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AKB0048 Next Stage – 03 »« AKB0048 Next Stage – 01

AKB0048 Next Stage – 02

OP Sequence

AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   03
AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   OP   06

OP: 「主なきその声」 (Aruji Naki Sono Koe) by NO NAME

AKB0048 Next Stage   02   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   03
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   06
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AKB0048 Next Stage   02   19 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   20 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   21
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   22 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   23 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   24
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   25 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   26 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   27
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   28 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   29 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   30
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   31 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   32 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   33
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   34 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   35 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   36
AKB0048 Next Stage   02   37 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   38 AKB0048 Next Stage   02   39

「衝撃の新展開!?」 (Shougeki no Shintenkai!?)
“A Shocking New Initiative!?”

If there’s one thing this second episode demonstrates, it’s that it’s not easy becoming an intergalactic idol. As an understudy, one not only needs to go through great lengths just to join AKB0048, one also needs to compete with fellow understudies and successors whose radiance and skills seem miles above what you’d believe yourself capable of. There’s a lot of stress involved to say the least, and the return of the General Elections and Center Nova position last week merely compounded that fact. This week, even more things are thrown on top with the return of guerrilla broadcasts (idol equivalent to guerrilla warfare!) and 5AM schedules, and it’s a wonder our heroines are still standing with all that weight on their shoulders!

Horrible Atlas jokes aside, this episode really hammers in the effort our heroines (and idols in general) put into their work behind the scenes—an aspect that I’ve admittedly glanced over and kind of taken for granted throughout the first season. I knew idols put in a lot of work into their craft (and previous episodes have shown glimpses of this), but this episode was one that really made me appreciate the efforts of both the characters in the series and their real-life equivalents, and from there the people that work with them to make their performances (and this series) possible.

In any case, the basic tone of this second episode wasn’t anywhere near as adrenaline inducing as the dramatic introductory episode to AKB0048 Next Stage, but there were quite a few concepts and developments that came up this week that were worth talking about.

For one, the whole concept of doing a variety show and the lackluster effort (STOP THE RECORDING!) on part of the understudies in the beginning felt like a rather nice commentary on life. Because in the end, the variety show and the guerrilla broadcasts are also extremely important to AKB0048′s efforts, and mean a lot to those who see them. They’re not as grand and personal as concerts/lives are, but it just goes to show that sometimes even the smallest, most (seemingly) insignificant things can make a big impact and that sometimes, just because you feel like you’d be better off doing something else, it doesn’t necessarily mean you actually would be. There was just this whole learning experience built into this for our heroines, and I felt like it assisted nicely in putting everything into focus and helping them develop into more mature characters capable of exceeding the current line of successors.

Moving on, the other big thing was the reveal that Chieri’s father seems to be trying to create artificial Kirara. It’s not exactly revealed for what purpose… but it does seem like there’s a lot of subtle hints that they may be some kind of pure energy source, perhaps formed from human emotions (or even human souls themselves). The whole flashback to Acchan and her comment of wanting to “turn into light and shine on you all forevermore” and her voice appearing in the first season seems to hint at something similar, but it seems too soon to be able to conclude on anything really. Notably, Tsubasa seems to be slowly catching onto his plot as well.

And last, but not least, another notable development was the announcement of Chieri as #9 in the early results for the General Elections. Of course, this was something that was pretty predictable considering all the shots of Chieri we got this episode and all that discussion about her wide spread popularity after the trial, but I found the way they ended the episode on her as #9 rather interesting. Personally, I was thinking she would’ve gotten a bit higher… so the fact that she “only” got #9 makes me wonder if there’s the chance that Nagisa might have actually topped Chieri in the elections. It’d be an interesting development to say the least, but like the above theory regarding Zodiac… just a theory and something to take with a grain of salt.

Still, what I do know is that it looks like things are setting up for some pretty epic developments, and AKB0048′s Next Stage just might end up surprising even those that enjoyed the first season.

Quick Wrap Up:

  • How about that Mimori?
  • Inserts: Beginner, Shoujotachi Yo (Hey Girls)
  •  

    ED1.02 Sequence

    AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   03
    AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED1.02   06

    ED: 「この涙を君に捧ぐ」 (Kono Namida wo Kimi ni Sasagu) by NO NAME

    January 13, 2013 at 11:03 am
    24 comments »
    • January 13, 2013 at 11:36 amdimasok

      I’ve got to give it props. Even though I’ve never watched idol series in the past (nor did I watch the 1st season of AKB), this and Love Live! so far seem to be very good. I wish they skipped the CGI performances though – its a jarring transition.

      • January 13, 2013 at 12:30 pmJohnHayabusa

        I am watching AKB0048, Aikatsu!, and Love Live!; three great idol anime. Of the three, AKB0048 has the most fantastic visuals, wonderful songs, and idol performance. And once again, AKB0048 delivered.

        I am a bit surprised that Chieri was ranked 9 in the election, I was expecting her to rank a little higher. Looks like fanservice has gone up a bit and so does yuri- wait, why has Yuuko gone clingy towards Chieri? I think I might drop Nagisa/Chieri in favor of Yuuko/Chieri.

        • January 13, 2013 at 1:48 pmdimasok

          I watched Aikatsu for a bit and it didn’t grab me. I think the other two are far more “mature” and have better themes to go on.

        • January 13, 2013 at 2:07 pmLin

          Ranking 9 is really really good for an understudy. That’s why everyone was so shocked at the end.

        • January 13, 2013 at 10:39 pmBenigmatica

          Agreed to that, but it’s kinda unforgivable to think that Chieri is a 9th Placer after last week’s episode!

      • January 13, 2013 at 5:24 pmacolyte

        The CG animations does feel awkward, but you can get used to it after a while..
        The feeling that something’s off will continue to be there though.

      • January 13, 2013 at 5:24 pmcowazaki

        The first season of AKB0048 was good, I would recommend it. Not the best thing I saw in 2012 but a great little 1 cour anime.

        AKB0048 has wonderful songs because AKB48 themselves have good songs. Not even including their 29 major singles + B-sides in those singles, AKB48′s songs from their stages are quite good. They have almost over 400 songs in their arsenal to use in the anime.

        I believe the reason Yuko is so clingy to Chieri is because the real life Yuko is also kind of “touchy”. She likes a lot of “skinship”.

    • January 13, 2013 at 11:49 amArbitrary_greay

      Yeah, the really BTS feelings about the importance of variety and and individual popularity is one that AKB in real life has brought to the fore. Previous idols also did variety, but they wouldn’t speak about their variety techniques (as Suzuko puts it) so bluntly to their fans’ faces the way AKB do. Meanwhile, anime idols seem to always focus on the performance aspect and the group popularity. But real idols, even on the indie circuit, are always mindful of constructing their characters to be the most entertaining, and the entertainer idol is often more popular than the performance idol. For example, Makoto’s complete failure on the bungee is a shout-out to real-life Sashihara Rino doing the same think, and that bungee meltdown was indeed the infamous event, solidifying her “hetare” (coward) character that drove her rise all the way to rank #4 this past year’s election. And Sasshi is definitely on the lower end of the performance talent scale.

      Only the predetermined face has the luxury, or some would call it duty, of being bland so that they don’t completely overshadow all of their band mates. That’s why Chieri will never succeed Acchan. She’s a girl who became popular through a forceful display of her own personality, and seeks to become admired for her own skills. Meanwhile, Nagisa has consistently shown how she seeks to embody the values that 0048 represents as a whole, only taking on individuality as is necessary for survival. That’s why I think Nagisa will become the new ultimate center nova, Acchan succession or not. Although as in real life, that doesn’t stop the likes of Yuko from being the center every now and then, or having a double center like SKE and NMB do. When are we gonna visit Sakaestar and Nambastar, anyways?
      On the other hand, Nagisa hasn’t been selected out for center duties yet. Without individual activities, her exposure isn’t going to be any more than the rest of 77th, so there’s no way she’ll be higher than Chieri in rankings. She MIGHT have more Kirara power than Chieri, but as of now she doesn’t have that sway over people’s hearts yet.

      Chieri’s #9 in the early results is actually pretty preposterous. 0048 must be really hurting for successor members. Previously irl KKS have never ranked in the election, early results or no, and the highest this past year was a SKE KKS at #34, not even in the Undergirls. (1-16 senbatsu, 17-32 Undergirls) Even in a world where 0048 is depleted of members, a KKS making senbatsu is a bit unbelievable.
      In addition, this high ranking early result should guarantee that Chieri’s rank is gonna tank for the final result, because not only does it mean her wota front-loaded their voting, but it’s going to spur all of the successor’s wota to power-vote with all of their might to not be outdone by a KKS. Kojima Haruna’s wota are known for late voting. (11 in the initial, 7 in the final) Of course, that part will probably be one of the points of next episode.

      I like how the ED does our shipping for us. SuzukoSonataMakoto comedy threesome FTW.

      • January 13, 2013 at 11:51 amArbitrary_greay

        Oh, and Makoto’s hetare-ness in this ep makes me think we’ll have one episode this season about Makoto becoming front-runner for succeeding Sasshi, and Orine angsting about it.

      • January 13, 2013 at 2:35 pmLin

        “That’s why Chieri will never succeed Acchan.”

        I doubt she wants to be Acchan anyway. She’s more the type to say “I want to beat Acchan” than “I want to be like her”. With that in mind, I think she could succeed Jurina. Then again, there’s a chance the KKK won’t succeed anyone, and become idols with their own names. The new OP hints that much at the very least.

        “That’s why I think Nagisa will become the new ultimate center nova, Acchan succession or not.”

        Mmm, I think it’s more likely Chieri and Nagisa will become Center Nova together. There are a lot of hints pointing that way. The 00 in the title, the new poster for the second season, the fact that Nagisa’s kirara comes from Chieri’s, the fact that they glowed like a Center Nova for the first time when they were together, and also the fact that Yuuko said that both have Center Nova potential…. it’s too much foreshadowing.

        “this high ranking early result should guarantee that Chieri’s rank is gonna tank for the final result”

        I wonder about that. Chieri’s popularity comes from her act of courage during the trial. It’s not just popularity but more like admiration, considering AKB in this setting is more than just a bunch of idols (they represent an ideal of freedom). All that considering, I see Chieri’s raking rising even higher for the final result.

        • January 13, 2013 at 2:38 pmLin

          KKK -> KKS (stupid typo)

        • January 13, 2013 at 4:59 pmArbitrary_greay

          Yeah, 75th and 77th shaking off the successors system entirely has always been the ending I suspect is coming.

          But Chieri’s rank tanking is just what should happen based on how the history of the election. Newcomers who do well in the early ranking fall as the wota of the stalwarts then have the early ranking as a benchmark. The wota of the newcomers also risk being overconfident, as maintenance of that ranking requires the voting rate to be at least equal to before, plus more to hold off the other members’ whose voting rates will increase after the early results, which for a newcomer is unlikely, as their wota had probably expended the majority of their efforts on getting so many votes this early in the game.

      • January 13, 2013 at 6:08 pmfragb85

        You’re actually correct that AKB0048 is hurting for members. The Glossary states that they are only at half-strength and therefore half of the inherited names are unclaimed. Its also why most of the activities like the TV shows or the Center Nova are gone at present, AKB is basically a lot weaker than it was before.

    • January 13, 2013 at 2:11 pmfall3nbs

      Couldn’t handle all those PHEROMONES.

    • January 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm†Croos†

      Why do I feel everyone will be the Center Nova in the end?

    • January 13, 2013 at 5:31 pmWanderer

      …I wanted to hug Chieri so much during that scene where Nagisa found her practising at night. SO MUCH!

      *coughs* Anyway. I doubt any of the other trainees got ahead of Chieri in the rankings. There have been no signs that any of them have that level of popularity yet. I’m sure some of them are popular, and will become more so, but she’s got a tremendous lead on them both from the trial and in raw performance capability.

      Makoto amuses me, although I sympathize with the bungee issue. If someone tried to make me jump off one of those things I’d push them off first. And then still not jump off. But in her favor, her reactions are very real. The audience can see that she isn’t playing a part for them: she just being who she is, and I bet that’s going to gain her more fans than she realizes. People can admire idols who have that real side to their personality.

      Someone elsewhere pointed out something I was surprised to have never noticed. The personalized kiraras (Chieri’s, Mimori’s, etc.) aren’t just making cute noises when they make sounds: they’re actually saying the name of their human. You can hear it with both Mimori’s and Chieri’s in this episode, and it’s apparently been confirmed by the seiyuu who does the voice for the kiraras. Just a bit of interesting trivia.

    • January 13, 2013 at 6:00 pmfragb85

      Moving on, the other big thing was the reveal that Chieri’s father seems to be trying to create artificial Kirara. It’s not exactly revealed for what purpose… but it does seem like there’s a lot of subtle hints that they may be some kind of pure energy source, perhaps formed from human emotions (or even human souls themselves).

      Its actually explained in the AKB Glossary. I’d link the translations, but those are in a fansub blog and that’s not allowed RC (just Google it).

      To sum up it all up, Kirara Energy is the basis of all space travel. Since Kirara tend to gravitate toward idols, The Entertainment Ban and DES were created in an attempt to monopolize space travel. On the other side the WOTA Brigade were founded by the first scientists who researched Kirara, hence their close ties to AKB. This is what I like AKB0048, its setting is surprisingly complex.

      So the artificial kirara research is pretty self-telling. What I do find fishy is Chieri rise. Mariko has already noticed that the rescue last episode was too easy, and there are implications that someone is backing her up. I beleive that implies Chieri’s dad may have engineered all this to push her daughter to the top, probably for some Kirara related experiment. If that’s the case I can smell the drama coming when Chieri finds out.

      • January 13, 2013 at 11:04 pmBenigmatica

        I wonder if Mr. Sono is really Sensei-sensei behind the scenes, especially if he’s involved with the disappearance of Acchan the 13th? Of course, that’s a speculation!

    • January 13, 2013 at 10:52 pmMightnare

      There are talks about AKB0048 taking inspiration from Star Wars, not sure whether it’s true but the only thing that came to my mind was Chieri’s dad convincing her to join the dark side and the following conversation.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Anyway, the part where they showed the main girls with NO NAME at the back in the OP seems to hint that they will form a new group.

    • January 13, 2013 at 11:13 pmCarVac

      I’m not sure that I like the new OP (song or animation) as much as the old one, though Kibou ni Tsuite is hard to follow.

      • January 13, 2013 at 11:30 pmFuu

        I don’t think so. Not in AKB terms they are just trainees. Unless 0048 splits into Team A, Team B and Team K. But they do not have enough members right now.

    • January 13, 2013 at 11:27 pmFuu

      Chieri wants to be the Ace of AKB0048. (funny since Mayuyu really wants that too) I liked this episode. When they said variety show I was like, “AKBingo! ahahaha” but I hope they put more in. It is entertaining. But yeah, the thing with Acchan(the first in this case) was that she never really WANTED to be the center/ace. She was chosen because Akimoto-sensei liked her basically because she wasn’t extremely pretty, a great dancer, etc. She was not the typical “idol” and more able to relate with. Which is basically Nagisa. If they make Chieri center and Acchan then AKB0048 was really just a ploy to get Mayuyu points.

      • January 14, 2013 at 5:40 amLin

        In the world of AKB0048, you don’t need be Acchan to become Center Nova. Miichan, Yui-han, a previous Yuuko, all of them were Center Nova. So Chieri doesn’t need to be like Acchan to get the Center Nova position.

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:10 amxephx

      Whats with the clip show OPs, fist Psycho Pass and now here.