Idol Rino Sashihara is still going strong as a member of HKT48 after previously leaving AKB48. She is nowproducing her very own idol seiyuu search to find girls who will form the seiyuu/idol unit, =LOVE (pronounced as “equal love”).

Sashihara stated that she wants =LOVE to stand next to her former group, AKB48, and maybe even surpass them in the future. She also stated that she plans to have them debut by summer 2017. For now, it seems that =LOVE will have to do a lot more to realise Sashihara’s goals of surpassing AKB48.

The competition started with 103 aspirants, but then got narrowed down to 13 finalists. These participants were aged 12 – 20 years old. They were judged based on how well they did on singing, dancing, and doing interviews. Now, these 13 finalists are doing even more training before they make their big debut. Oh, and it seems like =LOVE’s production staff now has a song for them already.

source: Spoinichi Annex