The day is upon us, where Japan is seeing record breaking sales numbers and AKB48 invades everything (more than usual that is). That is the day the AKB48 senbatsu election began with the release of AKB48’s summer single. This year the single is Manatsu no Sounds Good, and will most likely be AKB48’s highest selling single as not only is it the election single but it is the last single the group’s Ace, Maeda Atsuko, will participate in. Already it has sold about 1.2 million copies (and 2 million copies were shipped for the release) and while the numbers will most likely drop the single will have a longevity that other AKB48 singles do not have because of the election tied to it.
For those who do not know, the AKB48 senbatsu election is held yearly and for every copy of the single a fan buys they can make a vote for a girl. This is in hopes that the girl will make it into the senbatsu, which are the selected girls that participate in the title tracks for singles, go on the music shows to perform, and do other media related things in connection of a AKB48 single release. Which considering AKB48 singles tend to sell over a million copies is a pretty big thing. Of course the AKB48 girls are not the only ones that are eligible to gain a spot in the AKB senbatsu, the members of their sister groups SKE48, NMB48 and HKT48 can also be voted for in the election.
There have been some changes this year to accommodate the amount of members in these groups. The break down used to be the top 12 were the senbatsu and 13-40 could be Undergirls, which is a group that usually get a B-side song/PV on AKB48 singles and could be considered understudies in case one of the senbatsu members cannot fulfill their duties. This year the senbatsu will be the top 16 girls and there are three groups of 16 members each after them, Undergirls, Next Girls and Future Girls that will be for those who place in the 17-64 positions. One can only assume that those three groups will all work like the Undergirls group and be mainly for the B-sides of future singles.
Since NMB48 is in this I will definitely be keeping watch of how things go. I was happy that Yamamoto Sayaka ended up in the Undergirls group last year, as NMB48 had really just started out so there was worry none of them would place. This year things look good for her so far with the first day votes already out and she is in 18th place with fellow NMB48 member, Watanabe Miyuki right behind her. There are three other NMB48 members placing so far, Ogasawara Mayu (31st), Fukumoto Aina (54) and Yamada Nana (42), all from Team N.
I will be getting a copy of Manatsu no Sounds Good so I can put in a vote. I was worried that pre-ordering it with NYC’s Haina might delay it too much but in the end I had to wait for a copy of Manatsu no Sounds Good to come in to complete my order before it was sent out today. It takes about a week to get my orders from CDJapan with Airmail so I should be able to vote before the election ends. Of course I only have one vote, so I have a bit of a dilemma with who to vote for.
Last year I voted for Yamada Nana, as it felt like a complete no brainer to me as she was easily my favorite girl of the group. Since then though I have really taken a liking to Yamaguchi Yuuki (Yuppi) and was originally planning on voting for her even though she has yet to take the place of Nana as my favorite. While Nana is in the top 64 from the first day votes she is pretty low. I really want to see her place this year so I now want to vote for her as well. I think the best course of action in the end would be to wait to see what the latest voting results will be when I finally get my copy of the single. If Nana has dropped in places then I will vote for her, but if she stays at her current rank or rises then I will go ahead and vote for Yuppi like I originally planned to.
Maybe next year I will be able to afford two election CDs and I can vote for both of them and save myself this trouble.
In any case I am rather excited for all this as I am sure all fans of AKB48 and their sister groups are. But thankfully it only happens once a year as I do not think it would feel as grand as it does as an annual event.