When I got into western anime fandom (in the 1990s) I did top 10 lists for fun. It’s a framework that allowed people to think about things in relative to each other, along a dimension so to speak. It can be a complicated thing or a simple thing, or things, or whatever that floated the boats of individual opinions. It’s a habit only enforced by today’s media landscape that desire click-through understanding, not some serious business digression.
So here’s a serious business digression: My own tiered ranking of the idol characters of Million Live.
Disclaimer, though, this is not a producer ranking. I do take that aspect into account when compiling this, but let’s just say while I do put Matsuri at top out of obligation, it is not out of obligation to say that she is also my favorite, and vice versa. And while it would be nice to say that it’s a coincidence, one does not cause the other. There is a distinction between “producing” an idol and calling her/him your favorite. Until western fandom understands this (within IDOLM@STER at least) there is no way we are really deserving of anything good.
It’s very much a snapshot of my mind, and if you ask me again tomorrow I might disagree with my past self. I did sleep on it and tried to keep it sensible but it isn’t written in stone or anything like that. It’s probably safe to say that there is a half-life of sorts, that things will definitely deviate the further into the future we go…
Last but possibly the most important thing before I begin… I’m strictly speaking, when it comes to Million Live, a MD with a favorite. This means, in reality, I like all Million Live idols. This is important to keep in mind. They are all god tier. I’ll explain the distinction individually below. [See this GamiP interview to know what I mean about being MD with an oshi in regards to being a P.]
Top tier: Speaks for itself.
- Matsuri – It’s an odd match considering I tend to like like-minded characters, but I dig Matsuri’s meta too much to not make it something I can own.
- Miya – I get healed all the time, and I can dig the way she thinks.
- Megumi – As an idol she is a lot more compatible to my personality than she appears, not to mention the seiyuu factor.
- Umi – Theater Day boosted her into my top ranking, but despite my Vi bias Umimi relentlessly chased after my inclinations.
Up-trending: I’ve been liking them more recently. Doesn’t mean they are higher than the other tiers necessarily, just that I’ve been paying more attention to them.
- Tsubasa – Even before Theater Days I was interested in her, and even more now…
- Tamaki – Same
- Shiho – She’s kind of cool now that I got to know her more.
- Emily – Hard to describe Emily’s attraction if you don’t dig that blonde hair westerner thing, but her character is pretty fun to be around.
- Mirai – Theater Days Mirai is so different …
- Noriko – Like Umimi, she’s a lot more charismatic when animated
- Arisa – She’s got the slightest uptick in my interest via Theater Days. Rieshon is more Rieshon in animation I guess.
- Ayumu – She and I have a special connection, and I love the way Theater Day animates her hair…
- Mizuki – Even before TD she was already making a bid for my top tier…
Steady: Middle of the pack, I guess, but it’s not saying much.
- Rio – An upstanding anime character for the twenty-first century.
- Konomi – One of my favorite characters from the series, but I don’t have any special feelings for her?
- Iku – Used to be more “up” but I think I’m out of lolicon fuel.
- Karen – Good example of someone who would rank higher than most “up-trend”
- Momoko – She’s highly underrated and I hope more people discover this gem via Theater Days.
- Julia – It’s hard to discern Aimi from Julia sometimes.
- Reika – A very interesting character that keeps the pace of a certain side to this game.
- Anna – Her charisma is hard to fathom
- Chizuru – A very IDOLM@STER character in the middle of the pack.
- Elena – Pretty conflicted over Elena. In some ways she’s a great balance to the group, but she doesn’t quite go far enough…
- Sayoko – Another character I get sentimental about, but besides just being a very good girl I don’t have much to add.
- Fuuka – I like her a lot in the card game, but she’s the kind that takes a back seat a lot of the time. Something that I also kind of like I guess.
Down-trending: Opposite of up-trending, but also implies these are not necessarily lower ranked than Steady or some Up-trending ones.
- Kotoha – Mainly just because absence is not always a good thing.
- Kana – The uzai is … uzai.
- Roco – She’s a good example of someone I’d rank higher than many “Steady.” But Theater Days Roco sure is uzai LOL.
- Shizuka – Blue leader is blue. Not sure if I like her in Theater Days, is the thing.
Base: Lowest rank…or another term for steady, but I care for these a bit less.
- Serika – I love Mocho but I like Serika not like how I like Mocho, after all, as they are not the same.
- Hinata – I actually like Hinata a lot, so I’m not sure why I put her in this tier. Maybe some leftover grudge from the election last year.
- Yuriko – I don’t lewd her so there is not a lot that Ms. Wind Warrior can do for me. At the same time she’s got that protagonist writing all over it, and it’s just not how I bend.
- Tomoka – I like her a lot, and this brand of chuu2 is a lot closer to home for me. It’s just I’ve not had a lot of time to dig deeper into her character setting. Probably good candidate for future up-trending.
- Nao – Osaka. Osaka isn’t even my favorite Azumanga Daioh character so ppfh.
- Akane – The real uzai-kawaii. I’m not a uzai-kawaii person. I do like her as a role player though.
- Subaru – I actually like her as a foil to Makoto, and obviously being baseball tantou of Million Live I do put her in a special category. It’s just that her cuteness hasn’t really appealed to me yet.
- Minako – I feel a bit better about Minako versus Yuriko, for example, but I already live out her principles in my daily life LOL.
Unknown: Not the lowest, but I don’t know where to put these.