I really have missed blogging, though. Lots of great/confusing things are happening in the idol world, and I haven't missed any of them, but I had no time to write about them. But I do now!
Morning Musume have been busy bees lately, what with their change in leadership, selling huge amounts of singles, promoting 9th and 10th gen to the max. (Oh, and 11th gen auditions, in which my favorite Egg of all time and hopeful new Musume Oda Sakura have been spotted but I DIGRESS!) This year has brought a lot of changes both for the Musumes themselves and how I see them as individuals. My personal ranking has changed hugely, and for many reasons. As my comeback to the idol world blog post, I would like to share it with you!
10. Ikuta Erina
Eripon is a favorite of the overseas crowd, but I'm really just not that into her. She's got a fun character, but it really seems forced to me. Top that off with the fact that she really is a sub-par performer in just about every way, and that kinda seals the deal for me.
I'd be willing to bet that with time, her character will stand out even more (she really reminds me of a nascent Sasshi, which I'm super excited about), and with training, her performance skills will get a lot better. I would love to see her mentor some 11th gen, honestly. I think she's got it in her.
9. Sato Masaki
Almost one year later, I'm still very glad that Maachan made it into the storied ranks of MM. She is not being as pushed as much as she was in the beginning, which kind of bums me out, and which is why she ranks so low for me right now. This girl has a LOT of charm points and not-so-hidden piano talent (Maimai's radio show, anyone?), and she's such a spaz. She has the potential to be lead singer material in the future when her voice isn't so squeaky, too, which I think is awesome. But I think she's marketed much closer to the Japanese fan base, and, like Mano Erina, it will take a little more digging and time for me to really get into her.
8. Sayashi Riho
Now we're getting very close to (surprisingly) the top half of my entire H!P ranking, which really says something about the awesome state of the current MM lineup. Rihoriho is one of those subtle personalities that I like a lot, much like Aichan and Yurina. She's so cheeky and tricky, you can't tell when she's acting half the time.
Top that off with the fact that the girl has turned into a freaking POWERHOUSE performer, and OMG, I'm just in love. Riho doesn't have a perfect voice yet, but the amount of control that she has picked up over the short year and a half she has spent in MM is incredible, and she's only going to get better. Lots of people think she sounds incredibly squeaky, which in a lot of cases is true. But keep in mind, unless you're one of those girls like me who grew into a deeper speaking voice at an early age (UGH), you're not going to sound like a stomach singing soul woman at 14. You're just not. So here's me saying holy christ give Riho a break.
Incredible dancer, pretty awesome singer, quick learner, gorgeous girl. I want her to stick around, dammit.
7. Fukumura Mizuki
Sorry Sayu, Mizupon is totally out sexy-ing you right now. Mizuki has gained a lot more of my attention recently for some reason. I can't really put my finger on why, but I'm happy she has. Mizupon is really coming into her own. Since she joined, she has become quite a bit more outgoing, her vocals have improved, and dayum that body. Seriously, has anyone else noticed that she's lost most of her baby fat recently? Yeah, totes.
We all know that she is being groomed for the leader position, though until Sayu and Reina beat Gaki's tenure record, I seriously doubt they're going anywhere. She is also doing a bit more to take on the senpai role lately as well. I really appreciate the calm she brings to a very outgoing and kind of crazy Morning Musume. She has her goofy moments (like on Kurobara when she refused to pick a favorite senpai), but not too many, and I think I see in her what I like about Aika so much: a well-rounded, genuine person. Give her a couple years, and I can see her being an excellent leader.
6. Suzuki Kanon
GAWW! The little green ball of energy who I feel terrible about ranking out of the top half, but she still has a big portion of my heart. I'm really annoyed with the lack of effort that's being put into Zukki's training lately, because her vocal potential is really obvious these days. Kanon is lead singer material, and most of the fans know it. Blagh.
But yeah, why we like her should really be no secret anymore. She's such a great speaker, she's so sweet and outgoing, and she's got such distinct looks. How could we not?
5. Tanaka Reina
Reina consistently stayed near the bottom for the longest time, and I do think it took her becoming a co-leader (let's face it, she really is) in MM for me to pay more attention to her. But gawd, I am so glad for it. I think back to all those times I would look at Reina and think "Ugh, she is so BORED out there, I can't stand watching!" Sometimes she still does look bored, but it adds to her sarcastic yankii character now, and I love it.
I really enjoyed watching her on a recent episode of Kurobara where Nakai-san was grilling her and Sayu on their lost innocence and cynical adulthood. He remarked that they must have broken idol rules and had a boyfriend by now, and Reina put on the most hilarious pouty face and said "We have never known love..." right before rolling her eyes and busting up laughing. That was the moment when she won me over. I have no doubt in my mind that she could talk to me for hours about all the things she hates about the idol culture, but still come out loving her job in the end. And that's my kind of girl!
4. Ishida Ayumi
Ayumi rocks my world. Seriously. I like that she is very clearly being groomed to be a frontgirl. She isn't ready to sing lead yet, but she has everything else down. Aside from being a dancing MUH-SHEEN, my favorite thing about Ayumi is her facial expressions. She has such a gorgeous, elegant face and carriage--you'd never expect her to be able to widen her eyes in surprise and make the most hilarious embarrassed face I've ever seen when Maachan upskirted her at a handshake event.
I also really enjoy watching her on Satoyama Life--she seems to enjoy working with her hands a lot (Hey, you thought it first, not me :P), and hey, anyone who gets on so well with Aika as she does is immediately on my HEARTS AND LOVE list for life.
3. Kudou Haruka
Yeah, so I guess I have this thing for just loathing certain girls at first, then coming to absolutely adore them later. Along with Acchan and Sayu, Haruka is the biggest example of this I can think of. I railed on her so much in the past for being a diva and a spoiled brat, which she was at times when she first joined. But in addition to the six inches she grew in height since she joined, she grew twice as much in spirit and heart. No longer a brat, but she is a badass and a whip-smart funny, sarcastic girl. All the things I love about Akimoto Sayaka I see in Haruka and more. The husky voice thing really is a great charm point for her. When her voice develops a bit more, I can see her taking a bit of a Gaki or Yossie role vocally, which I miss in MM what with all the fresh and squeaky blood.
Haruka was a great pick, and even though it took me the better part of a year to see it, it's still worth it.
2. Michishige Sayumi
Yes, the pink queen of bunnies has finally been dethroned as my #1 Musume. I still adore the pants off of her, and she is doing an awesome enough job as leader to get some very vocal pats on the back from Queen of H!P Forever Nakazawa-sama herself. I'm really proud of her. I don't think anyone expected her and Reina to do this well as the heads of MM.
#1: Iikubo Haruna
What a surprise this girl turned out to be. So softspoken during the auditions, with miles to grow as far as her stage performance is concerned, she kind of exploded out of her shell not long after joining. Haruna was the first one visually who caught my eye when 10th gen auditions were happening last year, so I never thought she'd be much more than a pretty face. Boy howdy was I wrong.
Seriously, Satoyama Life is worth watching just for her, especially the episode where they all go make dinner for the host family. She is so bad at folding gyoza, but makes it a fun time to watch anyway. Hers and Haruka's Pocket Morning answers are consistently the funniest. I love her sense of humor and her ability to give people compliments. Not to mention the fact that she is drop dead gorgeous and has the cutest ears I've ever seen.
I guess I just have a soft spot for lovely, funny girls who may not be amazing performers but are awesome variety personalities. It's going to be a damn task to unseat Chokubo (I DON'T CARE IF CHOCOLATE ISN'T HER COLOR ANYMORE, DAMMIT, SHE'S STILL MAH CHOKUBO!) as my #1.
I hope to write much more over the coming months, hell, you might even see an honest to god review out of me at some point!