’ve essentially summarized it for you before each video.
First, here’s last year’s first place winner, Sashihara Rino. In her video, she says that last year’s election resulted in a very fortunate outcome for her, but many people told her it was the end of AKB48. She says that she agrees with that assessment and that the reason she was elected #1 was not because of her popularity, but as a chance from fans to try again. (Sasshi was involved in a love scandal and demoted to a sister group last year.) She says that over the past year, she’s worked very hard in the sister group, HKT48 and is still determined to be Kyushu’s #1 idol. She loves AKB almost as much the fans do and the fact she was elected #1 is an example of the power of dreaming within AKB. Everyone dreams equally. She pledges to continue to do her best for HKT48 and AKB48.
With Oshima Yuko graduating from the group and not participating in this year’s election, all eyes are on last year’s third place finisher, Watanabe Mayu. Will she claim first place or will it be another year of so close, but so far?
In her video, Mayu thanks her fans for voting for her and her third place finish. This year she hopes to claim first place and show everyone the true spirit of AKB. She says her expectation to claim first place is stronger than any other member. (Of course, she said that last year as well.)
So there are your two front-runners. Now here are a few more entertaining campaign videos.
Let’s start with Nishino Miki, who claims to hate ghosts and insects. She faces her fears and eats a grasshopper. Yeech.
Ugh, someone get a spit bucket. Ok, next video features NMB48 member Mita Mao as she showcases her art skills. While she normally shows off drawings of various members, this time, she showcases a drawing of herself and, I suppose, her anime voice?
NMB48’s Kushino Rina goes all cute with her pet hamster. I was a bit hesitant to watch this video since the still pic showed five stuffed hamsters sitting on the table. I thought it was going to be barfingly cutesy. Well, I suppose it is, but that hamster is so freakin’ adorable!
Let’s stick with animals and NMB members with Kadowaki Kanako who shows off her skills at cutting a fish in half. Mind you, I cringed the entire time she was handling that knife and just thankful she didn’t injure herself.
I assure you there isn’t some NMB bias in choosing these videos. They’re just more entertaining. Next is NMB’s Ishizuka Akari. In her video, she’s playing the part of a young woman who is being pursued by an evil organization.
Another member, Jonishi Kei, shows off her drumming skills in her campaign video.
Yamaguchi Yuuki shows off her artwork as she narrates the story of a recent marathon she ran in Guam.
Ok, let’s jump away from NMB members for a moment with AKB Team K member Kitahara Rie, who opens magazine pages blindfolded without ripping them. Japanese magazines often have inner booklets that are sealed shut and require a letter opener to see what is inside. Kitahara also says that last year’s results were disheartening and that she hopes for a better result this year. The video fades out at the end very quickly because she’s about to show the contents of the magazine and obviously, there’s copy written content inside it.
Then there’s Hirata Rina, who floats between Japanese and English in her video. She was born in Arizona and served as translator for the group during a concert in Washington D.C. last year. Also, the way she says “Thank you,” is kinda cute.
Maeda Atsuko is, was and always be my kamioshi, but there are certain members whom I still pull for within the group. Mind you, when Acchan left, I kind of checked out for a while. One of those members I still support is the pint-sized, nasally voice airhead Yamada Nana. I say airhead affectionately, of course.
In her video, Nana says she wants to be a star and be famous, but wonders how one goes about that. Regardless, she says she’ll do her best. Each year, she has a phrase that she associates with her election campaign. Two years ago it was “freeing oneself.” Last year, it was “Soaring.” This year, it’s “Securely First Place.” Such a goof.
Next video is from AKB veteran Kojima Haruna. I imagine that this may be her last year with the group as her modeling and TV gigs continue to give her steady work. For her video, Kojima shows off her skills for paper cutting. If you wonder why she’s oscillating throughout the video, she pauses midway and jokes, “Because if I stopped, it’d just be sexy.” The kanji she holds up at the end reads “Certain Victory.”
Finally, probably my favorite video features Yamamoto Sayaka. She’s a natural entertainer and in her campaign video, she pretends as though she’s going into a championship fight. Last year she ranked in at 14, but this year, she’s hoping to take first place. I’d say she has a good shot at finishing in the Top Ten and possibly even Top 5. Her chant, “Let’s kiseki,” translates to “Let’s awake a miracle.” Wait for the very end of this video and her facial reaction as she drinks a raw egg and quotes Rocky.
That’s just a handful of more than 100 members. Voting continues throughout the week and the results will be revealed on June 7 at Ajinomoto Stadium in Tokyo.