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AKB0048 – 04

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「その努力裏切らない」 (Sono Doryoku Uragiranai)
“I Won’t Let Down Their Efforts”

I’d already decided on “Taking a break from the combat? But-but-but, that’s the best part of the show!!” as this week’s excerpt. Why the heck then, did the episode have to actually go and be equally good!?

One of the things when watching AKB0048 is that you can never be sure whether or not the creators knew what they were doing with the wacky totalitarian context of the show, and how relevant to the story this would ever get beyond idols-fightan-marines hijinks. It’s pretty amazing then that this episode not only manages to get me to start taking its setting somewhat seriously, but also legitimately had me invested into the emotions and backstories of the characters presented.

I’ve complained before that the exposition and drama aspects of the show paled in comparison to the ludicrous yet ridiculously entertaining militaristic parts of AKB0048, so my heart sank when I heard that the episode was having none of that guerilla idoling goodness, and was instead featuring the dreaded “slice-of-idol-life”. Yet, the show managed to capture said heart with the brilliant characterization of Shinonome Kanata (Ishida Haruka), sister of the genki Sonata and a 75th generation Kenkyuusei who joined up with 00 (I’m calling the group this from now on and will refer to the show by full name.) two years prior to Nagisa’s 77th generation group.

What’s interesting is how the setting of the story ties into the Shinonome sisters’ lives, with their family formerly being part of an anti-government rebel group until their father was struck down by DES marines. I really liked that the show gave us a character whose motivation for joining 00 is vastly different from the others in that it is one of revenge, and the writers really sold me on the self-conflict between her purported mission and her true passion for singing and dancing. Furthermore, two years since joining and she’s still a trainee? Boy, it’s hard not to be frustrated about that situation, and the show manages to carry through her emotions as well as those of fellow trainee Kishida Mimori (Sato Sumire) surprisingly well. Thankfully, the angst that permeates into her every action, from the family drama with Sonata to her dismal performance in the lessons, refrains itself from becoming too overbearing, and succeeds in bringing a slightly darker edge to AKB0048. (Because really, up until this point, DES just seemed a bit too goofy to me.)

Once again though, I felt that the issue at hand was resolved far too quickly without much consequence. Certainly, the show succeeds in getting me engaged with its darker side, but it gives too little time for Kanata’s problems to properly be fleshed out and the consequences on their lives understood before resolving her doubts and relationship with Sonata.

Surprising though that as I say this, Chieri is once again is at odds with the girls in the group thanks to her unchanged attitude, which was played to a pretty brutal effect. It’s honestly hard not to sympathize with Kanata after hearing Chieri’s blunt words and getting dissed by the fabulously androgynous instructor. (I swear, I jumped out of my seat when the voice that started to come out was MALE.) While I was thinking that Chieri’s situation was already resolved last episode, it seems that the writers still have more things in stored. As Katagiri Tsubasa (Kakazu Yumi) implied, her attitude might be the catalyst that causes the other Kenkyuuseis to grow.

~Credit goes to Moomba for lovely screencaps, who is helping during my exam period so that I can get these posts out in good time. Give Moomba your <3~

Full-length images: 01, 02, 03, 07, 17, 19, 29, 30.

May 21, 2012 at 5:23 pm
32 comments »
  • May 21, 2012 at 5:32 pmjuanito205

    Sadly not available in Spanish… :(

  • May 21, 2012 at 5:55 pmFencedude

    This was indeed quite the good episode. I don’t think Kanata’s angst is fully resolved, but at least she seems willing to accept Sonata.

    Chieri of course is busy doing her best HomuHomu.

    I’ll be sad if Acchan doesn’t show up again.

  • May 21, 2012 at 7:05 pmfragb85

    Sheesh just make out already!

    Kanata does realize that AKB0048 subscribes to a no-kill policy right? Joining AKB isn’t really taking vengeance on DES but rather just sticking the finger to them. Its fairly obvious why she’s still an understudy with that attitude but I have to wonder why Mimori hasn’t passed. I’m guessing she’s hiding some dark angsty past.

    Also I disagree that Chieri is the one the instructor is talking about. The show has been foreshadowing since episode 1 that Nagisa has some untapped potential. She also has an uncanny resemblance to Acchan.

    • May 21, 2012 at 8:35 pmNiku

      The instructor was talking about Chieri. Nagisa didn’t do anything during that scene so unless the instructor was psychic there’s not way he was talking about her.

      So no, Chieri is the catalyst, whether you like it or not.

      • May 21, 2012 at 8:54 pmfragb85

        We’ve already seen Idol super powers before, so being psychic wouldn’t be a surprise. Chieri is a possible of a fake out though since the instructors words were vague. Chieri also alludes to Nagisa’s potential in the very next scene. I’m sure there’s something more to it.

      • May 21, 2012 at 9:11 pmNiku

        You’re thinking to much, fragb85. They said that Chieri could be a good catalyst because her personality pushes things out of the status quo, like it did with Kanata. It has nothing to do with her potential as an idol.

        That said, I do think Chieri has a lot of potential. After all, even if kirara still doesn’t glow for her, it did follow her, and still does.

      • May 22, 2012 at 1:29 amfragb85

        That not what happened though. Chieri’s bluntness, while true, only isolated herself from the rest as evidenced by the end where everyone was singing together while Chieri is by herself. That doesn’t strike me as very inspirational.

        The themes the anime showed so far is pretty clear. Chieri represents the talented and highly skilled but a loner and lacks the “idol spirit”. Mayuyu even calls her out on this. Nagisa is the naive every man(girl), who’s not very talented but values others and is devoted to being an Idol together with her friends. Unless the writing throws a curve ball, its quite clear which side the story favors.

      • May 22, 2012 at 3:51 amA

        Wow, there’s just no arguing with you is there? Well anyways, in case you haven’t noticed the OP shows a double center with Nagisa and Chieri meaning they probably have similar amounts of potential.

  • May 21, 2012 at 8:09 pmTingster013

    I am here to rage again, the anime is still bad, still the same problem, really annoyed by the CG, glad it is at its minimum this episode… Why give chance for them to sing when you can just bomb their base and everything? And assault rifle against mechas? Really? Feel like action scenes are forced into this anime… And yet it is still tempting for me to watch the anime…Btw, I like the way Sonata call her sis!!!

    • May 21, 2012 at 8:56 pmfragb85

      You made the cardinal mistake of taking this seriously when the very premise of the show requires a heavy suspension of disbelief. Now watch and stop thinking logically.

    • May 22, 2012 at 1:29 amFFF

      Maybe they don’t have more firepower. There are IRL examples for this (of course not mecha, “just” tank). Maybe they have rockets against air raid.

    • May 22, 2012 at 5:47 amLZ

      We already know AKB have mechs and fighters we saw them in the first episode, also we can guess the worlds come with their own military capacity and aren’t signed up to 00s no kill policy.

  • May 21, 2012 at 8:48 pmCrunchie

    I’m quite enjoying this anime, despite all the bad points about it.

    The dance training scene annoyed me, though, as it constantly switched between CG and hand drawn. Stick to one style, kthx~

    • May 22, 2012 at 7:32 pmTingster013

      Not possible for Kawamori to stick to one style, from macross Plus till now, he have been using CG for fight and action scene, so he will probably still mix both together

  • May 21, 2012 at 8:50 pmKah

    Much <3 to Mooba! Hope you hit the soundtrack for this show too! :D

    Every episode of AKB0048 cranks up my responders more and more. I love what they are doing here…

  • May 21, 2012 at 8:51 pmXin

    Even though Chieri is being played up as the bad guy again, I was in full support of her. Kanata’s tragic past doesn’t give her the right to try and barrel her way into AKB for a revenge that’s against their whole premise.

    I kinda wanted Mimori to just slap her after she said f the singing and dancing a bringing love to people. With that attitude she’s just trampling on Mimori’s dreams and is surely the reason why Mimori hasn’t made it anywhere.

    My impression of the instructor’s comment was that the catalyst was pretty much the collective of the 77th generation that could break the curse of the 75th from Kanata and Mimori. Chieri and Sonata were at the forefront of that particular incident, but we know everyone is going to get deeply involved at some point with the group theme firmly established.

    I liked the scene where Chieri mouthed off because she’s pretty much in the same shoes as Kanata. I would assume Kanata has the fighting down as well if not better than Chieri given her drive and they both are surely meticulous with the singing and dancing but lack the right motivation to make their skills shine. As long as the angst doesn’t get too overwhelming this could end up being a good story watching Nagisa spread her innate idol aura over the group while learning the skills from them.

  • May 21, 2012 at 9:19 pmx

    The writing in this episode really needed more polish. It felt like the sequence and logic was skipped somewhere in the middle of the episode. Some conversations felt weird (felt like they were just breaking the fourth wall), and the episode seem to have skipped a few steps towards the end to reach the conclusion. I sort of get what is being protrayed, but the missing peices make it feel less compelling than the previous episodes.

  • May 21, 2012 at 11:18 pmc2710

    The ep seemed fine for me… Really wonder if it’d turn up to be similar to idolm@ster

    • May 22, 2012 at 3:18 am†Croos†

      Hmmm. Somehow, I don’t want that to happen. I expect something better. :3

  • May 22, 2012 at 12:55 am†Croos†

    I won’t give Mooba my heart. I will die.

  • May 22, 2012 at 8:48 amtrans-KLAC-formers galaxy force

    & yet looking pics so part any chances will get some relate to symphogear?

    give famous member outfit are school outfit from symphogear likeness &yet why notice on this pic in upper right area http://www.seaslugteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/AKB004804-0615.jpg?9d7bd4 there pic of miku lookalike?

  • May 22, 2012 at 12:28 pmyashau

    This show is a hidden gem of the season imo. It’s pretty good. Damn, so many good shows, so little time.

  • May 22, 2012 at 3:43 pmFuuka

    I am once again impressed. I think Kawamori is the perfect director for this, and that is why it is going well. He just knows how to suck you in with just the right amount of angst, and crying in every episode without making you annoyed. I feel like with Kanata and Sonata’s history and Nagisa’s father, we are going to learn more about DES and maybe that it isn’t as silly as we think it is.

  • May 22, 2012 at 9:02 pmFelice

    Ono Daisuke play the instructor

  • May 23, 2012 at 12:26 am†Croos†

    I feel that this kirara creatures has something to do with dimension and stuff. So therefore I theorize that if idols affect kirara then something galaxy problem will be involve.

    • May 23, 2012 at 6:37 amWhatsht

      I’m sure once enough idol power is achieved, Kirara will summon the entire nest of Kiraras to clear DES.

  • May 23, 2012 at 6:36 amWhatsht

    Kanata looks like Kanade from Symphogear. If they decide to pull out symphogear-lookalikes, I don’t mind.

  • May 25, 2012 at 2:29 amjreding

    Why is everyone in this show picking at Chieri?

    As I understood it the instructor ordered Chieri to move to the front instead of Kanata. Chieri refused and gave as a reason that she still had to learn from the more experienced girls. Did I miss something? What did Chieri do wrong?

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:21 am†Croos†

      From Chieri’s view of points, yes Chieri didn’t do wrong BUT lets just say you work almost 5 years in a company, through hardwork, yet you suck at your job. The boss tells the new guy to replace you and the new guy said the same words that Cheiri said. What would you feel?
      To translate it in another persons point of view it is equals to “I want to see my senpai’s idoitic and full mistake work since I don’t know anything yet.”
      Though Chieri actually didn’t mean that in any negative way.
      That was just an example. :)

    • May 25, 2012 at 3:39 amfragb85

      From a translators blog:

      First off, Chieri is not complimenting Kanata here. I wouldn’t exactly call it sarcasm, but she’s not being sincere. It’s a barbed statement. Their instructor was just criticizing Kanata, and now Chieri is adding to her humiliation by reminding Kanata that she’s supposed to be a role model. “I’m counting on the more experienced girls to set a good example,” she says. What she implies is: “You’ve been here two years longer than me. Is that what you call being a role model?”

      For reference, a more direct translation of the words in the sentence: “If the senpai do not keep their acts together, it would be bad for me/us.”

      So yes, Chieri was a being a jerk. She was right, but she was a jerk.

      • May 25, 2012 at 4:02 am†Croos†

        I think she will bite her own medicine later on.

    • May 25, 2012 at 8:19 amjreding

      @ +Croos+ and fragb85: Thanks guys for this good discussion! So it’s not clear if Chieri meant it negative or not but at least it was insensitive and hurt Kanata for no reason, right?

      I like Chieri so my perception might have been biased. I’d still say it is at least to equal parts Kanata who is at fault. She brought Chieri in this awkward situation in the first place due to her selfish desires (revenge scheme) and lack of concentration. A sempai shouldn’t do that. But still Chieri gets all the blame.