As a mark for me I’d like to remember this year as this year is one of the more important years in Hello! Project history. As far as I can remember I may have lightly sprinkled a ranking before, but I have never really solidified my rankings. And I would like to see year by year, through major developments and small subtle influences, how my rankings differ. Since becoming a fan of Hello! Project, many things have changed, many people have come and gone, and my likes and dislikes have varied.
As for the year 2009, the collective group known as “Wonderful Hearts” was made the real core of Hello! Project with the mass graduation of Elder Club. As we see above, the core consists of Morning Musume (9), Berryz Koubou (7), C-ute (7) and Mano Erina. That’s a grand total of 24 girls.
This year Berryz Koubou is the only group that hasn’t seen any change in members. C-ute was silently dropped to 6 girls soon after FOREVER LOVE. Kanna was later officially announced as resigned. Erika graduated in October. Finally, Koharu graduated earlier this month dropping Morning Musume down to 8 girls. This makes for a grand total of 21 girls in Hello! Project (excluding Eggs).
So here we are read more for my rankings for Hello! Project as of December 2009.
I must admit that I feel a bit uncomfortable about placing one girl over another especially if they are borderline with each other. As such, I will do a tier ranking system rather than outright number ranking. Keep in mind, tier lists are not an absolute ranking, they are more of an average placement. Just because _______ is where she is does not mean I absolutely ________ her. It just means that compared to the other members she is looked as less/more liked over the others.
Before I start, I apologize if I offend anyone due to my opinions. This will probably be especially the case since I’m not actually a Berryz Koubou fan. With that aside, I will start with Berryz Koubou as they have remained unchanged for quite a long time now. My initial rankings from Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance for the current 7nin Berryz remain largely the same as today. This is a work in progress though, as I have barely gotten into Berryz. Given some time and proper exposure, I’ll be able to justify these and future rankings.
- High Tier: Kumai Yurina, Sudou Maasa, Tokunaga Chinami
At the top tier we have the three tallest girls. I understand it’s really shallow that I’m picking by height, but height really sticks out to me. The first girl I really noticed was either Maasa or Yurina (due to their relative height). Oh and Chinami, when I was starting to read IntlWota she stuck out first, especially those legs ^_~.
- Mid Tier: Natsuyaki Miyabi, Shimuzu Saki
Here we have Captain whom I like somewhat since she is a dancer and in High-King. She tends to go really unnoticed from what I see, and therefore I notice her more there. Miyabi has a nice voice, albeit I sometimes find it boring. She’s in Buono! and that gives her plus points here. But not enough to overcome the giants.
- Low Tier: Tsuganaga Momoko, Sugaya Risako
DON’T KILL ME ><
Funny, that I put (arguably) the two most popular Berryz girls at the bottom of my list. I’m not too sure about Momoko’s popularity, but I believe the number of photobooks is a good enough measure here + the fact that she’s in Buono!. Momoko’s too overly cute and her voice is almost always annoying to my ears. Risako falls into this same annoying category too. I sometimes just get annoyed watching her in concert performances (like in Only You in the recent Hello! Champloo concert). I don’t know, maybe I just like the underdogs more?
Again, I realize a lot of people will probably want to kill me for dropping Risako in the Low Tier. So, I apologize, since all these are preliminary rankings over like several hours worth of exposure this entire year.
I just started listening to C-ute around mid 2008, so I have had some time to make up my mind about my rankings. Maimi, Airi, and Erika were my immediate favorites but over time by revisiting older singles and events the rankings have changed just a bit.
Top Tier: Yajima Maimi, Suzuki Airi, Hagiwara Mai
Maimi is tall and hot, two very big pluses in my book. Besides that, I like Maimi’s personality and voice. She’s one of the most ideal image of an idol for me. Speaking of ideal idol, Airi is also another one. I love Airi’s voice and pretty much everything else about her. She’s wonderfully cute and is a big part of why I like Buono!. Maimai, oh Maimai, only over this past year has she popped up from relative obscurity in my rankings to the top tier. She’s growing prettier by the day. I look forward to seeing her grow and improve over the coming year. And I hope Maimi and Airi will allow that to happen XD.
Bottom Tier: Okai Chisato, Nakajima Saki
The distinction between top and bottom tier is that I LOVE the other three. I have not come to pour this kind of affection over Saki and Chisato. They do have charm points like photobooks and silly moments. However, they haven’t quite gotten up to the top tier level of charm points. We’ll see in 2010 if they can move up the tiers!
Had Kanna and Erika still remained in C-ute they would’ve been placed into Bottom and Top tier respectively. One thing, I love about the Kids since I’ve started paying attention to them, is that they grow. And I look forward to seeing them improve and grow over the year. A lot can change in one year, after all. I mean look… Maimai would’ve been in bottom tier last year.
Ah, the flagship group of Hello! Project. I’ve been a Morning Musume fan for a while now and yet the sixth generation is by far the blurriest generation to me. I was catching up with previous generations when they were new and as a result never fully appreciated their fresh presence. I was able to appreciate Koharu’s growth to graduation since I was fully caught up by the time she entered. This is also the case with the Pandas too.
God Tier: Takahashi Ai, Niigaki Risa
I am heavily biased for the leader and sub-leader because of the fond memories I have of them when they were just starting out, especially in the Golden Age of Morning Musume. The Mechaike specials solidified Gaki-san’s position in my heart. Takahashi’s time in Minimoni and Utaban proved to be the strong points that got her into this tier. I also have newfound appreciation for Takahashi’s leadership position.
High Tier: JunJun, LinLin, Kamei Eri
JunJun has been my favorite of the two pandas very early on. Over the past year LinLin has really shown her abilities (solos and other shenanigans). Kamei too in this past year has been becoming more and more noticeable to me. It’s funny that her color is orange (my favorite color), yet she hasn’t gotten a high position until recently. This is one of the rare cases where my orange clause does not apply.
Low Tier: Michishige Sayumi, Tanaka Reina
The remaining Rokkies get the lower end of the game, while they have developed personalities and years of history now, they have not stuck out to me as much as the others have. I have already admitted my lack of caring for the Rokkies. Sayumi has more recently been on variety shows and sharpening her poisonous character. This prevented her from dropping to bottom tier because I am now appreciating her growth in character. And well Reina… She has those rare moments where I really like her, like in the Hello! Champloo album. But otherwise, I find myself taken by everyone else.
Bottom Tier: Mitsui Aika
The 8th gen girl needs to work harder. She has barely any tools to get her out of this tier. I always felt she was relatively boring and emotionless. According to her, Tsunku picked her cause she was languid or something of the sort. It really shows… it really shows…
Over the year Kamei has moved up as I have started noticing her bigger contributions to songs and the overall fun of Morning Musume. Koharu would’ve been in bottom tier at the beginning of the year as I had little love for her. But, given all of that aside and not using graduation as browny points, Koharu would’ve been in low tier for her amusement. Since she has graduated though, Mittsi is left all alone working in the bottom tier and the two remaining Rokkies get to seek ways in 2010 to climb the ranks.
These are my rankings as of December 26th, 2009. As I cannot fully commit myself to numbering them, I think this ranking serves its purpose. I opted not to rank and of the Egg groups, as I still don’t even know all the members involved. And that would be completely unfair. As if my Berryz ranking wasn’t already unfair >.>
I look forward to what 2010 will bring. I’m sure there will be many pleasant surprises and hopefully not too many unpleasant surprises. And with that, I bid 2009 adieu. Let’s welcome 2010!
~Siggy, who likes tier lists~