Of course, me being me, don’t expect too many frontgirls. Not to say there aren’t any, there are. But I don’t understand a lot of frontgirl hate, nor a lot of frontgirl popularity, so this is just based on me and my random sense of who has been awesome this year.
This year I’m back down to doing twenty in two posts, as the 25 last year broke my tagging system.
Firstly, the rules:
1. I define idols as current members of a current group who currently
release idol music, or solo singers who do the same and are generally
defined as idols.
2. If a former member of an idol group redebuts under a different name
or as a solo singer, or both, and is still primarily known as an idol,
3. However, members of retrospective groups that merely take the limelight away from current members do not.
Secondly, let’s recap last year’s Top 25 (with 2010/2011 in brackets):
25. Sayashi Riho (-/-)
24. Watanabe Miyuki (-/-)
23. Suzuki Kanon (-/20)
22. Shimazaki Haruka (-/-)
21. Takayanagi Akane (-/-)
20. Tsugunaga Momoko (10/9)
19. Sato Amina (-/-)
18. Sashihara Rino (-/11)
17. Michishige Sayumi (12/10)
16. Nakagawa Haruka (-/-)
15. Okada Robin Shouko (17/2)
14. Watanabe Mayu (-/14)
13. Yajima Maimi (14/12)
12. Kitahara Rie (-/-)
11. Masuda Yuka (-/-)
10. Asakura Saki/Kuwae Sakina (2/-)
9. Oota Aika (-/-)
8. Kawashima Umika (-/1)
7. Ariyasu Momoka (-/-)
6. Matsui Rena (-/-)
5. Ichikawa Miori (-/-)
4. Umeda Ayaka (-/-)
3. Suzuki Airi (9/8)
2. Yamamoto Sayaka (-/-)
1. Kimoto Kanon (-/-)
Now, I’ll explain a few who aren’t on this year’s list despite being on last year’s, as well as a few girls who impressed me but either fizzled out or just didn’t do quite enough to reach the list.
- Only one this year. Masuda Yuka got caught spending the night at some rapper’s house during the course of a musical they were both doing, apparently other people were present, but she decided she wanted to quit anyway as she didn’t even put up a fight and announced her graduation straight away. It didn’t take effect until the end of December, but as she’s gone now, she’s not eligible.
Dropped Out of List:
- Sayashi Riho, Suzuki Kanon and Michishige Sayumi from Morning Musume. In part, this is down to me reducing it back to 20 idols only. Riho wouldn’t have got in last year had it not been for Nacchan quitting in the middle of my post. Kanon has powered down incredibly in the last year, and requires more spastic butterfly impressions. Sayu has impressed me (her leadership is better than I thought, and her passing the One Month 10000 yen challenge increased my respect for her a lot, especially after Kasai’s failure), but due to a new batch of Momusu girls impressing me and generally increased competition from idols across the board, she lost out.
- Shimazaki Haruka, Sato Amina, Watanabe Mayu, Kitahara Rie and Umeda Ayaka from AKB48. Paruru has bored the fuck out of everyone this past year, and while she’s still adorable, it doesn’t make up for the Shiritsu Bakaleya Koukou catastrophe, the Majisuka Gakuen 3 catastrophe, and the general sense of melancholy she radiates, as evinced by the Mechaike AKB special, where Yabe tried to get her to break out of her shell. The result was a success… for about 10 minutes. Having said that, if personality had any effect on popularity whatsoever, Aichan and Acchan would never have been popular. Amina had a difficult year. Her first election where she wasn’t in senbatsu. Lack of screentime in basically anything. Her only real exposure was AKB0048, and as that’s an anime it’s not great for becoming acquainted with girls. Mayuyu was pushed like fuck in 2012, came second in the elections, and was everywhere. Despite that, I never really saw her on anything. Her drama was boring. Her singles until Synchro Tokimeki were boring. Umechan had an okay year, and was made new Team B captain, but other than that not a great deal besides coming second in the second AKBingo Utahime singing contest.
- Takayanagi Akane and Matsui Rena from SKE48. SKE have had a pretty boring year. Magical Radio 2 was good, but frankly Yuria, Kuumin and Non stole the show from everyone else. Churi also lost her XX senbatsu spot, and as such didn’t get much appearance time. Rena’s still been ever present, but aside from her respectably good photobook hasn’t done much evil laughing or sticking broken pencils up people’s noses this year, thus misses out.
- Sashihara Rino and Oota Aika from HKT48. Sasshi’s scandal landed her in HKT. She’s made the most of it, came 4th in the election, released two singles, became MC of new HKT program, did a terrible drama and film, and ended up way out of the list. Not because of the scandal, not at all, just because I haven’t seen her screaming in fear for far too long. Lovetan likewise got shafted to HKT, but her popularity is on a wane and besides Hakata Hyakkaten I don’t think I’ve seen her on anything this year.
- Nakagawa Haruka is still adorable, but got sent to JKT and is still awesome, but I don’t see her enough anymore. Plus she’s always tweeting in Indonesian now, which I know very little of.
- Okada Robin Shouko is also still awesome, but once more the lack of PB, the lack of exposure and so on and so forth equal her dropping out.
- Yajima Maimi, despite still being the most delectable female form in existence, had a boring year. Seriously, have you seen that Chelsie DVD? My advice, don’t. Unless you want to watch a 50 minute video where it takes two minutes to zoom in from a full-body shot of her reclining on a sofa to a full-body-shot-from-the-ankles-up of her reclining on a sofa. Probably about 12 minutes of content, slowed down to 25%. Plus the 70s porn soundtrack in the background. Plus she didn’t smile during the whole course of the thing. Worst. Idol. DVD. Ever.
- Asakura Saki is still cute and small and awesome, but she’s not had a lot to do this year. Appeared in a musical called Asakura in Wonderland. Recorded a few more indie as fuck songs. Not a lot.
- Tsugunaga Momoko has bored the fuck out of me all year.
- Yamamoto Sayaka stopped doing castle impressions and cut her hair. Big loss.
Nearly Made It:
- Natsuyaki Miyabi impressed me a lot in Paris. She seemed more natural and composed than Airi or Momo, and looked a lot better in person too.
- Takahashi Juri, Okada Nana, Kojima Natsuki, Hirata Rina, and Tano Yuuka all impressed me in various ways this year. Even though Juri has eyes deader than the depths of space. But yea, impressed I was, and hopeful for their future.
- 9th gen Momusu have impressed me this year, certainly. Just 10th gen impressed me more.
- Isohara Kyouka, Umemoto Madoka, Suga Nanako are the SKE members who impressed me this year that I’d never heard of last year. Kizaki Yuria, Yagami Kumi and Katou Rumi also continued improving this year. Shame Kuumin’s leaving at some point this year.
- Murata Hirona of 9nine.
So, whereas last year I lost 11 people through various things, this year I’ve lost 18. So it’s going to be rather a new list. So, let’s enjoy eh…
20. Shiroma Miru
Miruru is, first and foremost, dense as fuck. She’s also pretty weird (in a good way), has a random sense of fashion and did an entire series on G+ about the adventures of her shrunk version, Chibirun (now helpfully available in video form). She’s also remarkably cute and silly (find a Challenge48 at some point, whenever she’s in it they usually fail hilariously), but she’s impressed me this year.
19. Yogi Keira
So, things you should know about Keira… Well, firstly, she’s quarter Brazilian. Meaning that within a few years she’ll likely be a walking stack of pheromones. Secondly, she’s already damn cute, making the first thing even more terrifying. Thirdly, she’s a fucking spammer. Since she got G+ in like October she’s consistently posted upwards of five times a day (sometimes upwards of 20), and almost always containing a picture. She’s like the entire Myspace generation rolled into one person. Lastly, she is (like probably most girls on my list) a nutcase.
18. Kodama Haruka
I think Haruppi got the short end of the stick a bit. She was pushed to HKT’s centre ahead of Sugamoto Yuko, who fans seemed to like if only for two reasons (both of which attached to her chest) and shared numerous similarities with another pushed centre in the AkiP empire, namely Nogizaka’s Ikoma (short hair, speech impediment). However, now Sugamoto’s been kicked out for rather flagrant violations, Sakura’s been pushed into AKB senbatsu, Sasshi and Lovetan are there to provide some experience and Meru seems to be set for centre, Haruppi has finally found her niche. And she excels at it. Granted, she’s not as outright hilarious as Aanya or Chori, as willing for ridicule as Captain, or as cute as Sakura, Meru, Aanya or Aoi, but she is still funny, willing to take a chance and nowhere near as boring as Acchan. Plus, her speech impediment often results in quite hilarious results, and as seen above, she has quite a nice DFC. Add to that her voice and face combination, which make her seem like a younger Ishikawa Rika make me glad she exists. She adds something extra to HKT away from the utter insanity, and while it’s not really stability, it’s still cool.
17. Kudou Haruka
Kuduu has impressed me, not only with her silliness and insanity level (which are up there with the best of the 9th and 10th gens), but also with her presence of mind, maturity and gravity for her age. Not to mention, of course, her “drank more than seven tumblers of homebrewed whisky and smoked 80 fags a day ever since birth” voice. Then there’s the whole kicking the shit out of some bloke four times her age thing on Kurobara, and the whole “Drew” role in the weirdest but most rocking musical Momusu have ever done. Speaking of which, that musical is pretty amazing. In what other country in the world would it be acceptable to have a rock/metal zombie comedy in which teenage girls play the roles of teenage girls who turn into zombies and have to get their loved ones to re-kill them by cutting them into exactly 156 pieces? Probably none. But it’s still fucking hilarious. I guess such is the POWER of Ohtsuki Kenji, that glorious motherfucker.
16. Hirota Aika
Ever met someone who wanted your eyes to bleed incessantly so much they wore clothing to achieve that exact effect? Granted, I do it sometimes, but then there’s Aiai. Panda obsessed, train obsessed, nauseatingly bright colour-obsessed. High helium voice to annoy everyone, and then a pleasantly alto singing voice. If your brain wasn’t already broken I think that might break it too. And then there’s the whole other type of craziness in Hyadain, such that when they meet… shit goes down… Put it this way, nearly everyone I know who likes Ebichuu is an Aiai oshi. I can see why.
15. Miyawaki Sakura
This girl is basically an almost perfect clone of Yukirin. Except they must have switched off the reaction gene or something. They look quite similar. Both from Kagoshima. Both somewhat ojousama-like characters (though Sakura’s still trading on the imouto-character for the time being). Sakura’s been pushed a lot since the election, when she randomly ranked and no other HKT member did (I think apparently people organised a bulk vote for Sugamoto in order to lodge their disapproval of Haruppi as centre, but somehow that translated to little Sakura getting a whole shitload of votes instead) and as such appeared in the AKB senbatsu for Uza. Despite that, she’s still not HKT centre (probably going to be Meru) or Team H centre (still Haruppi, probably to save them having to relearn the dancing for H1). She is, however, completely evil and wants to watch the world burn, thus makes it here.
14. Ikoma Rina
I can’t eloquently express the things this girl does to my brain. I touched on it a bit in the Haruppi bit above, but something about girls with short hair, flat chests and speech impediments just grabs me. And with Ikoma it’s even worse because her speech impediment is nigh incomprehensible and her hair is shorter. I think she’s recently been dispossessed of the Nogizaka centre position. I don’t really care, Nogizaka do nothing for me really. I watched Nogizaka tte Doko? a few times and it didn’t really grab me. None of their singles have grabbed me. Yet two of their members have (admittedly for completely different reasons). But Ikoma is just so cute and quite stupid (best answer there, *tilts her head to the side*, “Hmm? What’s 25°C?”) and just randomly does stuff for no reason, like going into a Taiko store and randomly jumping around on top of one. That vid also highlights her incredibly derpy speech impediment. She sounds like an old person without their dentures.
13. Kashiwa Yukina
That’s right. My Negima drama spree lives on. If you didn’t know, before joining Nogizaka46 Kashiwa Yukina was yet another of those girls that Stardust threw away, joining the time honoured ranks of Kojima Haruna, Takai Tsukina (SKE, later rejoined Stardust), Wagawa Miyuu, Kuwae Sakina and of course Fresh Lemon. She was the last girl to leave Momoclo before they actually debuted with Momoiro Punch. Some of her olden day videos of her in Momoclo can be found on the wonderful world of youtube. This was before Momoka joined. Before Momoclo, she was cast in the lead role (as a 10 year old Welsh boy) in the live action drama of Negima, possibly the greatest terrible drama of all time. But anyway, to return to the present, Yukina is now 18. She is cuter than ever (actually, she looks a bit like an aged-up Non…) and she is awesome. Plus her reaction to haunted houses is fucking hilarious. I think they must have told her after her outburst to act more like an idol or something, because it’s boring after the first one. Oh well, she’s still win.
12. Ichikawa Miori
Lemon’s had an interesting year. Not quite as good as last year, which was a breakout year in every sense, but a good one. She’s managed to maintain her act and yet also (as I guessed last year) broken into a bit more of an adult image, as seen in the picture above. She still looks about ten years younger than she is, but she managed one of the moments of the year when she had a headbutt contest with Ariyoshi which ended in a draw. Not much else to say, she’s pretty much random and hilarious wherever she appears.
11. Momota Kanako
Ah, Kanako, thy nuttiness is only exceeded by that of your fans (and probably most of the rest of Momoclo). But yes, Kanako is awesomely win. From her inability to do practically anything without giggling all over the fucking place to her awe-inspiring stupidity to general silliness to DAT ebizore jump. She is, of course, insanely moe, but really… dat flexibility. That’s right.
Anyway. Enough of my rambling, it’s getting on a bit, so I’ll make no promises but hopefully post the other half of this list sometime soon.