A closer look at the new scenes and extras included in the BD!
|Hey everyone! With the first volume of AKB0048 released, I thought it would be fun to do a quick review/closer look at some of the new scenes included in episode one (a whole volume for one episode!?) as well as for some of the extras included alongside the episode, such as the new introduction clip, character introductions, and the public auditions/results taken by the voice actresses of the show. It hasn’t been all that long since the last episode aired, but I just couldn’t help myself. So, let’s get started!~|
Episode 1 – New Scenes
(6:50 – 7:40)
The first new scene happens immediately after the AKB0048 performance 4 years before the events of the story. Standing on a cold cement surface overlooking the barren and colorless landscape of Akibastar, Nagisa remembers the feelings she had watching the performance as she listens to AKB0048 music on her headphones. This scene had some stunning background art that added an even greater feeling of disparity into the setting, and what I love is that despite the monotone scene Nagisa’s optimism manages to brighten the mood. It’s a wonderful introduction to her character after the time skip.
(11:55 – 12:02)
There’s an extended clip here of Orine going easy on Nagisa after her hilariously bad attempt at singing! (“aitakatta … YES!”) It’s short, but what it does manage to do is provide a smoother transition into the next scene. Previously it felt way too abrupt. There’s also some more of that amazing background art I’ve come to admire.
(12:44 – 13:20)
YURI GOGGLES ON! This is an extension to the scene after Yuuka leaves to talk with her crush, Mamoru. Nagisa teases Orine after she wonders what it’s like to fall in love and to kiss. I can see why a scene like this wouldn’t be necessary, but Orine’s reaction is adorable and scenes like this that show more interaction between characters we’re meant to assume are close friends help to remove some of the superficiality! /
suddenly wants to ship OrinexNagisa
(15:50 – 15:55)
Another short new scene of Nagisa crying on her bed, further showing the sadness she feels.
(17:16 – 17:40)
A beautifully drawn and lit scene that shows Nagisa returning home after getting in a fight with Yuuka over what her father said. Keeping in mind that she had just found out she was accepted, the shot of the gate collapsing over the background shot of Nagisa’s face was an excellent representation of her dreams being cut right before her eyes. I really loved this scene more than any of the new ones before this; short moments like this can really have an outstanding affect!
(21:40 – 21:55)
Yet another short new scene, but also easily one of the most beautiful. The open night sky and stars shining down were amazing as both background art and a symbol for the endless opportunities that await them.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt this way, but the setting of AKB0048 never felt as though it was fleshed out enough. Sure, we understood entertainment was banned and many new planets were colonized, but there was always a sense that something was missing. This new Opening Introduction takes us deeper into the history behind the story and is a bit more satisfying than the scattered information we got in the series. I hate summarizing, but basically, a world war broke out on Earth due to the struggle over “hyperspace technology” leading to the Earth being laid to waste and causing humans to live on new planets. Entertainment was then banned, for “leading the heart astray.” Idols soon disappeared, but thanks to the original AKB0048 humans were liberated, and new generations continue to carry on the tradition. Okay, so it’s not really anything new per se, but there are some small details that help tie everything together.
What was also enjoyable about this clip were the live action recordings of AKB that occasionally played in the background as well as the concept art that was shown. I never noticed, but a lot of the original artwork of the main cast depicts Nagisa with brown hair, whereas in the anime there’s more of a reddish/pinkish tint to it. I also heard that Chieri’s design, although not depicted this way in this clip, originally had her designed with shorter, black hair. I … can’t even imagine how different that would have been! Anyway, this was a nice small addition to the BD.
(Click to enlarge!)
Public Auditions and Selection Ceremony
A role in AKB0048 is at stake, of course there will be tears!
One of the awesome new features on the Blu-ray is the original public auditions taken by the seiyuu before given their roles for the anime. All nine voice actresses of the main cast recite some lines as well as a personal statement. It was interesting to watch because some of their voices were at completely different ranges compared to their counterpart in AKB0048, and what else is that all of these girls, for the most part, have never had any roles in an anime before. I’m no professional when it comes to voice acting, but here’s my take on the auditions and how I felt about the lines read!
Sawako Hata was the first shown, and I’ve said this before, but she has such an amazingly unique voice and I’d love to see her get more roles after this. Hearing her read a line meant for Mimori’s character made me think that she’s probably best suited for a soft-spoken or laid back character like Suzuko. Mimori’s “sexy” factor just didn’t seem to fit her voice at all and came across as awkward. Next up was Karen Iwata, voice of Nagisa, and I can see why she was given such an important role in the anime! She’s a great voice actress who never overacts her lines and has a certain intensity in her speech that also manages to stay really cute! When Haruka Ishida, the voice of Kanata, read her lines I was surprised at how high her voice was. I … I can’t even imagine her voicing someone like, say, Sonata or Kojiharu! I would say Kanata was one of the best acted characters on the show, and like I keep saying, I’d love to see her in more roles in the future.
Sawako Hata, voice of Suzuko, and Karen Iwata, voice of Nagisa.
Haruka Ishida, voice of Kanata, and Sayaka Nakaya, voice of Orine.
Sayaka Nakaya is another one of the voice actresses who seems to have great range. Compared to her soft-spoken role as Orine, she read with a lot of energy and I never would have guessed she was the actress behind such an opposite character. She’s now voicing Chitose in a 3-min. comedy, but I’m not watching it so I can’t really compare. Amina Satou was next and it doesn’t take more then a second to realize her natural voice is just perfectly fitted for the exaggerated world of anime! Much like Sawako Hata and Karen Iwata, her voice is very easily recognizable and could definitely become popular. And then there’s Mayuyu! I wasn’t a big fan of her reading, but I loved her as Chieri, and her personal speech was easily my favorite of the whole group. I wonder why she didn’t voice her own character that was in the show though?
Amina Satou, voice of Yuuka, and Mayu Watanabe, voice of Chieri.
Sumire Sato had, in my opinion, the least original audition and from that alone I could never picture her voicing Mimori, but fast forward to the anime and suddenly it all just fit! Kumi Yagami’s shared line wasn’t nearly the best acted, but she sort of transformed her voice for the individual line and it worked great! Perfect Sonata, even though her personality seemed to be the exact opposite that day! Finishing up was Mao Mita, who’s audition was my overall favorite of the group. Like Amina Satou, her voice just naturally feels suited for anime, especially one as animated and high-energy as AKB0048. I also love that she admitted to acting out roles when she reads manga! (Admit it, she’s not alone!)
The award show following the auditions was also included in the BD as an extra and it was equally as enjoyable to watch. One at a time the girls were called and gave their speeches. For some it seemed this opportunity was huge! I would have loved to see the other 13 auditions of the girls who didn’t make it, just to see if I could picture any of them voicing some of the characters. Anyway, these extras weren’t as exciting as the new scenes, but for anyone who’s a fan of the show or the voice actresses, you’ll love this!
Sumire Sato, voice of Mimori, and Kumi Yagami, voice of Sonata.
And of course, Mao Mita, voice of Mikoto and my personal favorite reading of the auditions!
Well, that’s all there was to it! I’m surprised an entire Blu-ray volume only included a single episode. I wanted more new scenes! ;_; There wasn’t a LOT of new content, but enough to make a fanboy like me happy. My only complaint, and I believe I mentioned this before, was that I would have loved to also see the auditions of the girls who didn’t make it into the seiyuu cast. Ever since watching AKB0048 I’ve become a much bigger fan of the idol groups in Japan, the music is surprisingly addicting! Unfortunately, I doubt this will ever get licensed and released in the US because it doesn’t have a big selling factor like other anime (is AKB48 even well known in the US?), but I’d be the first in line to buy it if it did! Anyway, I’ve said everything I wanted to at this point, so until next time!~