AKB0048 Next Stage – 02
OP: 「主なきその声」 (Aruji Naki Sono Koe) by NO NAME
「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:
ED: 「この涙を君に捧ぐ」 (Kono Namida wo Kimi ni Sasagu) by NO NAME