AKB0048 Next Stage – 06
「輝きを継ぐ者」 (Kagayaki o Ysugu Mono)
“Inheritor of the Name”
Well dang, with an episode such as this, where do I even start?
Continuing off from the previous weeks, we got Chieri and Mimori becoming more and more popular as time goes by — and we all know what that means. Yup. The talk’s all about succession — particularly the potential of succeeding Acchan — and our main candidates find themselves under more pressure than ever to gain that great honor. In turn, this brings out quite a bit of revelations and some nice commentary to go along with it.
First and foremost on the list of course, is the revelation that AKB’s next photographer is none other than a former Center Nova — Minegishi Minami the 5th to be exact. She’s been on the sidelines observing for a while now, but with a new Center Nova about to be named, it looks like she’ll be taking a more involved role than ever before — both to investigate the “Center Novae Phenomenon,” as well as to try and guide the new generation to success. And on that note, she starts out quite well — giving Yuko some extra perspective by referring to the Center Nova as someone akin to a photographer; one who captures the all the radiance around them at the right moment.
Next up is the discussion about the “fever of succession,” which seems to be something Tsubasa and Minami seem to know quite well. It’s described as a kind of test to see if one’s able to take on a particular name… but the way they describe it — particularly Tsubasa saying it’s the first time she really felt Mariko — makes it seem like there’s definitely more than meets the eye here. In many ways, it’s already been hinted at for a while now that there’s something more, but this has probably been the closest we’ve been toward something actually tangible. Combine that with the supposed energy the Kirara have/can produce and one wonders if they aren’t souls or the life force of those that have previously graduated, and the act of succession involves the uptake of the respective soul/life force of the person a successor is taking the name of… or something. Would be quite interesting if it indeed turns out something similar and Sensei Sensei turns out to really be some kind of amalgamation of former graduate in some spiritual form.
Moving on, another thing I felt was particularly notable was the whole discussion with Nagisa about how “miming won’t lead to succession” — which is a comment that both holds true in the AKB universe and in real life. It’s just a nice commentary about how it’s okay to strive towards being someone or following someone you idolize, but if you just go about it by imitating them, that’s all you’ll be — an imitation. There’s no way an imitation will exceed the capabilities of the genuine article, but taking bits of the genuine article, learning from them, and incorporating what you’ve learned with your own strengths could. In the end, there’s just that fine line between straight out imitation and “emulation” — the latter of which while similar to imitation, is slightly different in the context that you’re using a base as a foundation for greater heights, rather than just using the base. Nagisa realizes this difference this week and really starts coming to her own this week as a result.
Ultimately though, the biggest thing involves Mimori, who tries her best to perform despite going through the fever of succession. One would presume she did enough to succeed someone (or create for herself her own name), but darn it, they sure chose quite the place to leave us hanging. Next week just can’t come soon enough!