First off, I’d like to wish a very happy birthday to the feature of this post, Nakanishi Rina.
Joined AKB48 Team A in October, 2005.
A lead singer in early songs like ‘Classmate’ and ‘Dear My Teacher.’
A member of the first set of senbatsu, Sukahira Seven, for the group’s second single, ‘Skirt, Hirari.’
Participated in widely popular units like ‘Nageki no Figure’ and ‘Glass no I LOVE YOU.’
Leading units like ‘Shinkirou’ and ‘Kikyou.’ And shuffling into ‘Kinjirareta Futari.
Starring in the first semi-successful sub-group of AKB48, Chocolove from AKB48.
Coming out with her first AV at the end of August.
Last week, an article published in a tabloid centered around an ex-AKB48 member doing AV work in the future. Immediate thoughts were dismissal of the subject and discussion concerning which member would be featured. While the article pointed to Nakanishi Rina, most believed that former members or Research Students who left or were fired rather than graduated would be in place of the aforementioned girl. After all, something like this was bound to happen: some former members tend to release gravure after their stints with the group are over, and quite a few girls coming into AKB have had a not-so idol-friendly image before joining. And of course, this combined with the fact that there have been a variety of AVs released in the past that include girls that are marketed to look as though they are current AKB members, even wearing authentic-looking costumes.
Rina will be performing under the name Yamaguchi Riko for her AV debut, and is shown wearing a school uniform with a crest that says ’48.’ Along with her name-change, her apparent measurements have changed, and more importantly her age: instead of her previously-public age of 21, she’ll be 19 for this release.
Another tabloid, Friday, released preview pictures for her PB, today. This is the same magazine which starts many rumors about idols and focuses quite a bit on their scandals. On the other hand, AKB48 has a great relationship with the company, as AKB members have been featured quite often as of late in its pages and on its cover, as well as SDN48 gettting some sort of article in this issue specifically.
Yamaguchi Riko will be releasing a nude photobook, ‘Departure’ on July 13th, and will be releasing her first video on August 27th.
My personal thoughts on this…
The first thing I saw of all of this were a set of preview pictures from the PB. It’s incredibly tastefully done, and makes me think that its just gravure, minus the clothes. Unless the rest of the PB is completely different, I can’t imagine me not liking it. She’s gorgeous, and the photos really show that.
On the other hand, I’m not so sure about the whole AV thing. Now, again, I’d be perfectly fine with it being nude gravure, but it’s being listed as AV. That means that it’ll be either solo or with a pixelated friend. And it means that it will be explicit. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Then again, it might just say that its AV, just to get people’s attention and it’ll be really tame. There’s too much that I don’t know yet to make an honest perspective on it.
As for Rina: I’m supporting whatever she chooses to do. When I joined the AKB48 fandom back in November 2007, she was the second girl I called my favorite. Right after I realized Acchan was just the main girl, there was a reason she kept catching my eye. Only later did Natsuki win me over, and that’s just because I knew I would enjoy supporting an underdog. Rina’s always been next to Natsuki for my rankings, and when she decided to graduate with the other four original Team A girls, I was devastated. At that time, her reasoning was that she wanted to go out for a solo career. Even to this day, I wish her to go down that path so I can support her doing what I want her to do. She’s been doing gravure since she left AKB, and hasn’t really mentioned a solo career, so I don’t want to say that I’ve given up wishing for a debut single from her, but I’ve certainly lost a lot of hope.
I’m interested in how this will affect current AKB48 members and future auditions for Research Students. With AKB48 riding a huge wave of popularity, there’s bound to be some controversy. A select group of members is heading out to California next week, and if you look at this from a US perspective, this is huge. Not many groups featuring twelve-year-old girls perform songs about sexual topics like AKB does, and even less groups have a formerly-popular member that will soon be featured in porn.
Again, I’ll say that I don’t know exactly what her AV entails, but I truly hope that she’s happy doing whatever she’s doing. I don’t know her personally, so maybe this is actually one of her aspirations or something, and I am fine with it and hope that she excels in the business. I know there are a few girls who have actually made careers out of AV and later became celebrities of a sort, and I think it’d be great if Rina could enjoy that success.
Rina, good luck!