A few thoughts about the idol industry

I wasn’t planning on posting, although I’ve already written and screencapped a review of Seibu Dome Day 2. But then I read this article in Arama they didn’t and I just had to say something because this is breaking my heart.

You should really read the full thing because it’s a great look into the ugly side of the idol world, and incidentally, the one we don’t really hear about since everything is supposed to be about hopes and dreams and smiling and Tehe~ but that’s what made it all the more powerful to me. I’ll give you a review though.

Hara Mizuki is graduating from NMB48. She’s a 14 year old 1st generation member of the group who is still a kenkyuusei and was never promoted to any team. She posted a very long entry about her feelings during her tenure as a NMB48 member, and long story short: she ended up very frustrated because she was always working hard and doing her best but she got no recognition for all of her efforts and never really got a chance to prove herself.


One of the boldest complains she makes is about the girls that were punished, allegedly for fooling around with boys against the rules. She says that they came back after their punishment and retrieved their frontgirl positions without any hassle and she (who had done nothing wrong) was thrown again in the shadows. She talks about how everyone was promoted to N or M and how everyone in the 48 franchise is always talking about how “Hard work pays off” so she felt offended that people might believe that her 1st generation friends who haven’t been promoted either aren’t working hard, because they are getting nowhere, and that’s a lie, because they do as much as they possibly can attending lessons everyday and juggling school with their idol duties and getting pretty much nothing in exchange for their sacrifice. So she’s had it with the 48 thing and she’s calling it quits.

This is already hugely revolutionary because none of the graduates have ever been so honest about their true feelings when they leave. Most of the times, all that is issued is a “Thank you for your support, please keep looking after me in the new path I’ve chosen for myself” cookie cutter statement, even in the awful cases like Saotome Miki’s graduation.

It’s also rather impressive that she wasn’t censored, because almost everything in the idol world is carefully monitored; so much that NMB captain Yamamoto Sayaka had to ask their management to stop censoring their posts.

I wonder who had a hand in leaving this confession out for the public to see? Nowadays the 48family groups have become more and more of a reality show: the first documentary was sweet and moving with its personal interviews and gritty rehearsal footage; but the one that’s coming out this year looks like something out of the Kardashians, with girls fainting and having melt downs all over the place. I understand that these things happen in AKB, but I don’t take pleasure in watching Yuko get a panic attack or Maeda hyperventilate painfully. I don’t take pleasure in watching my idols getting overworked and being miserable just so that their management can cash in on their suffering and say that it’s all because ~they work hard for their dream~ that’s just disgusting.

In any case, Mizuki’s given them all a piece of her mind, and it’s certainly given everyone something to talk about. Starting with the NMB captain, Yamamoto Sayaka


I think Sayanee is one of the greatest members of the whole 48family. She’s talented, charismatic and down to earth, but what strikes me the most about her is that she genuinely cares about her members, and she’s very honest about her feelings in her blog and G+. She is on point when she says that people might think she has no right to talk about this because she’s always been the most popular NMB member (Milky eat your heart out! j/k I love Milky, she’s one of my favorite idols, but this supposed bitchy character of hers that’s become a meme by now is too funny to pass up :P), but then she brings out a story about her past as a member of the MAD CATZ band that flopped. And she tells Mizuki that her efforts will be rewarded in something else, which is also incredible for me to be reading because everyone is always sugarcoating everything in this damn fandom.

All you ever read is “AKB has given me so much, thank you Akimoto sensei for giving me this fantastic oportunity” as if all of them were Acchan instead of underdogs and rejects who never even got a chance. I mean, I’m not saying they should be ungrateful, but it’s refreshing to hear some honesty at all in this world of mirrors and smoke.

Sayanee’s message was great to read precisely because of that: She’s acknowledging that the idol world is completely unfair, and that Mizuki is probably right in her observations, but encouraging her to move on and not give up on her dreams just because this didn’t work out.

And then, Akimoto Yasushi himself is weighing in his thoughts on the matter, and part of me wants to punch him and another part wants to stare in awe. I swear I’ve never felt love/hate in its purest form until I heard about this guy.

I’ll spare you guys the Akimoto picture because sadly, he’s not a looker. So have a picture of NMB instead, including Mizuki


Akimoto says what he’s always said: That he’s got a bad eye for picking stars so maybe the hard work of some girls hasn’t been noticed by him. Or something to that effect. But he still encourages Mizuki to try again and keep aiming for her goals in life.

I don’t know what to say, I mean, I agree with Akimoto, there are many 48 members who are incredibly talented and charismatic and never get noticed. However, I’m not naive enough to think that it’s just a case of “Woopsie I didn’t notice you there outsinging everyone else in theater shows! My bad!” it all comes down to profit at the end of the day, because the idol business is, more than anything else, a business; and the producers and everyone else involved in it is in this for the money, especially now that AKB has become a juggernaut force to be reckoned with. Every one wants a slice of that cake, and in order to maximize earnings they have to play if safe, especially because everyone involved knows that this female idol fad will be gone like it appeared, and everyone will move on to something else.

So what is it that bothers me? It’s Akimoto’s fake honesty, actually. It just rubs me the wrong way, but at the same time I understand that he has to keep up an image, and if he appears to be a humble benevolent patriarch everyone will think highly of him. Obviously he can’t come out and say “Yeah, look Hara, you’re just not cute enough and don’t have a gimmicky thing to make people care about you. In turn, you have no fans and the NMB management is not going to push you when they could be giving more exposure to a girl with fans, who will buy a lot of her merchandise and a lot of CDs and bring revenue to the company. So peace out!” so I don’t even know what I expect from him, honestly. That’s what puzzles me and frustrates me the most about him, I can’t have a real opinion about Akimoto without finding polar opposites even within my own impressions of him: either he’s a guy who really tries his best to make this work, and treats the girls right and cares about them or he’s a capitalist mogul who cares only about the money. I think the real Akimoto might be in some kind of middleground, and I also think that he’s not running this on his own, so maybe he can’t have it his way with everything about the 48groups.

Ultimately, I feel like maybe I’m too jaded for this fandom. I’ve lost the spark in my eyes of thinking “Oh, she’s fantastic! I want to see her get her chance at the spotlight!” because I already know if she’s going to get pushed or not and I also know how fruitless and frustrating and honestly heart breaking it is to follow girls who aren’t in the top tier. Sure, my 2 oshimen are senbatsu members, but the rest of my favorites aren’t. Except for Chiyuu and look at how she’s doing after the shuffle!


In any case, I’m glad that people can get an idea of what it’s like for the idols who aren’t in the spotlight. I wish I could read enough japanese to understand Nakayan’s book too, because I’d love to have more insight about this situation. With the 48family ditching the stages and becoming centered almost completely in the singles a large part of what I loved about the group has evaporated for me, because I feel like the unpopular girls are honestly not given chances anymore.

I think it’s becoming more cut-throat every day for the girls, because the competition just gets more complicated with every new sister group or rival group or whatever Akimoto thinks of next to stay relevant in the everchanging music market of Japan. When everything comes down to singles it’s way more complicated for an underdog to make her way up the ranks of senbatsu, because the girls who will participate in each single are already set in stone; this is why the senbatsu for Manatsu no Sounds Good is like 36 girls: Because the top 18 are unchangeable.

They have even scraped events like the Aki Matsuri thing of 2010 when we had a fantastic karaoke competition where the really talented girls could show their skills, in 2011 we got the AKB Kouhaku concert instead, which was focused only on the senbatsu members and high undergirls and lumped everyone else (and everyone who could sing, mind you) in that stupid godawful ballad that came with Uekara Mariko. And don’t even get me started on the Janken single tradition, which started out as a cool idea, until Uchida Mayumi won and they went all “LOL no1curr” with the promotions of the single, especially when you compare it to Uekara Mariko and all the fuss that was made for that one because Shinoda was center and made it marketable.

The stages we have nowadays also give no chance to the unpopular girls to shine, because they aren’t created according to who can deliver a good performance or not, like before, but around who is popular: All units have frontgirls as the lead and the unpopular ones are backup singers, as opposed to what happened before. But I’ll stop right here or I’ll get accused of being an “elitist” old fan who thinks everything was better before, which I’m not. I’m really happy that AKB has gotten where they have, I’m proud of my girls too, but I wish it wasn’t all about the money sometimes.

I wish 2011 hadn’t happened, but since it did, at least I’m glad that the sales stopped rising and have hit some sort of plateau because it’s making them think outside of the box a little bit again this year.

Ultimately I’m frustrated because I hate the way the unpopular girls are treated but I also understand that they have to run a business and look out for their company, and I wish that I wasn’t here since so long ago so that I wouldn’t care or I wouldn’t miss the way things were before ala hipster kitty, I know that attitude is annoying, but I can’t help it. I’m afraid that my love/hate relationship with Akimoto is extending to everything he is in charge of as well, but since there are changes happening this year (Bless your beautiful soul for graduating and infusing a little bit of life in the arid and cookie cutter world of AKB, Acchan) I hope I can work it out somehow.

AKB48 Concert Yossha Ikuzo in Seibu Dome Review ~Disc 2

First of all, a shoutout to Idolminded! Ray Mescallado’s latest Wotasphere community effort! Please go visit the site, it looks amazing and there are tons of great new ideas being implemented, it’s pretty awesome.

Well, let’s continue with the review of Disc 2! The funny thing is, I didn’t want to make it too long because I’m the Queen of TL;DR, but I wrote all my comments while I was watching the videos in TextEdit, and I had a tiny window so I was like “wow, I’m writing a ton of lines about every song, I’ve gotta stop or nobody is going to read it!” and now that I paste it in this normal sized window I just wrote like 2 words about everything lol /coolstorysis

Anyway, this part of the concert is less interesting because it has no new songs, but it has a single selection from 2009 that made me weep with nostalgia ;A; (figuratively speaking, last time I cried when something AKB related happened was when Ue Kara Mariko was released and I shed tears for buying three copies of that sucky single. Ugh, I want to cry remembering it now!)


1. MIN MIN MIN: I had forgotten about the weird cicada costumes! I liked this song, it sounded clubby, but the whispery vocals are kind of strange and Serina’s voice isn’t my cup of tea.


2. MC by SDN: Serina looks a lot like Nocchi with that haircut, it’s weird. Poor girls not knowing what was ahead of them 🙁


3. Yasai Uranai: OMG. This was the reason why I bought the Flying Get theater edition CD hahaha. it got here completely crushed, so sad! Anyway, these outfits are even worse than the Yasai Sisters ones, but the cheap tropical background music is awesome to me! Also, Jurina, cover up a bit child, you’re gonna get pneumonia.


4. Ougon Center: Oh my, everybody and their dog was all over this song when it came out, while I was kinda meh about it, but it has grown on me. Miyu was such a perfect center, it’s a shame that the idol world is so ridiculously shallow because she’s amazing 🙁 Kato Rena continues to look like she couldn’t care less about performing Idk why I bother trying to look for her, I keep hoping that maybe it’s like with Acchan and cameramen just focus on her while she’s not smiling, but what are the odds?


5. Anti: Ranran and Nakamatta are perfect <3 That raised platform is freaking me out again haha. This song is good, and I’m still butthurt about Miyu being demoted from center for shallow reasons, it breaks my heart. I can’t help but thinking that the chorus of this song sounds way too much like Kobushi no Seigi, that takes away a bit from my enjoyment, but it’s still fantastic that it doesn’t sound like a Ponytail knock off like all recent UG songs.


6. Lemon to Toshigoro: Nattsun <3 Wakanyan <3 I’ve seen this song performed so much that I don’t even know what else to say.


7. Miniskirt no Yousei: Nothing can beat the original 3, but I love Saeed-Yokota Erena if only because we look alike a bit hahaha


8. Romance Kakurenbo: Wow. Jo Eriko sounds live 😮 Major props for her (although this isn’t a hard song to sing, all her senpais have lip synched even their spoken lines). Wait no, she is lip synching too, then she sounds like crap even recorded? I don’t know what to think anymore. She’s cute, her awkward out of place grin at the end of the song made me smile.


9. Everyday Katyusha: Wheee favorite AKB single of 2011! Although that’s not too hard, seeing how I only liked this one and Kazefui fufufu. Ohh man, this song is amazing, and it reminds me of the last months of my old job, and my best friend who is now in another country… When I got this single I went to the mall and bought like 10 headbands, no kidding. I collect them now, and it’s all because of this song, I just love it so so much.


10. BINGO!: Oh man. Blast to the past! Look at Kato Rena on the first line not even smiling once! Why yes, I am rather pressed about her, thank you for asking. I love the costumes with the balloon skirts! Oh wait she did smile in the chorus! I’m glad, because I don’t want to hate on a 14 year old girl, especially one who looks like she might be the next center of the group 😮 Ranran is so amazing, why don’t more people see this? Iriyama Anna is great too, why don’t I know more about her? SKE in the car things is huh… weird?


11. Namida Surprise: Unpopular girls version? I’m all over this although I don’t even like this song that much. Yonechan 🙁 lol Happy Birthday to you, this song annoys me so much because I’m bitter and hate birthdays.


12. Kimi no Koto ga Suki Dakara: Everyone’s favorite UG song. I have to admit that it is pretty damn awesome! Akicha used to be so promising and be everywhere and now I only see Sashihara shoved down my throat all the time. Granted, I haven’t really been keeping up with TV shows or LODs since like 6 months ago, but it’s so weird to see her as center here! God this line up is like a reminder of all the failed pushes in AKB D:


13. 10nen Zakura: Unpopular girls version again! I’m loving this! I think it’s cute how they have Sakura shaped pink spotlights hehe. I love this song so much ;A; and I haven’t heard it in so long ;A; Maimai ;A; Mariyannu reminds me a lot of Anna Paquin! It has been bothering me for a while, but now I know who it is. Random, I know.


14. Iiwake Maybe: My favorite single of 2009 ;A; oh man, this song brings back a lot of memories for me, it’s beautiful. Wait Akicha is here? Who is she replacing? What?


15. Ponytail to Shushu: Everyone together! This song is great, but it’s been a bit overperformed at this point in my opinion. The crowd seems to love it though, so who am I to judge? That stage is HUGE. I mean, really, I can’t get over how much running they’ve done, surely if they were singing live they would sound like crap lol


16. Heavy Rotation: ICONIC SONG, best of their discography, legendary etc. They are divided in teams, although I’m not entirely sure all of SKE is on stage (I think it’s just W Matsui with Team A). Yuko is the most amazing idol ever in the history of mankind and I don’t care if you disagree. lol that screencap. I swear every time I tried to catch one of Yuko all I got was one of Acchan, so whatever.


17. Flying Get: I love those golden dresses, even though I hate gold and yellow IRL, they looked so pretty! The fire looks intense! But I don’t want to imagine how hot that stage got 😮 Ahh I like this song, it had some sort of danceable rhythm going on underneath the pop, and it’s very catchy.


18. RIVER: Wth is this? Girls running to line up behind each other, looks like they’re pushing each other? Then they raise their hands and wave while a clock ticks in the background, then they fall down and wut? This is trippy. More fire all over the place! This song is fantastic, 2009 was a great year 🙁 I miss this AKB 🙁 I like their spiffed uniforms! The glittery hoodies are a great choice.

19. Beginner: Another great song haha. Acchan center, as expected. I can’t help but sing along to this song, it’s one of my favorites. No screencap of this one because I was singing along and dancing and forgot to take one. Oops.


20. MC: Still talking about how they are glad to be in Seibu Dome and how they feel thankful and whatever. Meh.


21. Dakishimechaikenai: Ahh, the last undergirls song I can tell apart from the others. I really loved its PV so maybe that’s why it stuck so much with me. I forgot Akarin was in this 😮 Umechan is channeling the Mad Hatter there, but I have no qualms with that hoho.


22. Aisu no Kuchizuke: Ohhhh I love this song! The chorus is so great <3 Poor Yukirin getting shafted :s but at least this isn’t as blasphemous as Selection 6 :s and the song is great, while Sweet & Bitter falls short.


23. MC: Sayaka and Yukirin. They are talking about how their teams are and then call the captains of SKE, NMB and guess what they talk about? Yeah, being nervous and feeling the pressure of performing in the Dome lol. After that all the members come out to perform the next song.


24.  Korekara Wonderland: This song is alright, it’s kind of groovy, but it should be more fast paced for me to really LOVE it. It’s still nice to see it performed by everyone in the huge stage, kind of like a celebration or something. My screencapping skills are awesome.


25. Koko ni Ita Koto: Anata ga Ite Kureta kara is the superior ballad, but I guess this one is ok. Kind of unremarkable and forgettable (like most of its album namesake) but well, it’s expected of them to close the concert with this song and makes sense.

Thoughts: And so ends the first day. It was interesting for me because I had never seen the album songs performed, but I wasn’t happy with the lack of stage songs. The sister groups were amazing and the 2009 singles a great walk down memory lane for me, although they got a bit boring, and I think I’m skipping the second half of the next two days if it’s the same singles over and over again (ofc it will be, I just know it). Overall good, but I wouldn’t buy it again lol

AKB48 Concert Yossha Ikuzo in Seibu Dome DVD Review ~ Disc 1

So here’s the thing. I’ve never watched the Seibu Dome concert until now. Shock. Well see, I bought it and it was lost by the mail people here in Colombia, so I was really pissed off and didn’t even want to think about it. Also, well, the setlist was nothing to write home about and there’s only so many performances of Ponytail to Shushu I can watch in one year without wanting to rip my eyeballs out. However, with the whole Acchan graduation shakeup thing I’ve been in an AKB high so I decided to cave in and watch it, and since I’m spending a LOT of time in that already then I thought I might as well review it.

Yes, I know that everybody saw it already and no1curr about my late review, but whatever, it will keep my mind occupied because I’m really anxious right now. Anyway, here we go:

Seibu Dome Disc 1


1. Overture: Just the usual, the venue looks huge and I like how organized it is, nothing like the concerts here at Parque Simón Bolívar lol.


2. Majisuka Skit: God. this was sooooo hard to watch. I was dying of secondhand embarrassment when Team Hormone and Team Fondue were facing each other. It was beyond awful. I did like the car thingies they wheeled them in though, very expensive-looking.
So, anyway Team Hormone and Fondue start shouting things at each other (including Frrrrresh Yankii ni naritai no~ ugh kill me now) and then they hug each other. After that, everyone in the second season makes a small appearance with a line or two (Including Queens Yui and Nakamatta <3). It’s basically a staged reunion thing where it looks like Shibuya is still the head of Yabakune and supposed to fight Majijo? I don’t care, and I’m not watching it again to understand lol.


3. Yankii Soul: This song is pathetic compared to Majisuka Rock and Roll and Majijo Teppen Blues, but at least it’s catchy? I like the use of the huge building on stage, it definitely looks impressive. I’m amused by Yuko’s srs face while everyone else seems to acknowledge that this song is a trainwreck.


4. Seishun to Kizukanai Mama: For the ballad they dim the lights and the main cast sings while the rest act like they are in the school or something. It’s cute, and I’ve always had a soft spot for this song even though it’s cheesiness is only highlighted here, so I’m alright with this. They hug at the end, how touching!


5. Majijo Teppen Blues: Now we’re talking! lol they are lip synching to the spoken parts! I don’t know if I should praise their professionalism when it comes to miming or be amazed that they won’t even let them speak live. YASSSSS Yui taking Erena’s line! TAKE THAT HATERS!!! (j/k but I’ve never understood why some Erena fans hate Yui so much when Ono decided to leave on her own accord. Did they expect her to never ever have a replacement and all the songs she ever sung to be retired from AKB’s discography? Pffff.)


6. Majisuka Rock and Roll: I’m getting BORED of this Majisuka thing already. The building thing is decorated with lots of bright lights, looks really cool when combined with the rest of the lighting on stage. This song gave me life during my internship, god that was so long ago I feel old ugh.

7. MC: Takamina is so presh and earnest, I love her. They’re rambling about how they are nervous to be performing in the dome but how honored they are to be there. Sayaka is so hyper! Bless her heart!
LOL at Nachu’s wing thing ripping apart and filling the stage with polystyrene, AKB is kind of awesome for this kind of bloopers.


8. Shoujotachi yo: After everything that happened (or more like didn’t happen) in 2011, I came to the realization today that this was my favorite song of last year, and it wasn’t even a single lol. The lyrics are the usual cheesy “don’t give up” thing, but the PV was so amazing, and they work so hard ;A: I kind of hate these dresses though, too ruffly and they look tie dyed and made of a cheap fabric. Ew. Oh wait, it’s not tie dye, it’s stars! They still look gross though.


9. High School Days: Team 4 and KKS sing this one. Koko ni Ita Koto was a real flop musically for me, but this song stood out in all of its plain glory to me. It’s just a really typical idol song, but it still carries a nostalgic feeling I like. Ugh I see Kato Rena not even pretending to care as always WHYYYYYYYYYY


10. Wagamama Collection: Jurina looks so out of place in cute songs! I always said  it ever since she joined the 48 family and they put her in a lot of cute stuff because of her age. This gimmicky and lolicon number is adorable, and Mayu has definitely mastered her craft, she’s completely charming. I always forget Komori is a loli and Maeda Ami definitely doesn’t look like one, but they’re trying I guess. I’m sad that Suuchan isn’t going more places, she’s practically wasting her best loli years without a subunit. Oh, and I didn’t say anything about Aika, she’s the usual, very cute.


11. Ningyo no Vacance: My favorite album unit song! God I remember laying on the beach and listening to this, it’s so soothing and chilling! I didn’t remember Kitarie and Yuka being in here, but ok. I don’t have much to say, the water jets are a nice touch, and so are the girls in bikinis in the pool. This set is insane wow.


12. Kaze no yukue: I like this song, it’s alright if a little underwhelming. I wanted Yuko to get something better as a unit but whatever. I hate Miichan’s outfit and love Yuko’s. The dance is a lot more fast paced than I thought it would be, but I like it, except for the excessive twirling around. Water jets are purdy! lol unfortunate screencap is unfortunate


13. Iikagen no Susume: When I saw this line up I thought they’d get something fierce, but uh… That didn’t really happen. At least this song sounds more grown up than the others? Now I remember why I didn’t like the album much, it’s not that the songs are bad, they’re all alright, but none of them stands out (except for Ningyo no Vacance obviously). These outfits are fug, it’s so rare for Sae to be the best dressed at something 😀


14. Kimi to Boku no Kankei: Ahhh those were the days! When Acchan and Tomochin were the only soloists. I actually love this song, it’s so early 2000’s sounding, and the random english kills me. Tomochin looks so happy here, she’s adorable. Sorry that my screencaps are the derpiest ever btw, this new version of VLC confused my poor brain. BTW, if that scandal about Tomochin and the EXILE guy is true, we’re looking at our next 2 AKB graduates 😮


15. MC by Team B: I love Yukirin, but she’s so un-captain-y compared to the other 2 (Minarun wasn’t a captain back here xD) Kitarie is leading this MC. Oh man, that’s Nacchan there, heartbreaking 🙁 They keep talking about how awesome it is to be in the Dome, and then about their new costumes.


16. Renai Circus: I got so excited the first time I heard this song thinking it would be techno! I always wanted Team B to do techno, since I figured A was pop, K was rock so they should do techno. I was obviously wrong in thinking all that lol but it would’ve been awesome. Anyway, this song is really hyper and cutesy, in new B style. I don’t know if I love or hate the outfits, I obviously love anything with music notes in it, but they are way too sparkly for my taste. They’re mostly cute though.


17. MC by Team K: My babies <3 They are so over the place as always, I can’t ;A; New outfits! They say they look like adventurers in them (they do look a bit Final Fantasy inspired to me, which is awesome) and then more excitement about being in Seibu Dome.


18. Boku ni Dekiru Koto: I like this song, it’s nice, but I desperately wanted something fierce like ALIVE so I was disappointed. The lyrics are cute and meaningful but the music of the verses is kind of forgettable. Chorus is better, and the dance is simple but works. Wasted potential for Shin K but well, apparently japanese fans hate fierce songs so there’s nothing that can be done about that.


19. Overtake: Team A are so badass that they don’t need MC time. Kidding, maybe. These are my favorite new outfits, the black and white looks great and I love the poofy skirts. This song is the definition of bland though :/ And I kind of hate the lyrics of “You’re not popular because you don’t work hard” blergh.


20. MC by Team A: Oh look, their MC. They talk about how Seibu Dome makes them think of Mocchi because she likes baseball. Then they don’t believe Haruna that she’s a baseball fan, and the conversation turns to who is from Saitama, and the whole crowd cheers so Takamina calls them liars but Haruna is happy lol


21. Banzai Venus: YAY! My second favorite SKE single! 😀 This song is so under appreciated, it’s awesome! The outfits are kind of meh though, but I don’t care because I’m totally dancing along to this! Whoopee! Oh it was no senbatsu 😮 I didn’t notice until the end lol I suck.


22. Pareo wa emerald: Another amazing song. this one was a staple on my summer playlist as well! It’s great because it’s energetic but sounds different from most idol-y songs and is catchy. I love the costumes too, very original, and the color is to die for. My queen Airin looked amazing here!


23. 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku: All of SKE is performing this in a raised platform which makes me anxious that someone might fall off, especially because these girls really go all out! I really need to buy some SKE concerts, I’ve never watched one of those which is unforgivable of me ._. Since AKB has been sucking so much I’ve turned my attention to SKE but I’m not completely a convert. I’ll probably get there though 😀


24. MC by SKE: They talk about how they shot Pareo PV in bikini for the first time, and say that it was embarrassing but ok. Please buy the single and such, whatever. Churi said NMB-san, aren’t they their Kouhais? The screenshot is not of the MC, btw. But wow that platform thing is scary O_O


25. Zetsumetsu Kurokami Shoujo: Ohhh this song is so groovy! I love it with all my heart haha. QUEEN NANA IS EVERYTHING. I should get more into NMB too, but it’s hard because they don’t have original stages 🙁  Why am I like this even though nobody cares about stages anymore? I don’t know, I can’t help it. Don’t judge. Whoooo this song is my jam! I like to pretend that Oh My God and Oki Doki didn’t exist because the rest of SKE and NMB’s discographies is flawless >:D


26. Seishun no Lap Time: Sayanee’s voice is so soothing! This song sounds like a stage song out of H1, I like that. The dance is pretty cute too.


27. MC by NMB: Sayanee is so eloquent! She thanks everyone and asks for support.

Disc 2 coming right up! 😀

Maeda Atsuko to graduate from AKB, everyone’s panties in a tizzy

Well well well, what do we have here. This weekend has been so eventful that I don’t even know how to begin.

So let’s start off with the normal:

Team 4 was filled with kks: Kato Rena (ugh), Tano Yuka, Iwata Karen, Takahashi Juri, Kawaei Rina. I basically know nothing about these girls other than Iwata is a fantastic singer and Kato Rena is the most boring idol on the face of the earth and its surroundings, oh, and she has no fans but the management keeps trying to make her happen lol whatever.

Then let’s move on to the weird:

Matsui Jurina is going to be a member of Team K and Watanabe Miyuki is going to be a member of Team B. These are supposed to be “student exchange programs” and aren’t going to be permanent. The girls will still be officially part of their respective sister groups.


According to the management, who could barely contain the hordes of fans coming after their asses for this idea, Jurina’s health is their first priority (ofc, that’s why she collapsed during KataFai promotions with a shaking injured leg) so they want her to stop working so much, and now that her HS is in Tokyo then she can stay there for most of the time and commute less to Nagoya. They also spewed a lot of crap about how there was going to be a chemical reaction with the DNA of SKE and the DNA of AKB together now (so, basically, the two groups are going to fuck each other?). Jurina was really heartbroken and cried like crazy, poor kid, she can’t really catch a break.

I want to believe in the management though. I don’t like seeing these girls overworking themselves until they basically collapse left and right, but especially not if we’re talking about a young teen, that’s just sick.

About Miyuki, Akimoto said that she has a huge ego and basically is always whining about not being in AKB singles while Sayanee is, so she’s going ot have to learn a lesson of charisma from Mayu and Yukirin. lol so Milky is a bitch, basically, which makes sense if you’ve heard the rumors about her fall out with Queen Nana. That reason is fine, I guess, except it sounds like a very dickish move to throw her under the bus like that. And I can’t help but wonder if the reason is that Milky is a fan magnet and a great idol, but with the scandal her likability went down a bit. They want to keep her at the front, and to do so they need to keep her away from Kaito in Osaka and it would be a good idea to put a bit of distance between the fans and her while things cool off.

I don’t even know what to think of this, it’s really weird. I guess Jurina getting into AKB was something we all saw coming from a long time ago, but we never thought Akimoto would have the balls to do it because what about SKE’s future? I think she’ll probably just skip a few Team S theater shows and participate more actively in promoting new AKB singles, because I can’t really see her in Yonechan’s crummy position of K6 as much as I can’t see Milky playing second fiddle to Kitarie and everyone else in Nacchan’s position in B5; I wonder if they want her to learn how to be humble? but that wouldn’t make sense for Jurina who is basically perfect (and I won’t be told otherwise, so don’t even try).

And now, the tragic? Maeda Atsuko is going to graduate AKB.


The ultimate ace. The face of AKB. She’s leaving the group this year, we don’t know when, but since a Tokyo Dome concert was announced everyone is betting on that one being her last performance so that she can leave with a bang. Apparently, she’s been thinking about this for like a year now, and even though Akimoto and Takamina tried to talk her out of this, she decided that she wants to walk on her own because she feels that being a part of AKB has made her too sheltered and she knows that the real world is way harsher and wants to stand up to the challenge (so wise, this girl!). So yeah. There’s that.

I feel like I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about this, but then I feel like nothing I can say can be possibly original or even emotional. Still, I’ll try.

I’m happy for her, and I think it’s great that she’s going to take better care of herself because she’s been neglecting her health for a long time and I hated seeing her collapse and such from being so overworked. I really respect her for everything she did for AKB, she gave it her all even though she had a lot of antis and she was incredibly tired from her taxing job as an actress, she still tried to keep up as much as she could with the group, and that is just admirable.

I’m guessing she’ll keep pursuing an acting career, and here’s where it gets kind of iffy. She’s been in movies that haven’t flopped AFAIK and even managed to scoop up some awards last year, but she hasn’t had the same luck with dramas, sadly. Q10 wasn’t anything special, but nobody was expecting much out of her back then anyway, and she performed well, the first big hurdle came with HanaKimi, which was hyped to hell and back and ended up flopping really hard instead of being her breakout role like everyone had predicted. Then there’s the funeral thing, that even with Yamapi and her didn’t do too well either.

It doesn’t look very good, but I think part of the problem is that in dramas she could only get parts that were really vanilla because of her connection with AKB. There’s no way an actor can grow and become better if they never get a chance to challenge themselves, and maybe this is what she is aiming for losing the security blanket of AKB. Sure, she won’t land as many roles at first, but maybe if she moves out of her comfort zone she can improve her range and become a really respected actress, I certainly hope so.

I don’t think she’ll keep singing though, she never seemed too into it, but we’ll see what happens.

I’m a bit upset about her fans though, people are just going CRAY CRAY around the internet spouting things like “Congratulations haters, you won” or “Why didn’t Takamina force her to stay?” or the more popular “AKB is going downhill now”. While I acknowledge that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, I respectfully suggest for people to look further ahead of the path. What is Acchan supposed to do? Stay in AKB forever? She has said many times that her goal is acting, and we all know that AKB is just a temporary thing, a stepping stone. Girls have been growing complacent in their positions because they are safe in the most successful music group in Japan right now, so obviously they don’t want to dabble on the unknown, but that just makes me admire Acchan more.

Besides, it’s her choice, and all of you have to respect it. We can speculate that Akimoto or somebody in the management gave her the boot (some people are already doing it lol) but let’s be real here, do you really think they’d kill off their biggest cash cow? It wouldn’t make any sense at all.

The more likely option is that she made up her mind and decided to move forward. Will AKB meet its downfall after she leaves? That’s a lot harder to predict, but I personally think that the group has long outgrown its need of a single girl or even several in order to survive if they play their cards right.

Right now AKB isn’t at its peak, it’s obviously very hard to say because their single sales have been rather consistent, but it seems like after KazeFui they hit a plateau. It’s hard to tell if they’ll be hovering around that level for a while or start declining, but that’s what we know right now. Her graduation announcement comes nicely timed with the announcement of the 26th single “Manatsu no Feels Good” and obviously the elections, this might have been decided by the management, because her fans will certainly want to mass vote for her in the elections to send her off being numer one again (not even going to lie, my first thought when I read that she was graduating was “Oh crap, Yuko will never be number one again”) so this election single might overthrow all the records if she actually participates in them (which I’m 99% sure she will).

I don’t think Acchan’s leave will mean the demise of AKB. For every Acchan, Yuko, Tomochin, Haruna, Takamina, Mariko that leaves Akimoto is already grooming a Sashihara, Mayu, Yui, Kato Rena, Paruru, Jurina et al. We can all scream and get all worked up and claim that they are ~special~ and irreplaceable but it would be naive of us, honestly. This is a business and the show must go on, and I’m sure that Acchan or not, it will.

I always had a soft spot for the ace of AKB, even though I was never placed in the two camps in the fandom: Haters or die hard fans. I just thought that she was a great girl, and that while people wrote her off as boring she was probably one of the most driven and determined AKB members underneath it all, and I respect her for it and really appreciate everything she did for the group. I wish her all the best in the next phase of her life, and I hope that she’s happy in everything she does from now on.

As for the future of AKB, it’s anyone’s guess at this point, but at least they’ve managed to spark my interest again when I was already halfway out of the fandom, so I guess that’s a win for Akimoto. I’m just super glad that 2011 is over because it was the most boring year ever and now we get a fresh start and the chance to reform the group to prevent it from going stale. I’m looking forward to what the future might bring for the group.

Coda: It’s weird how I didn’t cry and felt strangely detached about this whole thing even though I like Acchan very much. Hmmm.

Happy Cake Day for both International Wota and Aitakatta!

You know you are a lazy blogger when you don’t properly celebrate each anniversary of your own blog and lump it together with another special occasion. Except this isn’t out of laziness, I promise. I’ve just been incredibly busy with my real life.

Full disclosure: I’m trying to get into a residency, and the exams are really difficult and interviews freak me out so I’ve been trying to prep for all that for the past 8 months or so. I’ve finally managed to pass the exams of my first choice program so I’m obviously over the moon, but quite concerned with the interview, which is why I’ve spend the last week PANICKING and trying to prepare to not make a fool out of myself.

Wish me luck guys! 😀

So, the topic at hand. This month is the fourth fifth! OMG I can’t count lol anniversary of Aitakatta! Can you imagine? It’s really been that long! Wow. When I think about how much has changed in my own life and in AKB48 in this time I have to do a double take.

When I first started this blog, there were only a handful of AKB blogs in english, and I decided I’d take it upon myself to create a blog that would provide simple and necessary information in case people wanted to get into the group, because the main complain is (and forever will be) “There are too many girls! I can’t keep up!”


Looking back, I can’t believe I spent that long doing all those profiles! I gues it’s a testimony of my complete lack of a life haha. But I also think it was time well spent, because I wanted to support the group and I couldn’t afford anything back then since I was a broken student so I figured “Maybe I can get someone into the fandom to make up for it?” now, I’m not saying you have to buy stuff to be a fan, but it was an issue for me, you know, mentally or something. Also, well, AKB was my main hobby for these 4 years and I have literally no friends in real life who would put up with my blabbering about them, so it was a good outlet! Especially considering that I tended to be really shy on forums because I don’t like when people get all aggressive because they disagree; right now I’m in a position where I don’t care about that at all anymore because realizing how tough life outside of the internet is I can’t bother anymore thinking about random e-feelings. Good for me, right?

Anyway, I’m glad that we’ve both gotten this far, AKB and me. It sounds stupid to be so emotional about a completely prefabricated group that is exclusively dedicated to sing rehashes of everything they’ve done before and in a ridiculously unoriginal bubblegum pop way as of 2010 and onwards, but I am increibly attached to them. It’s really weird but I think that in a way, we’ve both grown up together and gotten to completely different places to where we started off.

Am I freaking you out yet? Ok, I’ll stop comparing myself to an idol group, lest I get locked up for being slightly psychotic. Just let me finish this by saying that I really appreciate the support I’ve gotten from everyone in these 4 years.

First of all, I want to thank Ray Mescallado for hosting my blog, he’s awesome. Thank you to all my readers for putting up with my long, rambly, stream of counsciousness posts. Thank you for discussing your opinions with me and commenting. I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to update much, and sadly I can’t promise it will get significantly better because growing up sucks, dudes and dudettes. But I can promise all of you (if you are still reading my blog) that I will always try my best to keep posting because I love AKB and it’s part of my life (I know I said I’d shut up about it, but apparently I can’t lol).

And well, here’s the sad part of the post. Apparently this is the last Cake Day Intl Wota as we know it will be celebrating. I’m sad that it’s ending but I’m forever grateful to the amazing group of people who have taken part in the community and especially to Ray. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s going to happen on March 28, and enjoying the memories and the fun times that were had with everyone involved.

Regardless of what comes in the future, let’s celebrate with a minipicspam like I did every year in Cake Day! So, here’s to the future! May it be full of idols and happy bubblegum pop that makes you forget about the nasty things that happen every day!


I’m not exactly a fan of Sae’s dyed hair, but she looks as lovely as ever with her naughty smile ready to celebrate Cake Day!


Yuko has great taste, Haruna gets more and more beautiful everyday! So as a treat here’s this picture of her in a purple bikini, because purple is my favorite color! 😀


Tomochin is ready to hit the beach! By the way, the bikini theme is because it’s really cold here and I wish I was soaking up the sun on the beach instead of freezing in this mountain. Seriously this city is SO depressing ._. I hope my stay here is worth something though.

So dear readers, that is all for now! I’ll let you know about my personal life next time I update 😀 because I know you’re all dying to know about it! (j/k) I have some ideas and I hope they can come to fruition in the near future! Stay tuned because I promise I haven’t disappeared entirely. And check out IntlWota on March 28 to see what the new incarnation of the community will be like! Yay!

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