AKB0048 02 – 03

I hope you’re not missing out on this fabulousness.

Hey everyone~ I’m all done with my exams now (or what I like to call hell week), so finally getting to sit down, relax and watch some anime seemed to make all that stress just disappear! Which show did I watch first? AKB0048 of course.

Episode 2

Saving the day, kira kira style~

The trio arrives at the station, but there’s a surprise guest … Chieri! We’re soon introduced to a handful of other new AKB wannabe’s including reserved Suzuku (Sawako Hata), childish Sonata (Kumi Yagami), and anxious Makoto (Mao Mita). In their cabin, Nagisa, Orine, and Yuuka recall the start of their friendship with Chieri, the daughter of a Zodiac Corporation CEO. All of the newbies share a meal together and discuss AKB0048, growing closer from their similar interest. A report on the TV reveals that Chieri ran away from home and is aboard the ship they’re on. The girls separate and search for Chieri, and when Nagisa finds her an altercation between the two breaks out regarding their conflicting views on the auditions. While Nagisa believes in the power of friendship, Chieri knows that not everyone will be accepted.

The voyage ship is soon attacked by the DES, there to extract the girls who are auditioning for the unlawful AKB0048 group. They avoid some “itsapinch” situations and eventually meets up with Chieri. Nagisa is taken hostage by the DES, but Kojiharu of AKB arrives just in time to save her with, what other then, HEART POWAH. The girls escape, but Nagisa once again separates to find Chieri. After more arguing over their ideals the chandelier from above falls and crushes Cheiri (Another style). Yuuko, also of AKB, appears and saves them, showing the power of an idol’s aura and teaching Chieri a lesson on teamwork. After one final showdown the girls manage to all safely board the AKB ship.

Meet the fresh meat: genki girl, panic-attack girl, and Linda.

They’re badass idols, basically.

It’s not AKB without the sparkle and shine!

Episode 3

Victory, thine name is moe.

Now on their way to the AKB0048 stage, planet Akibastar, the remaining candidates are now put under grueling idol test to qualify as a new member. Idol lessons? (You might ask.) Well … not exactly. The girls learn to fire heavy weaponry, battle mechs, and serve their overlords senpais by defending them at their next concert, aptly named “the selection round”. The candidates then get a chance to meet their senpais, sharing rusty showers and a fancy dining hall. Later that night Yuuka begins to complain about the unnecessary lessons they’ve been put under, but Chieri disagrees and starts an argument, eventually leaving in anger. Nagisa chases after her, followed by Yuuka, but are soon distracted by the sound of music. They investigate to find the AKB0048 group training. They witness the group in a “fight”, which Nagisa attempts to stop, but soon learn it’s all a part of their method.

The next day the candidates head off to defend the outskirts of the AKB concert. There’s a calm before the storm type feeling when suddenly the enemy arrives. Out of nowhere guns begin to be fired, taking out the girls who came unprepared. Explosions are set and the bodies of the eager youth are sent in all direction, their dream destroyed. Nagisa meets up with Chieri, but they’re soon approached by an enemy mech. Chieri heads off alone to fight over-confident, but Nagisa manages to save her from an untimely death. Just then the mech aims directly at her, however Chieri jumps in and takes the bullet instead. Tsubasa, the manager, steps in and reveals it was all just one big test and the bullets are actually paint balls. Everyone is surprised, but that doesn’t compare to the excitement they feel when they learn that they’ve all passed. (And by all, I mean the central 7.)

You wanted happiness and sparkles? Too bad, you get gun warfare and creys.

Surprise, AKB0048 doesn’t suck! No-no, it sparkles. As flamboyant as that might sound, AKB has just enough emotion, excitement, and all-around fabulous entertainment value to live up to its name, and it has me entirely invested. Sure, sure, this probably isn’t for everyone, but if you can let go of reality for just a moment and embrace your suspension of disbelief, then you might actually find yourself enjoying this crazy conglomeration of sci-fi, pop music, OTT adolescent drama, and even a little mecha.

Exaggerated drama seems to be a focal point of AKB so far, sort of like a toned down version of BRS without all the BS that came with it. Call me shallow, but I have a thing for teenage drama, especially the outrageous kind. Going along with the BRS comparison, what I feel AKB does right is not taking itself too seriously. Despite all of the in-your-face emotion and drama, the show always has that sense of fun and high energy. There’s just something laughably insane about watching these sparkly, fabulous idols firing semi-automatic weaponry and flailing around lightsaber microphones while their senpais perform on blinding stobe light fortresses. (Wow, maybe I really am shallow …) It’s that level of energy that keeps me coming back, a vast contrast to the previous popular idol show, The Idolmaster, which focused on light-hearted reality and relationships, but was still very enjoyable in its own way.

The characterization so far has been limited, understandably. With 17+ characters, 7-9 of which being central (two having yet to be introduced) there can only be so much development done beyond initial personality based impressions. I have a good feel of the cast and who they are personality wise, but I prefer being able to recall a character from their personal story rather than from their hair color or voice actress. Nagisa, thankfully, has been very well developed, building on her relationship with her parents and friends, her personal ideals, and goals. Similarly Chieri, Orine, and Yuuka have great foundations for strong, developed characterization. Chieri with her family issues, Orine with her past, and Yuuka with her boyfriend. I can see this aspect of the show going many different ways, but I hope it stays true to the original four, who I find much more likable then the three new girls.

Ah, I don’t know about you (and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show so far!), but I’m having a great time watching AKB and I plan on continuing to blog it. There are plenty of laughs and cries to be had over what’s already happened, and I can only expect that the drama will unfold even more in the future.So, a question for anyone who wants to bite, how do you feel about the show’s odd mixture of different genres so far? Until next time!~

Goodbye and goodnight. ;D

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I enjoy watching anime, when I'm not burning toast or sleeping through college.
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29 Responses to “AKB0048 02 – 03”

  1. Joojoobees says:

    I think this show has been fun so far. I like the crazy mixture of very light entertainment and serious mecha-battles. They even had me going when Chieri got shot. I think pop music would be a lot more interesting if the singers had light sabers built into their microphones and battled robots. AKB0048 is alright by me.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Oh man, that scene had me going too, I was taken aback by the sudden brutality and when that “bullet” hit I was shocked.

      Real battle-idols? Yes please~ ><

  2. Liza says:

    I personally think the mix is great! At first I wasn’t sure I would like this show from the premise but oddly enough it all works together into one show. Plus, come on, they are idols with lightsabers. XD

    • Hawthorne says:

      I was somewhat apprehensive on the premise at first as well, but just like you I think it works pretty well! And lightsabers make everything better!

  3. Niko says:

    Chieri heads off alone to fight over-confident

    She wasn’t over-confident at all. You can see that she wasn’t attacking the mech head on; she was distracting it so that Nagisa could take it from behind.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Hm, I didn’t word that the way I meant to, apologizes! What I meant to insist was that she was a bit over her head, a small bodied girl whose barely trained in using weapons taking on that huge mech with an unreliable plan like that. XD

      • Lin says:

        It was an unreliable plan for sure, but it was the only plan, and if she didn’t do it, they both would have been fucked, since it was obviously impossible to take on the damn thing head on.

        Oh, and I don’t think Chieri is that inexperienced with weapons. Remember she’s heir to a weapons manufacturer company (the same company that makes weapons for DES, btw).

  4. lvlln says:

    The comparison to Black Rock Shooter is apt. Enjoyable CG action in between lots of bad drama. But it doesn’t do either end quite as extreme as BRS did. The CG action isn’t as crazy, beautiful, or entertaining. The melodrama isn’t quite as horribly over the top, but it’s still bad. It’s a show that I can have a lot of fun with skimming, but as a whole, meh.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Not nearly as beautiful, imo BRS definitely tops AKB when it comes to the CG action scenes. (I can’t get that macaron battle out of my head …) For sure not the worst or best show of the season, but I’m glad you’re having fun watching so far!

  5. JPNIgor says:

    I don’t really like when they are all emotional. That scene when the pinky-haired girl screams “Please, stop fighting”, bleh -.-‘ It was a little bit annoying. As much as Mato of BRS.

    But, still… I’m enjoying AKB, because it’s an Idol-themed anime that shows a darker side of the Idols… Even if it is unreal.

    I’m still wondering… Why would any government ban the entertainment…?

    How many years have been since the four girls saw the AKB for the first time? After almost ten years they’re still singing the SAME MUSIC?

    And, just now I realized that all the girls have hearts on every place, in the eyes, on the hair, on the clothes… o.o

    OMG, I’m talking too much -.-‘ I don’t like the CG perfomance of AKB, too. When they danced on the episode after the “fight” without CG, it seemed so much better. CG scenes of BRS looked better. Just remembering the first review saying that AKB performances was creepy with CG XD

    • Hawthorne says:

      Good comparison with Mato and Nagisa, I personally find Nagisa more likable as a protagonist then Mato was. If you don’t like the emotion now, you should probably prepare yourself for a lot more to come! XD (Just look at all that crying in the OP!)

      Good question, I took a quick look at the synopsis and it was apparently banned because of its power to “move”, or I guess influence, people in a rebellious way. Interesting … still, that’s quite the intense solution!

      The hearts so far seem to be a design quirk of the series, maybe it’s the mark of a true idol? ><

      • JPNIgor says:

        Is that it’s so exaggerated… But it don’t bother me to the point of dropping AKB. And I agree with you. Nagisa is a much better protagonist than Mato. But the VA for both is bad. I know that Nagisa’s VA is a rookie, but still…

        • Hawthorne says:

          Really? D: Ah, I liked Kana Hanazawa as Mato! But I see why some people wouldn’t since I thought it was a lot different then her usual roles. (More overly emotional and whatnot.)

          As for Nagisa, I do agree that she doesn’t sound very experienced, but for her first role ever I think she’s doing great!

  6. skylion says:

    With this many rails, it’s hard for the show to decide where to put the train. I’m finding some of the plot execution to be on the unbelievable side; why did the girls react poorly to the fact that they would be becoming fighters, did they not see any of the concerts before joining up? People get jacked at those shows. Maybe they come from world’s where entertainment isn’t banned, but the writers could have inserted a line that explained that.

    Also, the ban on entertainment is becoming more and more stretched as episodes pass. The girls left Lancaster with no difficulty, and other planets exist where the ban is not a law. So, get up and move, yo!

    It seems like a plot made by a 13 year old, very very emotional girl, that is in a snit cause she listens to music and dances around when she has homework due and her parents take her stuff away.

    All that stuff aside, an an work in progres in animation, it’s pretty slick. The CG incorporation could use some major work. But I love the character and world designs, random hearts and all. I want to see more of the cyborg. And Sonata is too cute to overlook.

    • Hawthorne says:

      I felt that maybe their reaction was due to them being thrown directly into the action without any of the singing/dancing that was supposed to come with it. (Which was also why a lot of the girls, including Yuuko, were so disgruntled.) It’s like … putting all your effort into baking a pie and then not getting to eat it … okay that was a terrible analogy, just ignore me! XD

      I see your point, but it seems like AKB was formed as a way of liberating those planets that banned music, not ignoring them! It’s all about the power of music imo, and that also seems to be a major influence on Nagisa.

      Completely banning entertainment is a bit more oppressive then homework! >< I do agree though, the story so far does feel childishly overenthusiastic, but at the same time I think that gives AKB a lot of energy and undeniable spirit.

      Agreed 100%! The CG needs work, it should take a lesson from BRS.

      • skylion says:

        It’s like putting all your effort into baking a pie, and then shooting it out of a cannon. If only someone would have told you to make a howitzer shell! I wasted all this time on cinnamon and nutmeg? Should have told me to get gunpowder, yo!

        My chief complaints still hold their ground. It’s a mixed genre that starts of on the wrong foot to me. Maybe if it was AKB0048 itself that was banned; accused of crimes they did not commit, then maybe it would be a bit easier to take. Hmm, perhaps I shall just tell myself that, as I watch….

        But you hit a high note with the spirit and enthusiasm. That takes this show up many notches past weak exposition.

        • Hawthorne says:

          A pie cannon … *adds to list of future inventions*

          Fair enough! I see where you’re coming from and it’s completely understandable that the lackluster direction/story might be a downfall. Do you plan on continuing to watch? Who knows, maybe something next week will impress you and change your mind! XD

          • skylion says:

            I have this moe addiction, you see. Not watching would be bad.

            There is a very well written emotional narrative going on (cheers to Kawamori…from mechs to emotions he can nail it every single time..Macross, Aquarion, this show….peaches, baby) and I cannot tear myself away from it. It makes the bitterness of the ill thought exposition turn to sweet. Thou I have problems with the background, the characters are oh so compelling to me. Dat Sonata, I admire her spunk.

            • Hawthorne says:

              I don’t want to spoil anything, but the background of the characters seem to be loosely based on the actual stories behind the IRL AKB members who voice them, some of them at least. (Thanks to croos for that info!) If the show continues to stay true I think Sonata might turn out to be one of the most interesting characters to watch.

        • Joojoobees says:

          Maybe if it was AKB0048 itself that was banned; accused of crimes they did not commit, then maybe it would be a bit easier to take.

          I really don’t agree with this. The way things stand, AKB0048 is fighting against an injustice felt by other people. They are being selfless. If the problem were specifically them, then they aren’t as noble. They are fighting for themselves, which is fine, but not as virtuous as fighting for the rights of all people everywhere to have a good time.

          • skylion says:

            I have to admit, that after posting that comment, I wasn’t entirely sold on my own idea. Good comeback…

  7. BlackBriar says:

    The OP is nice to listen to and it has a lot of techno to it. Battle idols? That’s a nice addition and pretty interesting concept to a show that’s currently a fun ride. I certainly see the Black Rock Shooter element everyone’s talking about, especially the CG girls on stage. But what I’m also feeling is a Senki Zesshou Symphogear atmosphere among the girls and their friendship, mainly between Nagisa and Chieri like Hibiki and Tsubasa.

    Harsh. When I first saw this, I thought it would be fluffy and all moe but boy, do I take all of that back. I was expecting singing and dance contests not all out boot camp style training. Light saber mics? Niiice!!

    Overall, I’m enjoying this fully. There’s a lot of unexpected genres mixes that are working out nicely. So, yes, I plan to continue watching. AKB0048 gets an A+. Please continue to blog it Hawthorne. By the way, are you still blogging Shining Hearts? The plot suddenly kicked up on the third episode.

    • Hawthorne says:

      100 points to you for comparing it to Symphogear! XD I can’t believe I’ve already forgotten that show … but anyway, I agree, the synergy between the idols looks to be a major element of their success as “rebel” idols fighting against a higher power. A lot like Hibiki, Tsubasa, and Chris, whose power strengthened through friendship.

      Glad to hear there’s another fan! I plan on seeing AKB through to the end, so expect more posts in the future! As for Shining Hearts I have a long post under editing, just waiting for the next episode to air so I can include it. ^^

      • skylion says:

        Darn dat Symphogear. It crashed and burned. Had a great start, but it didn’t make the tropes work for it well enough.

        I hope this show doesn’t go in that direction. As for pop music itself, I’m not that big a fan. I mean, my favorite music is Irish inspired Punk, Dropkick Murhpys, Floggy Molly, and every generation of Ska you can find, Toasters, the Pie Tasters, freaking Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Western pop music is insipid to my ears, and have the value of spray cheese.

        But, anime inspired J-Pop? Why can’t I get enough of it?

        • Hawthorne says:

          Man that show was a wreck, but I can’t say it wasn’t entertaining from time to time! XD

          I have the same thing going on Skylion, American pop makes me want to jump in front of a bus, but for some reason J-Pop just … works for me. >< I hope AKB won’t let us down!

          • skylion says:

            I used to think it was because I had no clue about the language, other than a few words here and there (lots of Kimi wa, lots of Boku wo…it’s pop after all). But as I get more language under my belt, I find my enjoyment undiminished. And…it’s just as cheeze whizzy as western pop, and even more over-marketed!

            It’s a mystery…

  8. Moni Chan says:

    Gotta love the background music, when the actual members of AKB48 sing. I wanna put them on my iPod. They’re so catchy and addicting

    • Hawthorne says:

      Same here Moni Chan! I’m dying to get my hands on the OST and possibly some character albums!

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