Their days may be numbered at the hands of Nogizaka46, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop drooling over them. A few days back, Jappydolls had a series of posts devoted to Visual Young Jump picture sets of top AKB48 members: Minegishi Minami, Oota Aika, Kitahara Rie, Shinoda Mariko, and Kashiwagi Yuki. I was actually kind of happy to see that Oshma Yuko and Maeda Atsuko weren’t included in these sets, just for a change of pace.
The Minegish Minami pictorial was only fifty or so photos, but it perfectly encapsulated her idol persona: on the one hand, she’s a hot pneumatic bitch with a body that just screams I’M FAPWORTHY from every curve and angle; on the other hand, she’s also got a quirky cutesy side which is alternately endearing and annoying. The swimsuit photos here are incredible, top-notch gravure with great poses and lots of bright colors. The maid cosplay and rabbit head stuff is also colorful and playful, but didn’t do anything for me.
Oota Aika’s whole pictorial is devoted to the color white: all the props, which include a unicorn statue and some weird furniture, as well as the different outfits she wears. There are simply too many photos here - over a hundred-fifty - for so few settings and props. Her swimsuit shots are pretty nice, but the ones with her in a short white dress are even better, as she works with the furniture to strike various sitting poses. The close-ups of her face are very expressive, mysterious even. I haven’t paid much attention to her before, but may start doing so after this.
Kitahara Rie has almost five hundred photos in her set. She is clearly very telegenic and the camera loves her like I love pork chops, but it’s like the photographer shot roll after roll of film and they just decided to pass it all along to us. There are times when it feels like a flipbook, when the differences between photos are moment to moment. Rie is quite lovely, but this lack of editing just drew my attention away from the idol and focused it too squarely on the process. Fans of Rie probably won’t mind though.
Mariko’s pictorial is a relatively brisk hundred-fifty or so photos and is the most fashion-minded and dynamic of the batch. Which isn’t saying too much, given the outfits the other idols wear, but you can easily see this photo shoot bing edited down to a clean dozen for a fashion magazine spread. (Which makes the news of Mariko’s own magazine all the more fitting!) I’ve always loved how Mariko can combine her horsey gooftard looks with a rather powerfully statuesque sexuality, and both are used to excellent effect here.
Last but by no means least is Longcat, who gets almost two hundred fifty pics. The first eighty are devoted to one setting, her posing in a white bikini front of a bank of several mirrors. And while this many shots of the same setting had angered me earlier, here I must admit I was hypnotized. Not just because Kashiwagi has a coltish attractiveness - really, this is the kind of build that Shihono Ryo should eat a few cheeseburgers to gain - but also because the mirror gimmick makes each photo into a kind of perverts’ brain teaser, looking at all the different angles the mirrors show us in order to piece togeher the fullness of this idol’s charms. The other highlight of this set is a series of shots of her in a bikini surrounded by big colorful plastic balls. It’s a different kind of hypnotizing, but I love how the curves of the balls play against Yuki’s own curves, balancing a very youthful playfulness with the canny manipulations of a seasoned cocktease. So yeah, that’s like two thumbs up for me.
So if you like AKB or if you like eyecandy – and especially if you like both - download these pictorials and enjoy the hell out of them. The sheer number of Rie shots may tire your arm some, or you could tire your arm a different way with the Miichan and Longcat spreads. Whatever suits you best!