Please note: I’ll only mention this in this first part, but since I did this sorter, one Idolmaster idol, Haru Yuuki, has earnt a voice – all the iM@s idols in this are the voiced Cinderella Girls. She’s not in these rankings so I won’t mention her, but given she’s the series’ resident footballer, I’d say she’d be pretty good.
This is the result of my latest idol sorter, featuring Idolmaster (but only the voiced Cinderella Girls, because they’re all I care about) and Love Live (but only mu’s, because anything else is an affront to their legacy), as done 2-ish weeks ago as of this post. This is actually pretty accurate, or at least the top section and the very bottom is. Everything else is a bit of a mess, but with the relative plainness of so many idols it’s only natural the most average idols would be so variable. But that’s not gonna stop me talking about all 81 characters in order. Let’s go.
Kanade Hayami: Yes, I’m gonna bang on about her again. But I’m doing it properly this time. Partly because I’m already a little embarrassed at the way I was talking about her just a couple of months ago. But mostly because she has spent the last three or four weeks making me utterly lose my mind at just how a character could come into my life so much and make me feel so utterly, utterly besotted by them.
Would you like to know how it felt when, at the most recent CinFes, I wasn’t even trying to get her, and she showed up on my first bloody 10-roll? How do you reckon it felt when straight afterwards, she got her third, limited SSR? What about when I got that SSR two days later, meaning all I said about Starlight Stage’s gacha became a non-factor to me and I’d never have to spend another penny on it again because I had the holy trinity of all three Kanade SSRs? And how about the fact she’s gotten a place in not one, but two new songs for the Christmas period, one by my favourite iM@s composer, the other the central seasons song for winter? And how I’m still discovering new, amazing stuff about her, such as the fact that in her Starlight Stage story, after banging on about kissing for so, so, so, so long, she actually goes and bloody does one? Heck, she’s even featuring in other people’s commus now. Like, seriously, when I clocked she’d shown up in the latest Triad Primus event commu, I did damn near the biggest double take of my life. How can one character be doing this, right here, right now? Are Bamco now designing this series with me in mind?
Let’s not kid ourselves here, some of this is a little down to luck. Most of it is probably down to an incredible stroke of timing. But I say this right here, right now; I could not have picked a better time to be a KanadeP. I’ve never seen anything like this from a character, ever. God knows what it’ll feel like if I see anything like it again. And for all I know, she’ll have more in store. I’m not even scratching my eyes any more to believe it; she keeps getting better, and better, and better. What happens next with her? Is she gonna get a second image song in the next Starlight Master? Now they’ve brought Triad Primus back, might they do the same with someone like…LiPPS? I’m not sure how I could even take something like that. But then I couldn’t take me actually getting CinFes Kanade on my first 10-roll. I couldn’t take her getting that limited straight after. I didn’t think any of those could possibly happen, but they did. Right now, nothing feels impossible for Kanade. This girl has no limit. None at all. And, right now, I am absolutely in love with this stunning, irresistible, sweet-talking, melodic, enticing, magical, mind-blowing idol.
Behold, my favourite character ever.
Eli Ayase: Ah, the blissful times of last year when Eli was the character I thought might be able to take the mantle of ‘my favourite character ever’ that an idol from a series I couldn’t have imagined getting into last year now holds. To be honest, it would have taken something quite special from Eli to get her there, game-changing as she was at the time, but it never quite happened for her. To be honest, it’s hard to see what she could have done. (Quite apart from me not ever properly playing LLSIF, getting any one of her 90 cards in that game probably wouldn’t be as special as getting one of Kanade’s 6, never mind whatever her rarest variant is.) But let’s not dwell on the here and now with Eli because she stands as the first idol – actually, make that the first of two – I really, properly fell for. If you ask me, she remains the most ‘beautiful’ character I know, if not the very ‘best’. But it is a quality she possesses more than any other, and she really did genuinely bring me to a halt almost constantly at the peak of my love, out of sheer admiration. In fact, she was so beautiful she damn near changed my perception of how I look at girls in real life, too. If that had led to anything more special, she might be sitting here as my all-time number 1 (not because even Kanade wouldn’t be good enough to beat her, but because I probably wouldn’t have found out about Kanade at all had such a thing happened). Nothing came of it, though. Such is life. But Eli still holds a place in my all-time top, top tier. Top 3 calibre, I’d say. I wrote plenty about her last year – that still stands, by and large. The love doesn’t flow as easily now, but that’s just how good she was at her peak. If only she hadn’t been killed off by her own makers…though that hasn’t stopped seven high ranking mu’s members from living high up in my rankings. Like I’ve said before, they were really, really, really good.
Maki Nishikino: Eli goes down as the GOAT in Love Live, but Maki goes down as the idol that got me into idols. I thought she might end up as my favourite in the series as a result; she didn’t in the end, but she eventually went down as one of my favourite characters ever. A lot of my love for her has to be credited to the simply remarkable Windart, an artist who gave Maki more love than I ever could (albeit in much less safe ways than the one I’m demonstrating). I mean, he made her look like an absolute angel. As attractive an idol as you could conceive…and so I ended up seeing her normal self the same, too. In many ways, an angel is what she is, thanks to the kind of personality that fooled the world all over. And to such a degree that, if you take away the only semi-real Vocaloids, Maki might stand as the most popular idol ever conceived. And she did it by making the whole world think she was a tsundere. But there’s a catch. Tsundere-ness is generally applied directly towards other people. Yes, Maki riffed on it hilariously in the anime, but that was more of a skit. In serious conversation, what her personality consists of is saying something, and then immediately changing her mind when confronted about it. That ain’t a tsundere. Not in the true sense of the concept. That’s just a hilariously contrary person. And that makes her a lot more likeable to me. It also helps that she has a voice that is almost heaven-sent. If there’s one idol we all could have kept from mu’s, I bet we’d all agree on Maki. Eventually. No idol is more appealing to so, so many people.
Mika Jougasaki: Here’s a idol I loved for the sake of my love of idols. I cherish Mika’s style so, so much. She’s just got an aura that screams appeal of the most wonderful sort. Hers is another voice that wins my heart, albeit only when she’s actually singing with it, but given her job isn’t just to speak normally with it, that’s fine. No idol is as idolish as Mika, I think. Of course, it also helps that she’s been a hilarious bait for the sort of idol fans you don’t wanna know about (and also why she’s ended up with the most ‘doujins’ of the lot), but while her sexual appeal is clear and great up to a point, there’s so, so much more to like about Mika, honest. Then again, even Bamco can shoot themselves in the foot trying to emphasise this with Jougasaki senior. I mean, if you look closely at her limited SSR, you can see the exact point where her spine has snapped. Maybe that’s why she hasn’t got a perm SSR yet. Because she’s still recovering in the hospital. Actually, maybe what her perm SSR will be – when it comes in about…ooh, 400 years time – just her getting out of it. But that’s the price you have to pay to be a godly idol, I guess. Let’s not kid ourselves here, though – Mika is really, really fucking good.
Mio Honda: A lot of people judge idols on that most subjective of things – cuteness. If I were judging them solely on this one and only factor, Mio would be the best of them all. She’s sweet beyond belief. And this without being one of the typically ludicrous maniacs Idolmaster calls a ‘cute’ idol. Like I said, it’s subjective. But Mio has wonderful natural charm that makes her so, so adorable to me. She’s cute in the kind of way I like, most of all. It’s a case of ‘my kind of look’ with Mio, really. But she’s also got the best kind of energetic personality on her side, and the kind of perma-smile that could probably cause actual nosebleeds. And she’s got one of the more interesting voices in the series as well. And a chuckle that makes my heart melt ten times over. When I saw Mio for the first time, I sort of knew she’d be really damn good to me, and she did not disappoint. Not even nearly. She deserves to be so much more popular than she really is, especially as a main character among the Cinderella Girls. What an idol.
Syuko Shiomi: Fun fact; you know that entire thing I wrote about Syuko? This piece is where I wrote it all up first. With that in mind, I refer you to that article for my insight on the most interesting idol I know.
Frederica Miyamoto: Let’s just get this out of the way – I still don’t like her eyes. I mean, I work at a French company and I have yet to see anybody with anything like Frederica’s greens. (Though I would wholly support anyone willing to rock her gorgeous hairstyle.) And yet, at the end of the day, I always end up looking past them. They’re the Cindy Crawford’s mole of Idolmaster, in that they’re her defining feature and yet ultimately inconsequential. But still, I do sometimes wonder what they’d be like if they looked even better. Actually, given her personality and hobbies, it’s entirely possible it’s just her own make-up that isn’t flattering her eyes. Because, if some fanart is anything to go by, she might be alright without it. And if they looked like they did in some fanart, what you’d be left with is…my goodness…
Freddy stands tall as the sole example of Idolmaster’s idea of a ‘cute’ personality done right. Of course, what Idolmaster defines as a ‘cute’ personality is deranged to such a degree I’ve seen it hilariously tagged under the terrifyingly accurate tag of ‘brain problems’. However, while Fre exhibits behaviour that some would file under the tag, I would say she doesn’t do it to the kind of level she becomes straight up annoying. In fact, she gets it just right. Let’s be clear, it’s not cute. But it is really, really funny. And therefore utterly, utterly lovable. I mean, she’s like the kind of girl who would seem absolutely banterous in real life. And the kind who goes at her own pace, which in Frederica’s case seems to be full speed ahead. Every day is a good day for this girl who screams positive vibes like no other. She walks a tight line, but crucially all her good cheer is entirely harmless. And that is what makes her so much more appealing than so many of her fellow ‘cute’ colleagues.
And that’s really the essence of what the fun, fun Frederica is all about. Just watch her personality and drink it in. And admire the rest of her looks because, make no mistake, she can rock an outfit, eyes be damned. I mean, I idolised her perm SSR recently (an SSR which made two of my first three rolled SSRs) and boy does it suit her well. Sometimes she can even go the extra mile and look genuinely stunning no matter what. Go look at her unidolised limited SSR and tell me she isn’t elegant as all hell. Oh, and Ki-ma-gu-re☆Cafe au lait! is the most fitting image song of any idol. I didn’t think Fred had it in her at first to really impress me, but by god has she proved me wrong. She’s iM@s’ best cute idol by a mile.
Umi Sonoda: Ah, a blue-haired, yellow-eyed idol I really liked before it was cool. Weirdly, despite her general aversion to appearing so, if there was one word I’d tag Umi under, it’d be ‘sexy’. Maybe the immensely powerful, and really very good, voice of Suzuko Mimori has something to do with it. Of course, the other blue-haired, yellow-eyed idol gets put under the ‘sexy’ tag more often, mostly because she acts it, but nowadays I don’t think the term is what I’d call her most of all – in the past, yes, but now, no. (Hell, ‘sexy’ is probably too small a word for her. Hence why I prefer more flattering terms.) Oh yeah, and Umi is not averse to blowing kisses, which, well…you know. I probably should have seen the omens, on reflection. Though with all this in mind it’s harder to explain just how Umi didn’t end up as my favourite idol. But I was a very different man in January 2016 so, eh.
Anastasia: You need a foreign idol? Get a Russian. Anastasia says ‘Khorosho’ once, but she gets away with it by being really damn good. She stands out as one of the anime’s finest characters by far and she’s really rather innocent deep down, I think. Perhaps a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none idol, but deep down it is very hard to dislike her. She’s gotten plenty of respect and boy has she earned it.
Minami Nitta: I questioned where her popularity came from at first. I know why now. Minami is, I think, the ultimate girl next door of an idol. She’s not as flashy as the others above her, but what she is, by nature, a real sexy girl – kind of in the same vein as Umi before, come to think of it. There’s not much I can do to describe it other than to just say, she’s got it – the unfathomable factor that makes her seem so much better than a lot of her peers. That’s the way it is, sometimes. The intangibles, at their finest, are unbeatable.
Shizuku Oikawa: My guilty pleasure of an idol. And it really is a guilty one – I really don’t want to be associated with an idol with any kind of personality like this. But I must be because Shizuku is as ideal a looker as I can really imagine in Idolmaster. I love brunette hair. I love short hair. I love brown eyes. I even love a strong girl. And, hard as this might be to admit in public, I like big tiddies. If I were statting everybody in Idolmaster, I’d put Shizuku at a visual of about 7 million and just leave her at that. Because that’s the only charm she needs. Everything else is immaterial. Or at least it should be. Sadly, it isn’t quite… Oh, what I’d give for Idolmaster to fix up some of its bloody personalities.
Hanayo Koizumi: And now we come back to an idol whose prime quality is, in my eyes, her natural cuteness. My god, does Kayo-chin have it in spades or what. A high voice of her calibre can be absolutely headache-inducing when done wrong. Pana’s is what you get when you do it right. She’s so sweeeeeet. Mind you, I don’t think her singing voice is up to much. But I tell you, she deserves to be so much more than the least popular member of mu’s. She’s so lovely. Oh, and her seiyuu is amazingly cute, just as much so as her character. That’s another big positive.
Nozomi Toujou: In the world of idols, you get shamed if you like them solely based on their bust…unless they’re this one. Nozomi has plenty of positives about her, but none more so than her glorious thiccness. She has no regrets about it at all. And she stands as the first of all these idols I actually, vaguely knew about. Thank the wild and varied world of fanart for that.
Nico Yazawa: What you get when you try really, really hard to be cute. And make it work, just about. What you also end up when you do that is really, really popular. Nico isn’t all positive, but by god is she iconic or what.
Rin Shibuya: Possibly the least talkative idol in history is also arguably Idolmaster’s biggest (though Miki and Haruka might want a word), and certainly the most popular of the Cinderella Girls. But it’s OK that she doesn’t speak a lot because she can instead let her utterly incredible voice do the talking. There isn’t a more powerful voice in the idol world. Hear it during Never say never and it hits you hard. Hear it during Trancing Pulse and it gives you genuine goosebumps. Hear it during the new Trinity Field and it remains seriously impressive. And fierce as Rin can look, she can also do properly beautiful – I raise you her limited SSR as evidence. She’s not this popular by mistake – there’s a genuinely likeable idol in her.
Rin Hoshizora: Love Live’s Rin is also pretty strong. Most impressive about her is how she manages to be a catty girl, but not a full-on cat girl. You only need see Idolmaster’s effort at the same thing to see the difference between getting it right and wrong on this score. But Rin also has the positive of being a good tomboy character, and pulling off a strong attempt at subverting her trend. Also potentially the only known idol with the capability of playing that most evocative of instruments – the maracas. Move aside, any instrument idols, you can’t beat the samba beat.
Kaede Takagaki: If they gave Kaede a show, it could only be named ‘Everybody Loves Kaede’, because it’s true; everybody does love Kaede. Or certainly a bit of her, at least. Whether it be her soft, calm personality hiding a drunken beast, her puns, her youthful, utterly unique beauty or her world-class voice – courtesy of the other Hayami, Saori – there’s something for everyone with Kaede. Hell, even I knew about her long before going into this whole thing. She is really, really popular. And deservedly so.
The rest of this sorter will be in further pieces soon when I can raise some actual words to describe all the idols I still have left (and also to save you from what would otherwise be another one of my 500-story high walls of text). Please stay tuned.