AKB0048 Next Stage – 10
「絶叫パラダイス」 (Zekkyo Paradaisu )
Going into this week, I was expecting a bunch of different things… but none of them were anywhere close to what actually happened. I mean, a planet filled with hallucinogenic mushrooms, “space monsters,” and some Zodiac miners to boot? That was… quite something. And well, I can’t say I was particularly pleased with the episode — considering how close we are to the ending and the series of high tension episodes we’ve been getting lately… But at the same time, there were some admittedly nice things here, so I suppose this episode was a bit of the good ol’ hit and miss.
For one, I did quite like seeing Kawamori’s Macross influences show up this week. The whole use of songs/music to transcend language and cultural barriers has been something utilized many times prior for that series and it was nice to see it utilized here for the most part. It just links well with AKB’s purpose and is a solid commentary about how sometimes, even the most different of people can get along. It’s just nice to see that from time to time — despite it being a repeat from the Macross series — especially when it plays a role in letting us see once again that the members of AKB0048 are still, deep down inside, regular girls with a desire for some semblance of a normal life. There’s a kind of “innocence” element in play here — contrasting heavily with the dose of reality represented by DES and Zodiac.
Speaking of Zodiac, this week also gives us the decision by Chieri to try and confront her father — pushed in part by Nagisa and the acceptance her father gave her in regards to joining AKB0048. I can’t see Chieri’s father really changing face at this point in time, but what this does set up is a two-pronged branch of side plots that will likely lead to our climactic finale in three weeks time. To say the least, it’s definitely going to be interesting seeing how the Chieri + Nagisa side works out — especially with the new realization from the AKB team that they may yet be able to take back Akibastar.
And well, that’s about it for the most part. For your reference, this week’s insert (spearheaded by Sayaka) is named “Uhho Uhhoho” and sung by Team K.