“We are Eye Witnesses” (of A6 finally premiering) (Team A 6th Stage ‘Mokugekisha’ text-only review)

A shorter-than-usual review from me…

M0 – Miniskirt no Yosei
M1 – Mougekisha
M2 – Zenjin Mitou
M3 – Ibitsu na Shinju
M4 – Akogare no Pop Star
M5 – Ude wo Kunde
M6 – Enjo Rosen
M7 – Itoshii no Akuseru
M8 – Hoshi no Mukougawa
M9 – Saboten to Gold Rush
M10 – Utsukushiki Mono
M11 – Ai wo Kure
M12 – Matenrou no Kyori
M13 – Inochi no Imi
M14 – I’m Crying
M15 – Zutto Zutto
M16 – Pioneer

M0 – Miniskirt no Yosei

Team A’s 6th Stage begins with the now-traditional RS unit performance.  Different from K6 and B5’s songs, Miniskirt is an actual unit used for promoting some video game or something.  I really have to wonder if they’ll rotate the RS like they do for the other Stages’ units.

The song isn’t half bad, and really echoes some of AKB’s ‘older’ discography.  I’m convinced that the instrumental is exactly the same as H1’s Idol Nante Yobanaide.  It’s obviously led by Takeuchi Miyu, which I think is silly, as I’ve still refused to accept the RS as actual Team members, and I don’t think RS should lead units.  Regardless of who else is in it.

I’m kind of disappointed that they kept the unit’s second costumes, too.  We’ve already seen them in magazine promos, and I wish they would keep them within the Stage so at least one thing is new and different in the Stage.

I also want to note that all of a sudden, the AKB theater has all kinds of new lights.  I noticed in the first few shots of the LOD that there were a bunch of random things hanging from the ceiling that I never noticed before, and once they were in use, I realized that they got two huge seven-light stadium fixtures, as well as about ten light strips.  On the LOD, I can’t really tell if the strips are supposed to put much light on the girls, or they’re just there to cover up all of the other lighting equipment, but the giant lights do a ton for the center of the stage.  I really can’t wait to see them in use for B5 and K6.

And now A6.

M1 – Mougekisha

The title song begins the Stage, albeit with a Berlin Wall news reel ahead of it.  I think that’s what it is at least… there’s a lot of protesting going on.

A crazy-good techno instrumental begins the first song with Team A lying on the floor in white jackets that are a cross between marching band costumes, mad scientist lab coats, and Nazi uniforms.  Oddly fitting?

The verses are generally full of the girls working on standing up or walking around, but the choruses have some interesting choreography.  The first chorus features the girls just standing strong with their legs spread a bit, while the stage moves down to give some movement.  The second chorus brings in actual dancing, but it’s still pretty understated.  It’s actually really fitting for the song’s powerful vocals.

The song ends with the girls forming a wall of white with their costumes, allowing the projector to show the news clips on thier bodies.  Kind of cool?

M2 – Zenjin Mitou

The second song of the setlist brings in a more conventional feel.  The girls wear a dress under their dresses, similar to B5.  I really don’t know what I think of these costumes: their kind of cool and flashy, but they also have the destructed look.  For some reason I feel like they’re kind of bland, despite how detailed they are.  They just don’t pop out for some reason.  I can’t tell colors very well on the LOD, but it certainly seems like there aren’t that many yellow/green costumes compared to the pink and blue costumes.  I kind of wonder if they’re an ode to the Nagai Hikari costume of A5, as they’re really similar, just with a second layer.  That also makes sense since the next costumes kind of match JK Nemurihime’s costumes… except sluttier.

Zenjin Mitou is kind of passable as a song, too.  It has a nice slow-ish beat, and kind of gets your head bobbing, but it’s not nearly as interesting as the previous song, and rather underwhelming as a whole.

M3 – Ibitsu na Shinju

A second costume change for the opening set brings in the plaid quota for the Stage.  I feel like these costumes are a mix of all of the bad parts of Iiwake Maybe and Locker Room Boy’s costumes… and maybe some Sonna Konna Wake de?  I just really don’t like them.  The pearls (which are there just because the song is about them) are nice, but otherwise they are not attractive.  Especially the ones that show lots of skin: they just don’t fit the sexy image for me.

Ibitsu na Shinju as a song is my favorite in the stage.  The choreography is nice, too.  The start brings in a quick bout of pointing, then into a bit of a dance break with Takamina and Mariko… though I’m not sure if Mariko remembered the moves.  Once the girls come back on stage, Haruna and Acchan get solo lines that both sound really good.  Later, Takamina and Mariko get them.  I love the music behind Acchan/Mariko’s lines: it contrasts well behind their weaker vocals.

The chorus really picks up the song and is broken up after the first phrases for a second repeat.  It sounds kind of jazz-y… but I’m not sure if that’s the right genre that I’m looking for.

The bridge begins with a super awesome sectioned-off dance break, then goes into the build-up lines of the verses, then has a few extra counts of a build-up before the final chorus kicks-in.  It’s like they wanted to throw in everything that makes a dramatic song… and it surprisingly worked.  The one thing I’d like different about this song, is if they were to sing the lyrics they sing at the end of every chorus at the very, very end of the song, instead of the chime-things.  I’d be awesome.

M4 – Akogare no Pop Star

The next song begins with a calming Acchan solo.  While her voice has been improving as of late, this didn’t really make it sound all too great.  The quiet music was the calming part.

Most of Pop Star is kind of forgettable, but the choruses are insanely catchy for me.  Especially because I could understand little bits and pieces.  Though it’s most certainly a generic song, it’s cute enough that I am really enjoying it and it’s a better filler than many songs from Team A’s previous Stage.  I can totally see this being performed in concerts.

On to the units!

M5 – Ude wo Kunde

After the world’s longest pause, we’re finally presented Acchan on one of the outcroppings on the stage.  Nakayan is on the piano, and Asuka is on stage left.  Acchan gets some lines, then Asuka gets one, then there’s an Acchan/Nakaya duet.  Acchan leads the chorus.  It’s obviously very Atsuko-centric, despite having very strong back-ups in this unit.  The second verse duets Asuka and Nakaya, and the two get lines in that chorus.

As for the performance, it’s nice that Acchan’s finally getting a ballad unit, as she’s been due for one for a while now.  Nakayan seems really pushed to the back… literally.  She doesn’t seem comfortable with her piano, and it doesn’t seem to work in this performance.  Asuka does well, and it often looks like it could just be a duet between her and the front girl for the entire song.  It might have worked better that way, anyway.

Mocchi’s costume isn’t attractive, though.  Like a cross between CANDY and Kioku no Dilemma.  And I think her shoes might actually be from that second unit.  Acchan wears something incredibly similar to her Team Dragon oufit, but dolled up to be cuter.  Nakayan gets a full-length dress.  I think AKS thinks that pianists must always wear long dresses, as Sakiko wore a maroon one at the recent Yoyogi concerts.

I have to say, I literally gasped when Acchan was walking on the ground.  That doesn’t happen often.  (Except I think something similar happens in Yuko’s unit for K6?)

M6 – Enjo Rosen

After a slightly shorter pause, Takajo and Sasshi pop out for their duet.  I honestly don’t know what to think of it.  It’s really, really idol-y and fierce at the same time.  This means I should really like it.  For some reason it doesn’t really click with me.  I think it might be how long the verses are: I like long verses, but the built up in this unit is so, so, long.  The choruses sound kind of like a commercial jingle, too.

I usually really like Sasshi, and I usually don’t really like Akicha, but here neither of them really stand out, despite how they’re getting a unit to themselves.  Maybe that’s why it the unit isn’t a favorite of mine?

I love the rising stage in the middle of the song.  It really reminds me of one of their larger concerts, and they could perform this on the catwalk or on outcroppings or a center stage or something.  It’d fit really well.

The costumes are fantastic.  Cute, but cool at the same time.

M7 – Itoshii no Akuseru

A dance between the previous duet (which reminds me of the dance before Itoshiki Natassha) brings in the first Team A solo in a Stage.  And it’s Takamina.  First off, I love that it’s a fast-paced solo, because we never get those in Stages, and I don’t like ballads.  Since it’s Takamina, it’s obviously much more energetic than others, and the costume matches.  She looks like some random character from an MMORPG, complete with this elf ear thing on her head.  Honestly, what is going on here?  And with a lightsaber.  I was giggling the entire time I watched this for the first time.

She finally takes out the sword in the bridge and flings it around.  So adorable.  So ridiculous.  And the end pose looks like a poster for an action movie or something similar.

The only girl who could sub this from Team A would have to be Haachan.  I can practically hear her in the build-up lines.  It’ll be great.

M8 – Hoshi no Mukougawa

Even after my first few listens, I didn’t really get this unit.  It’s a really quiet, ballad.  We don’t usually get those… but it sounds really nice.  I’m super-disappointed that only Haruna gets solo lines… especially since Chiichan has such a nice voice: she could really add to the song.

That said, this is essentially what I expected from Haruna’s PIGG unit, Girls-ING, to sing for their song.  Except this is a little slow.

I really feel like this song reminds me of Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?, mostly because it’s fairly smooth, but has some hip-hop instrumentals in the background throughout the song.  It matches well.

Another of my big problems with this unit is the costumes: they’re so boring and could work with just about any song.  I wish they’d be more unit-specific.  And Acchan’s unit already did the whole pastel thing.  Why do we need it twice?

M9 – Saboten to Gold Rush

Since there was a solo and a duet in this Stage, we had to get a dump unit.  Why can’t dump units be fairer with lines and everything?  Skirt, Hirari’s single version had seven girls, yet everyone got a line and it was fantastic.  Why can’t they do that sort of thing in Stages?

Mariko’s unit is kind of punk-themed, and even features Union Jack-laden accessories.  The rock-heavy beat really pulls it all together.  I love the feathers in Mariko’s hair: they remind me of Sado of Majisuka Gakuen.  And the choreography with all of the stomping and fast upper-body units fits the whole unit’s image, too.

I’m disappointed with the lack of solo lines, as this makes even more girls miss getting one for an entire Stage.  And I really wanted one for Ami!  The song’s verses are made up of mostly duets between the girls, with Mariko getting the most lines.

I feel like this song is sounds like a mix of AKB and H!P styles for some reason.  It’s fun and kind of monotonous, but retains a high-energy feel throughout its entirety.

This one might be my favorite unit, but it doesn’t have that much competition, as none were all that strong in A6.

M10 – Utsukushiki Mono

This next set of song begins with a smattering of front girls crawling on to the stage while Acchan sensually walks out from the center opening.  It all sounds really creepy and vampire-like to me, so I immediately thought of K6’s Dokogumo.  And that comparison continues for a few more songs…

Four girls get solo lines per verse, and Akicha lucks out on getting one in the first, mostly because Mariko is still changing from her unit costume.  In the second verse Nakayan gets her second solo line of the stage, while Haachan and Nakagawa get their first.  Now there’s ‘only’ six girls who didn’t get any lines in the entire A6.  Boo.  I do love that Ami and Chiichan got to share a line, though.

I love that the verses and half of the instrumental are all sultry, but then the choruses have a really beat-heavy sound to them.  And the jumpy dance cracks me up.  It doesn’t match the image I had for the song.

During the chorus, one of the four front girls of the stage gets to do a speaking part.  It doesn’t work too well, just because the volume levels are about equal on the LOD.  I imagine that live or hopefully on the CD, it’ll be mixed better and less messy.  For a while I didn’t think that Acchan would get a solo talk, but lo and behold: they did a double chorus to finish out the song and she got to be worshiped by her Team mates, complete with her getting to dance all sultry-like while her stage section is lowered and the other girls continue their little ritual.

My favorite part of the song is easily the bridge.  It starts with some Egyptian-style walking on the back third of the stage, while the lower girls do a similarly silly dance. Once the synthesizer pops back in, dancing gets even more hip-hop-y and, while it looks fantastic, I can’t help but raise an eyebrow.  So random.

The costumes for this set are red flamenco dresses… that look like they were stolen from Morning Musume’s Iroppoi Jireta PV.  And the black boots were used at the start of the stage.  And they’re not even attractive.

M11 – Ai wo Kure

This one is perhaps the least interesting song of the stage, but due to its dance beat, I compare it to Okera.  The girls get groups of four for the whole song, and even have lines divided in the chorus.

Ai wo Kure just seems really bland to me.  It would probably sound a lot more interesting if the verses were made up of solo lines or something, as it seems to get really monotonous as it goes on.

The dance break here  seems to be pretty simple before they go into the built-up lines, and honestly I’m not hearing any kind of momentum.

Maybe the lyrics are really good?  (Oh, and Chiichan loses her top, if you somehow missed it.)

M12 – Matenrou no Kyori

The third song in this set begins with a louder, more powerful opening… completing my K6 comparison.  It’s just like White Day ni, until the song actually starts.

This opening section doesn’t really have much lighting, so we can’t really see all of the most likely intense dancing going on.

Once the song began, I immediately thought of  Oogoe Diamond and Iiwake Maybe: it fits with them really well.  I think it might just be guitars or something.  It’s certainly a lighter song than the others of this set, so I kind of wish it were used elsewhere in the Stage.  Maybe in the encore or something?

M13 – Inochi no Imi

Tonight’s ballad is actually kind cool sounding.  Before the chorus, I was thinking it may even trump Fan Letter, my favorite AKB ballad.  Alas, the chorus didn’t arouse such feelings, and now I just don’t like the song.  For some reason that first line of the chorus reminds me of 10nen Zakura.

Costumes for the ballads of this set of new Team Stages have ranged from super pretty (K6) to boring (B5) and these are somewhere in the middle.  They are all pretty much the same, and since they’re marine uniforms, they just look boring on stage.  White costumes always are pretty with the right lighting, but the standard blue just doesn’t do them justice.  On the whole, the cropped tops with the high-waisted trousers look really bad on most of the girls.  Ami and Asuka are the only ones who can pull it off since they’re so thin.  Mariko doesn’t have a feminine-enough shape to bring it together.  Ugly costumes.

Between the first chorus and the second verse, they do a cute little military dance… and I could only think of the Disney Channel original movie ‘Cadet Kelly.’

M14 – I’m Crying

On to the encore… the girls stomp out onto the stage acting like they’re in ‘Thriller’ (or ‘Bad Romance’)… to music that sounds like it could be from Backstreet Boys’s ‘Everybody.’  I’m so lost already.  The Stage already had a Halloween song, they need another?

The choruses bring a bit more of a dance able beat into the mix and the choreography matches with a flapper-esque dance using only their lower legs.  And then comes in more hip-hop style, which works with the rest of the Stage’s dancing.

I’m not a fan of the costumes.  They’re a cross between Dreamin’ Girls, ‘Takeuchi Senpai,’ and the newer gray costumes that premiered last Christmas but were used at Yokohama.  They’re all destroyed and the whole time I watched the performance for the first time, I was puzzled by what they would be wearing underneath them, as the skirts are enormous.

After every chorus, the girls sing ‘I’m crying,’ and by the end they sing ‘We’re crying.’  I think the wota should throw in a new chant ‘You’re crying’ a few counts after the girls through their roses to the audience.  It would totally fit.

M15 – Zutto Zutto

A complete shift of mood happens and it’s time for a song very similar to Matenrou no Kyori, except with a solo line by captain Takamina.

For some reason I’m getting a very New Team B vibe from this one.  Maybe it’s similar to Honest Man?

I find that the ‘Hitto, Hitto’ in place of the ‘Zutto, Zutto’ in the second verse is hilarious… mostly because they start the second verse of BINGO! with the same line.  Kind of like Sakura no Hanabiratachi and Sakura no Shiori.  So similar.

M16 – Pioneer

Such a cool, somehow descriptive title deserves a good song, and we kind of get it with Pioneer.  Finally, a Team A song that sings about Team A, not AKB48.

I love how the first girls to sing are all from the first generation (and Mariko…).  I guess it could also be because they’re the most popular in the Team, but whatever.

My big complaint is that they stole ‘We are the Team A’ from Korogaru Ishi ni Nare…. or more accurately, their version from the First Concert Aitakatta shuffle performance.  Also, a bunch of the choreography seems way to similar to the Team K song.  And you know, rock is kind of Team K’s thing.  These girls should have gotten a pretty up-beat balad or something, since Team B got a cutesy fun song.

Personally, the best part of Pioneer is the pirouette right before the last chorus.  Takamina and Acchan are right in front of the panels with lights on them… I hope future performances look that cool.

So… A6.

Favorite songs: Ibitsu no Shinju, Akogare no Pop Star, Itoshii no Akuseru
Least favorite songs: Ai wo Kure, Inochi no Imi
Favorite costumes: Mougekisha, Enjo Rosen
Least favorite costumes: Ude wo Kunde, Inochi no Imi, I’m Crying
Favorite dances: Utsukushiki Mono, Ibitsu no Shinju
Least favorite dances: Pioneer, Ai wo Kure
Favorite members: Maeda Ami, Nakata Chisato

One Response

  1. I swear I thought they were going to do a costume change for Pioneer as well, those skirts are the fugliest thing I’ve seen.

    I’m annoyed at the crappy units, and also how the only girls who got lines in every song consistently were the 4 front girls. Not that the rest of the girls in stages get shafted, but here it’s TOO obvious, and it pissed me off because my favorites are now stupid backdancers *curses*

    This one is definitely my least favorite of the new stages, but I think it’s pretty solid all in all. Acchan has become a sexy beast, I was really pleased to watch her own the stage :D

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