Melos was able to attend two of the four scheduled events on that day and gave a detailed report of one of those he was at. There’s a lot of fun tidbits included, especially about the three visiting members from AKB48 – Kuromachi Asuka, Sato Sumire, and Yamauchi Suzuran. The line about Ranran enjoying performances “from below” has made her vault into my top ten ofAKB idols, and it as great to read that an audience member was kind enough to ask if the girls get enough rest.
There are plenty of great photos Melos took from the event, as well as some very sexy ones of the Singapore Cafe Girls – dubbed SCG48, of course – doing their numbers. Based on these pics, I’d be just as happy to see SCG48 in action as AKB.
And if anything, the success of this event may go some way towards proving that the AKB franchise can indeed be exported overseas successfully. I’ve read some opinions that AKB48 is too distinctly Japanese in its cultural premises to work in other countries – and yes, the idol industry in Japan has its own quirks and expectations.
However, cute and sexy girls should translate well from Japan to many other cultures without a hitch, and that’s what AKB is really all about – as SCG48 makes quite plain. And with the right marketing – mindful of the local culture, and using the Japanese AKB idols as graceful ambassadors – I really don’t see why it can’t succeed more often than fail. After all, Aki-P is best appreciated as a canny marketer as much as anything else.
Of course, I have to selfishly ask: Do I think it would do well in the United States? Idon’t see why not – at least if the audience was clearly targeted as otaku and wota, and not an attempt to appeal to mainstream audiences instead. The list of Asian idols who’ve crashed and burned in America is quite long, so I find myself thinking of the more careful planning of the fashion designers Greg of Selective Hearing spoke with at AM2. Just working the anime con circuit would probably be profitable enough for all involved, though I could be quite wrong.
But yeah, the pop overlords of Japan are already making headway in the rest of the world. Don’t say you weren’t warned!