AKB0048 Retrospective One

August 11th, 2012 by Author

Spoilers are minimal in this Retrospective. It is also abridged.

This is how we meet main characters, after the “Teenage Mutant Idols In Sewers” sequence. At the time it was completely unremarkable, but thinking back, is it not amazing how Chieri could laugh and smile in such an innocent manner before the timeskip? She had to re-learn it all. Question: why? What was her domestic life like? Possibly it was nothing more than being surrounded by small people, who evoked disdain and nothing else, plus the alpha personality to begin with.

One of big obstacles between me and AKB48 is their odd choreography. Is this running like a sheep herd from a collie supposed to be a good thing?

Nagisa’s controversial room. Note how large it is in the anime. In reality, most likely it was nothing like it (using the expression under advisement).

This famous Kojiharu screencap made me decide to watch AKB0048. However, the scene is not quite what it seems, and — spoilers — she does not drop the micsaber, as was reported about the manga. Kojiharu is not a dojiko. BTW, she is only one of the two with portmanteau handle, the other being Takamina, the captain of the group.

Meet the 77th Generation understudies: Makoto, Shizuko, Yuuka, Nagisa, Orine, Sonata, and Chieri. Everyone save for Chieri demonstrate their own fashion style. It is nothing unusual in anime, but AKB0048 took it quite far: everyone’s outfits made sense and changed appropriately over a large time period. It was very pleasing to see.

I remember criticizing Ufotable for the close-ups. Satelight had shown us how it’s done (admittedly a few years down the road and on a different kind of budget).

The 3D. Although it was far from the worst animated CG in anime, it really made me grind my teeth by how pointless it was. The 3D scenes were spliced in for small parts of dance numbers, and preceded and followed by fully animated sequences (see the next screencap). So it’s not like Satelight saved any money on 3D! It’s absurd. Why do it?!

Meet the last two surviving 75th Generation understudies: Kanata and Mimori (with Chieri in the background). As mentioned above, this is fully animated.

Yuuko wields 2 micasbers, as an understudy no less.

The historic mentions in AKB0048 have a strange quality of incongruity, which I met in Lain before. Note that Lain was fully explainable, so perhaps this is too, I just don’t want to think hard enough. For example, Yuuko (above) could easily be an understudy in Acchan’s time – we just need to presume that the scene she’s recalling happened a very long time ago. That would let Kojiharu to promote. But — the incongruity — Yuuko was recalling it as it was a recent experience.

Or how about this: Sae performs with Acchan (Sae is 2nd from the left). But she belongs to the 76th! How long ago have Acchan disappeared? No more than one generation ago, it seems. But seeing how much it takes to train an idol, the only explanation is that generation gap must be way more than 1 year. Otherwise, logical possibility is that Sae was a full stand-in, but that’s a bit out there. It’s the same incongruity again. {Update: Sae is not a stand-in, because stand-ins wear a different uniform (see Megumi below). Still, a crazy retcon is possible.}

This is the “Makoto, why are you so wonderful” screencap. Did you think I could forget to include one?

My vacation plans are starting to firm up.

Note how WOTA uniforms list a member’s name (an a pithy slogan); in this case it’s Yuuko. I do not think I saw a WOTA rooting for an understudy. It appears that fans do not get to choose who meets them for the handshake, so Suzuko delivers the honors. Regardless, do you think Suzuko knew his name beforehand? Surely she knew about WOTA; possibly even cracked identity of a few.

I remember that Omo was sceptical when he saw Haruka Amami’s #1 Fan. Well, how about this one? Egged on by her mother, no less? What is the message here?

Meet the 76th Generation understudies, including The Girl With Lemon On Her Head. Megumi is the focus of attention; Hazuki is first on the left. Nothing else is known about anyone.

This is another famous screencap. Remember about Chieri’s smile? Still, being as good as she is, she mastered appearances extremely quickly, as could be seen duing the gravure shoot later.

Megumi. You know, it’s difficult not to root for her, considering what she’s up against. I mean… Chieri is mega capability, Nagisa is mega aura. Who are you to go level with them? I skipped a screencap of 75th and 77th united in a social setting, but that’s just as important. A pat on the head from Kanata is not going to compensate the handicap, and Sae is no help at all.

In parts AKB0048 turns to pure magic. Sensei-sensei and Special Kirara is an important part, but they are nothing compared to the magic of idols. When Takamina is psyched up, she can just summon two Kirara out of thin air, and they are not octopii! She can also change her outfit with her thought. Nobody bats the eye at that (dismayed Kanata in the background is… something different). Note that it’s easy to explain why Takamina has to wear a textile uniform: if your get-up depends on your mood and mana level, you risk ending on the stage naked without a corporeal outfit as a base. Still, impressive.

What is a gravure? Yuuka has a good idea it seems, as she explains the sample picture of Kojiharu hugging her bare chest. The question is, however, how does she know? All three come from the planet under the entertainment ban. Oh, never mind, I know.

Acchan always looks stoned in her screencaps, corroborated by her speech patterns and random thoughts. Think it’s unintentional?

Finally, Tsubasa on the bridge. The very same bridge bunnies work with her as those back when Acchan was still around. Ep.1 includes a shot of Tsubasa in command while being a member. I kid you not: it’s the canon. Interesting though, who are the crew? Their composure under stress is amazing. Are they relatives of Mayuyu Mk.3?