Team B 3rd Stage ~Pajama Drive~
I am finally getting around to talking about the third, and quite possible the best of the three current stages. And thank heaven for that. Pretty soon this stage is going to be complete (Feb 1) By the way…
Why did Team B have two “training” stages? There are a few members with experience from other teams, and Team K only had one. Then again, the writers do have to compose a lot of songs to accommodate all of the teams. BTW, does AKB48 have songwriters on staff? If so, how many? Or do they just use “independent contractors”?
But whatever the reason, it worked out perfectly because Pajama Drive is a superior set, with plenty of fun performances. I have seen four different versions: once live, once in the AKB48 cafe, and twice “on demand”. One thing that particularly stands out for me are the awesome costumes they got to wear, most of the time. These are my random thoughts about B3…
I never really saw the curtain open when I was in the theater because the strobes “blind” you during the Overture. I have a feeling they do that on purpose. Why are their backs turned to the audience? Oh I get it, they are playacting. Shonichi is about them being selected for team B! The uplifting feel is appropriate for their first original song. The striped Seifuku is so cute, and it is cut perfectly to show off their figures! Man, the stage has a lot of give. When they jump in unison you can see it buckling underneath them.
I never knew who the front girls of Team B were until I saw them perform live. They really perform well as a team, although during Hissatsu Teleport Cute Rumi, Mayu and Kashiwagi Yuki get a lot of camera closeups Gokimen Naname na Mermaid sounds like a a doo-wop song. That explains the costumes. They are either very skimpy nighties or very modest swim costumes. It is about an angry mermaid! What I don’t like is that some of the costumes are cut make the girls look chubby, and nobody is chubby in Team B. Noguchi Reina’s outfit is a prime example. On the other hand Hirajima Natsumi is not skinny, but her costume is cut perfectly! BTW, why is it that whenever I look at Reina I think of David Letterman? And when Oota Aika smiles she looks like Suzuki Airi. BTW, this opening set is soooo cute!!! I noticed it when I was in the theater, and again on demand, Saeki Mika is a great singer!!! She stands out in Futari Nori no Jitensha.
On the video I watched for this, they all seem to be fascinated with the fact that this was going to be shown “On Demand” During the MC there is a lot of “hamming it up” for the camera. I had always heard that Mayuyu (at 14!!!) plays up the “sexy card”, but Haruka and Cindy are the sexy ones here. “My name is Cindy, I love you. I want you. Prince, come on, come on come on!” OMG, so cute. Cindy is great! And I never knew Oota Aika was such a power player in Team B.
The set after the MC has some really good songs in it, and a couple that are just ok. The funniest thing about Tenshi no Shippo…if you ever go to the theater to see this stage, look up! There are a bunch of half-deflated balloons in the rafters from this song, LOL. Pajama Drive doesn’t really do much for me, but Mayu sings just like Tomomi Kasai! Junjou Shugi is great! And boy do they look hot in those outfits. Matsuoka Yuki does sexy very well she steals this from front and center Haruka, who is a little flat. Nita and Kashiwagi Yuki are a power duo on Temodemo no Namida. It’s not my favorite song, but I just like the way they perform. Nito is a great singer.
Now this might be my favorite song of the stage. With a song title and metalesque intro like Kagami no Naka no Jean da Arc, I half expected Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden to come out and sing this song! AKB48 does a lot of hard rock style music. And it’s usually pretty impressive when they do. I don’t remember who replaced Kikuchi Ayaka when I saw this, but it was an awesome performance! Rumi, Cindy and Miku, this song (and the following MC) has most of my favorite Team B members in it! And I swear Cindy has to be related to Abe Natsumi, she looks so much like her.
The last couple of songs before the encore were just okay. I don’t care for their singing in their lower registers on Two Years Later, they have trouble projecting that way. There is a marked difference between the earlier and later performances of Inoki no Tsukaimichi, which reminded me a lot of Switch from A5. Probably because of the dancing. The first time I saw it I felt like like they didn’t have the power/confidence to pull it off. But the November performance was much better! But I guess even AKB48 can have an off night.
Matsuoka Yuki is a highlight of Kiss Shite Son Shichatta. I really like her a lot, and always have. I am sorry to see her graduate. She is also the best on the team atr singing in her lower register, which is done on quite a few songs here. Though I’m not sure if that really plays to the team’s strengths. Boku no Sakura ends main set The last few songs kinda dragged into the encore
Wasshoi B! kicks ass! This is the song where they sing their nicknames. But who are Palms & Labskie? Ahhh, clothing store. They must be a sponsor. I checked their web site, they have some cool stuff! I could watch them perform this song over and over. Team K’s 16nin song is cute, but this one is just so fun!
Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru is okay, when I saw them the penultimate song was Oogoe Diamond. There was a lot of pushing of that song this past fall! Shiroi Shirt is Team B back to utilizing their strengths, being cute. It’s a fitting end song for Team B, they are such a cute and fun team!
I wouldn’t call it my all-time favorite stage. But the girls did a damn good job! It starts out really well, but loses steam about halfway through. It is redeemed with the energetic and fun encore. But that isn’t a knock on Team B. They are a really great team. And they play as a team, although there are a couple of individuals beginning to emerge…
Personality wise, Mayu, Rumi, and Kazumi really stand out. But I really admire the singing abilities of Moeno and especially Mika. And Noguchi Reina really interests me. There is just something about her. She is cute, but slightly strange looking. And she has an introverted aspect to her personality. But I love Tanabe Miku. She is so pretty!
So there ya go, all three stages. Although A5 is now being performed with a full team. So I may do an update on that one. And before ya know it, B4…I can’t wait!
CK in California