「星屑セレクション」 (Hoshikuzu Serekushon)
You’ve asked and they answered.
…Okay, so you didn’t, but they still answered. AKB0048 presents to you……Kalashnikov-toting idols.
When they kept going on about try-outs in the last two episodes, you can bet boot camp was the last thing on their (and my) minds. Where I expected dancing and singing (oh don’t worry, there’s still loads of that) the show instead gave us a run-through of a Basic-Military-Training course. Nearly everything’s there, from the tiny bunks to broken showers, grueling training to crappy food. (Well, to them anyway. Steak is AWESOME, ya’ll know it.) And hell, I’d be fooling myself if I were to say that it ain’t more entertaining than watching them prance about on the dance floor.
I always wondered when the “Guerilla” part of the show’s description was ever going to feature, so it’s nice to see the show tackle this issue straight on with the auditions. What I certainly didn’t expect was for them to take it this literally by putting them in combat uniforms, giving them futuristic AKs and then pitting them against mechs. Now who in their right mind sends a bunch of preteen idol-wannabes to fight against mechs with nothing but a rifle? While I might be sounding sarcastic about this, I’m actually not. Playing to the pumping AKB48 insert Beginner, it was equal parts hilarious and epic to watch them struggle against an enemy they could barely damage while faring about as well as I expected. This is to say, not very well at all. What made the scene even more comedic (or possibly, more awesome) was how they tried to dramatize the whole affair with the explosions, tears and sacrifice when really, it was near impossible not to tell that a fakeout was going to come at the end. Come on, you didn’t think this was going to end up like a certain magical girl series, did you? (But honestly, I’d bite that. I really would. The manager would make a deviously lovely contractor.)
It’s also nice to see that this show is more than just performances and fights by giving precious time to properly flesh out the personalities of the girls. This episode showed just how similar Chieri and Yuka were; they appear to be resolute about their beliefs, yet their actions completely contradict what talk about. Chieri in particular stuck out her neck for Nagisa a second time even after repeatedly talking about how they should only be concerned for themselves. I did think that Chieri’s tension with the group did get resolved rather abruptly, but considering that most of the animosity between the girls was gone, perhaps I should be thankful they didn’t actually try to drag it out.
One of the negative things I noticed in the episode was how Satelight’s reliance on CG is starting to show in the dancing sequences. I’m not outright decrying the CG animation, because the smooth and well choreographed dance moves are legitimately good. (It seems to mirror the actual music videos very closely) However, the 3D models are jarring to say the least, thanks to the uncanny valley effect.
The other is the heavy-handed foreshadowing with the mysterious voice that’s been going on since episode 1. I get that the show obviously wants to paint us a bigger picture of the overarching story, but the way they’re pulling it off with the overtly-cryptic and exaggerated scenes makes it feel extremely silly and unnecessary.
Also, did the show actually try to clumsily incorporate anti-war themes with the simulation? Because if so, blowing up little girls and then saying “weapons cause hurt” ain’t exactly the way to go about it.
There was no preview at the time of posting. It seems that the PV only gets uploaded onto the AKB0048 website and youtube about 3 to 4 days after the airing of an episode.