This past Saturday was the 8th annual Senbatsu Sousenkyo for AKB 48's 45th single, which took place in Niigata, home of the latest sister group NGT 48.
Although Watanabe Mayu had a few thousand vote lead in the day 1 preliminary count, the final outcome was not even a contest.
Sashihara Rino won her second consecutive title, and third overall, becoming the first girl in the Japanese version of the election to win twice in a row. She won with 243,011, while Watanabe Mayu came in second with 175,613. At this point, Sasshi (as the fans call her) is the undisputed queen of the Japanese 48 Groups.
The rest of the top 16 are as follows:
Nyan Nyan Kamen
Some of the bigger surprises was Kodama Haruka, also known as Haruppi, moving into the top 16 after finishing 17th last year. Also, Suda Akari, who finished 18th last year moved all the way back up into the 7.
With the graduation of top members Takahashi Minami, Matsui Rena, and Watanabe Miyuki, many girls moved up the list, including Miyawaki Sakura and Okada Nana. Sakura is the ace of HKT 48, and Okada Nana is considered one of the best future prospects in the group.
Okada recently took a break from the group for a few weeks, announcing it was for rest. When she accepted her award, she told the crowd the true reason for her absence: she had been suffering from bulimia, and needed to get treatment. This type of raw honesty from an entertainer, especially an idol, is super rare, so her fans of the group have been extremely supportive.