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MELOS no Michi Shares Thoughts on DiVA

New subgroup [DiVA]

Some very interesting thoughts on the new AKB subgroup featuring Akimoto Sayaka and Miyazawa Sae, much of it informed by a sense of frustration at how many such groups are popping up. The release of DiVA’s debut single on the same date as Itano Tomomi’s second single IS admittedly odd, though I wonder why Melos assumes that Itano’s single will outsell DiVA’s. The fact that “Dear J” was a hit doesn’t mean DiVA’s debut won’t also be a hit – and an even bigger one at that. (Or, to go darker, to assume Itano will continue her success may be faulty too, given the fickle nature of pop music.) Still, I look forward to seeing what DiVA is going to be like and how well the public takes to them.

Are You Ready For Taiwan48?

Akimoto Yasushi planning Taiwan48 launch for summer (Tokyograph)
Taiwan48 Coming This Summer (Pure Idol Heart)

We knew this was coming, but Akimoto Yasushi’s announcement now gives us definite expectations for the AKB World Domination Plan. So what say you, Intl Wota readers? Good idea or bad? Genius global franchising or flogging a horse until it’s good and dead? Are you ready to add a non-Japanese 48 group to your fandom, or is this something that makes you go meh?

Akimoto Sayaka Runs Marathon, Re-Instated As Captain, Joins New Sub-Unit

AKB48′s Akimoto Sayaka returns to Team K captain position, forms new unit DiVA (Tokyograph)
AKB48 Akimoto Sayaka Returns To Captains Position (Pure Idol Heart)

Much as I love Amuro Namie, it’s looking like Sayaka is the true Wonder Woman of Jpop at this moment! She finished last among talento who ran the marathon – but she finished, dammit, and that’s more than many people can say. Her reinstatement as captain seems like it was About Fucking Time, since the “scandal” that caused her to step down was pretty pointless to begin with. And as for this forming of a new unit called DiVA – with Miyazawa Sae part of the quartet (be still my heart!) – that just feels like Sayaka running in a touchdown and spiking the ball at the endzone. In – your – face – haters!

I dunno, I usually don’t get so worked up over these kind of news, but the captain thing was just utter bull and these other events dovetail nicely to show how important Sayaka is as one of the more visible members of AKB.

One last question: considering the last subunit Sayaka and Sae were in together (and the present career of the last member of that trio), can DiVA make a PV that will top that whole chocolate-bleeding random violence thing? Would they even want to?

Oku Manami To Graduate From AKB48

Team B’s Oku Manami is going to Graduate (Aitakatta!)

If I had to bet on which of the old school members would be next to go, I’d have said Shinoda Mariko. That said, Cat shares the news, including Oku’s graduation statement, and is both saddened and sympathetic about this turn of events. She’s not the first and by no means the last idol to decide that focusing on school would be better than the spotlight, though her limited popularity may have also had something to do with it. I think about how Oku started in AKB at the age of ten and is now leaving the idol world at fifteen as a weathered veteran. That really helps to put things in perspective, and to respect what she’s achieved during that time.

The only way to make this number comprehensible is with a comparison

New 1st Day Sales Record for AKB48 (Tokyograph)
Sakura no Ki ni Naru first day sales! (Aitakatta)

AKB48’s latest single, “Sakura no Ki ni Naru,” has sold 655,000 copies on its first day of sales. That’s more CDs sold than there are people in my home state. Think about it- even if every single person in Vermont had bought this single, we’d still need a good 30,000 more people to make up the difference.

… We’d have to borrow them from Canada or something.

In all seriousness, congratulations to AKB48. I have faith that this single will also be a million-seller. Whether that’s because the single is really that good or not is debatable. I personally much preferred Sakura no Shiori. In comparison, this song is lackluster.

These astronomical sales and the group’s sky-rocketing popularity are beginning to beg the question, however: How long can it last? Will Japan’s #1 Girl Group be able to keep it up for another year or two? I don’t mean to perpetuate the “H!p Fan is Negative About AKB48” stereotype, but AKB48’s predecessor Onyanko Club was only active for a few years, and while it seems that AKB48 is in it for the long haul, who knows? Akimoto may decide that this single will be AKB48’s last. And if it is, and the Age of AKB does draw to an abrupt surprise end… who’s next?

One of SDN48 Senbatsu to Leave the Group

SDN48 To Loose Ito Kana (Pure Idol Heart)
SDN48 Member Ito Kana to Quit the Group (IXA Ready – Fist On!)

It is always a bummer to see a member of your favorite idol ensemble graduate.  SDN48 sort of flies below the radar around here, but they are my personal favorite.  Ito Kana happens to be one of the original performers of the song I’m Sure from SDN48’s 1st stage.  You may know that song from Kojiharu and Mariko’s performance the 2nd night at Yoyogi.  Anyway, it is super-sexy and one of the most memorable unit songs from SDN.  On a personal level I will really miss her since the last couple of times I saw SDN I began developing a real rapport with her during “High Touch”, oh well. 🙁

Her reason for leaving has me raising an eyebrow, I mean how many people quit their job because of influenza?  But whatever the reason is for her departure, I hope Kananyan regains her health soon.

Exhaustion And Stress Hits Some AKB Front Girls

Acchan & Tomochin Fall Ill During Handshake Event (IXA Ready – Fist On!)
Itano Tomomi and Maeda Atsuko Hospitalized (yonasu.com)

Maeda Atsuko and Itano Tomomi of AKB48 have succummbed to exhaustion, and have had to cancel some handshake events after being hospitalized. It’s nothing new in the idol business, but every time I read about it, it always makes me a bit sad. I guess, it’s better it that these things happen at handshake events where the girls are just standing still, rather than in the midst of a concert where they could fall down stairs or take other members down with them… Sadly, in the past idols have succumbbed to exhaustion on stage too…

I wish the girls a speedy recovery and hope they get a little time to recharge their batteries after this.

Silver Rain Sees the Virtue in Acchan

In Defense of Maeda Atsuko (I’m Moving to Japan…)

Not to say Maeda is unpopular or anything like that.  Jeez, she is the #2 girl out of the whole bunch.  But it is no secret that Acchan has more than her fair share of detractors.  Personally I am not one of them, and what I loved most about this post is that Silver Rain says just about everything I feel about the face of AKB.  Sure she can sometimes be aloof, and even over-confident.  But at the end of the day she is just an introverted girl who is doing her best to deal with the limelight.  At least that is how I see her.

Every idol has fans.  And of you ask those people they can easily tell you what is so amazing about their oshimen.  So if you would like to hear about some of the great aspects of Maeda Atsuko, then look no further.

Some Holiday Cheer

Top 10 (+2) Idol Holiday Songs (Happy Disco)

The after-Christmas sales have already descended on us, but if you’re like me, you’ve still got the spirit left for some more holiday cheer. If you’re looking to put an Idol spin on your holiday season, this is the post for you.  Serenyty has put together a list of her Top 12 Idol Holiday songs. The classics that we listen to every year are represented, but there’s also a nice smattering of less well-know songs offered here as well.

Happy holidays, folks!

AKB48 Official Myspace Opens, Possibly Coming to a City Near You?

AKB48 Official Myspace

Just this past Sunday (December 19th), AKB48 opened their official Myspace page. Yeah, yeah, Myspace — “People still use that?” Apparently, Japan thinks so. Normally, news like this would just get reported and we wouldn’t think twice. However, the reasoning as to why they opened a Myspace was quite intriguing. It read:

In preparation to become active overseas, a popular idol group AKB48 is opening their profile page on Myspace in order to reach out to the fans around the world and send out their information.

On AKB48’s official [Myspace] page, their newest songs are available for sampling and their newest information will be regularly updated in English as they are eager to communicate with the overseas fans.

In my head, this translates to the girls making even more international excursions (as if New York, Los Angeles, France, Macau, and South Korea wasn’t enough in the past 2 years). If you haven’t been able to save up enough money to go to Tokyo and attend a stage or concert, this might be your CHANCE to actually see them live without needing to go. Is anyone as excite about this as I am?

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