Happy 5th Anniversary, Aitakatta!


Hello, everybody! Missed me? I kind of fell off the face of the Earth for a ridiculously long time there, sorry! I’m super busy now with all my residency stuff so I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep updating, but I’ll try my best 🙂 You see, these 5 years have been a rollercoaster ride for me. I started adoring AKB48, to then disliking some of the choices the management made to “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING AKIMOTO? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? UGHHHH” and “OMG IF I HEAR ANOTHER SUMMER SONG ABOUT HAIR ACCESORIES I’LL MURDER SOMEONE” and finally my current stage which is more like “lol who cares, some of it still sounds good”. So obviously, during my ragequit phase I wasn’t really feeling like blogging about AKB48, what with all of my unending assignments for university and my other fandoms (Kalafina and Perfume, in case you’re interested) being way more fulfilling and inviting.

kalafina

BTW: Beautiful Kalafina goddesses. You should look them up if you ever get tired of idols who can barely sing and lyrics about polka dots.

However, I feel like by this point of my life, AKB and I are inextricable (sorry for the utter grammar fail, I’m not a native english speaker, please have mercy etc). No matter how much they disappoint me (and BOY do they disappoint me!), I always find a ray of light shining in my cold cold heart and making me smile and love them for what they mean to me, which is basically happiness and cuteness and all things sweet. So even though the last A-side I honestly liked was Kaze wa Fuiteiru, I stick around and keep coming back for more. Because they have cheered me up in times when I had no one who would do that for me in real life and because I’m happy just singing along to their nonsense and trying to dance along as well. Basically, I’m forever alone and AKB makes me happy, especially when I distance myself from the whole thing.

See, I think another one of my mistakes was getting too involved in the AKB fandom. I’m a loner by nature, so I obviously don’t do too well with forums, chats etc. Yet with AKB I found a community where people weren’t too aggressive or intimidating and I could participate for the first time. Doing so has been awesome, and I like having people with whom I can discuss my opinions because sometimes the blog felt a bit like standing on a soapbox haha. But in turn, I started becoming way too invested in the inner workings of the group and the fandom itself and it wore me out really quickly.

Let’s just say that the idol world is stupidly unfair, because behind all the rainbows and flowers it’s an enterprise like any other, and their purpose is to make money. I hape to sound like Hipster AKB wota, but fame only made all these flaws all the more obvious, and I started getting a bad aftertaste, like everything they were doing was just a cashgrab, like the girls didn’t even want to be there but cared more about their personal careers, like I was being manipulated into this whole reality TV thing where I had to watch girls collapsing and panicking and hyperventilating just so I would believe in them and thus turn my paycheck over to Akimoto et al.

I started becoming painfully aware that this whole thing is a fantasy, and that the girls I love are probably not even there, but just personas they adopt in order to fullfill what’s expected of them. And it also affected me how quickly fans turned their back on them when they stopped behaving like superhuman beings and got caught up in a scandal, I felt like so much hatred towards them was unjustified but I also felt like it was unfair when some of them were kicked out while others stayed and nothing happened to them.

And so I became bitter. Because I felt so manipulated and disgusted even by some of the aspects of it, even though I’ve been a fan of idols since I was a kid and completely dedicated to it since around 2005 , it became too much, and I felt like I didn’t even want to be part of it anymore.

So much stuff has happened in these months I’ve been away though, I plan on commenting on what I can remember off the top of my head, but it won’t be too long since this is already over 700 words and my internet has the hiccups so I can’t add many pictures, and who is going to read this wall of text without distraction boobs amirite?

But to make a super long story short, I’ve found out that even though I try to stay away from everything AKB related because I’m against so many of the things it stands for right now, I can’t. I’d be listening to my iPod randomly when Aisareru to Iu Koto started playing and I couldn’t help but tear up, or they went to Tokyo Dome and I felt moved by idols in a way I hadn’t in many years, or Yamamoto Sayaka’s refreshing honesty or Yokoyama Yui’s bright smile would convince me that this is something I’ll keep coming for, because regardless of the many bad things in the idol world, regardless of everything that is wrong behind the scenes, these girls are working their hardest and pushing themselves and supporting each other towards a dream, and that is something I can’t forget, because is what’s gotten me through a lot of stuff in the past.

Even though I’m not prancing around in a fluffy pink skirt and singing cutely about the big bad wolf, I understand what it’s like to have the odds stacked against you and miraculously pull through, I understand what it’s like to work your hardest for something and sometimes have it be in vain, I understand what it’s like to give everything up for a shot at your dream, I have been in situations where I’ve felt like all I can do is give up but yet I manage to stand up and keep going. Their words resonate with me, because I can relate to their struggle in a way, because even though the institution they represent is flawed, it’s not their fault, they are just trying to do their best with the cards they were dealt, and so am I. So there you go, this is my story with AKB, and if it keeps going this way I’ll always be connected to the group in some way, even after my eternal Oshi Yuko leaves, even after I’ve finally reached my dream.

srs yuko

Oh crap, this is already 1100 words and I haven’t talked about New Era AKB. I’ll keep it as short as I can, I promise.

sasshi-grimace-001

1. Sasshi’s downfall: The first thing that comes to mind when I say that the idol world is fucked up and infuriating is Sasshi’s whole debacle. It was unfair to her and that guy was a douchecanoe, yet everyone was quick to label her a slut and many other words of the same purpose. I was totally on Sasshi’s team because I couldn’t care less about the no dating rule, but then she wasn’t punished, she was moved to HKT in a surprisingly synchronic series of events that left many of us wondering if the whole scoop hadn’t been planned ahead, and then I hated myself for thinking that way, and then I kind of hated Sasshi for taking away the spotlight from the least popular sister group and it’s SUCH A MESS. I still don’t know what I think about this, only none of it is Sasshi’s fault, and I’m proud of her for everything she’s had to go through, she’s definitely strong willed and I wish her the best.

paruru

2. PRR48: I’m very proud of myself because when Acchan announced she was graduating we had a discussion about the future of AKB and I said that Mayuyu, Jurina and Paruru would be the next aces and Paruru the next center. Not that that is an impressive prediction, since Akimoto is pretty easy to read, but people didn’t believe me back then. When Paruru effectively rose to the top meteorically I did an inner “I told you so” dance that nobody noticed on the internet because I think I’m more important than I actually am lol. Just like it was with Acchan (although they are completely different idols), nobody can call themselves an AKB48 fan these days and not have an opinion about her. She seems to be a love or hate character, and I feel like I might be one of the few who doesn’t care either way? I mean, I started out disliking her because she looks like she doesn’t give a damn and says all the things to prove it. But then they did a hundred TV specials about her and maybe it was just propaganda (who can tell with idols anymore?) but she seemed to really care about Team 4 and work very hard, she just didn’t want to come off as fake, according to her plea. It’s ironic because I’m tired of the fakeness of the idol world yet I feel like Paruru is completely inappropriate in some of her comments and her attitude in handshakes is outraging to me. But that’s because I have to plaster a smile on my face and be kind to patients even if they are assholes, so maybe I’m just jealous lol. So I ended up being in a place where I really don’t understand her because apparently she cares, and practices a lot, she’s just not very good at anything she does regardless, but she also doesn’t want to compensate with a cutesy attitude or flirty comebacks because she wants to stay true to herself. Which is all very weird. Still, she’s going to be the next center, so I’d rather just cruise along. She doesn’t bother me at all, she’s just not one of my favorites. Time will prove whether her “novel” approach will work or not.

uza

3. UZA: So after liking Give me 5 ok, listening to Manatsu no sounds good a billion times for it to grow on me (#sonestyle) and forcing myself to think that Gingham Check was a throwback to the olden idol days of yore, I was really looking forward to an A-side I could actually like, but alas, this one sucked. The “cool” single is always my favorite because I’m one of THOSE people who like stage songs and aren’t as thrilled about all the UG sounding crap AKB has been putting out there in the past 2 years. And this single sucked. Hard. I mean, Uza is a cool enough song, although it sounds like a reggaeton reject. The choreography and PV are impeccable, it just feels so… soul less? I know I’m not making any sense, but with songs like Shoujotachi yo or Beginner or even Sugar rush you can feel in the girls a desire to convey something, but in Uza they seemed to be more focused on nailing the choreography and scowl all the time. Which means I ended up disliking the only non-election AKB center single there will ever be, fml.

janken

4. Janken Tournament 3: After Ue Kara Mariko, which is my least favorite AKB single EVER I wasn’t too excited about this event ever again. And indeed, I didn’t even watch it, but I managed to find out that my baby Yui made it to the top 3! I wish she would’ve been center but that’s good enough. The center, however, was Shimazaki Haruka, AKA Akimoto’s new oshi or something. Hmmm… first Mariko, then Paruru, this tournament looks more and more rigged everytime! I hate thinking that way about idol events because it takes out the fun. It’s like being able to figure out the tricks in a magic show, it gets ruined for you.

eienpressure

4. Eien Pressure: I was planning on hating this already, because after Ue kara Mariko I expected something else stupidly about Paruru and I hate songs about a single member sung by a whole group of girls because that’s gross and unfair and FUCK YOU AKIMOTO. Anyhow, when I listened to the song I found myself loving it, in spite of Paruru’s grating vocals and her blank face when performing as center. The PV and the song are subtly about Paruru (well, anything is subtler than Ue Kara Mariko lol) and they do a very good job of showcasing everyone else, I found myself loving it. Also, Yui helped. A lot. She’s an angel like that.

td

5. Tokyo Dome concert: The TD concert was really cool. I hate the latest AKB concerts because they are just a lame medley of singles and I couldn’t care less for those but this one was a throwback to the old concerts where the girls actually had fun on stage and with each other, with shuffle units too! Acchan’s homage was really sweet and I loved that it was only one day, I thought the whole concert was going to be about her. The downside: ALL the love for the 1st gens and NONE FOR YOU 2nd GENS! HAHAHA. Akimoto has apparently always thought that the girls who joined the group 4 months after it debuted were already in it for the OBVIOUS fame back then and the only ones that matter are the holy 1st gens. I not so respectfully disagree, and if they make the Nissan concert about 1st gens again I’ll break something. Not that there will be any 2nd gens in the group by then lol but hey, one can dream…

new ship A)

6. NEW SHIP and all the other album and UG songs that sound exactly like it: Bear with me, ain’t nobody got time to listen to all those songs that sound just the same. Remember when the B-sides were good songs? Ahh those were the days! Anyhow, the new gen is out there in full force. I’m pretty meh about them conceptually because I don’t have time for KKS, so I don’t know who they are, honestly. But the TD concert did a great job of introducing them and now I find them a lovely bunch with quite a few stars and girls who have improved leaps and bounds like Kato Rena. My favorites out of new gen are Jurina, Mayu (lol that’s practically old gen but we’re sticking to Akimoto’s definition ok?), Tano Yuka, Milky and Kawaei Rina. Yep.

0048

7. AKB0048: This was the most brilliant idea ever. It’s an adorable anime, but what I like is that it goes behind the scenes to show us how the girls might be really feeling and what’s it like to be an idol. It’s also chock full of ridiculous Akimoto ideas, including portraying himself as a god (lolbye) and a senseless war on idols that well, feels a little bit extreme, but it’s a good way to drive the point across. Also NAKAYAN. I’ve never been a fan of Kumi, but she did a fantastic job as Sonata, Sawako is practically playing herself though, whatever.

8. Google Plus: I’ll just say one thing about this, and it’s how much of a jerkface Akimoto is. Yes, because there can’t be a paragraph in this post where I don’t hate on Akimoto with the strength of a thousand fiery suns. Welcome to Tsunku-land, AkiP. Anyhow, the way he scolded the girls through gugutasu for their “poor MCs” in Request Hour made me want to kick him in the face. Especially his “lol no1curr about Miorin and her stupid rollercoaster thing” because ROLLER COASTERS ARE FUCKING SCARY AND YET SHE WENT THERE FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT AND YOU DISMISSED HER FUCK YOU. And then again maybe this was his plan all along so that we would side with the girls, it still feels really unprofessional and like I’m watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians UGH.

bald miichan

9. Miichan’s Baldness: Oh boy, here we go again. By the time this scandal rolled in, after the 5 HKT girls quit for an undisclosed reason apparently related to their dating and one of them being a snitch or something, I had made up my mind about the no dating rule. I decided that if I was going to continue to like idols, it would be under my own terms and the whole fandom be damned for all I care. So yeah, I think the rule is stupid and while I understand why it exists I think it should be like it is, don’t get caught and everything else you do with your private life is no big deal. Sadly, with AKB becoming as famous as it has, scandals are really hitting hard this year. Reminds me of Hello Project circa 2007, which is when I ragequitted that fandom. So basically, good on Miichan, bad on the paps, wtf is she thinking shaving her head? Her career is basically over is what I think about the whole ordeal.

10. New Shuffle: You know, I’ll never stop yapping about how the shuffle ruined AKB and I will never EVER change my mind. Obviously I know it wasn’t the shuffle, but THE FAME MONSTER. But still, they ruined something perfect (Ori K) and I will forever hate Akimoto for it. Haha I spared him for a paragraph, aren’t you guys proud of me? If the old shuffle made little sense, this one makes NO SENSE AT ALL. Not like it matters, because Teams and theater performances are just kept alive for nostalgia’s sake but uhhh… Why disbanding Team 4 and lumping them all together with the other girls and make huge teams that can never perform at the same time? I mean, Team 4 should have never existed (before you kill me, Team 4 fans, I mean conceptually, I actually think they had the best dynamic and were the last shred of old AKB), but once they moved forward with the idea STICK WITH IT. They probably panicked when Acchan left and thought they needed all of the troops in the same place or something. Still, ridiculous, heartbreaking, fucking EVIL. Stupid Akimoto. I don’t even know who’s in what team anymore, but like I said, it doesn’t even matter lol whatevs.

11. Group Transfers: I think Sashihara was supposed to go to HKT anyway, but whatever. I largely don’t care about these, except Jurina in Team K is WIN. At least for concerts or something. Also, my baby Yui is now one of the frontgirls of NMB48 😀 I never talk about sister groups because ever since I became an AKB fan my policy was to start paying attention to a team when they got their original stage but I’m going to have to change it because new stages won’t debut until like 2020 at this rate lol. I’m a bit conflicted because Nana is my NMB oshi and Yui pushed her down to the 4th spot, but NMB are amazing and they are my favorite sister group musically so I’m sooooo happy I have a reason to actually pay attention to them now! I don’t think much about Kitarie in SKE though. And wow, Sae, Takajo, Nakagawa and Mariyannu disappeared from the face of the Earth for me lol. Super sad about Sae 🙁 Hope she comes back soon!

graduates

12. Everyone graduated from SKE: Well, not everyone, but a lot of girls. I love SKE, especially their group dynamic because THEY HAVEN’T BEEN SHUFFLED BY STUPID AKIMOTO. So it’s sad to see so many members go! Especially at the same time. It’s weird, but it will probably get really exciting with KKS getting promoted and getting to know new girls. Maybe I can even hope for S4? I don’t know which one I want more though N3 or S4? On one hand Team S has been performing the same stage for like 3 years, but at least it’s their own…

13. SNH48: Apparently they are real good and people are really active in following them but I don’t understand a word in chinese so it definitely decreases my entertainment value. Also, I have no time.

14. Nogizaka46 keeps existing and apparently are pretty famous: Oh how I wish I was young again and had free time to follow all the idols I want to follow! Nogizaka is amazing musically (except for Hashire Bicycle and it’s stupid line about listening to Akimoto Yasushi songs, aren’t we a little bit narcissistic? Or maybe he ran out of ideas already and someone is ghost writing his lyrics and wanted to suck up to him lol) and all the girls are super pretty. I love their old idol flair too, because I’m a sucker for showa era idols. I just have no time ;_;

masaka

15. Solo debuts!: So Kashiwagi Yuki and my precious baby Chiyuu had solo debuts this year! Yukirin also released a solo DVD, which I haven’t watched yet, maybe some day. Her solo songs are ballads, as expected. They are pretty cute, and I love her voice, but they get a bit boring, honestly. Chiyuu’s “Masaka” was a really pretty mid tempo song, and while her B-side was boring, the C-sides were EVERYTHING. Solo Dakishimeraretara and Candy <3 The PV was also really amazing! I hope she keeps singing, although at this rate it feels like her run in the entertainment world is pretty much over ;_;

16. Waiting Stages: So this is what they came up with when they figured out that Akimoto can’t keep up the writing enough to give the newly shuffled teams a new stage. I’m surprisingly ok with it, mainly because I’m sick of B5 lol I still haven’t watched Team B’s waiting stage nor Team H’s. Oops.

17. All my favorites are leaving the group D: Tomo~mi-chan, Tomochin, Nakayan 🙁 It hurts, especially Chiyuu’s story what with her recent horrible luck and that absurd pedophilia scandal… Depressing.

18. Team Surprise: Saving the best for last! This was the only good idea Akimoto had in all of 2012. Oh no wait, he had another good idea, I have to add another item to this list. Is anyone even reading this anymore? At first I raged because that’s what I do whenever I hear anything about AKB these days: Insta-rage, and I felt it was ridiculous to create a full new stage for a pachinko team when Teams S, N, M, BII, E, H, A, K, B don’t have anything new to perform since a million years ago, but then a genius in Ebi48 pointed out how Himawarigumi was the team who had gone the longest without a new stage 😀 I wish I remember who it was, a true genius! Then I calmed down and actually watched it and listened and OMG IT’S SO PERFECT. It’s everything a Stage should be and I do love my stages dearly…

19. THE LOST STAGES GOT RELEASED AND WITH KARAOKE CDS TOO!!!!!: You know what? I’m ready to forgive Akimoto for almost everything (except the shuffle NEVER the shuffle) because this is the most amazing thing ever. I never thought this day would come, and when they said they would release them I thought they were assembling a new gen crowd to sing them again and ruin them completely. But no! They released the originals! You have no idea of what I felt when I could finally listen to Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster, my favorite AKB song, without all the shouting! Rinatin’s beautiful voice ;_; Maimai ;_; A4 made me bawl my eyes out and K4 made me so so so happy. Actually, this is why I came back to AKB, because I remembered so many good memories thanks to so many great girls!

I’ll probably never be the adoring AKB fangirl I was in 2008 again, but even with everything that’s happened and with my RAGE at many things in the fandom, the things that are important remain and I will never forget about everything I’ve gone through with their music as my BGM.

Fittingly, Yakusoku yo is playing right now <3

Umm this had more pictures but wordpress hates me, sorry!


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