SKE48: The Comeback is Real at the AKB48 49th Senbatsu Sousenkyo
SKE48 refuses to die even after Rena Matsui (one half of WMatsui) graduated in 2015. It thrives despite decreasing sales and being overtaken in popularity by Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46. Results at the recently concluded AKB48 49th Senbatsu Sousenkyo attest to the resilience of the girls from Sakae, Nagoya.
While there was no upset (Rino Sashihara of HKT48 retains her crown for three consecutive years), the 49th Single Senbatsu Sousenkyo or 9th Senbatsu Election marked the return of SKE48 in the top 16. Led by Jurina Matsui who retained her 3rd place finish, SKE48 landed 5 positions, with 2 in the Kami 7 (top 7):
- #3 – Matsui Jurina
- #6 – Suda Akari
- #8 – Souda Sarina
- #14 – Furuhata Nao
- #15 – Takayanagi Akane
In the 2014 and 2015 editions, the group held 4 positions. In 2016, they had 2 positions (HKT48 had 3). This year, with 5 positions, they attain the plurality and more importantly, the chance to regain lost ground.
Sign of renewed success to come? Since the departure of Rena Matsui, SKE48 has been lackluster. I almost lost my love for Jurina Matsui and company, although she remains as one of my favorite members in the whole 48 universe and SKE48, one of my favorite Jpop groups. I admit the excitement has faded, and they have not released material to my liking.
Or is it that my love for SKE48 is never that strong? That I do not believe in them at their worst? What kind of a supporter that I am? If I can’t support them at their worst, why should I support them at their best?
With the results of the Senbatsu election, I hope to regain my enthusiasm for the Nagoya squad. I hope to renew my faith in SKE48… my interest in their music… my love for Jurina, Ryoha Kitagawa, and Oya Masana.
I want SKE48 to release better material this time. It’s time to make the Senbatsu orange again.