The Nogizaka46 Senbatsu That Was

If you wanted more insight into this news story than just a list of the girls’ names and when the single is coming out then you’ve come to the right place.

This was originally going to be an Idol Digest for this week’s “Nogizakatte, Doko?” but since it was going to be all about announcing the senbatsu for their debut single I  figured I’d spare you all from twenty or more screenshots of girls crying and just get right into my impressions. First of all though, some introductions are in order so here’s the full list of girls that you’ll be seeing a lot more of in the coming weeks:

First Row (Kami 7): Shiraishi Mai, Matsumura Sayuri, Hashimoto Nanami, Ikoma Rina, Takayama Kazumi, Ikuta Erika, Hoshino Minami
Second Row: Saito Yuri, Nishino Nanse, Kawamura Mahiro, Saito Asuka
Third Row: Nojo Ami, Inoue Sayuri, Nakada Kana, Ichiki Rena, Sakurai Reika

Introductions over with, I’ll be moving into my impressions. I won’t be doing a write-up on all of the girls so please don’t be disappointed if I don’t mention your oshimen. Instead leave a comment and let everyone know how awesome she is and why she deserves to be chosen for senbatsu.

Read on after the break to hear my thoughts.

The first thing that those of us who watch “Nogizakatte, Doko?” will note is that there are a lot of familiar faces in here. That’s far from a bad thing, especially for a debut single. It stands to reason that you would want to have your most recognizable members in there. Whether those members are actually the best singers or dancers is another thing entirely. I don’t have any kind of insider knowledge or anything but it’s something to think about.

On a more positive note, if anyone remembers episode nine of “Nogizakatte, Doko?” they’ll remember that the girls took part in a “Dance Skill Check”. Now, guess how many of the seven girls who performed the best during that test made it into senbatsu. If you guessed anything less than all seven then you’re wrong. I’m not saying that all of the girls have to be flawless singers and dancers but it’s good to see that management at least appear to be fielding the strongest line-up from the start.

As far as the Kami 7 itself goes, I think they picked a pretty predictable group. I mean, those are arguably the most popular members in Nogizaka46 so we should have all seen it coming the minute they announced that the single would be coming out. I guess the only real eyebrow raiser in the group for me is Takayama Kazumi. I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve it but I’d have perhaps gone with Kawamura Mahiro or Sakurai Reika instead. I’m not the one calling the shots though and it’s not like she’s completely out of place up there or anything anyway.

Let’s start off our closer look at some of the members with Ikoma Rina. I’m not a betting man but if I was I’d have been betting the house that she’d not only be in senbatsu but that she’d be the center too. The thing is, I just don’t get what’s so great about Ikoma. It’s not like I hate her or anything, I just can’t understand the hype or popularity with her. Maybe one of you guys can fill me in on what I’m missing but all I see when I look at her is this tomboy-ish girl who cries a lot. Maybe it’s something that I’m not supposed to understand, heck I still don’t understand why Maeda Atsuko is the center of AKB48. Regardless of my reservations I wish Ikoma the best of luck, not that she’s going to need much of it if things keep progressing the way they have been.

It wouldn’t be much of a Nogizaka46 article if I didn’t talk about my favorite member, Shiraishi Mai. If I’m being honest, the way her screen time fluctuates so much I actually had some doubts as to whether she’d make it into the Nogizaka46 Kami 7 or not. I suppose having her own solo photo shoot should have been enough of a giveaway but I still feel a sense of relief that she made it in. If I can fanboy out for a bit, Mai is easily the best looking girl in Nogizaka46 and I’d even go as far as to say that she gives most of the 48 girls a run for their money too. If I had things my way she would have been the center for the group. Sadly that didn’t happen for whatever reasons but on the bright side, not everyone will be jumping on the bandwagon to support her just because she’s the center. You guys can have your Ikoma, it just means there’s more Mai for the rest of us.

“Cooking Monster” Matsumura Sayuri deserved to get into senbatsu on sheer entertainment value alone. Hopefully her singing and dancing are a lot better than her cooking though or there’s going to be all sorts of shenanigans going on. I would hesitate to call Sayuri the comic relief character of the group but she’s pretty damn funny and her reactions are great. If you’re not a fan of her or any of the other girls after watching episode twelve of “Nogizakatte, Doko?” then you either need to have your head examined or reevaluate just why you’re an idol fan in the first place. Sayuri has more than enough personality for the job, let’s hope that her singing and dancing are just as good.

Speaking of great dancing, look no further than Kawamura Mahiro. I personally thought that she was easily the best dancer during the “Dance Skill Check” and I’m glad to see she made it into senbatsu. It’s easy at this early stage to say that someone made it into senbatsu based on looks and popularity alone (these people are wrong and should go watch “Nogizakatte, Doko?” before making any further baseless remarks) but you simply can’t say that in Mahiro’s case. She’s a very pretty girl, that’s for sure but I wouldn’t put her that close to the top of any Nogizaka popularity ranking. I think it’s fair to say at the very least one of these girls made it in purely on talent alone.

I’ve probably lost a lot of you by this point but if I may I’d like to finish by talking about Hashimoto Nanami. I could see some people describing her as being plain looking and I’d tend to agree with that analysis. Where she really shines is her extreme reactions and her ability to embrace being made fun of and turn each instance into an amusing situation. Episode eleven of “Nogizakatte, Doko?” where she plays “What’s in the Box?” is a fantastic example of these qualities and probably the most hilarious piece of idol programming that I watched last year. Nanami is definitely one to watch if you haven’t already been swept up in the Ikoma hype.

Well, there you have it but at the same time you kinda don’t. I covered less than a third of the senbatsu members in this article and the ones I did cover were intentionally some of the more well known members so hopefully most of you would have at least heard of them. Barely scratching the surface doesn’t even begin to describe it. For further reading I would suggest looking into Ikuta Erika, Nishino Nanase, Nakada Kana and Sakurai Reika all of whom I would have covered but this article is already long enough as it is.

So, what should you take away from this article? Well, watching “Nogizakatte, Doko?” would be a good thing to take away if you want to learn more about these girls. I think the most important thing though is that Nogizaka46 are a legitimate idol group with more than enough talent to be successful and one day perhaps give AKB a run for their money. That day isn’t going to be in a month’s time when their debut single comes out but I’m confident that we will eventually see Nogizaka46 live up to their label of “AKB48’s rivals”.


About NSK

New School Kaidan is a community-focused website for the Japanese idol industry international fan base. Between podcasts, broadcasts, events, and analytic articles, New School Kaidan aims to bring an understanding of idol culture to the masses.

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