Wednesday, May 9, 2012

mAyKB48 – (9/48) My oshimen: Takahashi Minami

Today I will introduce my third favorite member of AKB48.  My second favorite is Watanabe Mayu, but since Eric already did a write up about her on his blog, I’ll refrain from doing a whole entry on her here.  Mayu caught my eye for the same reason that Yuko initially did.  She had a cute smile.  I knew nothing about her, but she was cute, and in the beginning that was more than enough criteria for me to pick a favorite out of so many girls.  She also had an easily identifiable hairstyle, so she was easy to pick out even when I was unfamiliar with the majority of the members.  My fondness for her grew when I learned that we shared interests in anime and manga.  But enough about Mayu, on to the real topic of today’s post, Takahashi Minami.

Minami, perhaps better known by her nickname Takamina, is one of the original members of AKB48.  She is the captain of Team A and thus the captain for AKB as a whole.  She leads the team huddles before a performance and is often the spokesperson for the group at events.  She advises and supports other members and is known for her hardwork and leadership ability, contributing greatly to the group's success.  Like Mayu, Takamina has a recognizable hairstyle, often seen with her trademark ribbon in her ponytail.  And like Yuko, she seems to be a very genuine and passionate person with a good sense of humor.

It's no surprise that these two are good friends.

The thing that drew me to Takamina was her voice.  Her voice is lower than many members, but very strong.  She often gets solo lines in songs and was the first member whose singing voice I learned to recognize.  In a group where a spectacular singing voice is not required she stands out and is very impressive.  As such, she’s always been among the front girls of the group and has been in every single the group has released except for those determined by janken.  Her dream is to one day be a solo singer and she seems well on her way there.

Her ranking in the group has been dropping a bit each year (5th in 2009, 6th in 2010, and 7th in 2011), but her popularity has clearly grown with her getting more votes each year than the year previous.  What’s more, she doesn’t seem bothered by being “only the 7th most popular member.”  In the last election where several girls were clearly upset by drops in their rankings, there were two girls who didn’t seem fazed at all and in fact ran up to the podium when their name was called, gratefully accepting their ranking.  One was Takamina and the other was Sae.

"Lucky seven!"

Another thing I really like about Takamina is that she is a big fan of manga, especially shonen manga.  She once had a meeting in the same building as the main editorial office of Shonen Jump (the company responsible for Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece among many others) and she took a detour to their office and got a picture taken with the staff.  She gushed about the experience later on her blog explaining how she could barely contain her excitement to be there.  It’s the kind of thing I too would be excessively excited about and just makes her all the more endearing. 

Her favorite manga is One Piece.

As I did with Yuko I'd like to end this with a short video from a few years ago of Takamina introducing herself, including some adorable video of her as a tiny child dressed as Sailor Moon. 

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