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AKB0048 Next Stage – 11

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「扉の向こう側」 (Tobira no Muko Gawa )
“Beyond the Door”

As it turns out, what’s beyond the door is nothing but the unexpected this week on AKB0048. The part where Chieri volunteers to become a Center Nova in exchange for sparing Nagisa and her fellow AKB members? I expected that. The other AKB0048 members trying to find ways to rescue Nagisa and Chieri? Saw that coming too. The hyper jump directly underground to Akibastar? Okay, well, I didn’t see that one coming. But despite the rather crazy nature of the above to try and take back Akibastar, it just doesn’t hold a candle to the last thing we see this episode: the assassination of Chieri’s father.

Gosh darn, what a way to go. Really, out of all the things in the realm of possibility, this was definitely not one of them — especially not after it looked like Chieri and her father might finally manage to come to some kind of proper understanding (or at least recognition of each other). But darn it, instead all Chieri gets after singing her heart out and showing off all her radiance is seeing her father in a pool of blood — and it’s just some really power, but really saddening stuff. Everything — all those flashbacks of Chieri’s past — was just setting up for some grand emotional release… and well, yeah. I can’t say there’s anything particular in words to describe how surprising that end was, although I suppose in ways, there were a few hints potentially dropped throughout the episode.

Regardless, the fact of the matter is Chieri’s father is indeed dead… which leaves Chieri and Nagisa free to return to the Flying Get… and a lot of questions regarding who killed him, whether or not it was DES (or perhaps even someone supporting AKB?) that was involved, and whether or not this means AKB now has some kind of flexibility in terms of taking back Akibastar. With only two episodes left however, it looks like we’ll likely get an answer sooner or later, though I’m admittedly wondering if only two episodes will actually be enough to resolve all the open plot lines at the moment. Makes you wonder if a 3rd season is in the works…

Moving back up a bit though, the big thing for me aside from the surprising developments I mentioned above was the whole contrast between Akibastar and Sagittariusstar — or in other words, the difference between a planet not under the Entertainment Ban and one fully under it. The use of really dreary colors, the quiet atmosphere, billboard-less buildings… just some chilling stuff. Combine that with the whole view into Chieri’s life and how her father actually was the ironic source of her first experience with AKB0048… and the episode in general was pretty nice to say the least.

Admittedly though, the latter did make me wonder if Chieri’s father had intended for her to try and join AKB0048 and become Center Nova in the first place. Because when you think about it, it seems to be way too much of a coincidence for her to just find the PDA, Yasunaga helping her find more AKB reference materials, and her just so happening to be invited to an inspection on Lancastar before a guerrilla concert. I guess it could still be pretty coincidental, but part of me feels like Chieri’s father was intentionally pushing her towards discovering her radiance from the get go — albeit via a roundabout fashion. It’d fit particularly well with the things Nagisa’s father mentioned about him this week as well… which really makes me wonder.

In addition to this though, there was one other thing I wanted to mention, which was the whole bit about “following your heart.” To me, that concept’s always been something that’s resonated with me, I suppose — and I just felt like it was worth a mention, because it’s true. Sometimes, the best decision is the one where you just don’t think too much about it — one where you just follow your gut and what you think is right for you, and let that lead you to wherever it does. All within reason, of course!

In any case, things’ll definitely go out with a bang… although I’m admittedly unsure how exactly it’ll work out after what happened this episode. I reckon Akibastar’ll be taken back before it’s all said and done… but getting everyone to Center Nova status sounds like a tall task, and again… there’s a fair amount to wrap up. I do suppose though, that it’s just how Kawamori likes it, as he certainly has the tendency and ability to make some pretty darn epic endings. Guess we’ll see how that works.

Author’s Notes:

  • INSERT SONG: Hoshi no Mukogawa (Thanks to Keroro Gunsou in comments for mentionin’ it!)
  • Next week’s post will likely be somewhat later than what you’ve come to expect. Apologies for this! I’ll be attending PAX East and won’t be back until late night on Sunday EST, so I may not be able to get the post out on next week’s episode until Monday night EST or Tuesday at the latest — so just a heads up on that.
  • March 16, 2013 at 10:48 pm
    24 comments »
    • March 16, 2013 at 10:50 pmKeroro Gunsou

      Was the insert ‘Hoshi no Mukogawa’?

      • March 16, 2013 at 11:01 pmLin

        Yep, it’s that song. And Chieri sings it beautifully.

      • March 16, 2013 at 11:12 pmZephyr

        Ah thanks for that. Was trying to look for the name and actually had a bit of trouble finding it. T’was odd!

    • March 16, 2013 at 10:56 pmYojimbo

      Was Nagina teleporting when they first entered Chieri’s house or where my eyes playing tricks with me? Has she already gone Center Nova, transcending time and space?

      • March 16, 2013 at 11:03 pmLin

        She wasn’t teleporting, nor did she become a center nova. God, it was just a camara effect. It didn’t mean anything.

        • March 17, 2013 at 12:36 amYojimbo

          *waves sarcasm flag*

      • March 16, 2013 at 11:08 pmZephyr

        Pretty sure that was just a frame skip. Episode quality in general was somewhat lower than usual, so it’s likely the frame for movement between the two scenes was in complete/got cut out. Saw this in a recent episode of PSYCHO-PASS as well.

      • March 16, 2013 at 11:45 pmDango_Warrior

        Pretty sure that was an intentional camera effect to show Nagisa’s fascination with Chieri’s house.

    • March 16, 2013 at 11:30 pmBenigmatica

      For such a bastard Mr. Sono was, he’s a tragic character who cares for her daughter, but clouded with his ambitions of getting Dualium from the Center Nova phenomenon while threatening AKB0048 with weapons supplied from DES.

      Now, it seems that AKB0048 taking back Akibastar would be a 50% chance of success. But I think the mystery behind Mr. Sono’s assassination would be reserved on the final episode.

    • March 17, 2013 at 12:50 am†Croos†

      Alpaca conspiracy is starting.

      Like what this bastard said, Center Nova has the power to control time and space and I think he killed himself to awaken its full powers. He has full trust that Cherie will save him.
      Thats my theory.
      But seriously, what is KAWAMORIIII planning for the twist for this anime.

      • March 17, 2013 at 1:16 amVaans

        I’m worried on how Kawamori will wrap this series up. Just look at how end the last Macross Frontier movie and Aquarion Evol. It was horrendous!

      • March 17, 2013 at 1:35 amcowazaki

        The Alpaca Conspiracy:

        In real life Mayu Watanabe(who voices Chieri) really likes alpacas. That’s why Mayu in the anime can be seen with alpacas as well. So might as well add some alpacas on scenes with Chieri who’s voiced by Mayu.

        • March 17, 2013 at 4:25 amBenigmatica

          Don’t forget her nickname as the “idol cyborg, not to mention having the same hairstyle as Yukari Tamura.

      • March 17, 2013 at 1:38 am†Croos†

        I am also theorizing that Cherie’s mother might have been a center nova. Thats why her father is working hard to make Cherie become a center nova.

        • March 28, 2013 at 5:48 pmMC GOOD

          What if Chierie’s mom was Mayuyu the 2nd (not a robot), but somehow after graduating, she still could make her kirara glow, and somehow becomes center nova potential and disappears. Maybe Chierie’s brother somehow went along with the mom and that’s why Mr. Sono wants one of the 00 members to reach center nova or Chierie. Kind of a stupid theory but who knows? hehe:)

      • March 17, 2013 at 4:28 amBenigmatica

        Remember, he didn’t kill himself, but someone did. It’s not Mr. Motomiya, nor AKB0048, but someone within DGTO.

        • March 17, 2013 at 8:24 amGermanguy

          Perhaps the “Butler”. He sure loved the Mother in secret, and try to Protect her Child from his “Demon” Father….

          :) Well guessed out of the Blue

        • March 17, 2013 at 5:01 pm†Croos†

          It would be awesome if Show Spoiler ▼

          was the one who killed Cherie’s father.
          Show Spoiler ▼

          KAWAMORIII’s awesome twist.

    • March 17, 2013 at 1:20 amxiao32615987

      Though I can’t prove it I actually thought Chieri’s father (does he have a name yet?) might be shot, but since I put it down to watching too much Urobochi Gen it still came as a surprise. AKB0048 is unpredicatable even when I actually predict what’s going to happen – and that’s why I love it.
      Moving on, I also got the impression that there was a bit too much coincidence there and that her father may have been planning Chieri’s joining of 00 for quite a long time, especially with the visit to Lancastar and when he asked about the Kirara glowing for her. It sounded like he knew quite a bit about them.
      Final thought, if Chieri is the Heiress to the entire Zodiac corporation can they count on reinforcements in the coming battle?

    • March 17, 2013 at 2:21 amFreddeh

      My god, that was a rather sudden ending, of all the things that I thought were going to happen, that one caught me rather off-guard, and I’m still going ‘omgwtfbbq’ about it.

      Well played Kawamori, well played.

    • March 17, 2013 at 9:44 amArbitrary_greay

      Third season is unlikely since Orine, Sonata, and Suzuko’s VAs are all graduating.

      You know, I wouldn’t be too torn up if Furukawa Airi and Murashige Anna stepped up as replacements, since they’ve done bit roles for 0048 already. KII imitate Sawako all of the time, so it wouldn’t be too hard to find her replacement.

    • March 17, 2013 at 7:30 pmCoker

      WTF with the negrep spam again?

    • March 18, 2013 at 1:14 amCrunchie

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • March 23, 2013 at 7:59 ambjharm

      whoever shot Chieri’s father had to be inside the system. A person like that had to have layers of personal protection, it would make no sense at all if just anyone could shoot him, say from the building next door. So for me it had to be an inside job. The simplist plot would be he was killed by DES forces within the company.
      While Nagisa, since the first season has always seemed to be linked to Acchan, and thus the new centre nova, that all goes out the window with the plan to make ALL the girls centre novas. The one idea though is the double centre nova, that also been hinted at, that is of course the Nagisa/Chieri combo