Posted on: January 5, 2009

I just realized that I haven’t talked about AKB48 and their cohorts at all in this blog, so I’ll rectify that now.

AKB48 is the people’s idol group. You can go down to the theater pretty much any day of the week and see your favorite idols singing, dancing and being idol-y. With enough scratch, you can win/earn the chance to meet your favorite of the girls, and even shake her hand, just by buying tons of merchandise at the theater. If you bought Ohori Meshibe’s single, there’s a chance you were part of the reason her parents are mad at her!

But, and this is just my opinion here, I just don’t care that much. I’ve tried, I really have. But, while I like about 90% of Hello!Project songs, I have maybe 4 or 5 AKB48 songs that I’m equally attached to. Yeah, *counts*… 4. Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru, Aitakatta!, BINGO! BINGO!, and Oogoe Diamond. The other singles? The tons of stage songs? To me, they’re kind of meh.

Additionally, I just don’t care as much about the girls. I’ve watched several of the stages now online, including more recent ones, and seen some AKBINGO!, and, help me, I’m even watching Mendol (but more about that in a moment). The girls are almost all girls who H!P would reject as not-pretty-enough, not-talented-enough, not-charming-enough, or something. And since there are so many of them in just the original AKB48 now, not to mention the other units that are spreading like herpes across Japan, I don’t even want to get into trying to learn their names, and I can name every member of Hello! Project, and almost all in the order that they joined. There’s the original A team, and K team, and then some people got shuffled around with some newbies and underutilized for a while as B team, and now there’s going to be a Kenkyuusei team. WTF? I’m sorry, but would those girls maybe not have been better placed in actual teams instead of just randomly deciding “well, maybe 3 isn’t enough”?

I can kind of see it, though… with as many shows as the girls perform, the more teams you can have performing, the less each girl has to do, and they’re probably stressed like crazy. No matter how much you like your job, the more you do it past a certain point, the more you’ll not want to. Girls are graduating left and right, or being kicked out, or the lead AKB!guy is trying to kick them out while profiteering along the way (*cough*Meetan*cough*). Whatever. There are ways to appease the wota and still not kill the girls.

I started watching Mendol last night, actually… I wasn’t paying attention to the link someone posted… I just saw them say something like “Hey, 45 seconds into this first episode, doesn’t that look like a Berryz Koubou outfit we all know?” I go and look, and it’s Mendol… and it’s so horribly wonderful that I have to keep watching. The “Relax!” dance shots bits that are shown are a big knockoff of Buono’s “Gachinko de Ikou” as others that I’m too lazy to link to have pointed out. Start the dance shots at the same time and they almost perfectly coincide. The “lead” girl even has a large scrunchie that doesn’t match the rest of her outfit on her left wrist in both videos. *shrug* All of the episodes are full of not-so-beautiful women making out with each other, and rubbing their buttocks against people’s faces, and strange men showing tittie mags to the No Sleeves girls and the like. It’s kind of, um, ridiculous. Sadly, they look better as boys to me. The one with the lines on her face who plays the blond, especially. I swear she looks older than Nakazawa Yuko (not that Yukorin looks old by any means).  I suppose the dorama is an AKB-wota’s wet dream, but for me? It’s laughable, and sometimes that’s enough of a reason to watch.

Obviously, I’m just not that into AKB. I don’t think they’re anywhere near as good as the H!P girls. In my opinion, the biggest reason they’re liked is because they are more accessible for most people, and there are more girls from which to choose favorites. Momusu, Berryz and °C-ute combined only have about half the girls AKB48 does, if that many. And there’s… 2 in each group that I’m not super-keen on? Yeah, that seems right. Yet, a vast majority of the AKB girls do nothing for me.

I do applaud the people who can manage to be big fans of both groups, and even those who can keep themselves out of the clutches of either. Being even minorly wota-like is an exhausting, consuming and often expensive operation… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.


2 Responses to "AKB∞!"

It’s been a long while since you posted this, but yeah, I just felt like I had to reply XD Please don’t take this personal or anything, I’m a fan of H!P as well as of AKB, and I just wanted to state my opinion

AKB is a group that caters to the Otaku. Unlike MM and the rest of H!P which cater to mainstream audiences, AKB is pure fanservice, and it has been ever since its conception. The gimmick, of course, is that the AKB girls are completely ordinary girls, which is why it’s hard to distinguish them from one another at first sight.

Does it work? Of course it does! I went to the AKB theater in Japan, and trust me, those are wotas alright, and they are thrilled to have their own personal sanctuary where they can go everyday and worship their idols. Works for the big guy, as he gets tons of money from tickets, merchandising, pictures, special prizes (like pics with the members)

Sure, tons of members are graduating now, but I think the reason is that they’ve either “peaked” in their idol career, or were underdogs for the whole time and got offered something better, or simply became bigger than AKB itself, like Oshima Mai. Graduations happen all the time in most idol groups, ever since Onyanko Club established such a thing for idol groups back in the ’80s.

And yeah, you have it pinpointed, most fans are into AKB because they actually acknowledge their fans in a very special way. I can’t even begin to put into words what I felt when my favorite idol told me “I saw you today cheering for me in the first row of the theater, thank you for your support” 😀 Selfish as it may be, feeling like they notice your existence is a huge HIGH on itself.

@Cat: I’m honestly amazed you even bothered to read this. I’m not offended in the slightest by your response. I’ve been to your blog, and I see the love that you have for these girls. I just don’t have it. This isn’t to say that there won’t come a point in the future when I’ll just suddenly realize what the hype is about and I’ll get into it a lot. I’m not against AKB48 at all. When their new singles come out, I do watch the PV and listen to the song. If someone tells me a particular stage song is really good, I’ll hunt it down and listen. They’re good enough that I think they have the potential to become something I’d like, but they just aren’t quite there yet. Maybe with the recent rash of graduations, something will come out of it that I’ll desperately fall in love with. I’m certainly not against the idea.

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