SKE48 Invades the AKB48 Theater…S2

It has taken a while for me to sit down and write this, as I have been enjoying watching the performance so much.  That performance is SKE48’s Team S and their first original stage “Te wo Tsunaginagara” There hasn’t been too much video of the SKE girls around, so other than a couple performances at AX and NHK this was the first chance I had to take a good look at them…

They far exceeded my expectations!

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Team S is adorable!  They are a very young team, but their onstage exuberance is infectuous.  And the material Akimoto-san has written for them is top notch.  There are quite a few songs here that I would classify as “awesome”.  In many ways Team S is a lot like Team B one year ago.  An upstart team, not much respect in the idol world.  But for those in the know, they are like a hidden gem.  So if you haven’t gotten a chance to check them out yet, here is a review coupled with a few choice shots to introduce you to the world of SKE…Yatta!

The Opening Set

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I mentioned that Team S reminds be of AKB48’s Team B.  But watching them perform, they are a lot like Team K.  Perhaps it is because this stage reminds me a lot of K4.  Bokura no Kaze is a great song to start the show.  One thing I have been disappointed with lately is AKB’s choice of opening numbers.  This song gets the crowd going right off the bat!

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Mango #2!!!

I absolutely love this!  although at first I thought the horns in the song were kinda goofy.  But the song really takes off, especially in the chorus.  The dance they do is great.  I especially love the little butt shake they do in the verse.

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As for the title song, Te wo Tsunaginagara is so K4!  Kind of a rock feel.  It reminds me of Saishuu Bell ga Naru and K4’s awesome opening set!  In fact this opening is on par with it.  And I enjoyed the dance moves during Chime wa LOVE SONG.  I want to give props to the choreographers.  AKB48’s dancing has gotten a lot better in the current stages.  And these routines are full of energy!

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So far so awesome.  And Matsui Rena was the star of the first MC.  She is so crazy!  Writhing around and crying during her intro.  I wanted to yell “Domo” at her to see if she would raise her hand and say “Ai~n!”

Unit set  (where we get to learn a little who is who!)

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I was really excited to see Team S broken down into smaller units.  Maybe I could learn who some of these girls are other than Jurina and Rena.  The lead song, Glory Days, is IMO the best song of the stage.  A totally awesome anthem.  I loved the “choir” styled background vocals.  This so deserves to be performed at AX next year!  All three girls are great, and I am beginning to understand why Jurina gets so much attention.  She is so energetic and totally deserves her spot in the front.

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Kono Mune no Barcode was the first song I didn’t love.  It is kinda sexy, but the costumes aren’t.  They are kinda boring.  Wimbledon he Tsurutette is the type of “cute” styled song that Erepyon usually gets put into.  I really enjoyed Takai Tsukina (in pink), she has an adorable smile.  Ame no Pianist is a lot like Renai Kinshi Jourei or Junjou Shugi, and it totally out-sexy’s “Barcode”.

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But aside from Glory Days, the unit song I loved was Choco no Yukue, which is even cuter than “Wimbledon”  Oya Masano is another new SKE favorite of mine, and Hirato Rikaka gives me a Matsubara “vibe”.  I love the presento props, and the little hats are adorable!  This was a great set of unit songs, although I liked some better than others.

Team S turnes it up a notch…

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I am sure the girls were pre-recorded for the show, but the leads in the first verse of Innocence were amazing!  I loved the opening verse, but the song became sort of formulaic after that.  I laughed when I saw the title Romance Rocket, which sounds a lot like “Dear My Teacher”.  It is a cute song, but that “Oh Yeah” voice in the background is really creepy!  The “live from NASA” sound effects were an interesting choice.  I’m not sure if I liked it, kinda weird.  The countdown part was cool.  And I like the song overall.  It has really grown on me with each listen.

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I am so impressed with this stage.  The songs are teriffic!  Koi no Keikou to Taisaku is so happy and cute, and has a retro-70’s Disco feel to it.  The main set end with your standard ballad.  I suppose Daisuki is a nice song.  It just isn’t my cup of tea.  But the three songs preceeding it were among the best of the night!

encoree…encoreee…

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What I found remarkable about the encore was that is very easily could have been the opening set.  It is full of energy and rock-style themes.  Rope no Yuujou is another song that sounds like it could’ve come from K4.  The costumes a very hot.  The girls look great in black.  This and Kayoubi no Yoru Suiyobi no Asa are the two biggest “rockers” of the entire stage.

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For the final MC before the end they showed a promotional video tour of the SKE Theater and the surrounding businesses.  It is a really cute video, and the theater looks really nice.  Although the surrounding neighborhood looks a lot more “stylish” than gritty Akiba, with plenty of brand name stores in the immediate vicinity.

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Tooku ni Ite mo is Team S’ ending ‘lullaby’.  It is quite the departure from the rest of the stage, which is really peppy!

What can I say?  I was totally impressed with the performance of Team S.  They are such a cute team.  The songs here are amazing.  They have come a long way in such a short period of time.  I hope they get more chances to perform in Akihabara and (gasp!) at the Theater G-Rosso.  And judging by that introduction to the theater, it would be so worth it to make a trip down to Nagoya to see them on their home turf!  My top 5 songs of S2…

1. Glory Days
2. Koi no Keikou to Taisaku
3. Mango #2
4. Te wo Tsunaginagara
5. Romance Rocket

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I am now proudly under the “SKE spell”.  They are great!

CK in California