Archive for April, 2009

Mini Pic Spam!
April 27, 2009

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News Flash: 10nen Zakura hits 100,000 in Sales!
April 15, 2009

10nen Zakura

Yes, that’s right, idol group AKB48 has sold 100,000 copies of their 10th/12th/13th single 10nen Zakura!  This is a huge deal, mostly because idol groups have been pushed into a wota-induced shadow, but I think this new-found success should give them some much-appriciated attention as no idol group has gotten near the number in a long, long while.

Similar to B4’s title song, it’s the “Dawn of the Idols!”

Idol no Yoake

Team K 5th Stage “Saka Agari” – Opening Night Review!
April 12, 2009

The latest AKB48 Stage began yesterday, April 11th.  It’s Team K’s 5th Stage “Saka Agari.”  Naruse Risa was absent due to injury and was replaced by Ishida Haruka while Oshima Yuko missed portions of the performance and was replaced by Iwasa Misaki.  Everyone else was accounted for.

Set List

M0. Overture

Overture

Before the Stage begins, there’s a short drama.  It looks like Yuko is the ‘lead’ with Erena, Kasai, and Sae as other actresses.  I have no clue what there talking about.  Most likely abortion.

Overture

Super Sayaka saves the day!  I feel like this is a motif in this Stage.  The drama finishes with the rest of Team K coming from the back of the Stage and talking about whatever they’re talking about in unison.  One interesting thing to note is that the girls aren’t holding microphones… That means that in the theater, it’s probably pretty quiet… but also more realistic.

M1. Tenohira

Tenohira

The Stage starts out with a first – a plain ballad.  Every single Stage before this one starts out with something much more upbeat or ‘gimmick-y:’ A1 and K1 were straightforward, A2 and B2 had two units, A3, A4, and H2 had powerful songs, H1, K2, B1, A5, and B3 had quiet, epic-y portions before getting exciting, and K3 and B4 begin with instruments.  I’m glad they began with a ballad, though, as it’s very out of the ordinary for Team K, usually thought of as the most powerful and testosterone-driven Team.

While the song is pretty slow, I feel like it’s one of AKB48’s better ballads, as it remains interesting despite having a fairly light instrumental.  The performance is cute with little hops and uneven steps.  I actually really like the costumes.  Even though they make the girls look larger than they are and the full-length sleeves aren’t very attractive, I think they can fit enough styles of songs that the girls can wear them again.

M2. Saka Agari

Saka Agari

‘Saka Agari’ is the title song for this Stage, and I actually think it lives up to the status.  It’s jumbles of fun, which goes back to the K3 days, when Team K was recognized equally for its fun and craziness as it was for its powerhouse members.

Saka Agari

I love the simple and repetitive choreography and vocals.  It all is well put-together.  Also, I like how it’s one of the songs that begins with a chorus right away.  Yuko and Kana did what might be considered horizontal ‘Saka Agari’s which are gymnastic moves.Saka Agari

There is a ton of clapping and general light-hearted entertaining of the audience throughout the song.  It’s adorable.  By the end of the song, half of the girls leave the stage to switch costumes.

M3. Hitei no REQUIEM

Hitei no REQUIEM

The next song begins with super high powered music as the girls enter the stage from the back.  Their new costumes are very Amazon-like, and it really can be seen in Sayaka, who just so happens to have crazy muscles to match.  I really, really like the outfits.Hitei no REQUIEM

‘Hitai no REQUIEM’ has these weird contrasting vocals during the chorus when the girls sing it in a two part cannon.

Hitei no REQUIEM

I enjoy how much of a contast this song is compared to the previous two.

M4. Sono Ase wa Uso wo Tsukanai

Sono Ase wa Uso wo Tsukanai

I like how the song is kind of Hello! Project-esque.  I feel like AKB48 is definitely getting a lot of influences from them.  Also, I was so proud of my amazing Japanese skills that told me what “Shiroi Shiratsu Seifuku” meant.

Sono Ase wa Uso wo Tsukanai

Nonti is continuing to be an amazing performer.  She is probably next to Natsuki in my ranking.

MC1

MC1

Next up is the introduction MC!  It’s always interesting to look at the order of the girls and try to guess what unit they’ll end up in.  Noro Kayo gets the honor of introducing Team K, which I was really happy with, as she really should get a big role in the Team.
MC1

Natsuki (Aren’t you proud of me?  This is the first time I mentioned her, even though most of the pictures show her…) rocked at her MC as usual.  I don’t know what was going on with her butt, though.  Also, she gets to introduce the unit songs!  Yay for MC Natsuki!

M5. END ROLL

END ROLL

The first unit is a latin hip-hop song with Oshima Yuko, Umeda Ayaka, Noro Kayo, and Matsubara Natsumi.  It’s okay, but I’m not a big fan of the genre.  I think the main reason for the unit was for them to dance, as these same girls were in a dancing unit last year for whatever reason at some performance.  I obviously have no clue as to what I’m talking about.

END ROLL

Anyway, the song is okay, but what really stands out is the dancing.  The girls seem kind of SPEED-like, as there are four of them singing and dancing to a similar style of music.  What really gets me, though, is the lack of solo lines.  This is the first unit song without any solo lines since ‘Kurukurupaa’ back in the K3 days.  I kind of feel bad for these girls since they don’t have any solo lines in the entire Stage.

END ROLL

They make use of the behind-stage lighting really well.  Usually the doors are only opened in between units, but this song and B4’s ‘Zannen Shoujo’ have changed that.  The dance here looks really nice.

END ROLL

Nonti totally cartwheels.  It’s epic.  Watch out.

M6. Wagamama na Nagareboshi

Wagamama na Nagareboshi

Everyone was scared about Erena’s unit.  We thought she would get another ‘Hatsukoi Dorobou’… but she didn’t!  It’s an adorable song with just plain cuteness everywhere!  It seems rather retro inspired considering the costuems and 80s-ish music style.  I’m glad that Erena actually looks as though she likes the song, though it may just be because it’s the first day.  Kana was an interesting edition, as she’s just now getting more popular.  She gets equal lines and everything, so I’m pretty happy for her.  Evidently, at the end they both make a wish, and today, Kana wished that she would become a selected member.  I think that may happen soon.

Another thing that I, selfishly, like about this song, is that it’s my second-favorite unit song, and is also the only one that Natsuki could possibly substitute in for, as she leaves in the last group in the introduction MC, and needs time to change for the songs around her unit.

M7. Ai no Iro

Ai no Iro

When the six girls that make up the unit (Sae, Yuka, Ishida (for Naruse), Meetan, Oku, and Chikano) walked out on the Stage, I freaked out.  I had been dreaming for more of the non-traditional units, meaning less of the three-girl groups.  A six girl unit meant that there were smaller units coming up, as only four girls remained, one being Natsuki.

I really like the song, and it definitely reminds me of a modern version of ‘Kataomoi no Taikakusen.’  Sae leads with the most solo lines, followed by Yuka and Naruse ‘s position.  The other three get very, very short lines, but lines all the same, which is somewhat good in my book.  I like the goddess-y costumes, as they look hp, but still stage-appropriate.  The song ends with the six laying on the floor which lowers to reveal the next unit.

M8. Dakishimeraretara

Laying on the ground is (from the left) Kuramochi Asuka, Kasai Tomomi, and the always amazing Sato Natsuki.  The song is slow and breathy.  A great song for the two girls in back to show off their vocals.

Dakishimeraretara

As you can see, Natsuki has the best outfit, as she has the shorts, and we all know how gorgeous her legs are.  I literally gasped when I saw this.  Similar to how I gasped when I saw Natsuki’s costume in ‘Shamu Neko’ at the JCB concert.

Dakishimeraretara

The solo lines are actually equal, which is huge for AKB.  The only thing Kasai gets different from the other two is the center position, a different costume, and she gets a duet line with each of her back dancers.  I’m glad Akimoto and company is recognizing their vocal talents.

Dakishimeraretara

Another time in which I gasped.  Natsuki wins… again.  I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am with this unit.  The only things that would be better were if Natsuki and Asuka’s choruses were switched, as in Shibuya AX, only the first verse and chorus is sung, meaning that we wouldn’t get Natsuki’s chorus.  On the other hand, this way means that Natsuki gets her own lyrics… which is fine by me!

Dakishimeraretara

Basically, Natsuki won at K5.  She got the worst unit in K4, but got to sub in to the all-star unit (Gomen ne Jewel) and lead the only leadable one (Hatsukoi Dorobou).  I just hope that she gets to sub in for Erena or Kana at somepoint.  I hope it’s Erena, though, as that shorter dress would look amazing on her.

M9. Mushi no BALLAD

Mushi no BALLAD

After seeing the best Natsuki-unit I’ve ever seen, I was in pretty gosh-darn high spirits.  And then I remembered that Sayaka hadn’t sang yet… and she was the only one left!

Mushi no BALLAD

The second girl in Team K’s history (and AKB48) to sing a solo as a unit song is Sayaka!  I must admit, I’m not a fan of her voice… but it’s purely a taste thing, as I really do acknowledge that it is amazing and super strong.  The rock ballad idea is great for her, and I’m glad she had a slower song, as it really does show off her voice.  If she isn’t a selected member in the next single, I’ll be very surprised.

Two more things: A) I wonder who will sub in for her.  My guess is either Yuka or Nonti.  B) She looks like Johnny Depp from ‘Pirates’ when she has the hat on.

MC2

MC2

Look!  It’s two super short Team K members, Namie Amuro, and Betty Rubble!  I mean, look at those costumes!

M10. Furishite Maneshite

Furishite Maneshite

Okay, I have to admit, my first thought when seeing this performance was “Oh no!  A killer vampire is attacking a Valentine’s Day dance in The Flintstones!”  Once I got over that, I started really liking the song.  It seems rather ‘Deja Vu’-esque, I think.Furishite Maneshite

Natsuki actually looks really good in the pink monstrosity she’s wearing.  Also, I think the colors are a throwback to the ‘Theater Pirates’ costumes of K3.

I like how instead of being the usual power-hungry Team K fare, we get something more love-driven.

M11. Umi wo Watare!

Umi wo Watare!

A5 and B4 both have a performance with an object, whether it is a teddy bear or a scarf.  Naturally, Team K needs to have one, too, so they have flags.  It’s another ‘RUN RUN RUN’ song, which I like.  It’s very kick-butt, but maintains the calm style present throughout the rest of the show.

Umi wo Watare!

I definitely see even more traffic jams happening at this point in later performances.

M12. Machikado no PARTY

Machikado no PARTY

I feel like ‘Machikado no PARTY’ sounds really similar to older AKB48 songs… and I love it!  It’s so happy and a ton of fun.  There is a lot happening on stage, and in general, the girls look like they’re enjoying it.  I feel like if this were a PV, it would look very much like ‘Boku no Taiyou’… except better.

Machikado no PARTY

At one point the girls huddle and act as though they’re talking about the audience or something.  It’s adorable.

Machikado no PARTY

There are streamers at the end.  See.  ‘Boku no Taiyou.’  Anyway, I love the song.  It’s perfect.  And it matches my original idea of vampires… except now they’re celebrating its demise after they fought it with… flags.

MC3

MC3

MC… blah blah blah… and then the second set of girls appears with the next costumes!  Look at Natsuki!

MC3

Natsuki looks amazing.  Originally, I was thinking their next song would be a boring ballad about immigration through Ellis Island… but… I was proved wrong.

M13. FAN LETTER

FAN LETTER

Just the title proves that this song will be amazing.  Then, the girls all get into a super epic formation as though they’re in a picture.  The new K5-only cloud background really helps set the stage.  It’s just gorgeous.

FAN LETTER

I literally was about to cry all through watching the performance.  It’s such a pretty scene and the song is so strong and beautiful.

FAN LETTER

And I definitely thought that Asuka was Mayu for a portion of it.

FAN LETTER

Isn’t it pretty!?  This is the perfect ballad that trumps the others going on right now by a long shot.  Personally, I wish it was done at the very end of the encore.  Then the two-shots would feature these costumes and any special songs would use them, too.

Encore

EC1. Fugiri

Fugiri

The encore begins with the girls popping out of the middle door in these sexy overall costumes.  There are two types.  Natsuki wears the better of the two (short shorts!): She’s on a roll!

Fugiri

The song is okay, and I feel like the performance really adds to it.  For some reason I think it feels particularly feline in nature, and it’s a fitting replacement for ‘Shamu Neko,’ but it can’t compare to the amazingness of ‘Shamu Neko.’

EC2. Hanpa na Ikemen

Hanpa na Ikemen

Please note the shoes.   Yes, you’ve seen them before.  They are the same ones that they wear at the beginning.  And I think SKE48 has white versions, too.  For some reason, this song doesn’t really strike me.  The chorus is cute, and now instead of cats, I’m thinking that they’re thieves.  I’m not sure what to think of the song, so I’ll just think of it as a fun stylish one.  At the end of the song they run about the stage to grab white vest-dress-things.  This makes me think that they’re robbers even more.

MC4

Hanpa na Ikemen

Natsuki continues to give out the sexy vibe.

EC3. To Be Continued

To Be Continued

The vest things are cute additions, and are definitely inspired by the white shirts in ‘Shiroi Shirts’ from B3… I’m not really sure why they added them, they make the costumes more conservative, match the song more, and also act as a bit of a costume change… but they don’t look good with the costumes underneath.

To Be Continued

I really think it’s cute how Natsuki and Ohori are put together so often.  I have to wonder if they’re good friends… but I don’t see much Natsuki on Ohori’s blog, so I doubt it.

To Be Continued

Look!  They must be Team K!  I wonder if it mentions their Team name in the song.

So!  All in all, I actually really, really like the Stage.  I’m not sure if it’s better than K4 as of yet, but it might get there.  I’m not happy about how there aren’t any solo lines in the  Team songs, and not everyone gets lines in their units, but it’s a pretty good Stage.  Everyone expected it to be a really kick-butt Stage, but I guess they decided to show off the fun side of Team K a bit more.  And I’m happy about that!

Source: Memolist

Sato Natsuki’s newest unit song “Dakishimeraretara” from K5
April 12, 2009

With Kasai Tomomi and Kuramochi Asuka.

What would Natsuki call you?
April 7, 2009

Today I learned about a way to keep wota coming back for more: a ticket to have Natsuki give you a nickname.  How amazing would that be?

Natsuki Names You!

According to Jasey of Stage48, you get more than a new Natsuki-made name: you receive your nickname on a signed card and a special 2-Shot.  All of this, plus the fun of being with Natsuki for approximately ten minutes.  All of this for just under $500 USD.  If you feel the need to send this to me, please enclose airfare as well.

Source: Yahoo! Japan Auctions

Team K 4th Stage Ends!
April 5, 2009

“Saishuu Bell ga Naru” ended yesterday, April 4th.  It had been running since the last day of May last year.  Hayano Kaoru graduated at the finale.

Team K’s 5th Stage, “Saka Agari” begins in less than a week, April 11th!

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