I learned a long time ago that in order to succeed, you sometimes have to think “out of the box”. And sometimes what “success” looks like is quite different from what you first imagined.
When I came home tonight, I was debating whether to do a few IW writeups or complete the review I am doing for AKB48 Team A’s 5th stage. But I realized I hadn’t yet watched this week’s episode of AKBingo! And this is the week we are supposed to find out the results of the Ohori Meshibe experiment. Would Megumi sell 10,000 copies of her debut single by the deadline? Would she be forced to graduate from AKB48 if she failed in her assigned task?
I don’t want to say that I am speechless. But I am really having a hard time finding the words to describe my feelings about what I just witnessed. This was without a doubt the most heart wrenching moments I have experienced when it comes to J-pop. I’m sure there will be many people who will say that I am totally gullible, and this was all a bizarre skit. But I really don’t think so.
We all raised our eyebrows and made jokes when this was first announced. And after the first week when the sales were around 4000, we all figured she was doomed. It really felt as if Megumi had painted herself into the proverbial corner. But of course the producers were going to help her along by heavily promoting the single within their weekly television program. And of course they were going to make it entertaining…
But what started to unfold…what started to be revealed was that it was the producers in that proverbial corner, not Megumi. The master plan had started to become embarassing and downright humiliating for her. And that became glaringly obvious when she started uncontrollably hyperventilating at this final promotional event.
I cannot imagine what was going through her mind on that day. But after all she had been through, she was facing the prospect of public failure and termination from a job she obviously loves. And failing would also be feedback on how popular an idol she really is. After all of that, what we were left with was a beautiful but helpless young girl reduced to uncontrollable sobbing and convulsions. I don’t know how anyone could not be affected by the reality of that moment. Just look at the expressions on the faces of the hosts of the show. I was amazed that she was ultimately able to regain her composure and appear in front of the audience yet again.
And then almost at zero hour we have the appearance of her groupmates there to offer moral support, or a shoulder to cry on. The looks of fear, concern and utter sadness were pronounced. Poor Erepyon and Tomomi were immediately reduced to tears. And you could tell many others were just seconds away from breaking down. The reality that was unfolding in front of everyone’s eyes was just too much.
After all of that, there was no way the producers could callously come out and say “Sorry Ohori-san, you missed it by 500 CD’s. We’ll set up a nice graduation ceremony for you at Shibuya-AX this year”. Could they?
I said a long time ago that there was no way that Lord Valdemort would live beyond the 7th installment of the Harry Potter series. It would make no sense. And the same goes for the fate of Megumi, booting her would make no sense either at this point. Frankly, it would have pissed off the fans. And what about the rest of the girls in AKB48? Might they have been wondering if the same thing could happen to them?
Yes, we finally got the happy ending we were all hoping for. Megumi will continue on with AKB48. Of course she is! Didn’t they just announce an “adult show” on Saturday nights beginning this Spring? I’m positive that concept was designed with her in mind! She will definitely be one of the major players in it.
So congratulations to Meetan on 10,000 CD’s sold. I’m glad I got to contribute to your success. And thank you for showing the world what a sweet and beautiful young lady you are.
“No man is a failure who has friends” – Clarence Odbody (Angel, 1st Class)
CK in California
(here is a link to the YouTube version of this episode, thanks to AKB1ji59hun)