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「美森革命」 (Yoshi Mori Kakumei)
“Mimori Revolution”

It’s a Mimori Revolution this week as we get confirmation that she’s indeed becoming a successor — the 8th Shinoda Mariko to be exact — and with it, comes quite a sequence of developments.

First and foremost, the focus of the “cursed 75th Generation” now shifts onto Kanata, who remains the sole trainee from that group. At this point, it’s almost guaranteed that she will succeed someone by the time it’s all said and done — the touching exchange with Mimori at the end all but confirming that inevitability — but the question remains as to who she’d succeed and when she would do so. To that end, the whole discussion between Takamina and Kanata suddenly takes on added meaning, as I can’t help but think now that the time for Kanata’s succession is going to arrive much faster than either of them ever expected. With the DES Mobile Fleet arriving soon — caused in big part by Mikako of all people (HOW COULD YOU!?) — one just can’t help but notice that there seems to be quite a bit of foreshadowing regarding Takamina, who may not escape unscathed. Personally, I’m hoping Kanata ends up succeeding someone else and nothing happens to Takamina… but gosh darn, the odds of that happening sure don’t look too good at the moment.

Moving on though, the big thing for me — the one thing that really got me thinking this episode — was the whole discussion about whether or not Mimori would change, as well as the part about how to succeed, you’d have to give up your own name. Of course, the latter part about giving up your name was known all along, but admittedly, I didn’t quite think too much about it until now. In between seeing our heroines trying their hardest to become a successor, I just guess it’s something that I (and some of the girls themselves too) seem to have really taken for granted as some kind of superficial thing. But now that you really think about it, it would actually be pretty conflicting to give up your name in order to succeed someone. Like you’re happy you achieved your dream and got the chance you wanted… but at the same time it’s like you’re sacrificing your identity a bit to become someone else. Combine it all with the fact that you’re going to bear a lot of pressure from the added responsibility and the potential of one’s personality changing as a result and it really just hammers in how these girls are really sacrificing a lot to achieve their goals. After this episode, there’s just this added appreciation for each of the characters in the series, as well as their real life counterparts.

Shifting back to the “potential of one’s personality changing” as a result of the succession for a moment though, that was another big side topic this episode — sparked in part by Megumi’s assertion that people do change radically when they become successors. With the whole insinuation that succession involves the soul of the person one succeeds “entering your body,” I admittedly spent a lot of time also pondering how literal that change could be in the context of the series. Of course, now we know the end result is that Mimori ends up still being mostly the same person she always was — her appreciation of her fans and the moment with Kanata showing at least that much — but gosh darn, it had me pondering quite a bit whether or not we’d get a radically different Mimori at the end of the episode. Guess I was worried for nothing though, eh?

Notably however, the fact that Mimori doesn’t change also gives Tsubasa some extra hope too, as it means that there’s still a chance for her to find Maeda Atsuko the 14th as well. With the DES attack incoming, the insinuation that there’s going to be a Center Nova born in coming episodes (either artificially pushed on due to DES or not), and the fact that it’s pretty much known that a majority of the understudies have the potential to be successors… and well, it suddenly brings up quite the plethora of potential scenarios for upcoming episodes. Wouldn’t it be quite something to see a whole bunch of successions in a row… or Maeda Atsuko’s potential return to save the day? Some really nice, mouthwatering possibilities in the future to say the least.

In any case, things are really starting to ramp up for AKB0048 Next Stage, and if I know Kawamori as well as I think I do — it’s going to be a crazy finish. Too bad it’s a whole week’s wait before we get to see what happens though. Shucks.

Author’s Notes:

  • Gotta say, loved their documentary style insert in the middle with some flashbacks to some of our successor’s pasts and their views on succession. Really set the atmosphere for Mimori’s debut concert.
  • Insert Themes: Ue Kara Mariko (Mariko from Above) and “Kibou ni Tsuite (希望について)” by NO NAME (First Stage OP).
  • February 17, 2013 at 10:13 am
    35 comments »
    • February 17, 2013 at 11:00 amWanderer

      The whole bit with Kanata and Takamina… hurt. After all that they went through last season, and the hope that Kanata’s soul would change to become more suited to succeed someone else, it seems that they’ve ended up right back where they were. It’s too painful to be forced to make this sort of choice. Abandon your dreams and you life, everything you’ve ever truly wanted, in order to let someone you care for achieve their dreams; or crush the dreams of that person you love, in order to achieve your own. What sort of a decision is that to be forced to make?

      • February 17, 2013 at 12:42 pmSin

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

        • February 23, 2013 at 12:58 amYusei2011

          That would be you!!!

      • February 17, 2013 at 3:57 pmVaans

        Or Kanata will Succeed as Takamina the 6th even thought the current is there,
        then they’ll be two Takamina’s. That would make a nice plot twist.

        But, Nahhh…

        Thought I am (yuri)shipping both of them. XD

      • February 17, 2013 at 5:10 pmfragb85

        I can’t help but feel that Takamina has raised a death flag (again!) and this time she won’t pull through. I’m glad we got more Kanata x Takamina moments after being absent for so long but now it seems that the ship will be sinking hard.

    • February 17, 2013 at 11:00 amAlec

      Death to traitors! But then again, she doing us a favor by hastening the center nova process xD

      Had a feeling Mimori would end up succeeding Mariko

    • February 17, 2013 at 11:35 amCarVac

      Former-Miichan is a really interesting character. I just rewatched episode 10 of the first season, and it seems like she is resentful against the Center Nova position, having lost her sparkle, and telling Tsubasa that it shouldn’t be reinstated.

      Then, she realizes what causes the CN phenomenon at the end of the first season, and somehow gets recruited by the bad guys.

      My prediction as to what will happen:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      • February 17, 2013 at 2:56 pmLin

        Aren’t you forgetting about Chieri in your predictions? She has Center Nova potential too, remember? Besides her father is involved so it’s to be expected Chieri will have a key role in the coming events surrendering the Center Nova mystery.

      • February 18, 2013 at 12:29 pmRei-kun

        I’m agree with you but not forgetting Chieri, my prediction is: Show Spoiler ▼

        Is just my point of view but I can’t wait for the next chapter…

        • February 19, 2013 at 5:40 pmSmithCB

          You note two things happening. One thing for one person, and another for two others. If you’re right, the first is where all this drama with Cherie’s dad will lead, and the second will tell the final tale when things get sorted out. Interesting.

        • February 23, 2013 at 1:09 amYusei2011

          I totally agree.

      • February 23, 2013 at 1:06 amYusei2011

        Interesting prediction.That might actually happen.

    • February 17, 2013 at 12:11 pmYojimbo

      Mimori makes a very good sadistic devil.

      • February 17, 2013 at 12:29 pmCarVac

        Show Spoiler ▼

    • February 17, 2013 at 12:20 pmNanaHoshii

      Really sweet episode, like all the others! The only thing I don’t like is that now we will call Mimori “Mariko”…I don’t want that TAT

    • February 17, 2013 at 2:58 pm†Croos†

      Mimori being Mariko was really unexpected but since she always love her fan, and still haven’t given up being an AKB0048 successor after all the years.. Yup see totally fits being Mariko.
      SADISTIC!

      It was also touching that Mi.. I mean Mariko the 8th has her parents and brother(?) to watch. See pic below:
      http://randomc.net/image/AKB0048/AKB0048%20Next%20Stage%20-%2007%20-%20Large%2025.jpg

      Setting that aside. It would be awesome if that twist would be like this -> Show Spoiler ▼

    • February 17, 2013 at 3:06 pmayasawada

      I’m struggling wthi Mimori as Mariko. It just doesn’t quite fit. Surely she would have made a better Kasai Tomomi?

      • February 17, 2013 at 5:11 pmCarVac

        In the fan poll, Tomomi was chosen as most likely…

        Incidentally, Satou Sumire (her seiyuu) was the second choice, though that might have been a bit much of a cop-out.

    • February 17, 2013 at 6:01 pmCrunchie

      Wondering if they know there’s another 79 members they can succeed…

    • February 17, 2013 at 7:53 pmGetchman

      Really wasn’t too surprised with Mikako being a traitor. She was acting way too suspicious this season

    • February 17, 2013 at 8:40 pmFraye

      Well… I should say, BULLS EYE. Hehe. My bet was right on the money. :3 Now, time for some concert wars!

    • February 17, 2013 at 9:12 pmknight

      nagisa center nova

      • February 18, 2013 at 6:02 amVaans

        Nagisa will be Acchan the 14th. I just know it.

    • February 18, 2013 at 6:33 amCarVac

      If they keep the succession secret from all of the members, how do they know how to perform the right song when that varies based on who is being succeeded?

      • February 18, 2013 at 7:57 amSniperk

        During the episode they said that the setlist would change, so that was probably one of the songs rehearsed beforehand. I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to imagine that they practiced several different songs that were never performed.

    • February 18, 2013 at 7:31 am†Croos†

      Why do I really feel that Cherie is actually a cyborg or something artificial created by her father and she might succeed Mayuyu MKIII after the present Mayuyu MKIII gets destroyed in the future episode.
      I just saying this hypothetically of course. >3<

    • February 18, 2013 at 8:08 amSeedStriker

      C’mon, after the whole scandal that the RL Mii-chan did in January did you all expected her to be portraited here as good?
      Mimori… I mean, Mariko is sadistic! I wonder if Megumi knows that she’s gonna get chewed for making everyone sweat about Mariko’s personality change?
      So now we’re at the crossroad, and if what Thomas Romain said is true, we’re up to a Star Wars-esque (eps 4, 5, 6) space battle

    • February 18, 2013 at 9:43 amArbitrary_greay

      I’m starting to think Chieri-papa is just a new Villagulio, where his intentions are honorable, but goes about it ways that seem evil. He truly loves Chieri and is supporting her, but that isn’t mutually exclusive from retaining DES as a financial support for Zodiac as well, and manipulating both 0048 and DES to achieve free and easy energy for the galaxy.
      What the makes the above relevant is that I’m thinking of a possibility of Mii-chan playing double agent, and whether it’s in cahoots with Tsubasa, in cahoots with Chieri-papa, both, or doing her own thing completely. She seems all set up for revolving heel-face door as the plot needs more twists.

      On the other hand, the big shocker at the end of this episode was the Tsubasa still has a Kirara, and the same design as Mimori-Mariko’s, at that! (I think it’s Tsubasa’s Kirara, anyways, as there’s a shot shortly after that shows Mimori with one, so it’s not the same one having travelled over.) This is reinforced by Tsubasa saying “I’m still here,” as in, her sparkle has not disappeared simply by graduating. In contrast, Mikako lost her sparkle and her Kirara after rejecting her Center Nova identity. So it seems less likely that Mikako is an agent for 0048, although she might still end up fighting for the group.

      The slow revealing of these things about Mikako doesn’t bode well for Yuko, who has also decided that she will reject the fate of disappearing as Center Nova. If the ascension turns out to be inevitable, Yuko may cave and choose to assert her individuality instead. This is supported by how Yuko and Mikako have connected and compared through their love of photography, and their drive to see Center Nova potential in others.

      What sets Yuko apart from Mikako is her friendship with Takamina, which has always reminded Yuko to support her friends and rivals, and not shouldering burdens alone, like Acchan did. Her personal connections with the other members may be what will anchor her to reality instead of ascending to support the nebulous concept of the group, which has never been Yuko’s goal as she’s fixated on specific people. So on one side, Takamina’s influence may pull her away from the Center Nova ascension all together, but on the other, it may just give her more incentive to reject ascension (and thus lose her sparkle like Mikako) when it happens.

      Which brings us to Nagisa and Chieri, who are a balance between Acchan and Yuko, both coming to realizations about supporting the group as a concept, (especially their relationship with their fans) and supporting fellow members as companions and rivals. Chieri tends towards the Yuko side of things, as when she neglected her fans’ feelings before the election, all caught up in the fairness of popularity to her fellow KKS, while Nagisa gets baffled at how member-member dynamics can interfere with their goals in the group’s manifesto, and lost her sparkle when trying to imitate Yuko too much. Nagisa and Chieri act as each other’s foils, and pull each other towards the center of the spectrum, pun intended. This is why they have the potential to solve the Center Nova problem, having enough vision and bigger-picture love to become Center Nova, but grounded enough in interpersonal relationships not to ascend.

      And Chieri-papa will smile as he reaps all of that delicious energy.

      I predict that the mention of Kanata’s fever is a red herring.

      Hope the next episode brings back good ol’ SonataSuzukoMakoto shenanigans.

    • February 18, 2013 at 11:03 amArbitrary_greay

      Also, this episode did so much of a better job than last season’s Tomochin Family episode in dealing with the same issues about the successor system.

    • February 18, 2013 at 12:34 pmVelvetCrest

      And Mimori said that she was a masochist back in season one.

    • February 18, 2013 at 5:56 pmcowazaki

      Hahahaha we slightly got trolled…

      http://i.imgur.com/6WyD1hT.jpg

      #2 Sato Sumire.

      • February 18, 2013 at 10:01 pmFuu

        Yes! I actually was thinking Kasai Tomomi as well. I was honestly surprised at her being Mariko-sama. Sato Sumire would just be cute since she is the seiyuu.

    • February 19, 2013 at 8:33 amv3000

      Never mind who’s on top of this season (you know who), I’ll keep onto this show because it attempts to provide something much different than anything else in the usually-cookie-cutter idol anime genre.

    • February 23, 2013 at 6:25 pmdefinitely

      Kanata will Succeed as Iwata Karen 99%