AKB48 Team 8 Live at the AKB48 Theater (2017/07/01, 11:30am Matinee)

I still get surprised whenever I get some sort of “winning” email from the ticket center. In fact, yesterday I originally thought it was another website maintenance email, and only later opened it to find out I had cancel machi for the early matinee show on Saturday. So great, cancel machi. I had a shot.

The last time I had cancel machi was back in April, and I didn’t get in. But this time I had a lower lottery number, so my chances were better, although it definitely wasn’t a “sure thing.” However, by the time I left my apartment to head to Akihabara, the cancel machi number on the website had already reached 30. (In case you aren’t aware, if you win cancel machi, there is a counter on your lottery page that tells you how many people have cancelled via the website, so the higher that number goes, the better your chances) I got to Akiba a bit early, grabbed a coffee at Tully’s across the street. I stored my bag in the lockers behind the Donki (in that little parking lot) and headed up.

Per usual, a huge percentage of people who win show up at the last second, which makes the ticket queue very big leading up to the cutoff. With every person coming up the escalator, I felt my chances getting smaller. At exactly 11am they started calling cancel machi numbers, starting with #32 since they had 32 cancellations already, anyone with cancel machi #31 or less had already won and purchased a ticket. As he got into the 40’s, the staff member kept checking his counter. Uh oh, if he is looking at it that intently, we must be getting toward the end. Miraculously, he made it all the way to #59 before he called it closed. Bummer. However, since it got that high I actually had a pretty good chance of getting into the secondary lottery.

After cancel machi fills, they begin the theater entry lottery. At that point they estimate how many more people they can accommodate. However, these people will be the last to enter the theater. It’s usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 people. Since there weren’t that many people left waiting, I knew my chances were good. He had called all the way up to #70, and only two people were there. Finally, my number was called. They called three more people after me, and then cut it off. So cool, I was going to my 34th theater show. I’d be in the very back, but it was definitely better than losing, and watching on the monitors…

The Show

The last time I saw Team 8 was at their Saitama Super Arena concert earlier this year. It was a decent enough show, but I didn’t come away as a huge Team 8 fan. Moreover, there were no members that really grabbed my attention in a major way. When I looked at today’s lineup, I noticed a few familiar names, but nobody I was dying to see. That was fine, I would just enjoy the show, after all it was Aitakatta, which is a great stage. I grabbed a standing spot just right of center, where I had a decent, but not great look at the stage. I had barely been standing for a minute when the Kage-ana began, and then the show. Like I said before, I love the Aitakatta stage, and it had been quite a while since I had seen it performed live. But it has so many great old songs like Namida no Shounan, Rio no Kakumei, and Nagisa no Cherry. In any case, I wanted to see which members grabbed my attention, and a few did. Here ya go…

 

Takahashi Ayane (Saitama) – This girl is really cute, kind of a Komiharu/Paru type. She also reminds me a little of Kitazawa Saki (which may not be a good thing) Then it dawned on me,she was one of the girls I kinda liked when I saw them at Saitama! Just something about her smile, and I loved the way she danced on Nagisa no Cherry Unfortunately, she tended to “disappear” into the shadows quite often. She isn’t a front line member but I enjoyed her occasional moments up front.

 

Oda Erina (Kanagawa) – I think this girl is a champ. She just carries herself like a “pro-idol,” especially the way she toys with the audience members. I know she is somewhat popular, but I am surprised she doesn’t get more “love,” especially when I compare her to some of the Team 8 members who seem to be the most popular. She is also kind of tall. In fact, there was another “tall” members who I kinda liked. At first I decided Erina was better, so I started ignoring the other girl…..

Miyazato Rira (Okinawa) – As much as I tried not to pay attention to Rira, my eyes kept getting drawn to her until she finally won me over. She spends a lot of time in front, and has quite a fun aura. The funny thing is, according to our wiki she is only 155cm? That is even shorter than Wasamin! I dunno, she just came across as taller to me. Perhaps that is a testament to her energy on stage. She plays “bigger” than she is…

 

Yaguchi Moka (Miyazaki) – Her stocky build just draws your eyes every time. Idols come in all shapes and sizes, and this girl is really unique…

There were a few others I noticed, but I couldn’t remember every name. Terada Misaki (Nagasaki) was one, but that was in part because of her first name. Sato Nanami (Iwate) was another “tall” one that kinda stood out for me too. Then of course there’s Kuranoo Narumi. Now I do get that she has good stage presence, but I’m just not on board with her like the rest of the fans seem to be. Sometimes I am just puzzled by the fan’s general consensus. It’s the same with Orin Mutou in the 16th gen. I just think she has so many more talented and cuter peers, yet she gets all the attention. Oh well…

As expected, they had a second encore, which was mainly Team 8 songs, plus the new single. There was also a VTR advert for a a Team 8 documentary on YouTube. BTW, I love Seifuku no Hane, probably my favorite Team 8 song. I also remember really liking it when I heard HKT48 perform it earlier this year. Surprisingly, the new single, and its “waltz” time signature, is quite nice to see live.

Anyway, show ended. Time for “High Wave.” Unlike the last AKB show I won, I was one of the first to go through. I decided to give little “signals” to Ayane, Erina, and Rira to see how they would react. Erina reacted, but the other two didnt. Ayane was at the very end though. I did get a couple of “Hello!”‘s, but I can’t remember from who. I made it out, and was led to the back stairwell to exit. Is that a regular thing now? Maybe because it was a Saturday afternoon, but that was the first time for me that we weren’t allowed to use the escalators to leave.

So I seem to be winning at a rate of “once a month,” which is nice. It is a welcome change compared to what it was like before. And as I have ALWAYS maintained, there is nothing compared to seeing the 48-groups performing at their theater. NOTHING! This is a prime example. I went to see them at a major venue like SSA, and I came away “meh.” Go see them at the Donki, and I am a much more enthusiastic. To me idols are not meant to be seen at Stadiums, or major concert halls. They are meant to be seen in clubs, small places. It is in these intimate environments that you can really get what makes idols so special…

Anyway, that’s what I think.

CK in Tokyo