Random Curiosity

« AKB0048 Next Stage – 11

AKB0048 Next Stage – 12, 13 (END)

Episode 12:

AKB0048 Next Stage   12   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   03
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   06
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   07 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   08 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   09
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   10 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   11 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   12
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   13 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   14 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   15
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   16 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   17 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   18
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   19 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   20 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   21
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   22 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   23 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   24
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   25 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   26 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   27
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   28 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   29 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   30
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   31 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   32 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   33
AKB0048 Next Stage   12   34 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   35 AKB0048 Next Stage   12   36

「劇場への道」 (Gekijo e no Michi)
“The Path to the Theater”

With the finale to AKB0048 Next Stage approaching, its second to last episode focuses on setting things up—and what a set up it is. Because even as Chieri reels from her father’s assassination and the other AKB members want to give her some time to recuperate, the fact of the matter is they can’t afford to wait any longer. As Tsubasa puts it bluntly, there’s no time to hesitate—lest D.G.T.O.’s domination becomes complete—and even she gets riled up as a result. Needless to say, I didn’t think I’d see a moment where even she’d lose her cool, but it was definitely quite something to see—and something that ends up working like a charm, although not in the way she originally intended.

The next scenes in the “other world” and the “path to the AKB Theater” (a nice ode to the real AKB’s origins) were admittedly a bit funky/supernatural, but they end up serving nicely in providing some moments for character development/dialogue—giving us the much needed discussion between Chieri and Nagisa, a nice montage of scenes cuing back to some of our members initial joining of AKB0048, as well as some insight into what’s happened to Yuuko since her disappearance. As it turns out, her journey towards becoming Center Nova still isn’t complete… and one wonders how things’ll end up working out for her (if at all). To say the least, it’d be pretty tragic if she ends up being caught in between forever, so I’m hoping that things end up having some kind of positive ending for her—or that she at least ends up returning to the real world.

Continuing on that last point though, I’m wondering how the conclusion will wrap up that plot-line, the one regarding Chieri’s father’s assassination (unless this is already considered “wrapped up”), and the taking back of Akibastar in one episode. It’s do-able I suppose, but I’m definitely wondering if they’re not going to have a third season or something of the sort, because it certainty looks like there’s still a potentially long fight ahead even if they do take back Akibastar. It’s entirely possible that the take back of Akibastar deals enough damage to D.G.T.O. and DES that they won’t pose anymore of a threat—thus giving the series a permanent ending—though. I guess we’ll see how things work out. Either way, it looks like things are just setting up for another typical Kawamori ending—one filled with drama and epicness—and it should be an enjoyable ride to finish Next Stage off.

 

Episode 13:

AKB0048 Next Stage   13   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   03
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   06
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   07 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   08 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   09
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   10 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   11 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   12
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   13 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   14 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   15
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   16 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   17 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   18
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   19 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   20 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   21
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   22 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   23 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   24
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   25 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   26 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   27
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   28 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   29 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   30
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   31 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   32 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   33
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   34 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   35 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   36
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   37 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   38 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   39
AKB0048 Next Stage   13   40 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   41 AKB0048 Next Stage   13   42

「NO NAME…」

AKB0048′s Next Stage finale is finally here and it ends up delivering in a fashion only Kawamori could. You’d figure that after watching many of his series do the same thing—that is, end spectacularly on a dramatic high note—one would be used to it by now, but nope. Despite my high expectations for this finale and my prior experience with Kawamori’s kind of endings, I still couldn’t help but get caught up in everything—after all, how can’t you?

I mean, seeing all the members of AKB either depressed or outright crying… Nagisa getting things thrown at her and willingly not fighting back… all that propaganda from DES… there was no way not to get emotionally riled up from all of that. Combine all of that with multiple inserts, the return of Yuuko, a glimpse of Acchan, the rise of Chieri as Center Nova, and Nagisa succeeding Acchan, and you got the tools for an amazing ending—which is exactly what we got, along with the successful resolution of multiple plot lines as well.

Because as it turns out, those that rise to Center Nova status and disappear end up at the AKB Theater. There they continue to sing, protected from DES and other physical interference, providing a light/hope to everyone via the collective unconsciousness. And well, despite the kind of “out of nowhere” feel of this revelation, it admittedly works extremely well in the grand scheme of things. Not only does it answer why the Center Nova end up staying there, what they’re doing, and where they are… it also serves as a resolution to Yuuko’s situation and ultimately sets up foundations for what this episode (and arguably, this series) was about—hope.

See, every insert this week correlates to the notion of hope—of keeping it alive in yourself, the people around you, and in carrying that feeling over to the next generation. Rainbow Train (lyrics here), Kaze Wa Fuiteiru (lyrics here), Kono Namida wo Kimi ni Sasagu all have lyrics related to that notion (with Kaze Wa Fuiteiru being even more symbolic in how it was made as a dedication to victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami) and to me, it’s an exceptionally powerful message—especially so when you consider the dual connection to real-life and the series itself. What makes this notion even more notable, is the fact that it’s only one of many messages/themes the series seems to be sending in general, as it can be said that there’s a lot here about the whole concept of being an idol and the potential of using words to communicate differences, rather than fighting.

Indeed, AKB0048‘s finale ends up highlighting the fact that it’s two-pronged. On one hand, it can be enjoyed just as a casual series to watch. But on the other hand, there’s definitely something extra beneath the “fighting against an entertainment ban” exterior. Regardless, the verdict ends up being the same: the finale delivers spectacularly as expected, and there really ain’t much I can say, because there’s not much words can do to really capture the emotional high this episode delivered. Hopefully though, with pictures being worth a thousand words, the extra screenshots will do some of that for me. That and the final impressions (which you’ll find at the end of the post).

Full-length images: 43 (EXTRA!).

Author’s Note: Apologies for the delay regarding episode 12. Coming from PAX East drained me more than expected and work on the preview ended up taking most of my time upon returning, so I didn’t have much of an opportunity to work on this before the finales to my other series aired.

 

ED4 Sequence

AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   01 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   02 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   03
AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   04 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   05 AKB0048 Next Stage   ED4   06

ED4: 「主なきその声」 (Aruji Naki Sono Koe) by NO NAME

Final Impressions:

Prior to the start of the season, I had mentioned how underrated the first season of AKB0048was. With Next Stage now over, I can say that the second season of AKB0048 also ended up under-appreciated (sadly) as well. Granted, I can see why people ended up staying away from the series—considering its over the top nature and outward appearance as nothing more than a marketing ploy—but it’s still something that makes me somewhat disappointed that more people didn’t give this series a try. Because in the end, this wasn’t a series that just tried to game the system by playing on the group’s popularity. It wasn’t just some amalgamation of songs and AKB concepts into animated form to sell products. There was an actual stand alone story here—and a decent one at that—and that I feel, makes all the difference.

Indeed, what Kawamori Shoji ends up doing with AKB0048 is nothing short of amazing, and it’s something I feel is a worthy addition to his creative portfolio. The end result isn’t on the same level as say, Macross, but what he manages to do here is worth mentioning nonetheless—as ultimately, I don’t think there’s anyone else out there who could’ve pulled off what he did with AKB0048. I mean, not only does he create an original story that combines much of the prior experience he’s had with sci-fi/mecha, he manages to also incorporate all the elements that make AKB what it is in real life, AND creates something that’s not only enjoyable and entertaining, but runs counter to what people expect from series that look like they’re purely for marketing. It’s an impressive feat to say the least.

Ultimately, if there’s one thing left to say, it’s that I’m going to end up missing this series. The over the top and dramatic Kawamori flair is something that can’t really be replicated by anyone else, and the fact that he consistently makes series in my favorite genres only contributes further to the void I feel upon realizing there’s no Kawamori series this spring. At least though, he does seem to be working on something new, so the wait for another Kawamori work may not end up being as long as anticipated.

On that note, I hope those if you reading this now enjoyed this series as much as I did, and I hope that my coverage contributed at least in part to that. Looking forward, I’ll be covering Suisei, Shingeki, and Date A Live next season, so I hope you’ll join me there as well. If not, I’ll bid you a fond farewell for now. In an ode to the episode’s final quote, “someday, we’ll surely meet again.”

March 31, 2013 at 11:06 am
47 comments »
  • March 31, 2013 at 11:54 amLaziness

    <3

    • March 31, 2013 at 4:22 pmJohnHayabusa

      So Nagisa is Acchan the 14th and Chieri is the Center Nova? And judging from this wonderful final episode, Nagisa and Chieri are pretty much happily married. Yuri is everywhere in this episode, and not to mention Yuuko with Acchan and Takamina. Another wonderful season for AKB0048. Please let there a third season.

      • April 1, 2013 at 3:13 amBenigmatica

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but it won’t be happening!

  • March 31, 2013 at 11:58 amSniperk

    Typical Kawamori fashion to deliver a great ending still leaving just enough to wonder about another season.

    Show Spoiler ▼

    • March 31, 2013 at 12:05 pmZephyr

      Yeah I can kinda see what you mean there. The thing that stuck out more for me was how there’s theoretically enough for a third season though… :3

    • March 31, 2013 at 12:06 pmRan

      No, it wasn’t just you. It was clearly split in two parts. The first focusing on Nagisa becoming Acchan the 14th and the second about Chieri becoming the Center Nova.

      Anyway, pretty good episode. Congratulations to Nagisa and Chieri!!

  • March 31, 2013 at 1:41 pmZannafar

    Great ending.
    I went into this show expecting nothing and it quickly turned into one of the shows I was following the most closely during the past year.
    Kawamori Shouji is a genius.

  • March 31, 2013 at 1:48 pmkahiry

    Now I feel deep in my soul a big hole. ;u; I´m ready missing AKB0048, this was a great finale and I feel extremely happy for Nagi… Acchan and Chieri ♥

  • March 31, 2013 at 2:46 pmWanderer

    And yet there are still unanswered questions. Most obviously: who shot Chieri’s father, and what about the whole issue with Kanata and Takamina?

    This finale was quite powerful, for certain. The second season as a whole, on the other hand, I feel was somewhat weaker than the first one. It felt less focused. There was lots of potential here, and some really really good and powerful moments in it, but they felt scattered across it rather than cohesively linked. I still enjoyed it all, I just wish they’d tied it all together a bit better.

    • April 5, 2013 at 9:14 pmAKB0048 3rd Season Please?

      It was pretty obvious once the DES guys were into trouble, Chieri figured it was them who killed him, that moment when she was about to chop his head, she was like, forget it i’ll mend your heart with my song.

  • March 31, 2013 at 3:01 pmqwert

    I’m curious as to what phenomenon slowly turned the crowds torches, pipes and clubs into glow sticks…

    • March 31, 2013 at 7:36 pmVaans

      Its Kawamori’s magic. :)

  • March 31, 2013 at 3:18 pmYojimbo

    Well this turned me from someone who didn’t now much about AKB to a fan so the show seems to have done it’s job well.
    And for those people who now can’t get enough of AKB, I suggest watching AKBingo >.<

  • March 31, 2013 at 3:54 pmSherylfan

    Awesome show, I was totally one of the people that were like “what!? AKB, THE AKB in a space show with mechs”. All I’m saying is that I’m glad I gave the show a chance as it was very enjoyable and both cheri and nagisa father scenes in season 1&2 are really emotional. I guess it takes the genus of Shōji Kawamori and Mari Okada to make this show work. Also adding Yoshimasa Hiraike talents who did work on aria (a slice of life of rowing boats on mars, that is somehow epic) help this show, this is a show that worked out because it had the right talent.

    I’m definitely a fan of some of the songs but not a total irl AKB nut but this show is great and a I’m definitely fan of the characters portrayed in it this show. Great end.

    • March 31, 2013 at 3:57 pmSherylfan

      Also thanks to Zephyr for covering this series. With so many sci-fi shows this spring season I’m sure to read much more of your work, it’s always a nice read especially any final impressions.

      • March 31, 2013 at 6:45 pmZephyr

        ( ゚∀゚)アハハ八八ノヽノヽノヽノ \ / \/ \

      • March 31, 2013 at 7:41 pmVaans

        I have to thank Zephyr as well for blogging this wonderful(and underrated) series. I really, really enjoyed the ride from the start to the next. I’m looking forward to you blogging Date A Live. I think it’ll be a fun ride.

        Finally, seeing Nagisa finally being the 14th Acchan is the best thing ever. Oh, and Chieri being Center Nova is awesome as well. Sadly, I was hoping Kanata would succeed, I wouldn’t mind two Takaminas side-by-side.

        I will truly miss AKB0048.

  • March 31, 2013 at 4:30 pmSDFSDG

    I just want to point out how MOE eyes on old men and women don’t work for their image.

  • March 31, 2013 at 5:25 pmSeya-san

    “Your music won’t save anybody”.

    BECK

  • March 31, 2013 at 6:10 pmKeroro Gunsou

    Is it me or did that look like a wedding?

  • March 31, 2013 at 7:01 pmfragb85

    Nagisa being Acchan (no surprise there) and Chieri being CN is a little rushed but still I enjoyed this episode with its over the top conclusion. I kind of felt this season was weaker than the first one though. It felt like the General Elections took over the story as opposed to the whole Guerrilla Idol premise. Still I’m satisfied by this conclusion which is more than I can say for most most anime finales. And yes it really did look like a Nagisa/Chieri wedding, goggles be damned

    I was drawn to this show because I was fascinated by its ridiculous premise. I’m generally fond of anime that wants to try things like this. I’m glad though that AKB0048 had more to offer than just a silly premise which is why I consider this under-appreciated.

  • March 31, 2013 at 10:03 pmFreddeh

    That was quite possibly the best finale of the season. And while there were some bad ones, there were also some pretty darn good ones too.

    AKB is criminally underrated.

  • March 31, 2013 at 10:21 pmAlec

    So Nagisa, the main character, becomes 1)b while Chieri, the 2nd main character becomes 1)a
    Somewhat disappointed, but that’s just the fanboy in me reacting

  • March 31, 2013 at 10:45 pmalec613

    Doubt we’d get a 3rd season (no sequel hook as well)
    It’s a shame the anime couldn’t tie up most of its loose ends

    To me, AKB0048 is the best (pure)idol-anime ever, but the bar really isn’t that high.

  • March 31, 2013 at 11:47 pmFuu

    No sequel. Too many of the members of NO NAME have graduated AKB48 and SKE48.
    I was worried when they announced AKB0048 like many I think. But being an avid Shoji Kawamori fan I gave it a chance and ended up loving it. You can tell that he, and the staff of Satelight had fun with this show. A lot of love went into it.
    The ending was soo Kawamori style with a grand finale. Which was great! I liked the little things in this episode too. Like the “Love Ban” reference when Yuuka and Mamoru almost kiss. Oh, and the total Aquarion “gattai” Center Nova moments.
    I was glad to watch a GOOD show ending after watching the Maoyuu ending.

    • April 1, 2013 at 1:01 amSniperk

      I don’t thik it would be all that hard, since both Nakaya Sayaka and Hata Sawako graduated to become seiyuus.The only one that could be a problem to get onboard would be Yagami Kumi, but I don’t think that would be a problem as well, since the second season came well after she had graduated and the next NO NAME single is slated to ship on april 10th too.

  • April 1, 2013 at 4:31 amSummer

    At about episode 7 in the second series i realised that either cheri or nagisa would become either center nova or acchan the 14th…

  • April 1, 2013 at 7:47 amKeroro Gunsou

    Bring on the movie….

  • April 1, 2013 at 9:37 amakb48 fan

    when nagisa said even if you hate us please dont hate songs and entertainment
    l thought she going to said if you hate us please dont hate akb48
    Flashback to acchan( ゚∀゚)
    Kanata supposed to be Karen Iwata who Dubbed nagisa

    • April 1, 2013 at 10:50 amFuu

      hahaha as soon as she started that speech I thought the same thing!
      http://youtu.be/ESYACHhMqgU?t=3m25s
      http://youtu.be/OFRJ7fKK1Xs

      • April 1, 2013 at 3:12 pmSaika-kun

        so sad bro, its also make me remember that moment, acchan crying. the stories is memorable every single nagisa quotes are have same meaning to acchan quotes. but the show must go on. even acchan alraedy graduate and 0048 finally end i hope there is another story in the future

    • April 1, 2013 at 5:50 pmSniperk

      The entire season has a ton of throwbacks and nods to the real life events of the group. Most notable one would be Mii-chan’s quote at the end of episode 09, others are more subtle like Mimori succession as Mariko.
      Seriously, the staff did a great job at putting all these small little bits of trivia in the anime, without forcing them into it, and using them to advance some plotlines, creating a great story for non fans and a ever better story for the hardcore fans.

  • April 1, 2013 at 11:15 amPringlesXD

    I’m glad I developed some emotional resistance, because this finale was so powerful (like the first season’s) I couldn’t help but want to tear up a little bit. In the end, I had a big smile because I was able to watch such a great series.

    Definitely underrated.

  • April 1, 2013 at 3:02 pmSaika-kun

    well its great anime i ever watch after so many anime in japan… the story so inspiring and the songs also nice to be heard. i really hope there will be a sequel for this anime, the story is too much good and still there is some part that not clear, i hope someday i can see the sequel..this is the anime that make me remember my dream in the past away.. thanl you akb0048

  • April 1, 2013 at 11:13 pmbk201my

    What’s the name of the song when Yuuko came back to sing with Noname?

    • April 9, 2013 at 2:45 pmSmithCB

      Kaze wa Fuiteiru – ‘Wind is Blowing’ which is what Cheri mentioned to Nagisa just as it started “Let’s make the wind blow” – the song is a dedication to the victims of the Tsunami of 2011.

  • April 2, 2013 at 1:21 amCoker

    It is of great and sad irony that this show, voiced mostly by AKB members and veteran seiyuu, wasn’t able to attain the degree of domestic popularity that the real-life group’s songs have enjoyed.

    • April 2, 2013 at 10:15 pmCoker

      The singles are mostly bought in by bulk — because there are the voting and/or handshake tickets — by hardcore wota.

      • April 3, 2013 at 10:57 amMatt_D

        A small chunk of the albums are bought in bulk, you can’t reach a million single sales in a week with a few tens of thousands of fanatic fans. Help they do, but only a blind man (or a sankaku reader) believes the only reason AKB are big is due to the mass buying wota.

        Last years Oricon sales figures.
        01: “Manatsu no Sounds good!” – AKB48 : (1,820,056)
        02: “GIVE ME FIVE!” – AKB48 : (1,436,519)
        03: “Gingham Check” – AKB48 : (1,303,407)
        04: “UZA” – AKB48 : (1,215,079)
        05: “Eien Pressure” – AKB48 : (1,073,499)
        06: “Wild At Heart” – Arashi : (649,114)
        07: “Face Down” – Arashi : (619,940)
        08: “Kataomoi Finally” – SKE48 : (592,947)
        09: “Kiss Datte Hidarikiki” – SKE48 : (587,993)
        10: “Ai Shite Love Ru!” – SKE48 : (581,612)

        The also won “Artist of the Year” in the 2012 edition of “Billboard JAPAN Music Awards.” along with, “Top Pop Artist”, “Hot 100 of the Year” and, “Hot Singles Sales of the Year”

      • April 4, 2013 at 1:30 pmSS

        Whatever, it’s amazing that a certain other idol show sold more than 20k units. Domestic otaku backlash worked against this show.

  • April 2, 2013 at 2:27 amCrimson7

    I really do hope that they release an AKB0048-specific album.

  • April 2, 2013 at 7:25 amThundershock81

    Man how much did I love this series. Lots of words wouldnt be enough so ill just say – what a great series. Its a shame how under appreciated this series has gone cause honestly I cant say ive enjoyed an idol based series since Full Moon wo Sagashite (and thats taking the clock back a few years).

    Excellent stuff – probably one of the best animes of this year.

  • April 3, 2013 at 10:50 amMatt_D

    I’ll miss the show, but I’ll miss my Wonky Princess Yagami Kumi all the more (Sonati) as the No Name stuff will be her last stuff with AKB T_T

    It ended on a high, there was a good dose of cheese, but a greater dose of good action and characters. It was a good ride.

  • April 3, 2013 at 1:35 pmAni_BEE

    The only thing that felt awkward was the eps. 10 Muppet invasion (and I love the Muppets) in this series. I think the hole Idol Anime Phenomena can drive people away but there is just something about this odd future combat mix that works surprisingly beyond the AKB brand.

    00 is it’s own entity from the glow sticks in the crowds. lol

  • April 3, 2013 at 6:58 pmKendy

    I love this anime so much!!
    If there is a dvd i could buy i would buy both seasons.
    I also want a wonderful poster. Omg so sad that it had to end but dang this was amazing. I am glad that i was able to give this anime a chance and followed it all the way through till the end.
    AKB0048 had so many emotions combined made me almost tear up a couple times.

  • April 29, 2013 at 2:00 pmJade Golding

    So AKB0048 next stage is finished!? 2013 episode 13 and thats it? :o :’(
    Pleaseeeeeeeee makeeeeeeeee moreeeeeeeeee ;)

    • May 10, 2013 at 4:02 pmSS

      Even in Japan some fans were asking the same question: “3rd Season When?”