The space idols have returned!
|I can’t believe more Metateam members didn’t want to cover the new season of AKB. The first season was surprisingly good considering the description felt like Symphogear/ any other generic idol anime that involves fighting for no real reason. My hopes for this year? That we’ll finally get some answers to the questions they left floating around. They can’t just tell us that some unknown force of music dictates their lives and then leave us with that. Your thoughts, Hawt?|
|I have to agree, we demand answers! Thankfully Satelight has given us an entire second season to find those answers, including the identity of Sensei Sensei. Now, let’s get on to our thoughts on the show! If you’re new to AKB0048, the second season doesn’t really require that you’ve seen the first. You should get the gist of things after this episode, and if you want to know more feel free to check back at our coverage of the first season right here on Metanorn!|
It wouldn’t be AKB0048 without a flashy concert to start things off.
New Story Elements
||Well AKB0048 certainly started off unusually intense. Between the Center Nova drama, the fact that they’re all going to be ranked (I’m not even that fond of Sonata, but I have to agree that the pessimistic blue haired girl is a depressing character) and the arrest/trial, the dorama certainly isn’t taking it easy. Both of the changes to the AKB job seem a bit dangerous considering that this is more than likely to divide characters, make some feel inferior and create even more drama, but I guess they’re necessary? I still don’t quite understand how their careers all seem to be controlled by the god of entertainment or whatever lives in the creepy shrine in the basement, but maybe they’ll explain that this season. There’s all of this career drama and on top of that, there’s the fact that Chieri’s father seems to be running for asshat parent of the year already. I don’t even know how he plans on using his daughter, nor why he wants to stop entertainment in the first place (maybe his wife died in a tragic microphone accident, who knows) but it can’t be good for the AKB.|
General Election Speculation
|Kara, you’re breaking my heart! Makoto’s pessimism is what makes her so lovable. But I digress, Next Stage is certainly kicking things into high gear without any breathers, already setting in motion the various plotlines that will likely persist through the rest of the season. First, the general election which is actually an incredibly popular part of the real life AKB48 idol unit in Japan. In 2011, over one million votes were cast, and Atsuko Maede (whom Acchan is conceived from in the anime) took first place. In relation to AKB0048, we can correlate first place to the “Center Nova.” This brings up an interesting question, is the winner of the “Center Nova” already known? If the general elections continue to follow the real world results, then we may be looking at Yuuko Oshima being the next “Center Nova” in the anime, due to her first place win in 2012. Of course, this is just speculation. After all, the understudies have no real world counterpart, so they have just as much chance as any. (If it wasn’t obvious already, I’ll be rooting for Makoto to win, even though she has absolutely no chance whatsoever!)||
You probably saw it coming, but the results are anyone’s guess.
Saving the day, idol style.
The Great Escape
||…The arrest this episode brings us to the fact that the anti-entertainment movement blatantly trashed a perfectly harmless hotel and kidnapped a bunch of minors. I hope they at least paid the hotel some money for damages. Personally, after seeing so many stories where the default punishment for every single crime is death, I don’t think 48 (ahaha I see what they did there) years in prison is that bad, but it’s definitely NOT good news of any sort for an idol. In the end though, they did get away and really, the fact that the anti-entertainment movement decided to broadcast it all over kind of backfired. From my view, the incident turned out to be a great publicity stunt for the AKB since impressionable audiences everywhere would be able to watch them preform where the AKB usually travel to select planets. …Plus, they made the entire anti-entertainment movement look like they were the ones at fault there.|
Return of the Music
|One of my complaints season was that overall it felt as though the quantity of music was lacking. That’s why it was a great comfort to see that there was no shortage of incredible music and BGM. First, we got another taste of “Shonichi” by the understudies, and it was wonderful way to start the episode. This first glance at not only the teamwork of the understudies, but their vast improvement from last season is very important. I’m sure you can picture my face when right after Shonichi we got “Niji no Ressha,” which paired with some really beautiful animation was easily my favorite of the episode. But it didn’t end there! “Pioneer” was an amazing choice as the rescue song during the final half of the show. It paired perfectly with the action filled scene, and there could have been no better choice! I think it’s safe to say there’s plenty more where this came from.||
My bets are on blue.
The Beauty of Teamwork
||I don’t really care about the music in this anime (…I don’t know if I’m watching this for the right reasons or not), so I’ll leave that to Hawt. For the characters though, there have been some pleasant changes from the last season. For one, Chieri seems to be well past her slump and is one of the more inspiring characters now. I’m not really worried about her this season. Nagisa on the other hand, seems to have acquired some sort of precognition ability…? Her character kind of lost a bit of optimism in the last couple episodes of the last season due to daddy issues (though she did gain confidence back at the end) and it looks like it’s her turn to be a little weary about being an idol due to that unsettling dream. I guess having a constant competition is a rather large part of an idol’s career and I never got around to watching the rest of Idolm@ster so I don’t know if this was relevant in there or not, so seeing the harsh fact of the real world factor into this is a bit surprising. On the plus side though, it seems like the girls are perfectly good at being team mates and rivals at the same time. Or at least Yuuko has proven herself mature enough for that.|
Beyond the Drama
Satelight has clearly upped their game in season two, in more ways than one. The most obvious of which is the increase in fanservice, with more boob shots than ever. That’s awesome for the audience it’s intended for, but for me the increased quality in animation is the biggest plus. There’s something about the CG dancing sequences that feels more fluid, not to mention the choreography in general is more diverse. Outside of the performances, both the general animation and background art are as detailed as they were in First Stage. Satelight is really doing a wonderful job building upon the setting and the dark, gloomy artwork creates the perfect atmosphere of oppression. I couldn’t ask for more, honestly.
Suzuko and Yukirin are planning ahead for the general election.
So far, so good for season two. I guess last season could be considered the introduction? They certainly have moved past introducing everyone and what they do. I foresee a lot of angst (closely followed by friendship solving everything) in the future due to the new rules and drama, but as long as it doesn’t take up 90+% of the new season, all will be well. AKB has proven that it can deal with character insecurities without the theme being overbearing the last season and struggling always makes the reward seem worthwhile in these kinds of things. As for things I actually want to see, I’ve mentioned this 1437 times already this post, but I really want to know the deal with the unknown force driving this whole thing. At first I laughed off the notion as a joke about the AKB being kind of like a cult, but it’s turned into a really interesting issue for me. Of course, it makes the AKB seem a bit self-important since the anime is basically saying that the girl’s singing is the will of an all knowing entity, but I’d love to hear the plot explain where it all came from. I assume the Center Nova phenomena and graduation thing will be explained along the way as well. Another thing I’d love to see this season is as some sort of backstory as to why places think that little girls singing is dangerous. Entertainment seems pretty harmless unless the giant war that destroyed Earth was fought by otaku or something. …Oh lord, that had better not be the actual explanation.
Well said Kara, and I completely agree. That mysterious entity (“Sensei Sensei” as it’s referred to) is definitely one of the most mysterious plot elements from season one. It’s connection to the kirara is something that definitely needs to be explained, right alongside the disappearance of Acchan. But, let’s not worry too much! We have a whole seasons worth of AKB0048 in front of us after all. Next Stage’s premiere was more than I could have ever asked for. It delivered in every area that made me come to love the first season: music, action, drama, and of course, Makoto! This season is going to be one hell of a ride, and thanks to this general election business the drama is more than guaranteed to hit new highs. Honestly, the general election/Center Nova far outshines the other new plotline surrounding Zodiac and Chiere’s father, but perhaps that’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel? Either way, bring it on AKB0048 we’re ready for you! Next week we’ll be getting into what’s called the “Variety Show” segment that helps boost the popularity of the idols. I’m sure it’ll be a humorous episode, but let’s hope it doesn’t let up on the action and music.
His eyes scream innocence.