2014 Top Idol List: 20-11

So, once again it's time for my top idol list. This isn't, despite the name, an oshi ranking. Those are easy enough to pull out of the hat. It's more a "who has impressed me in the last year and gives me hope for their year ahead", and also "who justified their place on the list from last year by having a stormer of a year" type thing. It's my fifth year doing this, and so it becomes difficult to think of what to say at the start of it.

The rules, as usual:
1. I define idols as current members of a current group who currently release idol music, or solo singers who do the same and are generally defined as idols.
2. If a former member of an idol group redebuts under a different name or as a solo singer, or both, and is still primarily known as an idol, they qualify.
3. However, members of retrospective groups that merely take the limelight away from current members do not.

So let's begin with a recap of who I thought were potentially amazing last year, and their former ranks (if they had them) in the format 2010/2011/2012:

20. Shiroma Miru (-/-/-)
19. Yogi Keira (-/-/-)
18. Kodama Haruka (-/-/-)
17. Kudou Haruka (-/-/-)
16. Hirota Aika (-/-/-)
15. Miyawaki Sakura (-/-/-)
14. Ikoma Rina (-/-/-)
13. Kashiwa Yukina (-/-/-)
12. Ichikawa Miori (-/-/5)
11. Momota Kanako (-/-/-)
10. Suzuki Airi (9/8/3)
9. Iriyama Anna (-/-/-)
8. Ariyasu Momoka (-/-/7)
7. Iwata Karen (-/-/-)
6. Yamamoto Hitomi (-/-/-)
5. Watanabe Miyuki (-/-/-)
4. Ishida Ayumi (-/-/-)
3. Kawashima Umika (-/1/8)
2. Kimoto Kanon (-/-/1)
1. Kinoshita Momoka (-/-/-)
God: Murashige Anna (-/-/-)

The god ranking last year was disturbing because I don't think I'd ever seen more potential in an idol before. At the end of this post or the next one you'll know my current feelings on it.

So, now we come to the regretful bit: girls no longer on the list.

- Kashiwa Yukina left Nogizaka46 after sitting in the back row and doing basically nothing.
- Yamamoto Hitomi ruined the lives of everyone who became enamoured of her silly awesome oneshot gags and quit.

Fall out of list:
-Kodama Haruka and Miyawaki Sakura from HKT. Not quite good enough this year.
-Kudou Haruka from Morning Musume. She needs more whisky, fags and hard drugs to make her voice get even worse.
-Hirota Aika from Ebichuu. Simple lack of airtime.
-Ikoma Rina from Nogizaka46, lost centre, lost some funnies, maybe next year.
-Ichikawa Miori, Iwata Karen and Iriyama Anna  from AKB48. Lemon needs a new gag and NMB hasn't improved her in the slightest. Karen's still a spaz, but she can't stand still too long, others are vying for her place. Annin came first in the AKB Mechaike test, which was a bad idea. Not enough silly answers to make her funny. The sports test was better but still improvement needed.
-Momota Kanako from Momoclo. Flexibility only gets you so far.
-Watanabe Miyuki and Kinoshita Momoka from NMB48. Milky cut her hair. Fishing failure. Momoka is still a winning comedian, but the lack of downright grotesque artworks from her this year dropped her down.

Almost Made It:
 -Hagiwara Mai from °C-ute, mostly a reaction to her France appearance where not only was she revelling in being popular, but also stepped up her game as a result.
-Boss, Okada Kanna, Moriyasu and Komada Hiroka from HKT48. Boss decided to ruin every programme HKT were on by being Boss. Okapan is still delightfully cute, and her G+ videos point to her making a breakthrough soon. Moriyasu's now the one to beat on Odekake, as they've replaced 2013's "Overthrow Tani!" calligraphy with "Make Moriyasu Enthused!" She's also good at piano, and nearly killed everyone when she said something rather inappropriate on AKBingo which got censored, leading to dirty speculation on forums. Komada has just impressed me on the sidelines in Odekake and hopefully she'll gravitate towards the front soon.
-Horiuchi Marina and Kikuchi Moa from Sakura Gakuin. Both are vying for my Sakugaku oshi position now Suzuka's left, but with Marina graduating in like three months it'll probably be Moa. She is the most brutal person in the world, after all.
-Suzuki Kanon from Momusu nearly made a stunning comeback, with the lulz obtained by Momusu's recent dokkiri prank and Norks' bizarre antics during it, as well as her humourous insistence that she ain't fat, just chubby. It works in context, and she seems to be using it to her own gain, so I don't think it's a bad thing. She's somewhat recovered from the Sato-virus too, where she didn't know how to take someone younger, crazier and just downright insane than her.

So, onto the actual list. Finally.

20.  Yogi Keira (NMB48)

A quick glance at Keira's Google+ will tell you all you really need to know. She's young yet, but she's growing into a stunner. She's also gloriously silly, as Docking and now Manabu-kun showcases. And then there's Geinin. She (and someone else, probably Shuu) became fairies from "Suberiland" (suberi, if you don't follow AKB well, is the basic character-type of Takahashi Minami. She tells a "funny" story and it falls completely flat) to convince Nana (NMB's Suberu Devil) to keep failing to save their Suberiland from destruction. It was utterly bizarre and frankly hilarious. She's not frontline yet, but I can see her being the centre in the future once Sayanee and Milky trot along.

19. Ego Yuna (SKE48)

Considering how photogenic she is, there are a surprising lack of magazine photos of her. But yes, another one of the young generation, waiting to usurp the thrones of their elders. Ego is really young, looks even younger, and acts it too. As much as Momoclo's Shiori tries to act like everyone's little sister though, Ego's got the whole thing down perfectly, as showcased on Ebifriday Night. If there was ever a girl to stake money on usurping the fans of every wota who enjoys the cute little sister motif, this would be the one.

18. Tani Marika (HKT48)

Speaking of hardly any pictures, Tani has basically zero. So instead I've used a video. Tani is basically the Gaki of old. On crack. Always outspoken, randomly busting out in a high pitched voice, and never afraid to jump in front of anyone with a camera. There's screentime busting, then there's Tani. There's also Murashige. Definitely a rival pair to keep an eye on, now they're both in KIV.

17. Shiraishi Mai (Nogizaka46)

Nogizaka has been undergoing some switchups this year. First, Maiyan became centre for Girl's Rule, displacing Ikoma, and then the very next single was replaced with Hori, the up-and-coming 2nd gen. But despite this, Maiyan has made my list. Why? Well, she's stunning. Pretty much every picture she's in is fabulous. Secondly, she's variety gold. When Nogibingo started airing she got creampied (in the literal sense) in the first episode, and started crying because she'd always wanted to be creampied. Can't help but respect that.

16. Jonishi Kei (NMB48)

Jonishi has impressed me this year for several reasons. One is, of course, as you can see above, she got back. She's also incredibly flexible and has had some magazines dedicate a feature to her and her flexibility, which is nice to look at. Her face is a bit weird but she gives off a bit of a Linlin vibe to me, which is good. Also scores high on the "her G+ amuses me" so she ends up here.

15. Kimoto Kanon (SKE48)

Kanon is still gloriously cute and silly, her facial expressions make me laugh and her minorly sadistic personality is always amusing to watch, so why has she fallen so much? Well, Ebifriday Night was one of the reasons, in which she didn't quite shine as brightly as the others on display. Sekai Seifuku Joshi is also still shit and no one, not even Kanon, can do anything about that. Magical Radio turned into a farce. Still, with her making frontrow on Utsukushii Inazuma, maybe a push is about to start, so she hasn't fallen off entirely. Maybe now she's 16 she'll be put in the photobook queue as well. Not that SKE seem to get a lot.

14. Shiroma Miru (NMB48)

You can always count on Miruru to brighten your day with either cuteness or being a totally nutcase spanner. Which it is depends much on the situation. She is probably the most derpy of the NMB members, but backs it up with confidence and supreme power which is totally unjustified but amusing to watch. Manabu-kun always features her bizarre answers, when you're not sure if she's trolling or not. The challenges in that programme also usually feature Miru, who is truly a sight to behold when failing badly. Her Google+ is a treasure trove of weird photoshopped images, eccentric fashion choices and cute nightmares. Or something. The future of NMB.

13. Murashige Anna (HKT48)

Another who deserves more magazine scans. Murashige is still a glorious spanner, hyperactive in the way that no one else quite matches. She's also cute as hell. The only magazine scan I could find of her was a makeup tutorial that coated her in shitloads of blush and basically turned her into Triendl Reina. Granted, Reina's cute as hell as well, but Murashige has the ability to become even moreso. On Hyakkaten, Odekake and AKBingo she's been active as hell, and it wouldn't surprise me if she continued to improve now she's in KIV and able to harass some newcomers. She does need a new gag though.

12. Nakamoto Suzuka (Babymetal)

Su-metal has improved markedly as a vocalist in recent times. She's also cute, funny, and quite a good older sister role model for Yui and Moa in Babymetal. Her own older sister, Himeka, is also an idol in Nogizaka46, and acts about as differently from Suzuka as possible. Whilst Suzuka emanates gravitas and composure in her performances, and acts like a pretty normal person in interviews and such, Himeka is basically Nogizaka's Momoko. Always doing the annoyingly cute act. But oh well, as a sibling power duo they're definitely the top in the idol world.

11. Nabilah Ratna Ayu Azalia (JKT48)

Speaking of metal and idols, Nabilah. Yes, she's Indonesian, in an Indonesia-based group, etc etc etc. Who cares. Nabilah is awesome. I don't understand a great deal of Indonesian (I can pick up the basics easily enough, but not everything), but Nabilah is fucking demented. She randomly does silly impressions, shouts really loudly at everything, and enjoys the music of Necrophagist. Her oshi in AKB is the dearly departed Oku Manami, who's pretty much my eternal oshi too. She has more twitter followers than most of the rest of JKT put together, and has even overtaken Maeda "Still Can't Be Fucked" Atsuko. So she's a headbanger who shares my oshi, is crazy and funny. What's not to like?

Anyway, part two will come sooner or later.

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