It's that time of year again! And man, now I even have an "I survived the eschaton" badge under my belt! (Just a (very, very) technical note :P , it's not an apocalypse, guys--an apocalypse is a writing, not an event.)
Before my big huge awards post, I'm going to give out some smaller groups of awards to those who really caught my eye, starting with H!P.
Top 5 H!P idols of 2012
5. Mitsui Aika
Aika didn't have too many performance opportunities this year, especially after her graduation. But the ones she did have, she made the most of. Green Fields actually turned out to be my favorite Satoyama unit, largely because of her amazing performance. ..."Watashi no Miryoku ni" may be her signature song, but "Boys be Ambitious" fits her voice much better, and she sounds lovely.
However the major reason she stood out to me this year was because of her appearances in Hello! Satoyama Life and her blog. In Satoyama Life, she was by far one of the most entertaining personalities on the show. She always took the lead in whatever she was working on, and her leadership skills really make me sad that she could not become an MM leader, but she is still quite cuddly with her kouhai.
Her blog is also incredibly entertaining, and shows off her amazing fashion sense. I'm very glad she is still part of H!P.
4. Tokunaga Chinami
This was totally Chii's year as far as Berryz Kobo is concerned. She had so many opportunities to be an ambassador for the group, and she nailed it. She was so great to watch on her trip to Bangkok, and some inside sources tell me she was amazing at Anime Next in NJ as well. Thailand loves her, America loves her, and I hope Japan starts loving her more too, especially after that gorgeous photobook release.
3. Tamura Meimi
Ok, remember that squeaky girl from the S/mileage auditions last year? Yeah, so...whatever happened to her?
For a while after "Please Miniskirt Postwoman," I thought she was destined to be the next Yuuka. Cute, uneven smile with an equally cutesy voice. Turns out she's actually the next Airi: growing into an amazing, mature voice and gorgeous looks. Go listen to Smile Blues, her duet with Kanyon. It will blow your mind. I'm looking forward to seeing more of this girl next year. (assuming S/mileage starts getting better promotion, that is *RAGE*)
2. Iikubo Haruna
I tried so hard to justify not picking Haruna for these awards. She is, after all, one of my absolute favorite people in H!P, so I tried so hard not to play favorites. But the girl is just awesome. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't shout her awesomeness from the rooftops.
Haruna was far and away the standout of the new generation MM members. She still isn't the best performer, but she has gotten so much better. But no matter how much more she improves on stage, her personality will always be her best asset (well, aside from those legs, those eyes, that hair, those EARS *dies*). I hope she gets more variety/talk show opportunities this year. She is still learning her way around them, but what she is able to contribute is gold.
IZ YOUR CHOCOLATE HONEYBEE FOREVER!!
1. Katsuta Rina
The Up-Front staff have great eyes for bloomers--the ones who bloom late are often the most rare and beautiful. And Rina is a damn rose, guys.
Rina is growing up so beautifully, both outside and in. It's really obvious now that she has the best body in S/mileage, and she's still got time to grow. Dem legz go for milez.
I love that her sweet personality really shows instead of just being kind of a shy, passive quality. She's no wallflower. I am looking forward to hearing her in 2nd gen S/mileage's new radio show. I have a great feeling about her.
And that singing voice. I can see a future Miyabi in her in that aspect. I'm really bummed that she's shoved to the back, because she's a standout performer in every way. I think next year will be really great for her.
Congrats, Rina, you're now my S/mileage oshi, and I don't see you getting dethroned ever.