AKB48 NHK Hall Shuffle Concert Review! (OR: RSL’s First Novel)

Sorry for not posting an interesting post in… forever. It’s just that there hasn’t been too much news on the Natsuki front. That being said. I’m doing my first proper super-long review! Prepared to be amazed/terrified/bored. I’m going all out on this one. Be warned: oodles and oodles of spoilers are ahead.

I’m reviewing AKB48’s most recent DVD, their NHK Hall Shuffle Concert. Filmed live on November 23, 2008 and released about a month later, this DVD is about as current as you can get in the idol world. Let’s begin!

01. Overture (AKB48)

Overture

As per usual, AKB48’s concert starts with their ‘Overture.’ This is the first time that I’ve seen one with an actual animation, which is cute, but not really all that useful. I think they just think they’re cool because they have a gigantic video screen. The girls walk on stage in a very quiet and nonchalant manner under the cover of darkness, similar to how they might for a normal Stage.

It looks like the more popular girls get to wear the new A5 after-unit-song outfits, which are the pretty silver and gold sparkly ones with the fur, but they’re missing the red towels/rags/swatches/scarves that are usually temporarily attached to their waists. The less popular girls are wearing the red fringy flapper outfits that were made for the them for their Kouhaku Uta Gassen performance last year. While I love both costumes, they really don’t match at all. The little tiny bit of red in the tops of the popular girls doesn’t balance with the less popular girls who are only wearing red. It looks a tad messy, especially with their placement on the stage.

And I’m a bit irked that Natsuki again gets stuck in the baby-doll version of the red outfit. She originally had one of the two-piece ones with short shorts, but ever since Kouhaku, she’s gotten put in the conservative dress. Boo. We need Natsuki skin.

02. Dreamin’ Girls (AKB48)

Dreamin' Girls

‘Dreamin’ Girls’ is definitely one of those songs that was just begging to be put at the start of a concert. I think that they did a good job with this one especially. The lighting is nice, though I prefer the dramatic back-lighting from the Shibuya AX version, and all-in-all looks very well thought-out. This is one song that shows off how synchronized the girls can be in their dancing, though it really can’t be called dancing in this song. I love how the girls get to interact with each other a bit during this opening song, even if it is a tad forced.

Also, the song makes them look even more like a gospel choir… which isn’t hard considering how large the group is. My major complaint for ‘Dreamin’ Girls’ is how the majority of the girls are in a tight formation, but the first row runs the length of the stage. The choreographer could have easily set one more line in the front, on the main part of the stage.

Dreamin' Girls

What’s that? Harmony? In AKB48? Wow. It’s like they’re actual artists.

Dreamin' Girls

Natsuki is partying it up with Naruse Risa and Matsubara Natsumi.

03. Viva! Hurricane (AKB48)

Viva! Hurricane

This is quite possibly the most random song placement in the concert. ‘Dreamin’ Girls’ is the best opening song ever, and then it goes into ‘Viva! Hurricane,’ which although I do love it to pieces, is not a great choice when you need something epic-sounding. I would rather they skip this song and go directly into ‘Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai,’ but there’s no changing it now.

The girls are split into three groups: Himawari-gumi Team 1, Himawari-gumi Team 2, and everyone else, which includes Team B and the new girls. I dislike this a ton. Since they’re all there, they should probably update the formations and divvy out the lines again so Team B can have in on the action. Also, the fact that almost all of the shiny outfits are on one side of the stage makes it look unbalanced. I do like the dance break’s new dance. I believe that they originally were simply acting as though they were in a hurricane in the old version, while this one includes some jazz-y choreography.

Viva! Hurricane

The silly formation at work. See those hard-working Team B girls stuck in the background?

Viva! Hurricane

Natsuki looks adorable as she performs. You can tell she loves fun songs like this one. Even if they don’t fit with the set list. And Takahashi Minami is totally into it.

Viva! Hurricane

Another thing sad about the usage of their Himawari-gumi Teams: you can tell who isn’t a popular member anymore. On the left in red is Nakanishi Rina, a former front-girl of Team A, now graduate. On the bright side of things, on the other side of the stage is the group of un-popular girls, and you can see Kawasaki Nozomi is now much more popular than previously now that she’s wearing the better of the two costume varieties. Sato Yukari would also probably be wearing one of these costumes, because she’s much more popular now than formerly, but she’s gone doing ‘important’ things.

04. Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai (AKB48, Kenkyuusei)

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

Yay! This song is another one that I’ve been waiting to see in concert. It is so hardcore and the girls do such a great job making it as dramatic as possible. It looks like they did the Himawari-gumi Team set-up again, but this time with Team 1 in front of Team 2, which looks better, but still weird. They should have plopped Team 2 on the top portion of the stage so we could see them a tad better, but this works, too. I think the line distribution is different in this song since large groups of Team 1 did some lines and large groups of Team 2 did others. But the choreography looked about the same.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

I love how Noro Kayo and Oshima Mai are doing this. They are much too old for dancing around in a circle… but we love them for it.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

Natsuki versus Maeda Atsuko… who will win? And I guess Kitahara Rie got Yukari’s spot in Team 1? It’s cute that we get to see the substitute pairings.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

I’m glad that Nakata Chisato is getting more and more promotion. Since Rina left, she’s been my new second favorite.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

At this point in time, the choreography is most likely just to turn around, walk, and ‘look cool’. I’m glad that the camera focused on Ohe Tomomi, who is probably the least ‘cool’ and most awkward out of everyone on the stage. Her interpretation of the choreography is definitely my favorite part of the entire DVD.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

Acchan can count the music in English! Who would have thought!?

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

Mai can sex up just about anything. I love it.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

The Kenkyuusei finally get to be on the big stage. Too bad they accidentally wore A3’s ‘Koike’ outfits, though. They don’t even attempt to match the flashiness of everyone else. Sad.

Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai

And Team B popped on, too. Why they weren’t on stage for the rest of the song is beyond me. I thought this was an AKB48 concert, not a Himawari-gumi show. Oh well. Can’t change anything.

‘Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai’ ends the opening set. I was unhappy that there weren’t any costume changes or anything like they did in the 2007 concert tour. Those were awesome and similar things should be done again. I’m a huge fan of on-stage costume changes. And only two real songs to start the concert is really, really short. They could have done another one. Maybe before ‘Viva! Hurricane.’ After this, they presumably do an off-DVD MC, and the unit songs start!

05. Classmate (Nakanishi Rina, Narita Risa, Tojima Hana, Ohe Tomomi, Komatani Hitomi)

Classmate

After the MC, the five graduating Team A members get to sing their final unit song, ‘Classmate,’ which was also Hana and Rina’s first unit song. The first lines which were originally Rina’s are sung by both Rina and Risa. The next set is sung as a solo by Hana, as they were her original lines. The next lines go to Ohe and Hitomi. I’m not very happy with this arrangement. They could have easily given all five girls solo lines, but only Hana gets them. And while Hana does an excellent job with the ones she did get, why didn’t Rina get any? ‘Classmate’ is just as much Rina’s song as it is Hana’s, but she doesn’t get her original soloist part. That irks me. Also, they really didn’t need to use the shortened version. The normal length one is only a bit longer and would allow us to see them one final time longer. It doesn’t seem nearly as rushed either.

While they wore the normal costumes for Classmate, the varying shoes and stockings are different from the originals. Also, I’m pretty sure the skirts are shortened.

06. Bye Bye Bye (Kojima Haruna, Takahashi Minami, Minegishi Minami)

Bye Bye Bye

‘Bye Bye Bye’ is possibly the most fitting unit song to go after that rendition of ‘Classmate. Get it? The graduates are leaving… and what do you say to someone who is leaving? ‘Bye Bye Bye!’ I find that hilarious. Actually, I’m sure the real reason is that the Team A Ogi Pro girls didn’t have time to rehearse in new unit songs, and so it was decided that they would just perform one of their two unit songs from AKB48. This also works as good promotion for the three of them as a group. It would have made more sense to perform ‘Relax!’ but I don’t think they have the rights to that, as their sub-group isn’t called ‘No Sleeves from AKB48,’ but is simply ‘No Sleeves.’

Bye Bye Bye

This version of the song had so many up-skirt shots it’s funny. Especially noticeable was Takamina. Her skirt went everywhere but down throughout the performance of ‘Bye Bye Bye.’

Bye Bye Bye

I have to be cheesy and say that I think the choreography for this song is adorable. It’s pure idol fun in some really weird outfits. Takamina handles the comedic parts well.

07. Bird (Itano Tomomi, Sashihara Rino, Kitahara Rie)

Bird

This was definitely one of the weirdest shuffles of the concert. I would never have never expected this line up at all. Tomo-chin isn’t a bad singer or anything, but she definitely doesn’t have the vocal prowess that’s required for this song. Takamina and Masuda Yuka however have performed it much better. That being said, however, I think she did an okay job. She put a much more feminine spin on the song, and used her voice in a manner different from the past performers so it sounds very unique. I was actually surprised with her performance in that it sounded great for her: not great for the song, but great for her.

I’m still not happy about the line distribution for ‘Bird’ in concerts, though. It only gives one girl solo lines since the other two only have solo lines in the second verse. I would have loved to hear Rie and Sasshi’s voices, since I love both of them. They all did a steller job dancing though, which is something that we’ve all come to expect from the three of them.


08. Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster (Ono Erena, Hayano Kaoru, Fujie Reina) (Back-up Dancers: Takajo Aki, Ishida Haruka, Kohara Haruka, Chikano Rina, Nonaka Misato, Nakatsuka Tomomi)

Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster

This song completely blew me away. I’m a big fan of ‘Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster,’ and this line-up was really interesting to watch, as I don’t think anyone saw it coming. Similar to ‘Bird’ this shuffle gives it a slightly different feel. In a good way, I think.

While my all-time favorite set of girls for this song would have to be Kawasaki Nozomi, Nakanishi Rina, and Sato Amina, these three actually did well, contrary to what I was thinking. Erena as Oshima Yuko sounded oddly fantastic. She can actually sing maturely! Reina’s version of Rina’s position was spot-on. I’m beginning to like her more and more, but mostly in cooler songs like these. She has a weirdly great voice. Kaoru really won me over (and she still looks like A-chan of Perfume to me). She sounds fairly similar to Haruna and has much more control than I previously thought. I didn’t like how she got the extra solo lines, though. Maybe they should have switched Kaoru and Erena’s roles? That would make more sense popularity-wise.

Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster

The addition of the back dancers actually added to how awesome this song is. It seemed much more energetic. Maybe that’s also due to the extravagant lighting and costumes, though.

Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster

Cutest little self-confident smile that I’ve ever seen. Just adorable.

In general this performance was really flashy and un-expected. This is the type of thing I expect to see in shuffle concerts: things I didn’t know I wanted.

09. Pajama Drive (Maeda Atsuko, Umeda Ayaka, Kobayashi Kana)

Pajama Drive

This was bound to happen. At least the Acchan part. Acchan = Erena = Mayu = Fujie = Jurina.

Pajama Drive

Acchan did her normal performance, which includes a lack of emotion for parts of the song. It kind of works for her in ‘Pajama Drive.’ She ends up looking rather cool and sexy. Luckily, she did smile a few times and seemed fairly happy. It’s a shame she’s wearing those gigantic pajamas; they’re cute, but not really attractive. I also love how since the crowd couldn’t really tell who was on stage and the monitor was off, after her first line they chant ‘Mayu!’ They figure it out for the second time, though.

Pajama Drive

Kana took Nakagawa Haruka’s part. Her voice matched really, really well, almost making me think it was Harugon singing. She tried to do the ‘cool’ look, too, but she ended up just looking tired and lazy for the majority of the time. I do like how she always wears the Tanaka Reina-style shiny things in her hair.

Pajama Drive

Umechan completely rocked this song for me. She was the only one really going after everything, and her voice sounded spectacular. She also matched Nacchan’s voice, but sounded more mature. She needs to wear her hair down again, this style isn’t so hot.

Pajama Drive

I love how it’s Acchan’s song that gets to start the monitors again. So typical. And I love the choreography leading to that final chorus… and the honking.

Pajama Drive

And I love the ending with the snap-thing, too. Very dramatic.

10. Nageki no Figure (Miyazaki Miho, Oku Manami, Nito Moeno, Nakata Chisato)

Nageki no Figure

Another song I love! Yay! This one hasn’t been shuffled either, so it’s a welcome addition to the set list. And look, the stage moves! I love AKB48 production values (sometimes)!

Miho gets Takamina’s lines and does sensationally. I’m liking her voice a ton. Oku actually sounds pretty good taking Itano’s lines. She has a much higher voice than I thought she did. Acchan’s part was taken by Moeno, and her voice is amazing. I’m impressed. That must be why she got promoted.

Nageki no Figure

My former favorite (other than Natsuki), Nakanishi Rina, had her lines done by Chiichan, my new second favorite, so now Chiichan is my new ‘Rina’ of AKB48, since the real one graduated as of this concert. Nakata definitely has the best voice of the quartet. Go her!

Nageki no Figure

And Chiichan gets the camera during the ‘shuffle’ sound-effect!

Nageki no Figure

Lastly: why are they wearing black bloomers? Let’s at least try to match the outfits, please.

11. Kimi wa Pegasus (Takajo Aki, Urano Kazumi, Masuda Yuka, Sato Amina)

Kimi wa Pegasus

This song holds a special place in my ‘heart,’ as it’s the first time I saw Natsuki sing a solo line… and this was before she was my favorite idol (and when I still like Acchan…), so seeing this shuffled was especially cool. The line-up is more than a little bizarre, though.

Kimi wa Pegasus

Takajo Aki took Sayaka’s part. I’m so used to hearing Sayaka’s ultra-powerful voice, so this felt really odd. It’s kind of funny how obviously lip-synched these lines are, since the girls seem to be dancing much more than in the Team K versions we’ve seen. Aki did pretty well, and really well considering how short of a time she’s been linked to AKB48. By the way, this was a rather odd performance at the time because Akichan hadn’t been put into Team A yet.

Kimi wa Pegasus

CinDy took Natsuki’s lines! I was pleasently surprised. Natsuki’s ‘Kimi wa Pegasus’ will always by my favorite, but CinDy sounded excellent. They actually have very, very similar voices (almost as similar as CinDy and Noro Kayo), so it sounded a bit familar. She sounded a tad deeper than Natsuki, but it still was a great performance by her. And her costume obviously was ten times better than the other three.

Kimi wa Pegasus

Sae’s lines were sung by Yuka. This is interesting to me because Sae has the highest voice out of the original four, yet Yuka has the lowest out of these four. She sounds like she fits with the song really well, but not neccessarily with the rest of the unit. This selection of her singing wasn’t too impressive for me, as we’ve heard her sing much better and more powerfully.

Kimi wa Pegasus

When I think of Nonti’s voice, I think: beautiful, rich, developed, powerful. When I think of Amina’s voice I think: adorable, bouncy, odd, cute. I love both of their voices, yet I never though I would ever have to compare them. And I did. Amina’s take on ‘Kimi wa Pegasus’ sound fairly strong, but retained that Amina quality we know and love. It was a cute little surprise at the end of the string of solo lines.

In other words: worthwhile shuffle.

12. Temodemo no Namida (Oshima Mai, Shinoda Mariko)

Temodemo no Namida

When I saw the casting for this shuffle unit, I was fairly estatic. I had always wanted to see Mai sing this song because she has such an interesting voice, and I always thought an upbeat song that still showed off vocals would be great for her. When I had made that imaginary unit in my head though, Mai took Kashiwagi Yuki’s place and Rina took Saeki Mika’s place… so that didn’t happen, but kind of close? Anyway, Mai sounded amazing as usual, but gave the song a much more mainstream feel. She has a very girl-y voice, and although I love it to pieces, it ends up not working with the song. Mariko sounded a tad off, but it worked. Mariko has a rough voice that’s similar to Mikacchi, so it actually made the pairing make more sense.

If anyone didn’t notice/know, the costumes they wore are new. Usually, the outfits Team B wears for ‘Temodemo no Namida’ are mini-dress-length pink and white trenchcoats. These butterfly costumes are definitely a step down, but can also be interepreted as a way of showing how these girls sing it differently than the original.

Temodemo no Namida

I’m pretty sure that Mariko was having some difficulties with the microphone: She didn’t let go of it for a while when it was placed in the stand. She didn’t even let go for some of the two-arm choreography in the song. Also, the microphone stands look all sparkly… and that’s not a bad thing.

Temodemo no Namida

The ending of the song really cracks me up because they both go into the ending position at the same time, and then a few seconds later, Mai does the ending pose again, this time on the right music. Not too professional if you ask me! Great shuffle, though.

13. Glass no I LOVE YOU (Oshima Yuko, Miyazawa Sae, Kuramochi Asuka, Kawasaki Nozomi)

Glass no I LOVE YOU

This song… again!? I’ve begun to think that this is a ‘rite of passage’ song for up-and-coming AKB48 idols. It was originally sung by the most popular girls (minus Acchan, plus Risa) of Team A, then done by Team K in the very first shuffle concert, then by Team B when they did their B2, then by a few Kenkyuusei-to-members in the Natsumatsuriri Hibiyaon concert, and then again in the concert. I never really liked it, so it’s getting on my nerves… a lot.

Glass no I LOVE YOU

Yuko has already performed this song when she made a one day-only appearance in A2, and then again during the first shuffle concert. That means she doesn’t need to be in it again. She did wonderfully, though. Her maturing voice sounds spectacular. she needs more lines in singles!

Glass no I LOVE YOU

Sae is a cute addition. She’s becoming more and more versatile: She can do the more powerful songs and the cute ones, too. This one fit her really well, so I’m happy with her position. And she ran so gosh-darned enthusiastically.

Glass no I LOVE YOU

Asuka and Nozomi are what I’m using to help prove my ‘rite of passage’ theory. Both are newly popular right now, considering that they weren’t very popular at all not so long ago. These two got the least lines in the song, but still managed to make me watch them. Asuka’s voice didn’t turn out too well, but Nozomi was perfect, as she is such a stereotypical idol.

One thing that I’m really weirded out about this song is that they never shorten it. Most songs in AKB48 concerts like these are shortened so they skip the second verse and second chorus, yet ‘Glass no I LOVE YOU’ keeps everything. Hmm…. Odd.

14. Tonari no Banana (Watanabe Mayu, Oota Aika)

Tonari no Banana

This song has never really struck me as a good one. It’s always just a couple of girls trying to sing in high voices, but never sounding all that cute. Luckily, the song was shuffled in such a way that two of the cutest members of Team B got to sing the duet. And it worked! Except for the joke. The choreography looks adorable on both of them, as did the costumes (though Mayu could affort to gain a bit of weight in her legs).

Mayu’s voice definitely needs some work… still. It’s always been rather high and squeeky, and I really want to hear her sing in a low voice. She’s such a good all-around performer that it’s a shame to sing with such a pitchy voice. Hopefully it’ll get better in time, like many of the other front girls’ voices. Rabutan sounded wonderful. I usually really, really dislike cute voices like hers, but she is an exception to the rule. It doesn’t sound forced at all, and she contols it really nicely. And she’s just adorable, but that’s another story entirely.

Tonari no Banana

The monitor going from watching the girls into playing animations of bananas and stars was a nice touch, but if I were at the concert, I would definitely prefer to just see Mayu and Aika rather than the fruits and symbols.

The joke at the end of the song apparently doesn’t work. But they tried, and that’s all that matters.

15. Gomen ne Jewel (Kashiwagi Yuki, Nakagawa Haruka, Hirajima Natsumi, Nakaya Sayaka) (Back-up Dancers: Tanabe Miku, Matsuoka Yuki, Yonezawa Rumi, Noguchi Reina, Katayama Haruka, Saotome Miki)

Gomen ne Jewel

I’m glad that Team B got to do ‘Gomen ne Jewel,’ but I’m not glad that six of them are only dancing. That’s crap. Couldn’t they just add another unit song or two? Maybe even Saeki Mika could pop in that way, but she might have not been in a unit just due to injury (which has just now forced her to take six month-long break from AKB48 activities). And I like how most of my favorite Team B members are included in the six back-up dancers… Boo. (And did anyone notice how the beginning of the song sounds different?)

Gomen ne Jewel

Anyway, the whole song fits pretty well with the members’ voices. Kashiwagi has been Yuko’s fill-in during the 2007 concert and during B1, so that actually should have been predicted. Her voice sounds great, as per usual. I must say that I don’t really like how the lyrics sound… it might just be the musics’s fault, but they sound really twang-y.

Gomen ne Jewel

Next is Nacchan substituting in for Sae. She fits oddly well, too. Her voice actually sounds really good with this song. It must be the energy of the music at work. (Look! It’s Haachan!)

Gomen ne Jewel

Harugon’s voice is really soft. But it’s better than her boy-ish voice in Pajama Drive, so i’m happy with that. I think she’s beginning to be a better vocalist, but I’m not sure yet. I think she may have fit in Sae’s spot a tad better, though. Nacchan should switch with her. (More girls: Matsuyuki and Gussan!)

Gomen ne Jewel

While I love Nakayan’s continually-improving voice, it didn’t impress me much in this song. It might be because she is so used to singing slower songs? Either way, she danced her little heart out, and sometimes that can make up for it. Hopefully she gets more promotion in the future.

Gomen ne Jewel

Lastly: The Kenkyuusei… I mean: the rest of Team B!

I still don’t get why they did this. It’s so degrading. Especially since there were Research Students doing the same thing in ‘Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster.’ (If anyone’s curious, in the order of this picture, the back-up dancers are Yonechan, Matsuyuki, Mikipomu, Haachan, Gussan, and Tanamin.) It’s kind of nice that they changed the choreography a bit during the dance break so that they could shine for a little tiny bit longer, though.

16. Kagami no Naka no Jeane de Arc (Akimoto Sayaka, Matsubara Natsumi, Noro Kayo, Sato Natsuki, Naruse Risa)

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

This is such an obvious Team K-style song. I’m glad it was used. All five girls seem to be rocking out the entire time, and since this was also performed at the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert (with the second Team B casting), I’d guess this is a fan favorite, too.

The performance begins with the Team K girls chasing the Team B girls off the stage. The monitor in the backgound shows a burning European-designed city and a digital Team K version of the song’s usual Team B flag. Sayaka absolutely flies across one side of the stage to the other and books it down the stairs to meet up with the other girls. SaeYaka’s stair-descending abilities have yet to be matched.

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

Sayaka gets the lines that Sashihara Rino/Kikuchi Ayaka’s usually have and does pretty well. I was expecting just a bit more power and it to be a bit less consistent, so that kind of disappointed me. All in all, though I she did a good job with them.

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

Natsumi took Yonechan’s lines… And that shouldn’t have happened. When I first saw the casting on Memolist’s site, I was excited because the natural pick for Rumi would be Natsuki. Both have very similar, mature voices. But somehow, Natsumi got them, though. Nothing against her, but her voice is too light and girl-ish for these solo lines. Natsuki would make more sense… but, again, we can’t change that, can we?

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

A natural choice that did work however, was Nonti in CinDy’s place. They share really similar husky voices, and Nonti’s version of CinDy’s line is to die for and the best solo in the Team K rendition of the song. She acts so brash and elite when singing it that it works out perfectly for her.

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

They mixed the recording in such a way that you can’t hear Natsuki in her duet line with Risa. That really irks me, because usually I can easily pick out her voice when singing in groups of two or three… They sound fine, but it would be much better if it were Natsumi and Risa instead so that Natsuki could get two solo lines. I’m still sore about this. Again: boo.

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

The rest of the song sounds and looks amazing. These girls have had tons of experience being kick-butt, so ‘Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc’ fits them perfectly. I was disappointed with the lack of any real close-up shots of Natsuki, though. Above is the closest shot I could find of her.

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

Look at Natsuki totally owning Natsumi (I don’t dislike Natsumi… I just don’t like Akimoto (or whoever) for picking Natsumi over Natsuki.)

Kagami no Naka no Jean de Arc

On the bright side: Look! Charizard!

17. Oshibe to Meshibe to Yoru no Chouchou (Ohori Megumi, Kasai Tomomi)

Oshibe to Meshibe to Yoru no Chouchou

This is another fan-favorite… obviously. I can imagine that many wota in Japan wouldn’t mind being so close to Kasai… and Ohori gets paid by being virtually on top of her on a daily basis. This is another unit song that hasn’t been shuffled for the concert. Strange, isn’t it? Read on.

The whole song is almost exactly the same as what would be performed on the Stage in Akihabara48 theater. Everything is dimly lit and the the girls move around the stage pretty similarly to how they would at any other time. Kasai sings in her usual high-pitch squeak, while Ohori gets low with her sexy mutterings… even in the mini-MC, Kasai notes how boring the performance is.

Oshibe to Meshibe to Yoru no Chouchou

By the end of the song, Ohori gives Kasai a lavish faux kiss and pulls her back to the dark door of her lair… only to awkwardly hug Kasai. How plain.

Oshibe to Meshibe to Yoru no Chouchou

Oh wait!

18. Amai Kokansetsu (Ohori Megumi)

Amai Kokansetsu

Oops! Kasai’s oh so clumsy! For some crazy reason, while they were awkwardly hugging, she somehow tripped and pulled Meetan’s costume down with her! Oh no! Someone’s going to get in trouble! It looks like she’s wearing her lucky gold bikini with camoflauge again! Oddly enough, she’s wearing seashells strategically placed around it… Maybe they were too slippery for the costume, thus explaining why it fell off… That sounds reasonable.

Amai Kokansetsu

Don’t worry, though. Ohori is a professional. She literally walks it off (walks out of it, rather)… and some distinctively sensual music begins… One has to think that maybe this was planned. A perplexed fan attempts to grab Meetan but, fortunately, misses. Kasai seems embarrassed too, as she ran away with Ohori’s costume.

Amai Kokansetsu

A normal fan might gasp and perhaps drool when watching this video… but I’m differerent. All I can see is how ugly that tape under her bikini top looks. And the black accessories and shoes don’t match the summery suit. If they attempt this again, they might want to be a bit better prepared.

Amai Kokansetsu

Wow! This song is full of bloopers. The monitor keeps on missing her head and aiming at her assets… how embarrassing!

Amai Kokansetsu

The end of ‘Amai Kokansetsu’ features Ohori in a stereotypical pin-up pose. Perfect for her and the song. Excellent performance by Meetan. We need more soloists in AKB48.

19. Shounichi (Team B)

Shounichi

‘Shounichi’ is one of Team B’s theme songs. Its lyrics are all about how they’re excited for their opening day and how they’ve worked so hard for it. I absolutely love the song because it fits them so well. Team B performed recycled Stages for almost a year before debuting the current most popular Stage in AKB48 history, B3 ‘Pajama Drive.’ Also, they’ve performed it about two hundred times by now, and despite debuting a year after Team K and a year and a half after Team A, have performed about the same amount of shows.

Shounichi

The opening song traditionally opens up with a chant about doing their best and supporting each other and just being awesome Team B members. At least, that’s what I’d assume: I don’t really have a clue. Anyway, after their usual pre-show chant they go into the actual song. I have to say that I prefer it in the theater atmosphere more, as it’s smaller and is more personal, which is what this song should have: a location with idols that are humble, yet too good for their surroundings.

Shounichi

I actually like the idea of making a big line in front of the audience for this song. Usually I dislike it because it’s too fan-oriented and not dramatic enough, but here it works out really well. The girls are all putting forth tons of energy to entertain their adoring (adult male) fans.

I wish they wore flashier outfits, though. They have on their after-unit-song school uniforms on instead of something shiny. This way, they don’t really match the other Teams’ performances.

20. Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru (Team B)

Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru

Up next is another Team B original. This time their own pump-up song! They use some really dramatic lighting and formations for most of it, so I end up really liking it. It looks very watery in my opinion, which is good since it’s about a sailor. They also imitate waves during the bridge, which is a sight to see. I actually have started to really like the song. Even though it does sound fairly generic, the choreography is one of my favorites. It’s very vivid, I guess.

Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru

See? Isn’t it epic? And of course it’s Mayu who gets to be the point of their pyramid of sorts.

Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru

The end of the song features Team K running out and striking the same position as Team B on the lower tier. Natsuki’s on the very right, if you’re wondering. I certainly would be. Please note the difference in their costumes. Team B is all school-girl-y, while Team K is wearing their metallic kick-butt costumes. Someone should change, and my vote is Team B.

21. Melos no Michi (Team K)

Melos no Michi

‘Melos no Michi’ is Team K’s newest fight song from K4. I love it… much, much, more than their usual song (which is next). They sing in groups of four, so there’s a bit of variation. Even better: Natsuki’s group is first, and I can easily hear her voice. That means it’s a good song. One thing interesting about the choreography is that it begins with a mini-fight between Nonti and Sae, and then goes into a bigger ‘fight’ with one side of the stage versus the other. In the Natsumatsuriyuri Hibiyaon concert, they somehow missed filming the smaller battle, so I’m glad they figured it out for this one. I think that this is the first AKB48 song to have mirrored choreography other than ‘Shinkirou.’ Anyway, it looks really nice on a big stage like this. And using the after-unit-song costumes is a great addition.

Melos no Michi

In a related note, Natsuki gets a ton of screen time. This makes for a very happy RSL. And she doesn’t do too badly, either!

Melos no Michi

I feel like I have to promote another girl other than Natsuki, so I’m nominating Noro Kayo as the other best girl to watch in ‘Melos no Michi.’ She always dances with a ton of stamina and power.

Melos no Michi

They end, then go into an older Team K song. I dislike how they used the same duo of songs that they used in the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert. They could have changed it up a bit.

22. Korogaru Ishi ni Nare (Team K)

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare

‘Korogaru Ishi ni Nare’ is the epitome of Team K songs. It even states that they are in fact ‘the’ Team K. It’s completely rock-and-roll-esque, but doesn’t do much for me. All of the girls sing the entire time, so that’s also going against it because there are very few AKB48 songs I like that have that chorus effect.

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare

I like the bridge. It’s very serious for a moment, and then the girls get to do their own little dances before going into the chorus again. Natsuki is adorable and throws on a cute smile for a second.

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare

One thing I do love about the song is how all of the fans know it and the girls think of it as a classic. There is so much audience participation that it works out well to excite the crowd.

23. Dear My Teacher (Team A)

Dear My Teacher

‘Dear My Teacher is one of my favorite Team A songs. It’s fun. It’s sexy. It’s about school girls and their teachers. What more could you ask for? It’s the quintessential AKB48 song, in my opinion.

Dear My Teacher

Rina finally gets her graduating solo lines! Hiipinku got hers in this song, too, and Hana got hers in ‘Classmate.’ Risa and Ohe had theirs a while ago… like forever ago.

Dear My Teacher

I love how the shortened version is just a giant Mai-and-Rina-fest. They were my favorite pairing in the group before Rina graduated… and this song is one of the ones that cemented it. Aren’t they great together. I have to say that the best shortened version has to be the one found in ‘Medley’ on the A3 DVD. It looks phenomenal.

Dear My Teacher

Yay! More Rina. See, can’t you imagine her as being a great soloist? Anytime now… but she is definitely coming out with a PB sometime soon-ish.

Dear My Teacher

Aww! Hitomi gets to be in the middle with her trademark pose. I love it.

24. Boku no Taiyou (Team A)

Boku no Taiyou

For some reason, I’ve never liked ‘Boku no Taiyou.’ It’s cute, but not very interesting. I guess it’s too happy? That’ be a first for me. I think it must just be one of those songs that you have to see performed live to enjoy it, because I don’t think many foreign fans like it all that much. Maybe there’s subliminal messaging being spewed from the speakers telling the concert-goers to like the song… Or, my idea: the fans don’t really like it all that much, but the staff notices it had really good CD sales and use that as a gauge as whether to use it or not. I’ll note that it had great sales because every copy purchased at the theater came with a ‘One in the World’ photocards… which aren’t necessarily as unique as they sound. That spurred the wota into buying tons of extra copies and thus boosted sales.

Boku no Taiyou

I love how Ohe doesn’t look as though she knows the choreography. Or the words for that matter. I love you, Ohe. Please do fun stuff outside of AKB!

25. Overture (SKE48)

Overture

SKE48 has a few neat ideas that are specific to it. One difference is that they have a choreographed ‘Overture.’ And it’s great, too. A few girls come out to begin, and then more and more come on to join them. I absolutely love how they mix more modern hip hop-like choreography with the idol-esque movements that are similar to the dances from A1. It looks better in their theater at Sunshine Plaza (or whatever it’s called), but still looks good here.

Overture

All of the girls seem really energetic and out-going. I wonder if Akimoto and friends decided to pick more generic idols for the Sakae, Nagoya branch of their empire. They seem to have less of a girl-next-door feeling to them.

Overture

I love the cute idol-like dances they do in their ‘Overture.’ Just adorable!

Overture

What are they doing, you ask? They are spelling ‘S-K-E-4-8’… or ‘S-K-(round thing that may resemble a lower-case ‘E’)-4-8.’ Again, ingenious.

26. Skirt, Hirari (SKE48)

Skirt, Hirari

Performing ‘Skirt, Hirari’ would make more sense if they were wearing skirts. And they totally could be since they somehow managed to get new dresses for ‘Aozora no Soba ni Ite’ in SKE48’s 1st Stage ‘Party ga Hajimaru yo.’ Oh well. Some of them have shorts and I guess that works. They perform what could be called the shortened encore version, meaning that it’s missing the second verse and chorus and is sung as a group with no solo lines.

Skirt, Hirari

They do a great performance, if that counts… They’re great at dancing, I’d say. I can’t wait to hear them sing more individually. They seem talented, and while I don’t really like the idea of a second group, I’m getting more and more used to it. I don’t know… I’m unsure of my opinion of their position in the —48 world. I hope they don’t get the full 48 members, though. That’d just be too much.

27. SKE48 (SKE48, AKB48)

SKE48

SKE48 performs ‘SKE48!’ I was really impressed that they got new lyrics when they started their Stage. I thought they would either sing the normal ‘AKB48’ as an homage to AKB48, or they would skip it entirely. Either way, I love how it’s the same, but different. The verses are pretty much all new, while the choruses are pretty much old. It’s a nice, cost-efficient blend. They actually get to sing both verses… Again, that doesn’t make much sense. At the end of the song, there’s a surprise!

SKE48

That’s right: AKB48 steals the show! The song goes from SKE48 to a mix between the two versions now singing ‘Sakae48’ alternately with ‘Akihabara48.’ I love it. It’s a cute transition. I like this creativity.

SKE48

Oh look! It’s Natsuki! And SKE48 girls. I feel bad for not knowing the majority of their names. I know the obvious ones, like Jurina and the ones connected with AKB48, but beyond that, I’m rather shaky. Once I see a whole Stage, though… then I’ll begin matching names with faces and preferences.

SKE48

Oh, Takamina. She puts her funny expressions into almost every group song I’ve seen her in. And look at that Chiichan beaming behind her!

28. Romance, Irane! (AKB48)

Romance, Irane!

In my opinion, the ‘Romance, Irane!’ performance was one of the worst on the DVD. While I like that they didn’t wear the PV outfits, which is a first for the song, it wasn’t nearly flashy enough. The lighting didn’t help either. ‘Romance, Irane!’ is one of those songs that needs that on-stage disco-esque vibe. The concert t-shirts don’t work with it all. While I love the colorful tops, they don’t have the needed ‘bling’ that is customary with the song. And I still don’t understand why the Kenkyuusei get to wear the Team t-shirts. They did the same in the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert. Shouldn’t they have a Research Student-appropriate one, too? I mean, it’s not like there’s not enough of them.

Romance, Irane!

I feel sorry for Hana. She was one of the selected members of ‘Romance, Irane!,’ yet she was stuck in the back with rest of Team A. That’s another reason why I dislike the usage of the Himawari-gumi teams in big concerts like this: some girls don’t get what they deserve.

Romance, Irane!

And the same for Mayuyu. She should a bit better treatment. Actualy, all of Team B should get better treatment, but that’s beside the point, isn’t it? They just get stuck in behind Team K and in front of Team A.

Romance, Irane!

Natsuki however was selected to be in the front group. Yay for her! Also, Chiichan got to be up there since Yukari was gone for the time being.

29. Hikouki Gumo (AKB48, Kenkyuusei)

Hikouki Gumo

I was very surprised with how well this song translated into a big concert song. The concept was obviously stolen from Hello! Project, as a few of their more recent concerts have featured the scarf-waving routines. The Team-by-Team line distribution was cute, too. This was actually one of my favorite performances in the DVD just for the sheer happy energy the girls are exuding.

Hikouki Gumo

Team K poses while Team B is singing and Natsuki strikes my favorite pose of hers! Adorable.

Hikouki Gumo

Mariko and her attempt at ‘spirit fingers’ was the funniest part of this song. She looked so happy, yet focused and awkward at the same time. This just isn’t her type of song, but you could tell that she was trying her best.

Hikouki Gumo

Okay, I know that I’ve always regarded Mayu as the best-dancing form of Acchan, and the start of this chorus really shows it. She completely flings her towel in excitement. You would never think she had it in her, but she does!

Hikouki Gumo

Aww. Aika needs to scratch her nose. Aww. The cameraman feels this needs to be recorded. Weirdo.

30. BINGO! (AKB48, Kenkyuusei)

BINGO!

‘BINGO!’ has begun to be one of the most-performed singles besides their first three. It’s a cute concert closer, too, as shown in the previous concert. It looks like they did edited Himawari-gumi casting, as there are Team B members interspersed in the front line-up as well as the Team 2 girls. I have to wonder what’s wrong with the Team B girls that are on the higher platform. Are they lepers or something? They look stupid up standing up there by themselves when there’s a shapeless blob on the main floor. Get them down this instant, Akimoto! Put the SEEDs up there!

BINGO!

Takamina’s towel slowly falls out of her pocket near the very beginning of the song. She has no idea, but luckily Miichan is there to save the day. That’s another reason to love AKB. In some idol groups, the girls may snicker as another girl’s costume is falling apart, but in AKB48, girls who are even center stage help their comrades out. Miichan gets a gold star.

BINGO!

Look! It’s Natsuki again! I was really, really happy that they put her in short shorts. Putting her in the jeans or capris would be a crime against her legs.

BINGO!

And Rina! And Takamina’s eye balls are popping out…

BINGO!

I actually recently learned that CinDy and Natsuki are actually good friends. And they’re next to each other in this picture. Anyway… please note popular Team B members mixed in with the Himawari-gumi Team 1 and Himawari-gumi Team 2 members.

BINGO!

Dear Haruna, what are you doing? You’re the only one with your arm out toward the audience. Please learn the choreography a bit better. And ‘BINGO!’ is the end of the regular set list.

31. Aitakatta (AKB48)

Aitakatta

The encore begins with ‘Aitakatta.’ It’s kind of bland song to start with, but whatever. They were bound to sing it at some point. What I love is the first thing you see of the encore is Sayaka running (again) out of the center where the staircase had been. I love the new outfits. They are the only new one for this concert other than the outfits they wore in the previous songs (which really don’t count because those are just glorified encore outfits consisting of concert t-shirts and shorts that are old, anyway). The girls wear flourescent green, highlighter yellow, hot pink, and lilac. These are the most Hello! Project-style outfits I’ve seen come out of AKB48’s costume shop yet… and I can’t wait for more. I love how frilly they are, yet they keep some of the standard AKB48 stylings.

Aitakatta

Natsuki got to wear the green version of Acchan’s get-up. She also has a cute little green bow in her side ponytail. For the longest time before the DVD came out, I thought she was wearing yellow due to the coloring in all of the preview I had seen… but she’s not.

Aitakatta

For some reason, I’ve decided this is the Hana pose. I’ve seen so many pictures of her in concert while in the pose that it’s not funny. She’s still awesome in it, though. And look: rare Team B members that you never hear about, Yonechan and Tanamin!

Aitakatta

New ending pose, too. They really went all out. Please note that Acchan isn’t in the middle. Sato Yukari only just arrived. She should probably schedule a bit better.

32. AKB Sanjou! (AKB48)

AKB Sanjou!

Everybody gets to sing one of the new kick-butt songs from A5. I guess this one was assumed to be performed due to its name. Luckily I really like the song. And the choreography calls for writing ’48’ in the air, so I’m totally there. It also incorporates flashlights, a new (and possibly fairly original) prop in the AKB48 world. Again, they decide to put some of the girls on top part of the stage. I’m really not liking that still because it alienates them. They don’t have the same group power that they would if everyone was on the lower stage… then again, they maybe fairly squished… Even putting them on the stairs would be better, in my opinion.

AKB Sanjou!

Lines are distributed in an intereting manner. The Acchan solo is now shared with Yuko, Kojiharu shares her line with Kashiwagi, and Mariko shares with Sae. It’s interesting to see who they chose for the song’s ‘selected members.’ Maybe that means that Kashiwagi is going to start being a larger part of AKB48? Righ now she’s been stuck as one of the leaders of Team B, but not much outside of it.

AKB Sanjou!

I love how one of the groups is the trio of Kenkyuusei that joined roughly at the same point. I find it funny because for the longest time I couldn’t tell them apart since there wasn’t much media of them available.

AKB Sanjou!

Note: the background appears to be ‘energizing’ during the bridge. AKB48 is suddenly a huge sentai group… not that I would mind.

AKB Sanjou!

This is the closest shot of Natsuki I could get in the whole thing. I literally saw her twice throughout the song. Bad cameraman!

AKB Sanjou!

Instead of ending with Team A’s usual ’48.’ they opt for making their Team names. Team A obviously didn’t do so hot, though. And someone on Team B doesn’t have their flashlight turned on or something.

33. Sakura no Hanabiratachi (AKB48, Kenkyuusei)

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Another superb performance in this DVD is their debut single. While it makes more sense to be wearing school uniforms due to the lyrics, these costumes are pretty, so I’m going to let it slide. Similar to the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon Concert (Wow, these two really do have quite a few similarities…), the fans tried to do a ‘pink-out’ and have pink glow sticks (symbolizing cherry blossoms… or Sakura no Hanabiratachi…), which went okay, but not too well, as I’ve read. This time, though, it was in honor of the night’s graduating members.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

The girl split up into their Team lines as they have started to always do for this song and do little pieces of choreography. Natsuki can be seen her going to the wrong place in line.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

And now Natsuki gets brownie points for looking at the camera. She’s watching you…

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Team B’s choreography looks a little like ‘Wasshoi B!’ That’s peculiar…

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Leave it to Kashiwagi and Mayu to groom each other in front of the fans…

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

I love how energetic CinDy is! She’s totally the perfect idol.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

What!? They really are doing ‘Wasshoi B!’ I guess they really wanted to perform the song that night but didn’t get the chance. They’re so sneaky.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

The Kenkyuusei get to hold hands and rock back and forth. Please note they are not singing. Sucks to be them.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Team A dances with minimal choreography and go for a simple ‘This is their/my/our last performance of this song!’-style performance.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Every girl on Team A that is wearing pink is graduating, I guess. I didn’t make that connection before. But don’t they look pretty? Rina definitely got the best outfit out of the five.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

I love how they always drop the cherry blossoms. So cliche, but so pretty. Too bad they can never do the right amount at the right frequency…

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

A) Hana is pretty. B) So is Natsumi. C) Kohara will do like BoA and ‘Eat You Up.’

akb48-nhk-hall-shuffle-concertmkv_005944705

I’m glad that the camera tends to go to Takamina at the end of this song… and I’m glad that Natsuki always gets stuck behind Takamina at the end of this song.

And that’s the end of the concert. Or is it? (It’s not.)

34. Aozora no Soba ni Ite (AKB48)

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The second encore begins much slower than the first one. Instead of running in an over-excited manner, the girls walk on slowly…. I wonder why. Oh wait… duh.Anyway, videos of the Tokyo area are played on the monitor.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The graduating members emerge from the top of the stairs, all in new costumes. They’re all dressed in white, frilly, angelic dresses to signify their status. All five of them look gorgeous, which isn’t too new for them. I especially like Hana’s dress. I also like how they kind of match the other girls on stage, but completely stand out at the same time. They’re just so shiny.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The monitor goes between video from the performance and videos of rehearsals, backstage, and Stages. It’s incredibly sentimental.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Team K.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Team B.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Team A creates an ‘A’ shape.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

As one of the un0fficial leaders of AKB48, Takamina bravely introduces the situation to the audience.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Hiipinku’s graduation speech was obviously really sad. I really don’t know any of the specifics, but I’ve heard that she talked about her future plans, which include a ‘stage’ as well as a PB and DVD, I think.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Ohe cracks me up as usual. At this point during the concert, the girls should all be super-duper sad and bawling, yet Ohe greets her audience as friends and speaks with an enormous smile on her face. It’s times like these that make me remember how awkward and lovable this girl is. I have high hopes for her future as an idol and possibly actress.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Risa’s speech was oddly emotional for me. I haven’t really paid too much attention to her in a very long time. I’ve always known that she has great qualities, but I’ve never really embraced her. While watching her talk, I remembered how she was one of my favorite members due to her personality and general stage presence. I’m glad she’s continuing to work towards her dream of becoming a great idol, and I think leaving AKB48 was the only way she could get that. She was the only girl that I actually got choked up from watching.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Hana had just recently became more popular before she graduated. She’s never been the least popular girl, but she’s never been all that popular. She was usually right in the middle. Just last January she was chosen for her second single, ‘Romance, Irane!’ and she’s been getting better parts in Stages. I hope that even though she’s most likely pursuing the education route, she’ll continue to be in at least some idol activities. We’ve seen her help with a go tournament so far, and I hope that’s not the last we see of her.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Rina! Rina used to be my favorite member. She was also one of the best singers in AKB48. I really don’t know why she graduated, but I hope it is to become a soloist, like she’s mentioned many times. Other possible reasons for her graduation include health issues and a boyfriend. Regardless of why she left, I really want to see more of her in the future. All I’ve seen thus far is a small preview picture of her with a couple of the other graduates. Also, rumor has it that she’ll have a PB relatively soon. In the ideal world, Rina would become a soloist similar to her favorite idol, Matuura Aya. Rina spoke without too much emotion. I hope that’s a sign that she hopes to debut and be back with her fans again soon.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The girls take their last steps down the stairs as AKB48 members. Ohe and Risa have troubles walking… for different reasons. Rina and Hiichan attempt to console Risa, while Hana has a hard enough time walking down by herself independently. Luckily, Ohe is in a good mood, hense her awkward gait.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The quintet stand in front of the audience, awaiting support. All five girls reacted very differently.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

The monitor plays an animation showing the girls’ photos at the theater being slowly taken down. I would almost say that it’s tasteless, as they aren’t really showing the picture much respect. And as a bit of nit-picking, They should be wearing different outfits for the photos: the A4 opening costumes are too distinctive.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Takamina calls the Kenkyuusei and SKE48, including a Matsui Jurina wearing the same costume as the AKB48 members, on stage. It seems like Jurina’s apparal was met with negative thoughts by the fans. I don’t think that all that many of the Japanese fans of AKB48 support the premise of SKE48 and the other —48 brands. Thus, they begin their last song of the night:

35. Oogoe Diamond (AKB48, Kenkyuusei, SKE48)

Oogoe Diamond

First of all, I absolutely love ‘Oogoe Diamond,’ so this is a great final song for me. I love how it’s so similar to ‘Aitakatta.’ In fact, I would almost call it a sequel, considering both songs’ lyrics. Both deal with confessions of love and how impulsive it should be. On a shallower side: both repeat their respective names many, many times throughout the songs. Personally, I think this was the best idea for them. When it was announced that AKB48 was finally coming out with a new single, many fans wanted something similar to ‘Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou’ or ‘Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru.’ I was hoping for something like how ‘Oogoe Diamond’ turned out. It needed to be a song that was easily adaptable to any environment so they could use it all of the time, similar to ‘Aitakatta.’ Also, it couldn’t be angry-sounding, or too happy, as those would make the public think they only really did that sort of song. Since it was their new debut single with their new record label, King Records, they needed to really go all out with it, and I’m glad everything worked out the way I was hoping it would.

Oogoe Diamond

Within the first close-up shot of Takamina is one of the last close-ups of Rina we’ll see as a member of AKB48. I love how she literally jus pops into the frame.

Oogoe Diamond

This is AKB48. I would not be offended if most songs were led by Takamina with everyone else as back-up. That would be perfectly fine in my eyes.

I’m happy that ‘Oogoe Diamond’ features Takamina so much. During some of the more recent singles, I’ve felt that she hasn’t gotten the respect she deserves. Especially ‘Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008.’ She was barely seen throughout the whole PV. Perhaps it had to do with the wig she was wearing, though. She was also filming a drama at the time, so her hair was completely bleached. I guess that didn’t belong in the video, so she wore an ugly wig.

Oogoe Diamond

I wonder if Acchan is trying to pull up her skirt. Also, you can definitely tell that the choreographer is different. It seems much higher-budget and pop music-like.

Oogoe Diamond

Since when were Nonti, Haachan and Asuka in this single? It’s kind of weird that they have a separate set of selected members for the concert version of the song. I do like their voices, though, so I’m going to have to say that they can definitely stay.

Oogoe Diamond

It’s a shame that Natsuki doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Despite that fact, however, she continues to give it her all. That’s something that I’ve come to expect from her. I feel kind of sorry for the girl behind her who are all stuck in the t-shirts. They should get something flashy and frilly to fit in.

Oogoe Diamond

Mika got a duet line! She really needs more of that sort of thing. She’s a great vocalist… even with SKE48’s front girl. For some reason, Mika kind of reminds me of Jurina… even though she’s way older. It’s a shame she didn’t get in a unit song for whatever reason…

Oogoe Diamond

I love how the graduates get to be near the front for their last song. That was a nice touch. Also, I love how they pop out compared to the rest of the girls.

Oogoe Diamond

Maimai is probably one of the only girls to actually go back on her heels. They should all do that.

Oogoe Diamond

I like how there are seperate final poses for AKB48, the Kenkyuusei, and SKE48. It looks rather well put-together.

Oogoe Diamond

The girls bow. I wonder who that girl with the cute green bow is…

Oogoe Diamond

Erena needs to stop being all cute-sy and being the last off stage. Mayu tried to beat her, but didn’t have the guts. And so did some of the graduates.

All in all, the concert was fantastic. It featured some of my favorite songs and some of my favorite members. It had pretty darn good production values, and didn’t get boring. I hope that future concerts are as well thought out as this one. And I hope that more concerts continue in the ‘shuffle’ idea. You can see the girls in their normal unit songs everyday, so it’s much more special to see them do something that you hadn’t thought they could or would do before. Also, I hope more graduations are as elaborate as this. I know that the main reason for this occasion was because so many of the original members were leaving, but I think that about the same amount of respect should be given to more of the graduating members.

The JCB Hall concert has quite a bit to live up to.

Oh, and I appreciate comments.

(10,000 words later…)

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8 Responses

  1. Did you seriously tag this under every A/K/B/RS/SKE member you could name? XD

    Good review. I especially liked the Amai Kokansetsu part :) I never really know what to say about things like this, so, yeah, good review!

    Yuko performed in A2?
    Nozofisu is new? She’s only one of 8 original members xD

  2. Awesome review! I loved every part of it!

    I hate how Yuko got stucked with GLASS no I love you again, I mean… I loved it the first time but fuck, she’s Yuko, she deserves much better than that. She should’ve been in Pegasus instead of Aki or Amina, seriously. And Aki just shouldn’t have been in Pegasus at all, she killed it with her awkwardness O_O I mean, I love Aki, but the girl needs to warm up a bit before being shoved there in the middle of a unit song with CinDy and Yuka who are some of the best performers.

    I really loved Temodemo, but Mariko should’ve practiced more, her voice was all over the place XD I guess that Mai is too curvy to fit in Yukirin’s dress and Mariko is too tall to fit in Mika’s XD

    Janne Da Arc was MEANT for Team K, and Sayaka totally pwned it. I was very surprised that they gave Natsumi solo lines, but somehow happy, as she never gets the chance to shine at all, and she’s awesome. Nacchi and Naruru always rock out anything. This was an amazing song.

    I’ll never tire of Korogaru, it’s my favorite AKB song ever, but they could shuffle Melos no Michi around XD There’s Saishuu Bell, which is pretty rocking, Hana to Chire, which is amazing, and so on. Lots of stuff to choose from.

    I’m still sore about Hana leaving D: I think I’ll never get over it…

  3. Ah! I forgot to say something.

    I was really disappointed with the 2 songs that Team A performed. Team K got powerful, Team B got a mix and Team A just got…alright and boring. They should perform Keibetsu or Seifuku (team version, not unit version) :( I think it’d be interesting to see how the new girls go. At least I know these songs will be performed in Request Hour…

  4. Jasey: I tried to name EVERYONE… including Akimoto. Yuko performed in A2 once, but I’m not 100 percent sure that she performed the whole thing. I do know that she did ‘Nageki no Figure’ and ‘Glass no I LOVE YOU.’ There are are some clips on the DVD that came with Aitakatta. Oh, and I fixed the Nozofisu part. Thanks for noticing the typo.

    Cat: Agree.

    Jasey: I didn’t even think about Team A doing those two for their songs… I would have definitely enjoyed that…

  5. I’m going to bed too late because of you, RSL! I hate you!

    I’m kidding, of course. About the second part. *sweatdrop*

    There’s too much to comment on here so I’ll just say this:

    “On the bright side: Look! Charizard!”

    I LOL’D. I really really did. XD

  6. […] [Blogs] Where’s Natsuki? Covers Every Inch of AKB48 at NHK Hall AKB48 NHK Hall Shuffle Concert Review! (OR: RSL’s First Novel) […]

  7. […] my last large-scale AKB48 concert review was their previous show at NHK Hall in 2008.  That was just one performance.  This reviews three (slightly cut-up) concerts put on within two […]

  8. Their costumes are great. I really like thier school uniforms.

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