Thoughts on 32nd Senbatsu Election
What a night! While a changing of the guards did not exactly happen, there were a lot of remarkable things.
First and foremost observation was that out of 64 places, AKB48 members only took 30. The other 34 went to 1 ex-member (Hirajima Natsumi at 62nd place) and 33 members of sister groups. I couldn’t be happier about this increased “diversity” because it feels like the sister groups are starting to get more recognition, and the balance is shifting just a bit. I have always thought AKB as an amalgamation of the contribution of all the groups, as opposed to having AKB48 “lead” the other groups, so I am really happy to see more non-AKB48 members in the rankings. Each center is from a different group, too.
Of course the night’s biggest surprise to most fans was that Sashihara Rino beat both Oshima Yuko and Watanabe Mayu to take first place. However this was not TOO surprising, especially after the preliminary results. She may have lost a small portion of her fans after her scandal and exile to HKT48, but her hard work there was more than obvious. HKT48 would not be as popular as they are today if not for her hosting Hakata Hyakkaten, so it’s not surprising that she gained more fans in Hakata. Personally I am also getting a bit tired of the same people at the top, so it’s nice to see someone other than Maeda Atsuko and Oshima Yuko there. Too bad we didn’t get to see her take the throne.
My 2 favorite moments were Shibata Aya telling everyone that she “is not a loner” because she has great teammates and fans that support her, and Miyazawa Sae’s declaration that she will only focus on SNH48 and will not take her concurrent position in Team K.
As for individual rankings, not really a lot of surprises there, to be honest. Great to see new faces in the rankings from the so-called “next generation” – Yabushita Shu, Yagura Fuuko, Kodama Haruka, Tomonaga Mio, Tashima Meru, Isohara Kyoka, Shibata Aya, and so on. You can find my short comments on Melos no Michi‘s upcoming Election Commentary post.