Under idol wota bylaw 14/9/1986#5G it is illegal to let a year pass without performing a full and thorough ranking of your favourite idols. The penalties for not obeying this law involve having your eyes taped open, being bound to a chair and being forced to watch your worst nightmares on a continuous loop for several days. In my case that’s AKB48 in concert followed by solo angle versions of every Momusu concert Sato Masaki has done and a compilation of Momochi’s most irritating moments (running length 9 hours and 37 minutes. Longer if you include her singing in Berryz). And so yes this is another ranker post. I ran through a top ten not that long ago but it has already changed a bit. I think this post now truly reflects how some people are now of more relevance to me while others are sort of dropping behind a bit.
Well in the year since my last full ranking a lot has changed. Idols have come and gone in what was a busy year for H!P. Kobushi Factory debuted and ended the year by winning the record of the year at the 57th annual Japan Records Awards. Not a bad debut then. Not to be outdone Tsubaki Factory debuted too and won the Idols You Are Most Likely To Forget Exist Award at the 8th annual Morningtime Pee-Taking Awards. That was a shock win as I’d forgotten they existed until I randomly came across a pic of the spacey one and suddenly it all came flooding back. I had to invent the award there and then. Then Country Girls also added new members followed by a new Angerme victim for Captain Bitey. Meanwhile Kanon left Angerme, Riho left Momusu and Uta left her parents permission slip at home and wasn’t allowed on the school trip to Happy Idol Land. Shame. So yes there’s been a lot of changes. So who are the idols that continue to shine? Who are the idols starting to fade? Who are the idols exploding onto the scene with great verve? And who are those two Angerme members again? You know the two forgettable lookalike ones. Thingy and Whatserface?
If you want to try the ranker it’s here. My results were…
1. Nakajima Saki.
2. Yajima Maimi.
3. Hamaura Ayano.
Well numbers one to three are obvious. I have enthused a lot about Nacky over the years as well as Maimi and Hamachan. I don’t really need to go over them again really except to say Nacky has a great aura, Maimi is gorgeous and cool and Hamachan is an hilarious and cute ball of energy.
4. Suzuki Airi.
Meanwhile Airi continues to charm. I always liked her but it’s the past year or two, especially after meeting her in Paris, where she really grew on me. Again it’s that great thing of just having this personality that is immediately charming. She’s funny and cute, very talented and very pretty. Surely most people like Airi?
5. Ishida Ayumi.
Ayumi has become my favourite Momusu member during the past year. Her upbeat personality is so refreshing. You can’t watch her and not feel rejuvenated. Plus she has some great expressions and is incredibly photogenic. She has that whole shining idol thing going on. You think of her and you just see her laughing. She is pretty much perfect.
6. Ozeki Mai.
Mai has risen up in my interests despite being in a group that really hasn’t. Well that’s not so bad. It means there’s some interest for me in clips of Country Girls in a way there isn’t with, say, Juice=Juice. Mai reminds me a lot of the awesome ex-Sakura Gakuin member Horiuchi Marina. Partly in looks, partly in Personality and partly in body language. I can’t give a more flattering comparison than Marina so it’s high praise indeed. Mai just has this charm. Your heart is captured without her even doing much. She’s just so adorable. Like with most of my favourites there’s a great sense of humour. There’s also a sort of funny/weird energy running through her too. She captures the screen no matter who else is there. Again it’s that great idol thing of having a really positive energy, cute looks and a charming personality.
7. Nomura Minami.
It’s fair to say I didn’t really notice any of the Kobushi Factory members when they were Kenshuusei members except for Hamachan. It says a lot about how great Kobushi Factory are as a group and how well the members fit together that now in less than a year half of the members are in my top 20. Nomura Minami (whose nickname should be NomNom!) has risen the furthest of these other members. If you watch her when Kobushi Factory are on stage or on tv she is always smiling. She’s always really expressive with her facial expressions and always looks to be enjoying everything. She just seems so well-balanced and full of life. She’s also very good looking too. She’s a winner in all departments.
8. Iikubo Haruna.
Iikubo is a fangirl. She loves her manga and is often posting pics on her blog where she is holding her latest purchases. I’m not interested in manga but I like a good fangirl. Also she likes Shokotan so has great music taste. She’s also a charmer. I mean if she’s Honey then the bee population is thriving. I’m one! I get the feeling she’s quite underrated with a lot of people but she deserves to have a buzz around her. Okay I’m out of bee jokes. If you don’t beelieve me that’s not my problem. >.>
9. Suzuki Kanon.
Remember when Kanon was in Momusu? What? She still is? I don’t know. She’s hilarious. I absolutely love her humour. She’s always gonna win me over. I can’t not like her. Yet…she’s becoming somehow invisible (no weight jokes!) In a way I like her just as much as always yet I’m just not noticing her as much now. Is that me? Is she just more muted somehow? I don’t know but I do know she’s got a great personality and I’ll always like and respect her. But this ranking is very much about who is in my thoughts the most. Who grabs my interest the most. Sadly Kanon has dropped down a bit and it was borderline whether she’d even be this high. I think she is still top ten but she only just beat…
10. Kudo Haruka.
Okay. She has only just grabbed my attention very recently but it’s like the light switch has suddenly been turned on and I’m able to see. Hey wait a minute that boy’s awesome! And hasn’t he also become somehow really glowing? Maybe it’s just that I’ve seen her recently laughing and joking a lot. I think I’ve always thought of her as being somehow more, well not moody exactly but somehow brooding. The cool type. I make no apologies for liking happy energetic types with weird senses of humour or else earnest and sweet types. Okay I do like the occasional tomduck such as Takechan too so Kudo’s approach to things is something I admire. Even so it surprises me that in the space of a couple of months I’ve suddenly become
11. Sasaki Rikako.
One of the few good things about watching Angerme performing is seeing the little whirlwind front and centre. Rikako is really full-on and is a great performer. It’s probably a self-defence mechanism so Bitey can’t get close to her. Even so it does mean Angerme are in safe hands. With just one original member left and with Countess Scaryblankstare leaving soon Angerme have a very popular bright young singer who is more than ready to be the sole centre. I’ve enjoyed some of Angerme’s recent singles and it’s good for me that Rikako is there to give me a reason to potentially get a bit more interested in Angerme in future. And really that’s the sign of a damn good idol.
12. Nonaka Miki.
Another new entry to the upper reaches. Miki has the advantage for a lot of us foreign fans in that she’s accessible. Her ability to speak English makes her an obvious focus of attention for fans. But even without her language skills Miki is an easy person to like. When the 12th gen debuted it was her and Ogata Haruna who immediately caught my attention. Miki does have the English advantage but even so she quickly became my favourite just due to her easy going nature. She seems reliable, laid back and calm. All good qualities.
13. Takeuchi Akari.
Takechan feeling at home in a farmyard.
I think I’d be quackers if I didn’t like Takechan at least a bit. I mean she must be alright if Countess Meimi is always after her.
Hmm…if Meimi makes Takechan her partner does Takechan become Count Duckula? Hell yeah that’s an 80’s cartoon joke that will go way over most heads. Anyway I like an idol that just goes for it in her own way. She always seems a unique person. Someone a bit different to the usual idol type. She never seems down and generally is a safe pair of wings. She is relatively safe in flight too as her only real predator is the peregrine falcon or the vampire batty idol. Plus her feathers can be used for pillows which is perfect if you are on tour and find you need extra comfort.
She also looks good in a hat. This hat is a different colour but kind of reminds me of the hat Tom Baker wore as the fourth Doctor Who. Takechan could be the first female Ducktor Who. In Angerme she sure is mighty. I hope the day she migrates from them is still a long way off. I have no more duck references. There rests the case for the defence ma’llard…I mean m’lud.
14. Oda Sakura.
She seems sweet, earnest and talented. So why not?
15. Hirose Ayaka.
I have to admit if this was a physical looks competition Ayaka would probably be high. This idol, despite her young age, is very…womanly. She is really stunning. As it is this is about more than just looks and I’m still getting to grips with the individual personalities of the members of H!P’s most lively and fresh group. Ayaka definitely has presence though. Like everyone in Kobushi Factory she makes me smile. It’s a group full of awesomeness.
16. Hagiwara Mai.
I’m out of duck jokes. Damn. I mean Howard can it be to think of a joke about ducks? Sorry…how hard can it be? Anyway Maimai is still the likeable little sis of C-ute. I’m glad she’s there. She’s never gonna be number one but she’s never gonna be Sato Masaki either.
17. Morito Chisaki.
Okay we are getting to uncharted territory. I don’t know much about Chisaki but she is very cute and always leaves a good impression. She seems sweet and her and Ozeki Mai seem like a good pairing. Again it’s a group I’m not really into but with Mai, Chisaki and two new members including the seriously adorable looking Funaki Musubu at least there’s great potential there idol personalities-wise.
18. Taguchi Natsumi.
I think Natsumi is grabbing my interest fast and could rise up over the next year or so. Kobushi Factory has a lot of potential in its members. Natsumi seems really sweet, happy yet somehow awkward in a likable way. In a group packed with bright young things she is another that catches the eye. She isn’t the youngest in what is a young group yet somehow she seems like the adorable little sister.
19. Wada Ayaka.
Intelligent, pretty, talented. Just three words that don’t describe Thingy and Whatserface from Angerme. They do describe Wada though. The second best member of 4-nin S/mileage is still going strong and is a safe pair of hands. I don’t follow her that closely (according to the sentence I’m not allowed within a three mile radius) but I do have fondness and respect.
20. Ogata Haruna.
Haruna is no Honey but she’s kind of pleasant. Okay she hasn’t had a huge impact but she is someone who has potential to grab my interest at some stage.
From this point on there’s only a couple of more members I can really put in order. After that it’s equality all round except for Angerme’s fail twins. Even Masaki is pretty much equal in obscurity now. But for accuracy sharing 21st place are…
Another beautiful Kobushi idol. Still not sure about her personality but like the other members she has real verve and is very good looking.