Sunday, July 15, 2012

And So the Rise of Yukirin Continues...

I don't know if it's just me but ever since 2011 I've been seeing more and more of Kashiwagi Yuki.

Now, Yukirin's isn't my number-one favorite of AKB48. That title goes to Akimoto Sayaka. And actually, she's not even my favorite of Team B despite being captain. That title goes to Watanabe Mayu the Fantastic Creeper. So yeah. She's always seemed like a fairly sweet person to me, albeit a little bland and she has a nice voice. Very pretty and controlled for an idol. But overall she's never really stuck out to me. A lot of my favorite members of AKB have strong, distinct personalities and maybe Yukirin has one that just isn't seen on the stage or TV. Even her subgroup, French Kiss has always seemed rather vanilla to me even though some of their songs are nice. And I did like that ballad Yukirin sang as one of their "If" B-sides. Still, I don't really pay much attention to Yukirin. However, for some reason I'm really fascinated by her history. So, guess what? Time for a history lesson!

In 2006, Yukirin auditioned for Morning Musume's 8th Generation (you might know that as the Cursed Generation) and made it to the 3rd round. However, she was cut and left to do whatever it is Momosu rejects do. In her case, it was auditioning for AKB48. After getting shafted in favor of one of the most... debated members of Morning Musume, that same year Yukirin auditioned for AKB and actually made it in to Team B, the newest group to AKB48 at the time. They were sort of the Team 4, only slightly more promoted. For the first few years, Yukirin was pretty under the radar. Sure, she was one of the few Team B members to appear in the Senbatsu for Bingo! but after that Watanabe Mayu was pushed more on the singles and she stuck to stage performances. Cut to 2008 and Yukirin's back in the Senbatsu with Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008. From this point on, she appeared in Oogoe Diamond, 10nen Zakura, and Namida Surprise! although she still wasn't one of the front girls. In 2009, she placed 9th in the 1st Senbatsu Elections (Iiwake Maybe was the Senbatsu single). That same year, in the team shuffle Yukirin was appointed as captain for Team B. From this point on, she gained a little bit more exposure but still wasn't a part of the Kami7. 2010 she, Takajo Aki, and Kuramochi Asuka all formed the subgroup French Kiss with Yukirin fronting it. For the 2nd Senbatsu, she placed 8th one rank higher than last year. For 2010 and 2011, she gets an increasing push from her former years in AKB. Then came 2011 aka the Year of the Yukirin. For the 3rd Senbatsu Yukirin jumped an astounding amount compared to her previous rank and placed third in Senbatsu elections only behind Maeda Atusko and Oshima Yuko. From this point on, Yukirin is established as one of the front girls of AKB48, gaining more screen time in singles and exposure. Now in the year 2012, she has once again placed 3rd in Senbatsu (and Mayuyu's 2nd!!) her position in the Kami7 pretty secure at this point.

And now in the next chapter of The Yukirin Chronicles it's been announced that she will be making a solo debut!

Sorry about that lengthy history block of text but like I said, Yukirin's climb has always interested me because I never would have really pegged her as someone to get all this exposure. Maybe it's because I root for the underdog, and Yukirin has come a long way from the rejected auditioner of Morning Musume. And now I suppose it's only common sense that she'll be getting a solo single. Sasshi has one and she's got the singing ability of lamp. Mayuyu has one despite basically owning Warota 7 with a Creeper Smile to boot. Why not add Yukirin to the mix? Unlike the last two, I really do think Yukirin has a legitimately good voice. It may not be unusual like Takamina's or deep and sexy like Sayaka's but in my opinion she has a very nice voice. Aki-P said so himself also implying her single will be a ballad. And although it's a recipe for blandness, if I was going to peg anyone in AKB to successfully pull off a ballad, I would say Yukirin. As I said before I listened to her solo B-side (I think it was titled Chinmoku?) and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. Albeit, it wasn't every interesting, there was nothing groundbreaking or Perfume-level of amazingness, but it was still a very well done song. And it was the first time I realized Yukirin can sing. Okay, she's not Mizuki Nana-level in vocal ability but for an idol she can really sing. There's just something about Yukirin's voice, some strange kind of passion behind it. It's like even though the song is slow her voice carries all this energy behind it and successfully crafts it into emotion. If only her personality could do the same thing... I said this in another post, but to me Yukirin is like that one really awkward friend you don't know what to do with. It's how she's always been to me with the group but maybe she'll be different for a solo single.

At the worst, I think the song will just be bland. It's how most ballads are. But with Yukirin's voice carrying the song it might still be good. I think it all depends on how Aki-P handles promoting her. It'll be a nice contrast from the cutesy songs of Mayuyu, the Autotune-layered songs by Tomochin, and the cliche idol-desu songs Sasshi covers. Will the single succeed? Will it flop? I don't know! I just know that I'll definitely keep my interest going in the Chronicles of Yukirin. 

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