From 10 May to 15 June voting is being held of the 30th annual Sanrio Character Ranking. This is where the company pits their vast library of cute characters such as Hello Kitty against each other in a popularity contest.

You can expect to see the top-ranking characters get the most exposure through merchandising and spokesperson deals for the rest of the year. And now with two weeks past and the preliminary results announced, many are surprised to see the fictional visual kei (think glam rock) group Shingan Crimsonz at the top of the list of 100 characters well ahead of cuteness stalwarts such as Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars.

This has caused tremors in the cute character community with many suspecting that Japan’s homo-erotic fan fiction loving girls known as fujoshi may have formed a powerful voting bloc.

First here’s a rundown of the standings thus far.

Hello Kitty
What really needs to be said about the most ubiquitous cat in Japan and possibly the world?

Little Twin Stars Kiki & Lala
Also powerhouses of the Sanrio empire, Kiki and Lala continue to be crowd favorites.

Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan
The first influence in the top 10 of the rhythm video game and anime series Show by Rock!!, Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Mugenan is a rock/enka power-trio with aspirations of greatness…and kitty ears.

Image: Amazon

Just ahead in the rankings is another group from Show by Rock!! who play rock music and also have cat ears.

Image: Amazon

My Melody
Arguably second in line to the lifetime achievements of Hello Kitty stands the monster of kawaii that is My Melody.

A relative newcomer to the scene, this listless egg yolk has really made a splash in recent years and continues to do so currently holding fifth place.

They are the main band of Show by Rock!!, holders of the legendary Strawberry Heart guitar, and oddly enough have one of the easiest names to pronounce in the series.

Image: Amazon

Pom Pom Purin
Half-dog-half-custard pudding he’s all fun and just try to resist saying his name without feeling all warm and gooey inside too.

At second place this wouldn’t be the first time that the floppy puffy puppy has given other Sanrio veterans a run for their money.

Shingan Crimsonz
Also hailing from Show by Rock!! is this visal kei quartet. Despite their cat ears, they may not exude the simple cuteness Sanrio is usually known for. Their music ain’t bad though.

Again it should be noted that these are not the final results of the election. Those will be announced on 27 June. However, when news of Shingan Crimsonz’s dominance may netizens were concerned.

“Hello Kitty will pull it out in the end.”

“Shingan who?”

“[in reply] They’re some homo band.”

“Hmm, a lot of characters I’ve never seen before.”

“What the hell is that in first place? I think Pom Pom Purin is the cutest.”

“They’re all fujoshi votes.”

“Fujoshi have taken over Sanrio.”

While I like a healthy dose of paranoia as much as the next guy, this hardly seems like a fujoshi conspiracy considering the many other Show by Rock!! characters topping the list. More than likely the relative freshness of the series is showing in the energy of early voters. Still it kind of grinds my gears that they are so popular despite refusing to dress up in the pirate theme of this year’s ranking like everyone else.

▼ Oh, look who’s too cool for school.

In the coming weeks we may expect to see more votes cast for classics. However, if fans of Hello Kitty and My Melody choose to rest on their laurels and don’t vote, we may very well see a stunning upset as a visual kei band becomes the next top Sanrio character.

Source: Sanrio Character Ranking, Sanrio, Alfa Alfa Mosaic (Japanese)
Videos & Images (Unless otherwise noted): YouTube: sanriojapan, Ki Si