「美森革命」 (Yoshi Mori Kakumei)
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.