S-Stop, I can’t handle all these hnnngs.
|Since everyone at Metanorn seems to be adopting or experimenting with new posting styles, I figured I’d give it a shot! Now, on to AKB0048~ When we last left off the central seven had passed their entrance test and earned the privilege of being new recruits. This week we meet two girls who also had that privilege … two years ago.|
New (Old) Faces
A fabulous entrance, of course!
If you hadn’t noticed already from AKB’s promotional artwork or the OP/ED, two faces from the brightly colored cluster of idols have yet to make an appearance, Mimori Kishida (Samire Sato) and Kanata Shinonome (Haruka Ishida). They’re the last remaining fragments of the 75th generation of idols (the “Cursed Generation” as Tsubasa puts it), their team having all left on their own accord, and yet they continue to push on and chase their individual dreams. Despite their senior status in comparison to the fresh recruits, Mimori and Kanata are still fighting to become successors of the current AKB0048 idols.
Mimori is surprisingly endearing for an elegant senpai type character, of which I’m typically not a big fan of. Boasting what I find the prettiest voice so far, thanks to Samire Sato of course, and being the most level-headed of the group so far are just some of the qualities she’s shown. When compared to Kanata she lacks depth as far as background goes, but makes up for it with a strong devotion to her friends. I’ll talk more about Kanata later.
What makes them stand out so far is experience. Unlike the freshies, they’ve already endured two years worth of dance and song training, which is evident in their first performance of “The Lemon Season.” The performance itself was impressively similar to the actual real life performance, not only in appearance but in choreography. Neither flashy or over-the-top, the dance relied on hand movements and floaty footwork. (The subtlety is most likely the reason CG wasn’t needed.) The performance however lacked one important detail, ENERGY! Like the crowd I found myself lazily following along, not entirely involved or entertained. Sure, the two VA’s are incredibly talented and have two of my favorite singing voices so far, but let’s not forget, this was meant for four people! If it hasn’t been shoved into our heads enough already, being an idol is about teamwork. To “shine” you have to rely on each other, and the reaction of the crowd when AKB0048 comes out on stage should say enough, Mimori and Kanata need a team.
A team that dances together, stays together! … Until Chieri chimes in.
Succeeding the Successors
A new plot element introduced in the story this week was the disposed “center” role, the position of an idol who took charge and led her friends towards stardom. Acchan, who you might remember from the premier, was the last of these centers before graduating and ever since then the role hasn’t been filled. Despite the sudden disappearance of the center, Yuuko still encourages the recruits to strive for it because she wants to bring it back. So who will end up taking it?
My bets are on Nagisa, because obviously she has the whole main character-thing going for her. Honestly, she’s never stood out too much me, though I do like her character especially for her relationship with her mom. Still, I could see some of the other new recruits being more … qualified. Chieri seems a bit self-absorbed so far, but clearly she has talent to back it up. (Dance-wise at least.) Mimori has that beautiful voice, but nobody seems to notice her. Kanata’s head isn’t in the right place, but she has the chops to go far, and her sister Sonata is bit too inexperienced. Yuuka, Orine, Linda, and Makoto all seem to be floating around without much impact so far, but they have plenty of time to show off their skills.
Will this be a story of Nagisa finding herself and learning to stand out? I’m going to say yes. So far Nagisa has played the role of the encourager, the friend, and the intermediate. She might not have the flashiest hair color or the most unique personality, but she’s a leader in disguise who knows the power of teamwork, but will have to realize her own potential before she can truly take on the role.
With a face like that Makoto is clearly the best choice for center.
Sisterhood of the Traveling … Idols
Surprise, they’re sisters! (Wow, I really should have realized that sooner by the matching surnames …) No reunion ever seems to go as planned or as aspired in anime and AKB is no different. Some might look at Kanata’s reaction as cold, but I viewed it as more heartfelt than anything. Who in their right mind would want their cute little sister learning to fire high-tech guns and to fight against big, hulking mechs!? Clearly, not Kanata.
It’s an interesting dynamic that I wasn’t expecting, and though it seems the angsty part of their relationship won’t be stretched out any further than this episode, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how Sonata’s presence affects Kanata’s vengeful intentions as an idol. The sisters’ troubling past, which Sonata most likely wasn’t old enough to witness, has played a large part in Kanata’s actions up until this point. Seriously, becoming an idol so you could fight? That’s dedication, but is it the right mindset for someone in her position to have? Fighting the DES seems like a secondary motivation for AKB0048, with the main goal being liberation for the people through music.
Thankfully Mimori was able to revive Kanata’s love of music in one of my favorite scenes of the anime so far, which might divert her from making dangerous game-time decisions in the future, but the whole experience has done a good job of building the viewer’s hatred of the DES. With these introductions now over and the rigorous training having begun, it’s only a matter of time until we get to see the girls in a full on performance and I can’t wait!~
Scenery Porn at its Finest!
I never really noticed how gorgeous the artwork has been so far, and I wanted to take a moment to show it off. The show might not have an outstanding animation budget for the performances, if the CG sequences weren’t indication enough, but so far everything has just looked breathtakingly great, even in the quieter moments. Looking back now at Symphogear which had a very similar battle-idol premise and setting as far as structures go, I wonder if the show would have done better with outstanding artwork like this. Hm … too late!
It’s not just artwork either, I love the use of odd camera angles and distant shots (that surprisingly don’t cause a lack of detail in the character designs). I wish they’d put some of that creativity into the performances though and drop the CG, which is still a bit off-putting.
- A commenter here at Metanorn brought up an interesting point on twitter the other day (@Croos_) that Tsubasa, the producer-san, as I like to call her, has a diamond reflection in her hair rather than a heart. It’s probably just because she’s now running things so to speak, but it’s something I completely missed! ><
- The fence in the last scene had words for railings, including “freedom”, “sympathy”, and “passion”. I thought that was a nice detail, especially for a beautiful scene like that.
- Mayu Watanabe voices Chieri instead of the current Mayu Watanabe successor who is voiced by Yukari Tamaru. At first I was confused, but then I remembered that the girls take on a new name when they become full fledged members. That also made the scene from last week between the two characters a lot more interesting since I now fully expect Chieri to take on that name.
- Orine has completely fallen into the background! She was one my favorites to watch, but I’m really hoping she gets a focus episode in the future.
Anyway, that’s all for this week! Hope you all enjoyed the weekend and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s episode. A random questions for anyone who feels like answering, who is your favorite idol so far? Who do you think will take up the role of center in the end? Later!~
Sonata and I will miss you. T_T