After seeing a personal ranking by this blog (which I discovered last night really late, and had a frack of a time locating again), I decided to do my own ranking half out of inspiration, the other half from outrage. Unfortunately the spiffy graphic I made is about 50 pixels too wide for this column, so I will simply squish it and link it. In outright copycattery, I shall also describe the reasoning, of which I am certain many will disagree. A lot of rankings tend to go by prowess in the vocal cord department, but since I mostly have no idea what they’re saying, that’s not really a factor for me.
1. Saki Nakajima – I have long held that Saki is the cutest of the group, and now that her face is narrowing slightly, I think she’s even more cute. I think I was nearly rent twain after seeing her forehead scrunching in the Tokaikko Junjou video (the one where Chisato is idly bouncing a ball that Maimi takes from her and throws out into the water but mysteriously vanishes) on a few of her closeups (I even made what I call the Saki Grid because of that video). I still have plans to make a Saki tribute video one of these days. I could just hug her to pieces.
2. Maimi Yajima – Way back in September 2006 when I first really discovered the kawaii-ness of teh cuties of J-pop, I was hooked after watching a Fark Video link to Ookina Ai De Motenashite, and partook with mine eyes the cuteness of Maimi. She’s pretty much the one that got me hooked on the HP bunch in the first place, holding a very close 2nd.
3. Chisato Okai – Chisato will forever remain the perfect personification of the ^_^ emoticon, if she wasn’t already the original model for it. Ever-smily (and the best at faking it, as they are oft-required to do, it seems like sometimes) and seemly always ready to laugh. This ranking was also heavily influenced by another Jpop blog I enjoy, Chisato Only.
4. Mai Hagiwara – Before learning their names, I made up nicknames that I could later associate with the real ones to tell them apart more easily. I called Mai “Sunglasses” for obvious reasons. Being the smallest and youngest just makes you the most snuggly cute in my book, and particularly with the style of clothes she’s worn in the Tokaikko Junjou and Namida no Iro videos, she actually peeks into the creepily pedo-wota “yowza” closet.
5. Kanna Arihara – Going by my nickname scheme, “Forehead” (in a good way) begins the “meh” section of this ranking. All of the gals in the group are remarkably cute (moreso than Berryz, but 2nd place to Morning Musume). Kanna is the bridge between “meh” and an extended glance.
6. Airi Suzuki – I must respectfully assert that Airi is way overhyped. She made me feel a pinch sad and ready to dish out the hugs for her when she started crying after the snake incident and has a decent singing voice (though I don’t really go by voice per se), but it’s just really irritating to me that she gets most of the screen time (although I don’t mind as much when Maimi gets screen time..hmm). If we could just trade out shots of Saki doing the waiting-to-sing head wobble at all the times when Airi is singing solo, I’d be pleased. Airi gets to be up front so often, she frequently steals the show on the dance versions anyhow, so that’s a good trade I think.
7. Erika Umeda – I’m not sure what it is really. Erika never really caught my attention the way Saki or Maimi have done, but I can’t really put my finger on why specifically. I don’t think it’s her height/wingspan, and I tend to like a good schnoz quite frankly. It could be that I just haven’t seen enough in-depth things on her, but I don’t want to give the impression I’m say she’s just a groupie of some kind. Dunno.