NHK Hall 2009 Concert Series – ‘Why watch when you can read?’
October 2, 2009

I really hadn’t planned to review this, but I felt the urge to write an actual post for the blog again, so: NHK09.

So, 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 days in April this year.  That said:


Concert 1 (Day 1)

Honehone Waltz

Honehone Waltz

Akimoto and company decided to start off this first-of-its-kind concert series with a not very popular, anti-climatic unit song.  Mariko, Mai, Acchan, and Kojiharu are used to bring Honegumi’s only A-side a sort of ‘mature’ appeal.  Usually performed by some of the youngest in AKB, four of the most popular members of Team A, and AKB48 for that matter, don the bone-adorned tutus and full-body coverings in an attempt for comedy.  Personally, I think the quartet did a perfectly fine job and I’m sure that their fans enjoyed seeing them in such an unexpected shuffle.  However, I do wonder about who is wearing whose costume.  Did they get new ones?  None of the girls look like they could fill out Maachan’s old costume, and Mariko is notorious for getting new costumes made due to her long torso.  Then again, AKB’s costumes always tend to include an abnormal amount of elasticity so the majority of the group can somehow fit in a single size.  Regardless, according to the backstage footage included on the third disc of the set, it seems like the girls had enormous troubles learning the choreography to ‘Honehone Waltz.’  I’m not sure if it’s because they weren’t taught it by their usual choreographer and they had only Erena, Oku, (and possibly Tomo-chin) to learn it from, or if they weren’t given time to perfect the steps.  Either way, they seemed rather frightened by what looks to be some of the least complex choreography the group has ever used.

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare 1

Next up is Team K’s trademark song with oodles of ‘We are the Team K’s.  I wish that they would phase this out or something.  I understand that it’s a huge part of Team K’s identity, but I’ve never really liked the song, and it’s been in EVERY concert so far.  Team K has so many great full-Team songs to choose from that I feel could be more exciting to watch.  I am glad that they’re using the K5 encore costumes, though.  They match the anthem well.

Korogaru Ishi ni Nare 2

Oh, and there was like NO Natsuki in this performance.  Really.  That’s another thing about ‘Korogaru’: the girls don’t switch positions much, so you only get to see the girls in the front row.

Tadaima Renaichuu

Tadaima Renaichuu 1

With another mainstay of AKB, Team A starts with their A5 opener.  It’s such a great song, and such a great way to keep the energy going but continuing Team A’s ‘image.’  The lack of a full Team doesn’t hurt the performance as the song does a good job of not showcasing any members (aside from Maeda) and allowing all the girls a little chance to shine.  While they might want to change up the costumes at some point (to just about anything, really) the performance seemed pretty fresh with the new stage elements for this concert.  On that note, let me mention that I love the set up: two tiers of performance-able stage space, stairs abound, and entrances/exits in the back.  It’s so ideal for a group like AKB that can efficiently be used for a single girl’s performance or the whole lot of AKB48, SKE48, and their respective RSs.  Also, the pretty lights on the steps do a great job with their effects.

Tadaima Renaichuu 2

At first I was all “Who is that beautiful girl?” and then I was all “Oops.  It’s Chiichan.  I knew there was a reason why she’s immediately after Natsuki.

Wasshoi B!

Wasshoi B 1

Wow, they really went all out and included another Team-specific song.  That’s all right, though, since I, along with everyone else on Earth, love ‘Wasshoi B!’  The sparkly ‘Anataboshi’ costumes do not go with the song whatsoever, but it’s nice to have such pretty costumes on such as pretty stage with such pretty girls.  It all matches.  Except the song.  It’s not pretty: it’s in-your-face.  Also, I feel like it’d be nice if Team B could perform a different song immediately after this so they could carry the energy they just brought out into something other than an MC.

Wasshoi B 2

Favorite part of the song.  So cute, yet so innovative for AKB.

Te wo Tsunagi Nagara

Te wo Tsunagi Nagara

Onto SKE48.  First off, pretty lights.  Anyway, SKE continues to perform really well and impress me.  This seems to be their big promotional song before they got their debut single, and it obviously sounds very AKB and flows with the rest of the concert.  The girls all seem really excited to get to perform their own songs in their own uniforms for once, and I’m glad they’re not singing ‘Party ga Hajimaru yo’ again like they always used to do.  (As a side note, has anyone else ever wondered if the girls got to pick their partners for the song?  I’m just imagining two girls who really dislike each other getting paired up.)

Chaimu wa Love Song

Chaimu wa LOVE SONG

I love this song so much.  It’s so cute and, though I’ve yet to read the lyrics, seems so odd.  I mean, I’m guessing that they’re singing about the chimes in a love song… while singing a love song with chimes in it.  If my lyrical guess is correct, it would fit the Akimoto-mentality of songs about things idols don’t usually sing about.  Like how they’re not idols, for example.  So, the song’s great, the line distribution is questionable, and the bubbles are perfect.  Yay.  Oh, and I really wish they would switch to their costumes that I presume are underneath their school uniforms.  I mean, they have the time and the resources.  Why not?



And we’re back to ‘SKE48.’  Akimoto just seems to be so proud of himself that he was able to re-write this one song that now he has the girls perform it all the time.  While yes, it is pretty clever that he matched up new lyrics so well, the song does get boring after a while.  At first when Team KII and the RS showed up, I was wowed by their number, but then I realized that it was probably just under 30-ish girls, and I’m used to that many by now.  But they do seem to take up quite a bit of the stage.  Also, I love how the non-Team S girls’ costumes are conservative almost-plausible school uniforms while Team S has those pretty, obviously stylized variations on uniforms.  And when I say ‘love,’ I actually mean that I think it’s silly.

Kuroi Tenshi

Kuroi Tenshi 1

Naturally, Acchan’s unit gets to perform both verses of their song.  The second verse is much more climactic than the first, so I guess that makes sense, but why can’t more songs have both verses sung?  (I’m looking at you ‘Shamu Neko’ and ‘Dakishimeraretara.’)  The girls here do an excellent job and the expensive lighting really helps fill up the stage.  Personally, my favorite parts of the lighting are when the step lights are randomly white, blue, and red, almost resembling the ‘sea of headlights’ that Akicha’s solo line describes.  Also, I think it’s pretty funny when they grab Acchan by the wrists and pin her to… nothing, since there isn’t a wall in the center.

Kuroi Tenshi 2

Oh, and Fujie’s performance of this song is just magical.  You can really tell that they put her in Acchan’s unit because she’s being pushed so much.  In my opinion, she does much better in darker units rather than lighter fluffy ones like ‘Hajimete no Jelly Beans.’

Tenshi no Shippo

Tenshi no Shippo 1

A song from black angels to a song with white angels.  Aww.  Okay, this is by far the cutest unit song AKB has put out… ever.  I love how it’s so simple and doesn’t have any underlying thoughts: it’s just plain adorable.  I’m glad that Aika got the chance to perform her unit in a larger concert like this, even though it can’t possibly be all that popular.  And Yukirin is a good substitute for Gussan’s position.  I guess that since she’s one of AKB’s famed selected members now, she gets priority over other girls for filling in sometimes.  I would kind of expect Haachan to get it though, since she’s filled in a few times before.  But oh well.  Anyway, did anyone notice the lack of balloons?  This would be an excellent time to get out huge, monstrous balloons for the girls to carry before setting it afloat.  Better yet, a few stage hands could hide backstage or something and help the girls hoist one of those huge balloons they use at parades.  Maybe of a tail to match the song.  That would be creative, wouldn’t it?

Tenshi no Shippo 2

Nakayan really does get a great position in the song as it’s a three-tier unit ala ‘Hatsukoi Dorobou’ with one girl getting half the lines, then the second getting a little bit more than the third girl.  Her beautiful voice really fits with the 80s-like instrumental that pops on during her solo.  Go Nakayan!

Wimbledon ni Tsuretette

Wimbledon ni Tsuretette

First off, the line distribution in this song really perplexes me.  The lead gets next to no lines, while the other two get multiple lines during the verse.  I forget if the second verse is different, but I remember that it was odd the last time I saw an S2 LOD.  And it’s not like Tsukina has a bad voice or something.  I mean, some AKB unit songs are similar (‘Faint.’ to some extent ‘Tsundere!’ as Tomo-chin’s lines are in the often un-preformed second verse… basically Tomo-chin doesn’t get many lines), but this one completely throws me off.  It almost feels like Kumi or Sayuki lead the unit while Takai back-dances.  Weird.  Oh, and did everyone notice how different the costumes were?  Basically, it looks like the girls are all princesses of different places or something.  This is kind of similar to ‘Tenshi no Shippo.,’ as they use the same colors and both have varying costume details.  So there’s another clever transition.

Ame no Doubutsuen

Ame no Doubutsuen 1

I never noticed that the camel, currently played by Chikano instead of Imai, never got any lines in the verse and was lumped with the two leads, Erena and Kana.  That kind of makes me angry… but again, I can’t change anything, can I?  This is yet another cutesy unit making it a four-song streak that melts all of the wotas’ hearts.  I find it a bit funny that Nonti is so ‘old,’ yet she’s always in the song when Team K performs it.  Notably, during the recent Team-only tour in August, Noro performed ‘Ame’ and gave up her spot, complete with amazing solo lines, in ‘Kimi wa Pegasus’ to either Mocchi or Yuko.  I don’t know if that’s her choice or management’s, but it still happened.  Back to the song, though, I remember showing AKB to a friend of mine this summer, and when we got to this song (from the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert), she had me stop to watch it and she was amazed by just how adorable they can be.  At this point she even went to one of the four Japanese girls that were in the room and told her that she should try out for AKB and wear the penguin costume.  (The Japanese girl quickly said she would never do such a thing and laughed along with her friends at the absurdity of being a member of such a group.)

Ame no Doubutsuen 2

The Nonti-ness of this performance is wonderful, especially the part when she looses her hood and she’s just as beautiful as usual despite being in an oversized panda-themed dress.  I just wish there were more Chikano here.



I’ve never been fond of this song, but this performance really saved it for me.  The combination of the club-like spot lights and colorful dresses really made me enjoy it.  As with most idol music, it’s usually better to see performed rather than just listening to it.  Also, the performance gave a really nice sensation of the music mounting and mounting during the chorus when Haruna, Takamina, and Miichan sing their respective lines.  I hadn’t noticed that during my infrequent listens to the song.  They should probably perform a different song, though.  Maybe ‘3 Seconds’?  That would be too good.

Hatsukoi Dash

Hatsukoi Dash

WOW.  They totally shortened the song!  That was impressive.  I’m pretty darn sure that AKB hasn’t ever had one of their songs shortened to JUST the first verse and chorus.  Usually they’re way too restrictive with that sort of thing, unlike the other leading idol group who will turn singles into solos and has more medleys than you can shake a stick at.  Anyway, their mini performance is just as much fun as you might think it would be, which means that if you like Watarirouka Hashiritai, then you’ll like the song, but if you don’t, you won’t like the performance.

Yaruki Hanabi

Yaruki Hanabi

Their second half-song is their second single.  It’s just as bouncy as usual and keeps the flow from their last song going.  I’m glad that this one has a bit better line distribution than ‘Hatsukoi Dash,’ but it’s still very Mayu-centric with a hint of Aika, Nacchan, and almost no Harugon.  The one thing that makes me a little bit upset in this performance is that Aika doesn’t get to sing her solo lines in the lead-up to the last chorus.  That was my favorite part, but it wasn’t done in the concert here.  Bummer.

Kaiyuugyo no Capacity

Kaiyuugyo no Capacity 1

The second set of Team songs starts with the after-unit-section closer song from K4.  I’ve never been a huge fan of it for reasons unknown to me.  It’s very powerful and flashy, while at the same time allowing the girls’ vocals to be heard, all things that I enjoy.  Maybe this is due to the fact that I love the two songs preceeding it, and so this pales in comparison.  The performance here in a large event hall seems to add much more energy and excitement.  I like how there aren’t many opportunities to lead in the song and it tends to be a free-for-all for attention, so the girls go all out.  And the sparkly costumes help gather any attention needed.

Kaiyuugyo no Capacity 2

Natsuki got a bunch of shots here and it made me proud to be her fan.  In her quartet lines with Sae, Kana, and Ohori, you can really hear her voice, as expected.  I very, very rarely hear her sing with Kana, but with Sae, she usually stands out as they tend to harmonize weirdly, and with Ohori, Meetan’s voice generally adds a more sensual after-taste.

Joshikou-sei wa Yamerarenai

Joshikou-sei wa Yamerarenai

I think that an interesting thing here was how they brought in the ‘Itoshiki Natasha’ unit.  In a usual Stage performance, Miku, Sasshi, and Haachan don’t come onstage till the second verse since they were busy changing costumes after their MC.  Here, they kept them on stage the whole time, but just threw them in the back for most of the first verse and chorus.  I would have thought that they would sing with their groups from the second verse, but I guess not.  Also, please note how they didn’t do their little tournament at the end of the song.  I’m kind of glad this did happen, as it shortens their stage time, making room for more songs, and also means that Mayu doesn’t get yet another chance to shine, as I’m sure they would ‘rig’ who won to showcase the star of Team B.

JK Nemurihime

JK Nemurihime

I actually prefer the performance of ‘JK’ at the theater instead of this.  Here, there seems to be a lack of controlled spotlights and the entire stage is filled with white light.  It kills the coolness that the intro suggests.  I do, however, like how they took the first formation and somehow doubled it to fit onto the two Team-sized stages.  Also, I’m glad that they turned around the girls who usually face the mirrors in the theater.  It might be interesting if they kept the girls facing back, but had the monitor use the cameras from backstage to show their faces while singing.  Either way, they aren’t completely hidden as I was afraid they would be.  Anyway,  I liked this more during the Stage performances, and I think the lighting really affected the mood of the song and turned it into a really boring show.

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

Sakura no Hanabiratachi

The continuous AKB48 single collection starts with their debut indie single, ‘Sakura no Hanabiratachi.’  This performance is with the AKB48 RS and led by the five SKE48 girls that had performed their unit songs during the third concert.  Of course, they are missing Jurina, but she pops up later.  I loved watching the performance because it was full of girls that I was just a little bit unsure of their identities, and so the whole time I was excited when I figured out who was who and where they were positioned in the song.  A few short-comings that I disliked were how they weren’t wearing the costumes Team S wore during their run of S1, and there weren’t any fake cherry blossoms falling down during the last chorus.  I also just realized how weird the fact that the color purple is used to signify the song, but the costumes are in blue hues, and sakura are pink…  Whoever chose the lighting in A1 was an odd one.

Skirt, Hirari

Skirt, Hirari

Next is AKB’s famous song with up-skirts.  Performing that night were the most popular seven of the current time.  I’m guessing that if Yuko were there, she’d replace Takamina like in the JCB Hall concert from December.  My big complaint here is that they switch up this line-up so much and the original girls don’t get their place to shine.  I mean, these Team A girls are the ones that made AKB famous.  They should get their original spots.  Takamina getting no lines makes no sense whatsoever.  Also, they could have given Erena and Takamina Rina and Tomo-chin’s lines if they’re going to do it this way.  I know that in the ‘Skirt, Hirari’ single, all seven girls get solo lines, and I know that in the Stage version (pre-shuffle) all five girls get lines.  Now, when they did shuffle A1, Rina and Itano joined the original five ala the single.  Did they get their solo lines, or was it presented just like this?  There isn’t any video from those performances, so I don’t know if I’ll ever know.  Regardless, it’s stupid to leave two girls with no solo lines when it’s totally precedented that they can if they were to want them to have them.


Aitakatta 1

As their first single with a major label, ‘Aitakatta’ comes next.  Awesomely enough, they made more of the original A2 costumes, and now all of the Teams have gotten to wear them!  This makes me think that Erena and Aki may have been the only ones who never got to perform in that costume… but whatever.  They all look splendid in it.  It’s interesting to see that the performance was done by mostly less popular members.  From what I can tell, Sae is the lead girl with Sayaka, CinDy, and Kashiwagi as the other ‘leads’ if you could call them that.  Kashiwagi even gets to do the shouting part in the last chorus.

Aitakatta 2

I love how all of the girls seem just completely excited to perform this one.  It’s certainly not my favorite single, but I’ve found that it’s the one original that I love sheerly due to it’s nostalgia.  I always think back to the performance of Kohaku with all kinds of Natsuki  screen time.  Ah, those were the days when Natsuki and partner-in-crime at the time Noro Kayo were very, very close possibilities to become senbatsu.

Aitakatta 3

But yeah, super-duper energetic performance by the girls here.  It’s fun to see them run around and have a good time!

Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru

Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru 1

Finally!  Another performance of ‘Seifuku!’  They hadn’t performed it since Shibuya AX 2008.  Yeah, so almost a year and a half, and such an important single in AKB history.  It was the one that really set AKB48 apart from the other idol groups.  They weren’t afraid to take chances.  A huge reason why I’m glad they did this single collection is that this is a good way to bring new fans up-to-date.  Casual AKB fans who maybe just buy the occasional CD, maybe ’10nen Zakura’ for instance, given the time this concert was held, might not know about some of these songs that AKB can and will perform.  Especially if a fan doesn’t go to Stage performances at the AKB48 theater, they won’t know what they’re missing.

Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru 2

Oh, and they brought out the flames again.  That’s just one more thing I love about ‘Seifuku.’  Now, let me add a little rant in here.  Why on earth did Takajo Aki get Rina’s spot.  Rina has always been up there in my ranking.  Specifically, she’s so far been Natsuki’s only rival in stealing my number one postion.  This means that I generally don’t like anyone who substitutes in for her for any song whatsoever.  Examples include Yukari in what should have been Rina’s position in ‘Kioku no Dilemma,’ had she not been away from performing at the time, and Asuka in ‘Mail no Namida.’ Takamina in ‘Kikyou,’ and Miho in ‘Shinkirou’ at the Shibuya AX 2009 performance.  Now, I’m just now getting over Yukari taking Rina’s H1 and H2 positions because, after all, she is her under, and literally just within the past few days I’ve realized that Asuka was a perfectly fine substitute because if they had to choose someone, it was going to be a girl that they pushed a lot, and one with a soft, good voice.  Asuka’s one of the only ones who fits that bill (and I’ve decided that she’s destined to become on of the next front girls), so I’ve let that go.  Takamina is a great choice as she has a similarly great, though completely different voice, and Miho’s performance was pretty good, but it was saved by the fact that Chiichan subbed in for Haruna.  Anyway, I think it’d be neat if they would have chosen Mai to take Rina’s spot, as she was graduating in this concert series, and I’ve always loved her and Rina together in whatever song possible ala ‘Dear My Teacher.’  This could all be fueled by my dislike that Aki somehow got on the fast track for senbatsu-ism… Back to the concert!

Keitbetsu Shiteita Aijou

Keitbetsu Shiteita Aijou 1

First fire, now smoke?  I love reoccurring extras!  The second of the dark singles, brings Natsuki back to the stage!  I’ve always had some sort of respect for the song, but it’s never been one of my favorites.  Sure, the lyrics are good, the PV is wonderful, the music is interesting, and the cast is superb, but it’s just never clicked with me, similar to how I never paid attention to Yuko till relatively recently.  (On the topic of Yuko, it looks like Asuka got to sub again.)

Keitbetsu Shiteita Aijou 2

Natsuki got a fairly okay amount of screen time here compared to previous performances.  In the PV she was never focused on at all, and was only shown in the background in the dance shot, usually behind the less popular senbatsu, and a few times in the story scenes, notably with Rina, Yuka, and a cell phone.

Keitbetsu Shiteita Aijou 3

She even got to be the first girl shown on the last ‘dareka.’  That actually means something to me.  How sad.  But, that makes me remember a review of a single song from a Hello! Project Wonderful Hearts concert where they actually counted close-ups of members. That sounds like it might be fun…



Comes out to cheer the gloomy corner of AKB48 single history, this time with pretty much the original cast of the first Kenkyuusei shows.  I think that because I happen to love a ton of the girls that are part of this generation, I enjoyed this performance fully.  I just wish that Asuka could have performed here to make it as perfect as possible.  I’m not sure who else would need to be present to make it a full Team, but I have a feeling that Deguchi Aki would have to be here, and then cut a few of the newer girls, but I don’t know who.  The addition of ex-RS, now Team S member Nakanishi Yuuka was an excellent choice since I never saw her perform with the other girls.  In this performance the girls get to wear the PV dresses and I couldn’t be happier about this.  It would be completely possible to do a complete A4R-Kenkyuusei show and just use the ugly casual outfits that they use in the Stage performance, but here they were able to wear my favorite of the BINGO! costumes (the others being the NHK07 costumes and the H1 costumes) in all their colorful glory.


Fujie looks incredible and shares her lines in the verse with one of the RS graduates of the night, Uriya.


Chiichan takes Mariko’s position.


And Chikano just looks darn adorable.  I really want to go study who took who’s spots during the days this was performed.  I know there is a thread at Stage48 which I think I made that has all of this information in it (I didn’t come up with it all, someone (Jasey?) gave it to me.)

Boku no Taiyou

Boku no Taiyou 1

New party dresses!?  That’s right, a few of the dresses were used in the ‘Boku no Taiyou’ PV, but a bunch are new!  I’ve always wanted to see AKB perform the song in those dresses, so this was a great performance for me.  Even better: there’s Natsuki!  This line-up features only one senbatsu of the single, Sayaka.  The other seventeen girls seem to be the non-ex-RS and non-senbatsu of ‘Yuuhi.’  I’m not a big fan of the H1 line distribution, though, as it seems like twelve-ish of the girls sing, while the others just dance until the chorus.  I’d prefer that all of them get spots in the chorus to sing, or half or less of them.

Boku no Taiyou 2

The three solo lines are sung by Aika, Harugon, and Nacchan.  The thing I love about this is that these three are the non-Mayu parts of Watarirouka Hashiritai.  Mayu might have gotten way more lines in those two singles they performed earlier, but now these girls are leading another single.  It just made me feel happy for them, as despite being selected for a sub-group, they are still always overshadowed.

Boku no Taiyou 3

Natsuki’s performance was great.  I’m not sure, but is her dress Mariko’s PV dress, or is it a new one?  The back looks extra-weird.  Either way, I’m glad that she performed in the song, despite me not thinking that she would get to.

Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?

Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?

The third single in a row with the PV’s original costumes is ‘Yuuhi’ with nearly all the senbatsu members.  Yuko was getting over surgery at the time, so she only participated in MCs at the concert series.  Kashiwagi replaced her for this song.  One thing I love about ‘Yuuhi’ is how calm and easy it is, yet it still has a danceable beat and is interesting to listen and watch.  The school-girl-meets-gogo-dancer-meets-plaid costumes are a great little touch with their boots that apparently leave skid marks.  I honestly can’t say much about this performance as it’s rather typical, even though they haven’t performed it in concert like this before.  It’s a nice moment of rest during the medley.

Romance, Irane!

Romance, Irane! 1

‘Romance, Irane!’ was the first single I was really around for as an AKB fan.  Technically, I think ‘Yuuhi’ was released after I learned of AKB and joined Stage48, but over that entire month I wasn’t really paying attention to the group and I would just listen to their music and some of their PVs, similar to all the other artists I liked at the time.  AKB48 was the first musical interest that actually evolved into a fandom for me.  I remember when information was slowly leaking out about ‘Romance.’  First we found out the title and that it was the first song from H2.  A Stage48 forum member told us that it was “like Seifuku on steroids.” Then we received rips from the theater and the radio.  I listened to the song non-stop for a while, keeping it on loop while I did my nightly crunches.  I wasn’t a big fan of the song to start with, but I slowly ended up liking it more and more.  Its disco-like vibes, powerful choruses, and harmonic verses are one of my favorites, with me eventually learning some of the choreography and most of the lyrics, studying the costume distribution (Acchan’s has a row of flowers across the bust, Itano and Nozofisu’s has a silver belt, and Hana has extra ruffles on her gold costume; there are six different kinds of costume sets; and there are three possibilities of what the girls wear under their boots: white socks, purple stockings, and nothing visible), and learning about the lyrical structure of AKB songs.  I love how dramatic it is and how lavishly ‘Romance, Irane!’ is presented.  This concert’s performance was nothing to laugh at: perhaps my favorite of the shows it’s been in.

Romance, Irane! 2

From all the concert reports I read, everywhere said it was Maimai with Team 2.  This is definitely not the most complete information, as it’s actually Maimai, Mariko, Yukari, and Sayaka from the senbatsu, Natsuki, Nonti, and Yuka from Team 1, and then whoever is left from Team 2 and the vast majority of Team B.  Although, yes, I do love that Natsuki gets to sing in a trio due to the H2 set-up of lines, I do wish that they would break from this format and add in Team B in the future so they aren’t just stuck dancing in the back.  Maybe since Team B has participated in the G-Rosso shows, they’ll change this in future performances.

Romance, Irane! 3
I loved the different girls singing taking the senbatsu lines.  Notably Asuka and Meetan taking Acchan and Kojiharu’s lines.

Romance, Irane! 4
One idea that I personally think would be cool for concerts with ‘Romance’ directly before ‘Baby!’ would be to have the girls wear the costumes for ‘Romance, Irane!’ with their costumes for ‘Let’s get Ato 1cm’ underneath like they do in H2, and do a quick change between songs.  The golden two-pieces would match ‘Baby!’ perfectly!  But, these NHK08 party dresses are also pretty gosh-darn awesome.  Also a great choice for the songs.

Baby! Baby! Baby!

Baby! Baby! Baby! 1

AKB’s second completely summer-inspired single appears next.  Guess what, I have another story.  I gave one of my dance teachers a CD of various songs, and this one happened to be on it.  She ended up liking it, and when one of the jazz classes she taught needed a song for our spring recital, the students voted and ‘Baby! Baby! Baby!’ was declared as the winner.  That’s right, AKB can appeal to tween girls.  Who knew?

Baby! Baby! Baby! 2

As per usual with all-AKB performances of this single, all of the girls stay on one section of the stage and there are tons of traffic jams and just general closeness happening on stage.  Maybe they’ll re-work this?  I happen to love the end of this performance with Jurina completely stealing the camera away from Takamina.  It’s like my favorite front girl is replaced with an eleven-year old girl.  Oh wait, that’s not an over-statement or anything.

Oogoe Diamond

Oogoe Diamond

‘Oogoe’ is another cornerstone in the new AKB48 discography.  It’s the first single with their current label, King Records.  When it was first announced, there was much speculation on whether or not this would be a darker or more powerful single.  As it turns out, it ended up being more energetic and stronger than we expected, and it also featured a few things I felt would be essential to a new first single.  A) It would be timeless.  Songs with too much of an emphasis on one topic tend to get old very quickly.  B) It would reflect the current AKB.  ‘Oogoe’ features an all-new front-girl, a much more compex-sounding instrumental, more intricate choreography, and more interesting line distribution.  C) It would be the new ‘Aitakatta.’  While it has yet to replace this fan-favorite, it has all the fundamental workings of the famous single: a repetitive word “Aitakatta/Daisuki.” lyrics about confessions of love, a mode of transportation is referred to, and trademark choreography.  I think it was a rather successful release.  This concert’s performance is great.  Besides the fact that the girls in back get to do next to nothing as usual, the performance is fun to watch.  My only question is, “What on earth are the Kenkyuusei wearing!?”  That’s literally what I was thinking the entire time I first watched the DVD.  During that viewing, I paused it multiple times to try and guess which costume they could possibly have on: “‘Wagamama na Nagareboshi’?  ‘Tanjoubi no Yoru’?  No, they’re only white.  ‘Virgin Love’?  No, they’re tiered.  ‘Daisuki’? No, they’re simpler.”  Seriously, I was completely perplexed as to where these costumes came from.  I gave up and decided that they were new.  (Actually come to think of it, are these from the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert?  I seem to remember the Moeno wearing something similar…)

10nen Zakura

10nen Zakura 1

Both verses of ’10nen Zakura’ are performed, presumably because they had yet to have been done in a big concert before.  For those taking score, ‘Aitakatta,’ ‘BINGO!.’ ‘Romance, Irane!,’ and ’10nen Zakura’ were the only singles in the continuous single collection to have both verses performed.  Again, the song is done in a three-tier performance with senbatsu and substitutes on the lower layer, other members on the middle layer, and RS at the top.  At least this way they aren’t squished.  One thing I hope for in a future concert is for ‘Oogoe’ and ‘Zakura’ to be done in school uniforms for the first time.  I mean, they are school-themed, not princess party dress-themed.

10nen Zakura 2

Natsuki was given a semi-close-up approximately once.  I felt the need to include a capture of her, despite her looking less-than-excited.  Yui behind her looks poised to eat her.  Watch out.

10nen Zakura 3

Oh no!  There’s a Nacchan down!  I repeat, a Nacchan down!

Dareka no Tame ni – What Can I Do For Someone? –

Dareka no Tame ni 1

For the first time in a multi-Team concert, AKB performs A3’s ballad.  I like the white costumes used during the Stage performances, but this is okay too.  I’m glad they’re finally getting to use these songs, as every AKB Stage has had at least one ballad.  I’m hoping that ‘Dakedo….’ is used at some point.  I have to wonder if they’re saving that for a super special graduation, though.  Not that this series doesn’t have a super special graduation or anything…  Now, I’m one of those people who usually don’t like ballads, so while this one is very nice and the performance is beautiful, I really can’t say it strikes me as that amazing.

Dareka no Tame ni 2

Now, I’m trying to figure out if the audience is singing along during the chorus, or if it’s just the recording.  A concert hall-filling choir of wota gives me a rather cute picture in my head.


AKB Sanjou!

AKB Sanjou! 1

After AKB left their original major music label, a bunch of songs were made that in my opinion seem to mirror previous fan favorites.  As previously stated, there are the similarities between ‘Aitakatta’ and ‘Oogoe Diamond.’  More of the songs that I feel could almost seem like re-made versions are ‘Sakura no Hanabiratachi’/’10 nen Zakura,’ ‘Tanjoubi no Yoru’/’Namida Surprise!,’ ‘Aozora ni Soba ni Ite’/’Sakura Iro no Sora no Shitade,’ ‘BINGO!’/’Baby! Baby! Baby!,’ and ‘Wasshoi B!’/’B Stars.’  Two songs that I think will be released later are new versions of ‘Dear My Teacher’ and ‘Virgin Love.’ Here, I feel like ‘AKB Sanjou!’ was created to replace the A1 encore song ‘AKB48.’  Obviously the fact that they both have the group’s name in their names helps, but the over-riding theme of AKB being awesome is present in both, as well as the fact that they don’t perform ‘AKB48’ in their concerts anymore, but they do perform this new version.  Lyrically, the songs help generate an overview of where AKB is in its career.  ‘AKB48’ presents the girls as new and wanting to bring in and keep audiences while ‘AKB Sanjou’ depicts the girls as powerful and able to work through anything.  Both are acceptable summaries of the girls in the respective eras of AKB’s history.

AKB Sanjou! 2

The scrim was a nice touch to begin the song.  Similar to the blinds at the AKB Theater, the diffused light looks much better and adds to the performance.  It’s also much more climactic.  Yay for good decisions by AKS!

AKB Sanjou! 3

Oh no.  The girls are split up incorrectly again.  I don’t like when the majority of the group is in front and then a few are in back.  I’d prefer it to be split in half, or more people in back.  I don’t like it when the chances of being in front are better than being in back because then it would just suck to be one of the few chosen to be in the back.  I think I talk about this philosophy too much…

AKB Sanjou! 4

The kanji says “kamisama” or “god” if you hadn’t heard yet.

Hikouki Gumo

Hikouki Gumo 1

AKB’s new flag song introduced in the last NHK concert fits right in here.  The lines are split up by Team in an even-is manner.  More specifically, A/A/A K/K/K B/B B/B A/K/B/A.  Please note that Team B gets an extra set of lines than what is the case in Team A concerts, and Team A gets an extra line in the break-down.  By the time the chorus hits, the RS and SKE48 members are back on the stage for the encore.

Hikouki Gumo 2

I’m anxious to see Natsuki in the Hikouki Gumo PV coming out with the release of ‘RIVER.’

(Uriya and Saotome Graduation Ceremony)

RS Graduation 1

Originally I wasn’t going to do little summaries of these MC-like sections, but now I broke down and I’ll do really, really short ones.  The first concert of the trio features Research Student Uriya Akane and Team-B-member-turned-Research-Student Saotome Miki’s graduations.  First, Uriya Akane announces her graduation.  I don’t know how many of the other girls knew this happened, but I think most of the RS knew this was coming since there were many pictures of her with another RS or two on the AKB RS FC blog.  There were theories outside of AKB, but they were of course just rumors.

RS Graduation 2

Next, Uriya runs back on stage to say that she’s graduating, too, but everyone knew that already, so it’s more of a surprise appearance similar to what Nozofisu does in the third show.  It’s interesting to note that these are the first two RS to get such nice graduations.  It kind of makes sense though, as Uriya was a first generation RS, and Saotome belonged to Team B in the good old days.

RS Graduation 3

Uriya gets some flowers via Sae.

RS Graduation 4

Saotome (a Sato Natsuki fan, she even yelled “Sato” and “Natsuki” once when it was her turn for the shout in ‘Kiss Shite son Shichatta’ in one performance) gets her flowers from her former unofficial Team captain, CinDy.  Their relationship is so cute here.  It’s so respectable and heart-warming at the same time.

RS Graduation 5

While the two RS graduates talk, Sayaka runs backstage and arranges for the instrumental of ‘Aitakatta’ to be put on so they don’t leave with a sour note.  The graduates get to announce it.

Aitakatta (Encore Ver.)

Aitakatta Encore Ver 1

This uplanned ‘Aitakatta’ is a fun one to watch, as none of the girls are quite sure what to do.  Team B members all rush to Saotome at different times to wish her farewell, while everyone who had worked with Uriya before visited with her, including ex-RS Nakanishi Yuka.  The graduates of course got the speaking part in the chorus.  Not that that was really planned.

Aitakatta Encore Ver 2

This was such a cute impromptu performance of AKB’s famous up-beat debut single.  I’m glad that they had enough time that first night to do something like this… (And that right there is called foreshadowing.)

Concert 2 (Day 2)

Nagisa no CHERRY

Nagisa no CHERRY 1

For the first time ever, ‘Nagisa no CHERRY,’ the first unit Acchan led, and the unit that is used to promote each Team’s most popular member, is used for comedic purposes.  At the time CinDy was the only original Team A member to not be a selected member in a PV.  While she finally has ala ‘Iiwake Maybe,’ during her stay in AKB48, she was always hoping for a position within the senbatsu.  Here, she actually takes Acchan’s position, and even better: you get to see Acchan and her substitutes getting stuck with some of the worst positions in a unit ever.  I kind of wish that they would have included Mayu, but after the next song, I’m glad they didn’t.  Also, if they were to include Mayu, I’d hope they would include Reina, too, since she has filled in for Mayu when Mayu was busy during B2.  That way they could have all of the Teams represented, A, K, B, S, ex-RS.  Team KII hadn’t started their first Stage yet.

Nagisa no CHERRY 2
It’s cute how CinDy really goes all out here.  You can tell that she’s just awe-struck to be leading such a famous unit.  The fact that now the front girls are stuck behind her rather than the opposite way arround just adds to it.  If you didn’t notice, Jurina took the back position, which means she gets the center during the bridge.  This position is usually given to the best dancer of the blue girls.  Jurina obviously deserves that position.

Nagisa no CHERRY 3

After the song ends, CinDy stays on stage and laps up all of the attention.  Suddenly, the rest of Team B comes out with their costumes for ‘Shounichi’ on.  CinDy is wearing the wrong outfit!  Wait… could this be yet another first-ish for AKB:  A girl wearing the wrong costume in a song?



Other than CinDy’s costume, Team B’s most popular song is done just about exactly like it does any other time it is performed.  I’m glad that they’re back to the original costumes rather than the A5 opener costumes they wore at JCB.  These just fit much, much better.  Also, I’m glad to see Uchida take up a spot, as she’s had the RS position in B4 since the Stage began.  All of the pretty, colorful lights help the song almost seem like it’s at the AKB48 Theater as they fill up the stage.  One great thing about ‘Shounichi’ is that it really pumps up the crowd.  There are spots for mixes and chants and everything galore.  Even the simple dance is a great one to get the audience excited and moving.  And I love the lyrics.  They’re so touching and heart-warming and fun and perfect for Team B.  Sadly, the lyrics depicting the girls working hard to be as awesome as their seniors is still true today as Team B is least revered.



I’ve decided that Team A has ownership of the Himawari Stages.  Here, they perform a song from H1, and in the August Team A concert, they performed a few from H2.  Regardless, here they did what must be a fairly popular, as I think it probably got a good spot at one of the Shibuya AX concerts, and it was performed at the Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon concert last summer with a smattering of random Team A and Team K girls.  Personally, the shiny winter-themed costumes and lack of pretty lights really brings this down a notch.  On the H1 DVD, I always love watching it because while it may not be the most interesting song, it’s a fun one to watch being performed and it has a nice melody.  If I remember correctly, Rui of Stage48 was one of the women picked to be in the audience of the ‘Oogoe Diamond’ PV, and when she described the song, as no one had heard it yet, she said it was something like ‘RUN RUN RUN.’  Most of the time after that when we had gotten a leaked version of ‘Oogoe Diamond,’ I compared it to ‘RUN RUN RUN’ and liked the H1 song more.  But now I like ‘Oogoe’ more… so…

Melos no Michi

Melos no Michi 1

Next up is Team K’s powerful K4 song, ‘Melos no Michi.’  I have to confess that I’m not that big of a fan of the song.  The only things I really like about it are that Nonti gets to have a fight with Sae in the very beginning and that Natsuki’s voice is really easy to pick out from her group.  In general, though, I think it’s a bit generic.  I mean, it’s super powerful and high energy and has great vocals, but it doesn’t have a defining factor like other songs have.  It just kind of seems bland to me.

Melos no Michi 2

They used the ‘Hitei no Requiem’ costumes!  Although I don’t like how the red fabric doesn’t go onto the back of the costumes, I love these.  They’re so shiny and skimpy. Oddly enough, those are some excellent qualities of a costume in my opinion.

Melos no Michi 3

Natsuki is just fierce.  Period.

Melos no Michi 4

As usual, Natsuki looks gorgeous here.  You can really tell that she’s lost some weight since the K4 days.  She might even be near Sae-sized, as the measurements currently released say she should actually be skinnier than Miyazawa.

Melos no Michi 5

Oh, and Yuko, who’s re-covering from surgery, joins Team K for the MC with Aika’s ‘Tenshi no Shippo’ costume!

Glory Days

Glory Days 1

Jurina gets to show off her unit along with Kuwabara and Nakanishi.  This one is totally dance-based, and I really think that the composition is very much different from AKB48’s music.  SKE’s too, I guess.  I love the yellow-ness of the costumes and how flamboyant they are.  The lighting throws in even more yellow at the beginning of the chorus with the entire stage being engulfed in yellow spotlights.

Glory Days 2

My favorite part has to be the bridge with its robot dance-break.  It’s so random and fits the music.  The girls do a good job with it, and give it a slightly better ranking in my mind than Kuwabara’s turns at the end.  But, you know, she has the best of the three’s solo dances.

Pajama Drive

Pajama Drive 1

Moving right along from one front girl to another, ‘Pajama Drive’ is one of my favorite units, except for the lines distribution in the second verse, because it blends cute voices with strong music.  Kind of similar to Kasai in ‘Maria.’  Though we got Acchan, Kana, and Ayaka in the last NHK Hall concert, now we get the un-shuffled cast of girls.  Here, the over-the-top music and lighting help set a great tone for the song.

Pajama Drive 2

I love Harugon’s costume.  I would totally wear it.  Seriously.  Buy one for me.  Good choice from the wardrobe of pajamas used in B3 for the song.

Kimi wa Pegasus

Kimi wa Pegasus 14

I kind of forgot how amazing ‘Kimi wa Pegasus’ is before doing screen captures.

Kimi wa Pegasus 1

It’s intense.

Kimi wa Pegasus 2

Like woah.

Kimi wa Pegasus 3

I guess I just don’t have words to describe it.

Kimi wa Pegasus 4

And Natsuki’s in it… and it’s one of the two amazing units that she’s been selected to participate in.

Kimi wa Pegasus 5

I wish they would re-record the vocals for this song.

Kimi wa Pegasus 6

I mean, the girls had amazing voices back when this was done, but I think that by now, their voices should be off the charts.

Kimi wa Pegasus 7

Natsuki looks spectacular in this performance.

Kimi wa Pegasus 8

Also, I really wish they would have performed this at Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon just because it was raining.

Kimi wa Pegasus 9

It would be just so climactic it would be incredible.

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Oh, and random: my dream is for these girls perform ‘Kimi wa Pegasus’ in ball gowns or even the ‘Ai no Moufu’ dresses so they can be princesses once and not just princes/pirates/quakers.

Kimi wa Pegasus 12

I think that would be super neat.

Kimi wa Pegasus 11

Don’t you?

Kimi wa Pegasus 13

Yay for Natsuki!  Go!  Go!


Tsundere! 1

I’m a huge fan of this unit.  Tomo-chin had been getting three sexy/strong units in a row, and finally she got one that fit her personality perfectly.  Not really cute, but not really sexy, not really cool, but not really kiddish.  It’s just so Tomo-chin.  The costumes are crazy puked-up neon collections of accessories and gal clothing.  Tomo-chin’s heels add a touch of her attitude compared to the other girls’ boots.  I’ll also say that no one who subs in for her gets to wear her heels and is stuck with boots.  I think it’s interesting how with the line distribution, Tomo-chin’s longer solo line in the second verse isn’t performed at these large scale concerts, but only Amina’s in the first and Rie’s in the build-up.

Tsundere! 2

Rie and Amina make great supports, too.  Rie has a very consistent and confident voice, and Amina… sings, too.  She sings in her very own special way.  I’m in the camp that likes her voice, as it’s very, very pitchy, but at the same time it seems controlled.  I love how before the first chorus in the section when Rie sings, then Itano adds on, and finally Amina pops in there, Amina’s voice totally throws off the expected sound and you can hear way higher than the other two.  It’s just so cute.  It’s these little things like Amina’s voice (and I’m sure her wota-ness as well as rich fans) that can catapult a girl in the election to a better spot.

Junai no Crescendo


I love the costumes used in this song.  They’re pretty midnight blue bodices with pink skirts and an overlay of blue tulle.  The details like the pink straps I think really make the outfit.  I don’t really know what they were designed to look like, but they look kind of witch-like to me.  Anyway, the performance was pretty good.  I was disappointed that Kasai was in this again, as she’s already been shuffled in here.  Nito sounded good and Sasshi did a great job to boot.  Sadly, that last solo line in the dead space before the second chorus was not nearly as good as Kashiwagi’s from the NHK08 concert.  But that one was pure gold and I don’t really expect anyone to live up to it.  I want to note that I still don’t understand how Moeno and Sasshi are paired up so often.  And usually Rie is in there, too.  That trio is resembles each other so much it astounds me and still gives me trouble figuring out who’s who when watching them.  Thank goodness Moeno dyed her hair!

Ame no Pianist

Ame no Pianist 1

I really need to watch an S2 LOD again… (I may or may not have a clue what two of their names are… but I know that I used to.) Anyway, great song.  Again, it feels very not-AKB.  Similar to ‘Glory Days.’  Luckily, though, it isn’t AKB, but SKE.  I can’t wait to see shuffles of some of these unit songs.  I’ve found that I love ‘Ame no Pianist’ due to… the girl on the right’s voice… and the fact that they mention “Chopin.”  I have very little understanding of who “Chopin” is, but I know he was a famous pianist or composer or something.  The point is that I actually heard the mangled name of the European musician within the lyrics.  I was proud.

Ame no Pianist 2

One thing I like is the bridge.  The girls go all mad-scientist-meets-an-organ with their dancing.  It’s very all-out like the robot dance in ‘Glory Days.’  One thing I don’t like are the costumes.  They just look really unbalanced or something.  I’m not sure.  Rena’s is definitely the best, though.  Maybe they all need corsets?  I don’t know.  And the long skirts are really off-putting.  And the awesome boots of the two that aren’t the Matsui don’t match the costume at all.  Oh, and the lighting was all off.  The S2 LOD in the AKB Theater had really nice lighting, but this was completely generic.  Boo.   I like how I didn’t really talk about the performance.  (It was fine.)

Glass no I LOVE YOU

Glass no I LOVE YOU

Bah.  Bad casting.  Acchan shouldn’t be in this.  This is the non-Acchan song.  I’ve always thought of this as the every-front-girl-but-Acchan song, as it really used to be that way.  But they ruined it.  Erena’s perfect here, as she fits the bill for a non-Acchan member and she hasn’t performed in it.  I think Miho performed this at Natsumatsuri Hibiyaon… but I’m not sure.  I hate it when bloggers don’t do their research when writing something, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it takes too long to find the DVD and check.  So we’ll assume she was in it.  That means that I don’t like her in it here because I hate repeat shuffles.  Kashiwagi’s new… I think.  So that means she’s fine. So yeah, bad group here.  Only half get the okay from me.  Anyway, it seems like all of the girls from AKB love this song, even though very few foreign fans like it.  Usually their enjoyment of the song is derived from the obnoxiously pink and fur-trimmed costumes.  I guess that’s a valid reason then.  Also, please note that Acchan doesn’t get her usual lead position.  She gets Rina’s, which makes sense since they always tended to share lines.  (And that makes me wonder if Rina had stayed for longer if she would have subbed for Acchan in ‘Kuroi Tenshi’ in a shuffle concert.)  Anyway, the girls do perfectly fine, despite my dislike of the cast choices.  I like how this is definitely more of a “Let’s have RSL talk about AKB songs and who’s in them” instead of a review.  My excuse is that most people know a lot of these songs anyway.

(Insert No Sleeves and Watarirouka Hashiritai)

Squall no Aida ni

Squall no Aida ni 1

Yay!  Another good song!  Even though there aren’t any umbrellas here, the girls put on a great show.  The lyrics about a boat house and a sudden summer rain are oh so cute and really fit with the un-official Team A image of being cute and pretty.  In this performance, I love the entrance of half the Team from the middle opening just casually walking forward.  That way, it seems to be much more exciting when they start dancing.  And when I say dancing, I mean when they start walking around with stylized arms and shoulders and sporadically hopping around.  It’s just cute.

Squall no Aida ni 2

Strut it Chiichan (and Mariko)!  I’m so glad they changed the choreography from the original.  This is so much more exciting.

Squall no Aida ni 3

The sparkle meter is off the charts.  The combination of the sequined dresses and the rain drop-inspired lights blow my mind.

Shamu Neko

Shamu Neko 1

My favorite K4 song strikes again!  (And I wish that position above made it to the DVD cover.  It is perfect.)  I love how this song seems to be addressed to and lead by Erena, but the lead vocals are by some of the best singers in Team K: Nonti, Ayaka, Natsuki, and Asuka.  The song started out fine, with the ‘Tenohira’ outfits.  I loved when they used the senbatsu costumes from Kohaku in the JCB Hall concert (mostly because Natsuki’s body was /is ravishing), but these seem like they’re nice and updated school uniforms from the K4 encore ones, so I like these two.

Shamu Neko 2

Anyway, after Nonti sang, I was ready for Ayaka to sing, but alas, some weird girl with a nicely proportioned body and a circular head started singing.  At first I was all “Where’s Umechan!?” but then I realized she was absent due to her other job.  Then I was like “Who’s she, then!?”  And then I realized that it was in fact Sumire.  And I calmed down.

Shamu Neko 3

I wish they would have done both verses so Natsuki could sing her amazing solo line (and you know, Asuka, too).

Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru

Suifu wa Arashi ni Yume wo Miru

“Ah!  Magical fairies of destruction!  Whatever shall we do?”  Seriously, who picked these costumes for this song?  Their hands must be slapped.  I wonder if they feel ridiculous, or they think they’re part of Milky Way.  Probably the latter… because they might as well me.  The costumes may confuse me, but the performance is great, especially the section where they come into the rank pyramid.  I still think that my favorite version of the song would be the one from the last NHK Hall concert with the ‘Two Years Later’ costumes.  It seemed more appropriate.  Now, if only they had sailor costumes to fit the song. (Oh wait!  They could just use the new Team A concert costumes!)

(Insert AKB48 Continuous Single Collection)

Nante Suteki na Sekai ni Umareta no Darou

Nante Suteki na Sekai ni Umareta no Darou 1

One of my favorite AKB ballads of all time.  Probably my favorite right behind ‘FAN LETTER.’  It has some of the most calming music and lyrics and it’s such a great song in so many ways.  It’s a shame A4 might never be released.  I’m kind of disappointed by this one, to be honest.  I pictured there to be much more room for the girls to wander around, probably onto the stairs or something.  They’re all so compact here.  Also, I’d prefer they wear a simple outfit like the RS.  These are just too much.  Also, I’d prefer that Team A didn’t lead.  How about giving everyone else a chance?

Nante Suteki na Sekai ni Umareta no Darou 2

Bubble power!

(Insert Encore)

(Note lack of encore performance of ‘BINGO!’)

Concert 3 (Day 2)

Amai Kokansetsu

Amai Kokansetsu 1

The third concert opens up with Ohori’s solo single song, now a fan favorite.  Just as she turns around, it is revealed that it is Maimai, not Ohori in the cowboy-inspired get-up.  I was thrilled when I heard that she who had previously been the “sexy bunny” of Team A got this solo, as she really hadn’t been in many sexy songs in her career in AKB.  Just Kiss wa Dame yo, and that’s really not too inappropriate.  I think it kind of sucks for Ohori with her solo being used to help celebrate someone else’s graduation, but she seems to be proud of Mai and is happy for her to perform it.  Now this makes me wonder if this opens up other sub-units to shuffling (Chocolove, No Sleeves).

Amai Kokansetsu 2

I have to say that I’ve always loved Mai’s voice.  It’s a really nice balance between being mature and light, and she can work with it in so many ways to fit many situations.  Her performance here was outstanding, and I think all of her fans were proud.

Saishuu Bell ga Naru

Saishuu Bell ga Naru 1

I guess they tried saving some of the best recent songs for the end.  K4’s title song brings in Team K and a certain amazing Kenkyuusei Suzuki Mariya!  I love how this is not only a very energetic song, but it also has a great melody going for it: something I must hear before liking a song.  Unrelated, but I didn’t notice how much screen time Sae had in this performance till now.  I guess with Yuko gone, she gets her camera time.  Because, you know, it works that way.

Saishuu Bell ga Naru 2

I’m kind of sad that they didn’t perform both verses, but it certainly would make this last show go over time (more so than it did.)  This way, Natsuki didn’t get to sing her duet line with Meetan.  Oh well.

Shiroi Shirts

Shiroi Shirts 1

Bleh.  This is not the song to continue with.  Just about anything would fit better.  They should have saved Shounichi for this concert.  Dislike of the song aside, I can’t get over how they wore the least attractive Team B costumes to date.  I mean, I understand that yes, they do have white shirts on, but it does not fit.  It’ be cute if they just wore any random Team B costume with the ‘Shiroi Shirts’ white shirts over them.

Shiroi Shirts 2

I like how the dancing and fierceness of the previous song contrasts so much against this one, as they seem to just clap, wave, and pose the majority of the song.  Seriously, I don’t know what AKS was thinking here.  The bow at the end seriously cemented my thought that this should not be at the start of a concert.

Dear My Teacher

Dear My Teacher 1

And after that foul selection comes one of AKB’s best songs period!  (Natsuki says this is her favorite song, but that’s probably just because she has a cheer set up in the second verse just for her!)  This really is the quintessential Team A song.  Not ‘Sakura no Hanabiratachi,’ not ‘Skirt, Hirari,’ but instead the one about teachers and students… getting along really, really well.  Also, it fits well with Mai’s graduation as she has so many lines in this shortened version.  Interesting to note: they didn’t use any RS, even though the other performances used them to fill up empty spots in Teams.

Dear My Teacher 2

I don’t want to rant about how Rie got Rina’s part, so I’ll make it quick.  Rie is great.  I’m glad she’s getting pushed so much, but I’d prefer Chiichan gets Rina’s lines.  Seeing that Chiichan gets Ohe’s lines is great, so instead, how about Reina?  Her voice would fit pretty well.  Or, another idea, just give them to Mariko, since she missed out getting lines when they originally did A1.

Dear My Teacher 3

Oh, and Nozofisu pops out for the MC.  I’m pretty sure this was a surprise.  She had written a few blog entries or some of the other girls did about her participation in rehearsals, but there was no official announcement that she would be there that I know of.  I was under the impression that she had her graduation at the AKB Theater and that she was done a while ago, but I guess not.

Blue Rose

Blue Rose 1

They continue with more fan favorites, this time with the most popular Team K rock unit.  The quartet seems to be doing their usual thing, which tends to get the fans really excited in their cheering.  The only difference being that that night, all of the girls wore their jackets done up.  I had not thought that was possible with these, as I thought they were made to be always very much open, but I guess not.  So they kept on singing and dancing their little hearts out till the bridge when…. (To kill the suspense, I’ll ask a simple question that I’m unsure of: During Meetan and Sae’s lines, do they chant for Sae for the first line and then for Ohori in the next ones?)

Blue Rose 2

Sayaka’s wearing a tiger-print bikini!  The other girls are wearing the normal tube tops and shorts or a skirt.  In other performances, it would be Ohori taking off her jacket to reveal her famous gold bikini, so I guess that they needed something new this time since Meetan’s done her thing in two different concerts that I know of by that time.  I kind of want Yuka to be next.  She can strip off her jacket to reveal something funny… like a big gown or something, you know folded up into the jacket for the surprise.  That’d be neat.

Temodemo no Namida

Temodemo no Namida 1

In my mind, this unit was built to show off how great Kashiwagi is.  Maybe even to show Hello! Project what they’re missing out on, as this has been an incredibly well received unit by AKB fans.  I believe that Mika was added to show how a talented RS-turned-member can sort of challenge the soon-to-be second most popular Team B girl (after the Ayarin scandal).  Though it’s easy to see how Kashiwagi leads and in some ways, owns, the unit with her extra solo lines, I’ve decided that this won’t be the unit Kashiwagi is known for, but instead it will be un-officially labeled as Mikachii’s song.  Already, it’s been performed with her as the main feature of the song.  She has possibly performed this song the most out of any Team B songs besides maybe ‘Shounichi,’ as she couldn’t dance for many Team B shows or AKB concerts.

Temodemo no Namida 2

Here, Mika performs the almost-legendary unit with the help of a stool.  I’m quite positive that she doesn’t really need this, but instead it represents that she can’t really dance like she used to due to chronic knee problems.  This way, I’m okay with them giving her a sort of handicap and they even changed a little choreography to work with it.

(Insert ‘Glory Days’)

Heart Gata no Virus

Heart Gata Virus 1

I guess they had to give the popular Team A girls a unit in this show since they didn’t get to perform in the first number.  Acchan takes Mai’s position, Mariko takes Haruna’s, and Itano takes Nozofisu’s.  I think there kind of is a weird, but in a good way, line distribution in this song.  In the first verse, all three girls get two lines, except one who gets two and then a couple extra before the other two members sing their duet lines right before the chorus.  Those remaining two’s lines include one slightly longer solo.  In the next verse, the same thing happens, but with the roles rotated.  This way, there is a lead for the first verse and a different lead for the second verse.  The third girl gets a longer line in both verses and doesn’t get any sort of lead.  With this line pattern, Usually the most popular member of the unit gets less lines than the second most popular girl in the group, but gets to be in the center just as much.  I don’t know… I just find that really interesting.

Heart Gata Virus 2

Acchan gets the speaking part in the bridge, and she says something about how she can’t believe Mai is graduating that night.  Apparently backstage, Nozofisu is talking to Yukari and upon hearing this, she asks why she isn’t included there.  (Natsuki note: Our favorite member got to perform this unit as well as ‘Itoshiki Natassha’ in the recent concert tour during the same concert.  Most likely, she performed these units because two Team K members, Mocchi and Yuka, respectively, were unable to perform due to a possible swine flu scare.  I’m not sure which position she got in either song, but I’m assuming that she takes the Nozofisu position in ‘Heart,’ even though she gets to wear Mai’s costume, and she probably takes Tanamin’s part in ‘Itoshiki,’ as she wears that costume.  We’ll see, though.  Those are the worst parts she could have gotten in both songs, but hey, this way she at least gets in a unit (or in this case two)!)

(Insert ‘Ame no Pianist,’ No Sleeves, and Watarirouka Hashiritai)

Sougen no Kiseki

Sougen no Kiseki 1

Yay!  A K3 song!  I think AKB gets too hung up on Team K being the “cool” and “powerful” Team, so I love when they go back to being fun like in their K2 and K3 days.  Luckily, I think K5 has a nice balance of the two types, and it’s nice to hear both in the same Stage.  ‘Sougen no Kiseki’ is performed in the ‘FAN LETTER’ costumes, which I absolutely adore.  I love that they’re all different and most say something about the member wearing the costume.  My favorite is Natsuki’s, but I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m biased or not.  Although they’re not used here, often times the Nacchinon duo will wear matching glasses in these costumes.  Back on the subject of who gets lines, this is another song that I don’t like the distribution in.  Sayaka begins by singing the chorus, then half the Team sings the first verse.  Since this is a big concert, we don’t get to see the second verse, and thus miss out on the other half of the Team singing.  There’s a new break-down of members in the bridge.

Sougen no Kiseki 2

First is the ‘End Roll’ unit with Natsumi and Nonti.  Yuko is still recovering and Umeda is at her other job, so the ‘Mushi no BALLAD’ unit fills in… with Sayaka being the only one in that unit.

Sougen no Kiseki 3

Next up is the ‘Wagamama na Nagareboshi’ unit with Erena and Kana.

Sougen no Kiseki 4

Third is Chikano, Meetan, Sae, Naruse, Yuka, and Oku for ‘Ai no Iro.’  This is the first and only time that Naruse is sort-of, kind-of officially acknowledged as being part of ‘Ai no Iro.’

Sougen no Kiseki 5

The last of the unit lines is ‘Dakishimeraretara’ with Kasai, Asuka, and Natsuki.  The two on the outside hug their lead.  But wait, isn’t there one last girl on stage?

Sougen no Kiseki 6

Oh yeah!  Kaoru, who got a ‘FAN LETTER’ costume just for this performance, doesn’t have a unit for K5 as she is graduating!  She gets to twirl around and bow for the rest of the music leading up to the chorus.  I can not tell you how amazing this section was with Kaoru finally getting all kinds of attention.  She was doing just as she should, shining.  The audience’s call for her were intense and literally brought tears to my eyes.  I never would have thought that this would have made such an amazing performance in this concert.  This was just spectacular.

Minasan mo Go Issho ni

Minasan mo Go Issho ni 1

Putting this song directly after such a classy pre-graduation song has it’s share of pros and cons.  On the good side, it continues the idea of being happy and having fun and forgetting about anything negative.  On the flip side, it conveys a completely different message from the previous song.  Instead of singing about a nostalgic spring-ish day, they’re singing about how you should forget about the economy and just enjoy the AKB girls.  In a way though, I guess it fits.  Nevertheless, it was performed and so I’ll write about it.  Ever since I had read the set list for this concert the first time, I knew this would be an epic performance, even before I knew about the surprise in the bridge.  The colorful costumes with the fun and exciting choreography and the sparkle and lighting of NHK Hall really makes his a nice light-hearted performance that is great for the song.  Now you’re wondering, what surprise?

Minasan mo Go Issho ni 2

There’s a Saeki in my B4!  That’s right, the only Team B member to not perform in a B4 song!  Yes, she gets wheeled out on a blinged-out chair by CinDy to do the MC section.  And she does an incredible job complete with some sort of echo/fade-out sound-mixing technique at the end.  I had heard about this before seeing the DVD, but regardless, it was such a surprise to watch.  I love it.

Only Today

Only Today 1

I’m pretty sure that Mai has stated that this is her favorite song (or at least something about the lyrics), so this is a nice addition for a soon-to-be graduate.  It’s one of the newer Team A-only songs that is used often in concerts, similar to Team K’s ‘Saishuu Bell ga Naru.’  I’m a bit disappointed by the lack of kick-lining used here.  It’s great that they did their own little kicks and hops, but I want full-fledged crazy-swiching like in the NHK07 concert.  I mean, that was epic.  This is kind of very bland… at least comparatively speaking.

Only Today 2

I’ve always loved this song.  It reminds me of my first month or two when I was an off-and-on AKB fan.  I remember my first favorite song was ‘Nagisa no Cherry’ and then it changed to be ‘Only Today.’  As you can see, I started out as an Acchan fan.  I just love how bittersweet the lyrics are and how the contrast with the up-beat melody and the overpowering wota chants.

(Insert AKB48 Continuous Single Collection)

Aozora no Soba ni Ite

Aozora no Soba ni Ite 1

I wish they would have used a different ballad for the last night.  I was hoping that they sort of would ‘retire’ this one after the last NHK Hall concert with the five Team A graduates.  But, I guess not.  In my head, the song with the elongated instrumental would be to commemorate those five, or maybe even just Team A.  I mean, they’ve never lengthened a song like that before.  (I like how I have to talk about assumed AKB ethics rather than the emotions around them.)  While yes, the song is just as much Mai and Nozomi’s as it was Rina, Hana, Ohe, Hiichan, and Risa’s, (I wouldn’t count Kaoru, just because she performed it after those seven), but it would be nice if they reserved the song a little.  You know?  It certainly doesn’t have to be the new graduation-only song or something.  That all being said, I’m not a huge fan of the song in general.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite 2

In the last capture, did you notice how the SKE48 girls stayed on stage?  Did you like how they were separated?  I did.  I’m glad that was done.  Except then they’re integrated during the last chorus.  Boo.

Aozora no Soba ni Ite 3

Oh!  Poor Fujie!  She’s losing her mentor!  You have to wonder what’s going on in her head right now.  And to think, she didn’t know that Mai was planning on graduating until it was announced on stage at the AKB Theater, while the original (plus Mariko, probably) members looked as though they had known about it for a little while.

(Insert Encore)

Namida Surprise!

Namida Surprise!

Technically, this performance wasn’t done until after the graduation ceremony, but on the DVD, it’s out of order, so we’ll just stick with that.  This is the first showing of ‘Namida Surprise!’ and also the first time the fans got to hear it.  I can’t imagine how awesome that would be, as the single hadn’t even been announced yet.  Apparently beforehand there was a video played about the girls who don’t get senbatsu often/ever, and how they wanted it.  If my memory serves me correctly, Nonti, CinDy, and Ohori were the three that were interviewed.  I guess CinDy made a big deal about her working so hard and leading Team B and being the only original Team A member to never to get into senbatsu.  Also, there was a video counting down which girls would be in ‘Namida Surprise!’ (and then performing it that night) and it showed Komori Mika, which I guess everyone was surprised about, since she’s so far the only RS to make it into senbatsu.  Having seen the PV and everything by now, it’s kind of fun to watch the closest thing to dance shot we’ll ever see for the single.  It looks like it requires a lot of stamina, but not much in terms of actual dancing abilities.  Singing abilities seem like they might be optional as well.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I only like singles that are from their indie days, or singles that have Sayaka in them.  Seriously.  That’s what it works out to be for me.  The Sayaka-less performance here was cute, but it’s certainly not one of my favorites.  Oh well, there’s always the next single (‘Iiwake Maybe’ is wonderful).

(Oshima M, Kawasaki, and Hayano Graduation Ceremony)

Hayano Kaoru

Hayano Karou.  (There’s so much going on in this graduation that I can barely figure out what to say.  So, I’ll divide it up into three sections with one screen capture each.)  They decided to order the girls from least popular to most popular.  You know, do the whole “save the best for last” idea.  This bites them in the end.  Kaoru’s graduation is simple.  Sayaka will read a letter she wrote, put it in a box, and then each member of Team K will give Kaoru a flower.  This plan is perfectly fine and reasonable considering she’s already had a great graduation at the AKB48 Theater.  Somehow, someone important screws up.  Sayaka, who’s letter does not fit in the box that was specially made by Team K for it to go in, calls Hayano “the fourteenth sister” ala ’16nin Shimai no Uta.’  This is all fine and dandy, but she isn’t the fourteenth oldest member.  She’s like the thirteenth or something, I forget.  Regardless, Sayaka is incorrect.  After Sayaka’s speech, Kaoru corrects her.  As the flowers get passed to her, the other girls reveal that they are either the actual fourteenth sister, the new fourteenth sister, or even say that they are the thirteenth member.  Really, this ceremony is completely chaotic by the end of it.  While yes, there are tons of tears involved, I’m sure that this graduation has earned the position of being the funniest, and most likely trumped the amount of laughter in the just-for-giggles performances of ‘Honehone Waltz’ and ‘Nagisa no CHERRY’ in the other two performances. Personally, my favorite part is probably either when Nonti says that she’s the fourteenth sister, or when Erena randomly has four flowers and doesn’t know how to get them to their rightful owners… or maybe when Naruse admits being the fourteenth sister and Yuko scolds Erena for not being able to count.  Eventually she graduates.  Really, you have to watch this.

Kawasaki Nozomi

Kawasaki Nozomi.  Next is the random graduation.  I guess they decided that since Kaoru would get a big deal graduation, Nozofisu should get one, too.  Instead of the un-official Team leader, Yukari comes out with a letter to read to Nozomi.  She enters on stage right and says something to the effect of “Tonight’s graduation of Kawasaki Nozomi is…” pause “canceled.”  Everyone is confused, and Yukari tells the the auditorium that they have time constrictions and they had to cut someone’s graduation out, so they chose Yukari since they had plans for Maimai.  At some point, Nozofisu mentions that that means that they’ll have to take her to France.  So far, she has yet to go to France and she has yet to have that delayed graduation.  Nozomi comes down, and at some point Fujie goes and tells the friends to hurry up, since next is Maimai’s event of the evening.

Oshima Mai

Oshima Mai.  Immediately after Takahashi announces that Mai will be graduating, she calls out Hoshino Michiru and Orii Ayumi to sing ‘Yuukan no Bokura’ to Mai.  Mai is a big fan of ballads and she was visibly shaken during the performance just for her.  I’m sure I would enjoy this a lot more, but I’m just not really attached to any of the girls involved in this one.  It’s great that Mai got a graduation gift like this, though.  She certainly deserved it.

Happy End

Eventually, the graduating girls leave the stage, since a few of the under-aged girls need to get out as soon as possible in accordance with Japanese child labor laws.  That, along with paying for a certain amount of time for the use of NHK Hall and its crew, led AKS to quicken the ceremonies.  I believe that they still ended up having to pay lots of fines.  Later on in the night I guess Team A, Nacchan and CinDy, and Ayumi and Chiru all got together for one last MC to share their feelings and the like.

And that was NHK09.  I hope you enjoyed it!  I’m thinking about possibly “reviewing” the AKB concerts that I’ve missed (there’s like five, since I refuse to do Shibuya AX 2008 or 2009), so if you’d like to read those, please comment and say which one(s).  I know these aren’t really that deep or interesting, and it just turns into me talking about costumes, Natsuki, and lines, along with a bunch of blurry screen shots, but I do enjoy writing these, and it gives me some more text-heavy content to put up on the blog.  It’s kind of odd for me to just want to do concert reviews instead of Stage reviews (unless it’s a brand new Stage) since Stage performances are really what AKB fandom should focus on, but I just like to see how they are presented as an entire group, however rare that may be.  Along with my possible concert reviews planned, I’m determined to do some sort of review for each of the new Stages coming out in December with the new Teams.  I plan on writing these as I watch them for the first time, right after an AKB-black-out, which is when I shut myself away from the idol community and download/watch a LOD of the new Stage without seeing or reading anything about it previously.  I recommend it.  Anyway, I’m planning on doing that and I’d love for any input as to what you’d like to see on my blog here.  I’d like to gain a larger reader base and eventually I’d like to help convert fans of other idols or music groups into AKB fans.  And of course I’m going to continue waving my Natsuki flag.