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July 24, 2010

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B5: The RSL Summary Post
May 24, 2010

Team B’s 5th Stage (and the New Team B’s first theater performance) was on Friday.  Let’s check out ‘Theater no Megami.’

00 Romance Kakurenbo (Zenza Girls: Shimada Haruka)
01 Yuuki no Hammer
02 Inseki no Kakuritsu
03 Ai no Stripper
04 Theater no Megami
05 Hatsukoi yo, Konnichiwa (Sato S., Watanabe, Oku)
06 Arashi no Yoru ni wa (Suzuki, Komori, Miyazaki,. Sato N.)
07 CANDY (Masuda, Kasai, Sato A.)
08 Locker Room Boy (Ishida, Kobayashi, Kitahara, Hirajima, Chikano)
09 Yokaze no Shiwaza (Kashiwagi)
10 100 Meter Conbini
11 Suki Suki Suki
12 Sayonara no Kanashibari
13 Shiokaze no Shoudaijou
14 Honest man
15 Team B Oshi
16 Bokutachi no Kami Hikouki

00 Romance Kakurenbo (Zenza Girls: Shimada Haruka)


Similar to K6 (and presumably A6), the Stage begins with a Research Student unit named the ‘Zenza Girls.’  While it’s a cute concept, it seems to just be a way to push already pushed RS to the non-RS-show-attending patrons.  Management has lately been really adamant that Team RS is pretty much an official Team like A, K, and B are, but since when did the Teams open for each other?  I just don’t get it.  And it’s not like Team RS isn’t performing: they just started doing A5.  Whatever.  (It’s worthwhile to note that RS aren’t involved in the rest of the newer crop of Stages.  That means no ‘Kenkyuusei Dance,’ backdancers, or microphone-grabbers.  Yay.)

It’s a solo song.  I don’t get it.  The vast majority of actual AKB48 members haven’t had a solo recorded, but they’re having trainees perform them?  Since when was that a good idea?  I seriously question whoever made this decision.  This is silly.  The one thing I’m wondering is if the Zenza Girl unit is supposed to match up with the Team Captain’s unit.  K6 had four girls in each, while B5 has one in each.  We’ll see what happens with Takamina’s unit in A6.  Regardless, Research Students don’t need/can’t handle/shouldn’t have a solo in an AKB Stage.

As for the song, it’s okay-ish.  Certainly not on par with ‘Lemon no Toshigoro’ from K6, but I do happen to love that song, so it’s kind of a high standard.  This ballad has a rather monotonous verse and a slightly-upbeat chorus… and live vocals.  Which don’t sound too hot from premier girl.  I like it enough to be one of those before-encore ballads, but it doesn’t work as a solo.  And the ‘choreography’ doesn’t really add anything, either.

The costume is cute.  Just a white school uniform with plaid.  Not interesting.  The center mid-drift panel seems to be the newest fad in AKB, as it’s all over this Stage as well as a couple older songs.  For some reason the beret just makes me think of Acchan in ‘Aitakatta’ for AKB’s first performance at Kouhaku.  It looks completely different, but I’m still seeing similarities.

Oh, and you can’t play hide-and-seek by yourself.  Duh.

01 Yuuki no Hammer


After the customary ‘Overture,’ we find out that they’re doing construction on the Akihabara48 Theater!  The girls all gather on stage acting as though they’re hammering/picking/making/destroying something using giant mallets and pickaxes.  While not very believable, it does get the point across.

Along with their tools, they are wearing giant plastic jackets in either blue or pink with little tool belts that double as microphone holders.  Honestly, the jackets are disgusting, but I’d love to see them in more colors to give the costumes a sort of sentai feel.  On their heads they have those hard hats with lights on them that are generally used in mines.  Maybe they’re in a mine?  That would make the picks make sense… and I guess the theater is pretty dark.  Anyway, the usage of the hats gives me a CinDy in ‘Tengoku Yarou’ meets ‘AKB Sanjou’ feel.

‘Yuuki no Hammer’ begins with a very percussion-heavy opening along with a very, very deep chorus.  I have to wonder if the girls sang it and they just moved the pitch, or if they employed the usage of back-up singers.  Either way, a very interesting way to start a song/Stage.

The rest of the song gets a bit happier and much more fitting for their costumes.  During the first chorus, Miho and, gasp, Natsuki get to do a little deal in the middle, and afterwards, Kashiyuki joins them to walk a little circle.  Not a big deal at all, but Natsuki was included, so that’s pretty awesome.  Oh, and during the bridge, half of the girls do a miniature hand stand.  I’m not quite sure the reasoning behind it, but I wish they had included acrobatics in ‘Saka Agari’ to fit its title!

Oh, and I really like how the choreography for the chorus is so simple.  I feel like that can really get the audience into the performance right off the bat.  Or in this case, hammer.

02 Inseki no Kakuritsu


A sudden strip-change reveals a costume underneath the asymmetrical space coat.  Now the girls are all in cute red dresses with frills, lace, and ruffles galore.  I think they remind me of another idol group’s costume, but I’m not sure which one.  Possibly from H!P Kids or something.  Interestingly enough, all of the costumes seem different from one another… with varying levels of attractiveness.  Natsuki’s is relatively cute with a corset-like detail and a pleated skirt.  But she looks great in pretty much everything.

Music-wise, it’s a combination of a generic cute song with a generic fun song.  The verses seem very Team B in their shorter line approach, but the real fun is in the chorus.  I swear, the first line is the most addictive thing I’ve heard in a long time from AKB, and has been stuck in my head all day.  I also like half-way through the chorus when they repeat that set of lines since it speeds up from the slower half of the chorus.  Just so gosh darned catchy.  After a short dance break, a break down of the second chorus brings in the last reprise, which then goes into an extremely cute whispering section.  I love it.

03 Ai no Stripper


(A note about the name, when I first watched the Stage, I totally figured out the title was ‘Ai no Stripper.’  I don’t know much Japanese, but I automatically fake translated the katakana pronunciation with English and was so proud of myself.)

After ‘Inseki no Kakuritsu,’ an old school AKB-style instrumental pops on with some members in semi-provocative positions.  I’m seriously in love with this song, purely because it matches their older discography so well.  I love that pure 80s sound that AKB used a little while before King Records came in, and this is a great ode to that style.

From what I can tell, this is a duet song, but at the build-up before the chorus, more girls chime in.  At the end of the choruses, there may or may not be a solo line.  The first verse showed Kasai singing, but there definitely could have been more girls, while the second verse showed Kashiwagi, but it sounded like she was going solo and no one on screen was singing with her.  I’m not quite sure what’s going on with line distribution here.

I love that Natsuki got in the first verse (it’s sad that I’m excited about this sort of thing), and even better is that she was paired with Kasai, who she happens to be close with.  They also partner near the end of the song, which makes me really happy.

04 Theater no Megami


More new costumes!  I love lots of costume changes, and even better if some of my favorite members are involved.  This time the girls are in sailor-inspired tops and skirts in yellow, pink, and blue.  I’m not a huge fan of the ties, but school girls are one of AKB’s standard images, so I guess I’ll let it slide (especially since there aren’t any real school uniforms for Team B in this Stage).  Personally, I feel like the costumes scream Idoling!!!, as I’m sure I’ve seen some costumes that are pretty much exactly the same thing.  And the ruffled bloomers seal the deal, since I’m confident that I’ve seen Idoling!!! where those.

Still on the topic of costumes, I don’t really like Natsuki’s.  I like that it’s yellow, but I’d prefer a tube top like some of the girls have and a more symmetrical bottom half.  It looks kind of like the ‘Stand Up’ skirt to me… except you know, brighter.  And still on the topic of Natsuki, I really hate how she’s stuck in the back corners the entire time.

As this is the Stage’s title song, I expected a lot from it, but I don’t think it ended up being good enough for me.  It’s fun and the lyrics are very fitting, but composition-wise, I feel like it is a bit generic and lacking.

What really confuses me about the lines is that Mayu didn’t get a solo line in the first verse.  It would have made all the sense in the world to have the first half of the song be solos and the second half to be trios… but that didn’t happen.  I have to wonder if they’ll play with that sort of thing later on, like it seems they did to ‘End Roll’ in K5.

05 Hatsukoi yo, Konnichiwa (Sato S., Watanabe, Oku)


Unit song time!  First up is Mayuyu’s unit!  I think everyone had guessed that she’d have a three-girl song, since that tends to be what she gets.  She was set with Sumire and Oku, both are fairly popular/pushed Under Girls and have brighter-than-average futures (Sumire is signed with Hori Pro and Oku is Akimoto’s ace).  I had been guessing that Oku would be thrown into Mayu’s unit so she could perform in her unit in large-scale concerts, but I had thought Sumire would get a bit bigger of a push than this.

The top of the song is a piano intro that reminds me of a Sailor Moon opening theme (actually, the whole song does) with Mayu on the stage left platform.  As the song continues, Mayu gets a big set of solos with Sumire and Oku doing duets till the start of the second verse where they get one solo line each, and it goes back to Mayu.  While I understand that heaps and heaps more popular than them, I wish they could have a bit more time to shine… even though Mayu’s voice has gotten so much better.  After a bridge worth of spoken lines, the chorus returns with a second following it (which may have a brand new set of lyrics?), and the song closes after the girls singing with the melody.

On the dresses: I like parts of them, but none as a whole.  I like Mayu’s top and the other girls’ skirts.  I would like Mayuyu’s skirt, but the longer section would have to be in the back.  It’s made really oddly so that it’s just a layer underneath the regular skirt, and it looks just way too random on the side.  Personally, if I designed it, the longer section would go in the back and that layer would go on top of the others, so it’s less noticeable.  The ballad later on has costumes similar to what I’m imagining, so just check there.

06 Arashi no Yoru ni wa (Suzuki, Komori, Miyazaki,. Sato N.)


Next is AKB’s most club-worthy song to date!  Starting up with a high-energy chorus, the four girls are trapped behind the now-used blinds on the sides of the stage.  Those blinds were pretty much completely un-used from A1 through A5, so it’s nice to see them in a Team B Stage.  Lots to say about this song, so I’ll divide it up a bit.

First off, the song reminds me of 90s J-Pop.  Like Hamisaki Ayumi or Koda Kumi.  It has traces of electronic sounds matched with guitars and the like… and is just wonderful.  It’s the longest unit song in the Stage, and pretty much exactly as long as the longest Team song in the Stage, so that’s saying something.  It has four choruses, along with a broken-down version right before the last one, and has surprisingly long verses, too, despite having a shortened second one (I feel like this happens with a lot of AKB songs I like).  I think my favorite part is the instrumental right after the last chorus.  The tune is to die for, and then it goes into ‘Itoshisa no Defense’-style background vocals… which is perfect.  Seriously, this song’s only competition in its category is ‘Temodemo no Namida,’ and it’s already winning.

The line-distribution is surprisingly okay with me in this one.  I’m going to keep mentioning ‘Itoshisa no Defense,’ because that’s what it kind of reminds me of, especially since I was really hoping for a unit like that for Natsuki in B5, so that mission was kind of successful.  The first verse has duets by the leads, Miho and Komori, and then Natsuki and Mariya get an equal amount of time.  The first verse also gives its only four solo lines to Miho before a build-up sung by the four of them.  All four girls, pretty much in order of popularity, get a couple of solo lines each during the second verse in place of the duet lines.  Instead of going to Miho’s solo lines from the first verse, we’re treated to the build-up with a Miho and Komori duet and a shorter line by the other two.  The rest of the song is sung by all four girls.

I’m a huge supporter of lots of solo lines, but I feel like the members sharing lines with one another adds something to the music and makes it less about the performers and more about the performance.  Similar to ‘Itoshisa no Defense,’ it all sounds good when the girls sing together.  That said, I think the second verse is a great place for all the girls to really show off their individuality here.

I like the costumes, but they could be better.  I’m seeing a cross between ‘Kuroi Tenshi,’ ‘Renai Kinshi Jourei,’ and the original A4 ‘Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru.’  I love that they really went for a dark club-ish feel, though I personally think if they just went with each girl in a different colored sparkly tube mini-dress it would be better.  I really dislike the asymmetrical bottom halves, though I’m okay with the top: I think it has to do with the ruffled skirt not completely attaching to the a-line dress.  Miho and Komori share the two-toned leotard-looking top, while Natsuki and Mariya get surprisingly high-cut bras.  The open side of the dress alternates within each set of girls, so the costumes at least look a little bit different from each other.  Miho has different boots, since she leads.

A special appearance is a red chair thing that you might find in a booth at an youthful urban bar or something.  All of the girls take turns either sitting or standing on it, so it’s actually one of the few chairs in AKB world that is used for the duration of a song.  I’m kind of not liking how squishy it looks, since Miho seemed to shake a little when she was on it.

My only major complaint for this unit is how the non-leading duo leave the stage so early compared to the other two.  There’s a good twenty seconds when they’re off stage, Komori is stuck on the chair backstage, and Miho is dancing around.  It’d be super cool if Natsuki and Mariya were back behind the blinds again.

Oh, and Natsuki’s in this song, which is amazing since it’s my favorite unit in the Stage.  Singing-wise, she sounds really deep and sexy with Mariya’s voice, and later on… words can’t describe how great she sounds.  It’s really powerful and contrasts with the rest of the girls in the unit in a good way.  It’s amazing.

Also, I’m completely taken aback that she’s in a dance unit.  I want to call it a dance unit since it has the most intense dance and they’re wearing the attached microphones, but really it just seems like a talent unit, since the song is so vocal-dependent, too.  Recently I haven’t been seeing Natsuki dancing as well as I know she can, though I’ve seen her go all out many, many times before.  I’m sure that sometimes she just doesn’t want to put out that much energy.  Here, she really goes for it and makes me really proud of her.  She’s always been a great dancer and great performer, and now that she’s putting more effort into her movement, maybe more people will take notice.

So yeah, best unit.

07 CANDY (Masuda, Kasai, Sato A.)


A complete change of pace brings in a literally sugary-sweet unit.

‘CANDY’ is Kasai’s new B5 unit.  Generally speaking, she is one of the few members of AKB who get good units in every single Stage.  While this is certainly not my style of song, it really fits her: cute and beautiful.  Her support singers for this song are Amina and Yuka, and I’m not really too happy about that.  I feel like Amina is too popular/important to play back-up to Kasai, and Yuka is too useful to do the same.  This is a great unit song for all three of them, but I just wish the lines were more equal so there was less of a feel like Tomomi was completely in charge.

Personally, I love the three of them together.  Kasai has a really high singing voice, Amina higher, and Yuka has a really low one, but she’s impressively versitile, so she ends up fitting.  Kasai’s last unit, ‘Dakishimeraretara’ with Mocchi and Natsuki, was one that, though it demanded a great voice, didn’t rely on her as much as it could have.  She obviously led the unit, but the other two had plenty of moments to show off.  Here, it feels like she’s the only integral member of the song, which I don’t think fits the image they’re trying to give off.  The other two are talented and have well-sized fanbases.  For me, Yuka is a good example of the perfect voice for an idol in a group like AKB: she has a distinct sound and style, but if the song doesn’t fit her usual tone, she can work with it to fit the situation.  Amina is pretty much the polar opposite, but I actually like her voice.  It’s usually on pitch, but that pitch just happens to be higher than everyone else’s.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a big fan of the song.  It’s just a bit too cute for what I generally like to listen to.  It has en excellent melody and is kind of addictive, but it might end up being one of those songs that I will want out of my head right away.

The costumes are similar in that department.  The trio looks like a basket of faded Easter decorations, complete with fancy microphone stands.  One of the many things I dislike on idol costumes are tiers.  And that’s basically all the three of them are wearing.  Kasai’s two piece attire is kind of cute for her, but that garter doesn’t match… and I am a huge fan of garters.  Amina’s reminds me of ‘Choco to Yukue’ in a bad way.  Whichever student designed this needs to be held back a year.  Yuka’s dress, while disagreeable with me, isn’t all that bad.  In fact it reminds me of the ‘Romance, Irane!’ costume that Natsuki/Atsuko/Mayu wears.

At the end of the song, the girls start licking their suckers that were in the baskets on the stands.  I was half-expecting them to throw them into the audience.

08 Locker Room Boy (Ishida, Kobayashi, Kitahara, Hirajima, Chikano)


Kitarie gets to lead the big unit of the Stage.  I’ve never understood why AKB’s larger units always have to have a big focus on the lead and the rest of the members don’t get anything.  I totally get that Kitahara is way more popular than the rest, but they should get at least a little spotlight!  I honestly can’t tell what’s going on with the line distribution thanks to the hands-free microphones and this LODs camera angles, but it looks like only Rie gets solo lines, along with possibly Chikano and Kana?  I’m completely unsure of what all happened there.  There’s too much movement and individual stuff for me to tell with just this video.

‘Locker Room Boy’ is oddly generic in its composition and is easily forgettable.  While the choruses sound pretty good, the verses are just kind of boring.  Luckily, they used props (lacrosse sticks) to add a bit of interest to the piece.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much they used them and how they didn’t look too random in the theater.

I’m getting tired of all of the red plaids AKB’s been using over the years, as it all kind of looks too similar, but these costumes look nice, with each girl getting something a little bit different.  I’m just glad they didn’t go the ‘Boku no YELL’ route and give the girls actual uniforms.  That’d look even worse than the construction worker boots their wearing.

09 Yokaze no Shiwaza (Kashiwagi)

Look, Kashiwagi gets a solo song.  Who would have thought?

I don’t like ballads.  Pretty much ever.  That means I don’t like this song.  On the other hand, I’d say it’s better than the two previous solo songs within AKB’s Stage discography.  It’s a tad faster and more soothing than the others.  While I don’t like the song all that much, I think this is right up Natsuki’s alley.  She loves slower, more natural songs, and has used a few of them in karaoke tournaments over the years.  With the current unit set-up, the only songs Natsuki can sub for are ‘Locker Room Boy,’ and this one, so maybe she’ll eventually get to sing this.  I’d love to get a solo from her… and if she doesn’t get a single or something, than this sort of thing may be the only way to get that solo.  Granted, the only girl to have subbed for the solo songs in Stages is Masuda Yuka, and this is one of the two units in B5 that she can technically perform without an extra MC… so maybe Natsuki won’t get that chance.  If that’s the case, I just hope both Kashiwagi and Yuka are out on the same day, and maybe a Natsuki solo may happen.

When I was trying to predict units for B5, one possibility was a Kashiwagi solo.  I had thought that they wouldn’t do this, because Matsui Rena of SKE48’s Team S just got a solo, and she’s basically the same person as Kashiwagi.  Apparently I was wrong, and Kashiwagi did get a solo.  She should throw on a vest sometime and perform Rena’s unit since their costumes are so similar, too.

10 100 Meter Conbini


I’m not quite sure how to describe this song, but I’ve been hearing the term ‘eurobeat’ tossed around, and I guess that’s what I’ll consider it, though I don’t think that’s the right genre.

The entirety of the song is super addictive with lots of different disco-like elements playing at the same time.  I really like how there’s so much going on in the verses alone.  First, it’s a quiet instrumental, when the next girls start singing, a heavy bass comes into play, later a destructive sound effect brings in the next set, with a build-up for the chorus.  I’d really like to know what that instrument thing is that plays between sections of the song.  It’s in any 70s-style song from AKB, like ‘Romance, Irane!’ and ‘Kaiyuugyo no Capacity.’

My only problem with the composition is how long the instrumental runs after the last chorus.  It could totally have ended with the last phrase, but they kept it going forever and then repeated the end of the chorus.

I love the costumes used for this set in the Stage.  While they really do look like rip-offs of Otome-gumi’s outfits, I think they’re brilliant.  Each girl gets a slightly different dress with a huge variety of accessories.  Natsuki’s costume is superb.  I’m a bit jealous of Mayu, though, since she’s the only one with a random garter.

11 Suki Suki Suki

Straight out of singing about convenience stores comes B5’s only cutesy filler song.  For some reason the entirety of the song reminds me of K6’s ‘White Day ni wa’ and I can’t help but compare the two.

The verse begins just as you’d expect from a song like this: adorable, though a tad boring.  Then comes a weird choppy section right before the build-up for the chorus.  I wonder if this was added later on to spice up the song…

The chorus is yet another addictive one, though not as memorable as some of the others from this Stage.  It seems to be kind of a call-and-response chorus with half of the girls singing at a time.  The end of the chorus features a couple girls re-iterating a section of the chorus with quieter background music.  After the second chorus, the bridge’s choreography is fantastic.  They all crouch over and run in a counter-clockwise formation and then kind of stumble like mechanical dolls before going into a broken-down chorus.  I love it.  They remind me of hamsters or something.  In a good way of course.

12 Sayonara no Kanashibari


The last song of this set is a sexier one with quartet lines.  Similar to ‘Ai no Stripper,’ it sounds a lot like an older AKB song.  The formations somehow remind me of ‘Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikenai.’

I love the chorus for this one.  It’s set at a slower pace than the verses and has the girls kiind of take turns singing different words while the rest fall.  The first chorus shows the girls kind of randomly moving, while the second has the girls in specific groups.  Both look interesting, but I prefer the first.  The final one puts them into lines so the cannon approach is super-obvious.  This is one of the Team songs that I feel like would benefit from having solo lines.

The end of the song puts the girls into a ‘B’ formation, with Natsuki as the connection of the right side’s semi-circles.  This does not fit with the song, nor the theme of this part of the Stage.  I don’t get it.  We don’t need this here.

13 Shiokaze no Shoudaijou

Ballads usually are put at the end of the Stage before the encore, and this is no exception.  I wish they would switch it up somtime, as it’s been like this for a little while.

‘Shiokaze no Shoudaijou’ has relatively cute costuems: light green or yellow plaid dresses with lots of white lace trims and blue corsets.  They fit all of the girls really well, which is something that seems to have been missing in the Stage thus far.  My only problem is they’re all so similar to one another.  I’d prefer it to be yet another song where each girl has something different.  Accessorising the outfits are a plethora of staw hats, flower pins, and random leather purses.

I’m not a huge fan of the song, mostly because it’s a ballad.  Luckily it actually is rather pretty, and certainly ranks well about Kashiwagi’s solo.  My one big problem is with how they only have half of the Team sing during the first verse, which is fairly common, but then still don’t use the other half for the bridge section.  That means a bunch of the girls will only get to sing the choruses if this were somehow performed in concert.

14 Honest man

Encore time!  The girls come running onto the stage from either side to start the song.  It’s not nearly as dramatic as many of the other encore enterances that have been used lately, but I guess it’s somewhat different, while boring, so at least there’s a variety going on.

The verses remind me a lot of ‘Yuuki no Hammer’ in how rythmic they are, but here itall sounds a bit more melodic.  The choruses are fantastic and remind me of a newer Tegomass song for whatever reason.  Great song, but there’s one big problem.

These costumes are disgusting.  Maybe I’ll warm up to them, but I just am not a fan.  There’s a possibility that I’d like them if they had plainer skirts/shorts, but still, they look too grunge-inspired like Sae’s new unit in K6.  They’re a bit too fitting for a magician rather than an idol.  And some of those hats are hilariously gross.  I do like Tomomi-chan’s hair tie, though.

The end of the song puts them in their own poses, which switch to tough-looking stances with their arms crossed by the time the next song begins.

15 Team B Oshi


Oh my god!  It’s ’10nen Zakura!’  Not really, but I’ll need to start yelling ’48!’ whenever this comes on.

‘Team B Oshi’ is another one of those member introduction songs, like ’16nin Shimai no Uta’ and ‘Wasshoi B.’  The girls are introduced in alphabetical order with the verses divided up similarly.  Like the other songs of it’s type, this is a fun energetic one.  The verses have bunches of little things going on, but the choruses are just drop dead adorable.  The fifteen girls not being introduced sing a repeating chorus line saying who the audience should pick, while the girl being named does a cute little phrase or pose or something.  Notably, Kana does a bridge, Mariya does a jig, Chikarina leap frogs, and Mayu does her famous ‘Let’s Go!’ line from ‘Hatsukoi Dash.’  Natsuki throws in her catchphrase for good measure, and I, while not surprised, love it.  I can’t wait for her birthday show for this one.

The whole song is full of great little hijinks, so I’m hoping this’ll be one that’s fun to watch in each performance.  I don’t like it when songs are self-referential, but if it’s completely obvious, then I guess it’s kind of okay.  If only they would stop making ‘A K B’ signs like SKE does in S3.

16 Bokutachi no Kami Hikouki


To finish off the Stage we have a feel good song about paper airplanes.  I am really enjoying this one, even though it doesn’t totally fit my preferences.  In this first LOD, it looks like Natsuki even gets a mini solo line, but I’m guessing that it’s a duet line and they just hid the other girl.  No group song solo lines for Natsuki in this Stage… sad.

The second verse brings in the title’s props and the choreography changes for the better.  Apparently each plane has a personal message from its original holder, so when they eventually do throw them, I’m a bit jealous.  And that’s impressive that they can find their signed plane in the box while still on stage.  I’d expect them to have to dig for a while.  They’re prepared, apparently.

So, over all, pretty good Stage.  In terms of Natsuki, it’s not as good as K5, but I feel like some of these songs fit her more than some K5 songs did, despite not showing her off as much.

(Side note: in the ‘Arigatou Gozaimasu’ at the end of the Stage, you can hear Natsuki start talking first.)

A collection of pictures…
May 24, 2010

A Few Newer Pictures…
May 4, 2010

After a Month of Inactivity
March 5, 2010

So… I didn’t update for an entire month, and so I’m just posting oodles and oodles of low-quality pictures.  And guess what is coming soon?  A review of AKB Kagekidan Musical Infinity!  The DVD(s) come out tomorrow.  Get excited.

Below you will find a completely un-organized collection of pictures.

  • BLTs
  • Theater Photos
  • Umeda Erika
  • Q-Sama!!
  • Aoki
  • Pakyura!
  • Musical Infinity
  • Majisuka Gakuen
  • Team K Senshuuraku
  • 2 Shots
  • Sakura no Shiori

Nacchi Celebrates the New Year!
January 3, 2010

My Thoughts on the Team Shuffle
November 13, 2009

I was thinking about the New Teams the other day, and I have a few theories that I’m using to summarize my thoughts on the shuffles.

Team A

Front Girl Theory:
Maeda Atsuko, Shinoda Mariko, Kojima Haruna, Takahashi Minami

The new Teams have an obvious pattern within their line-ups.  One is that the most popular girls stay on their own Teams.  Four Team A girls stayed for various reasons.  First off, Acchan is Team A.  They can’t change that.  Mariko is often more popular than Acchan, and she was petitioned into Team A.  Again, if some girls are going to stay on the Team, she’s one of them.  Harunyan was the voice of AKB for a short time, but now she’s just super popular and a major part of Team A’s history, and lastly Takamina is the captain of the New Team A and all of AKB48.  She’s a natural choice for leadership positions and another big component of the original Team.  These girls have all cemented themselves in senbatsu line-ups and won’t change for the world.

Pushed Girl Theory:
Takajo Aki

The second part of my Front Girl Theory include girls AKS is pushing constantly.  Aki was the only one who managed to remain on her first Team.  I believe that they must have given up on putting Fujie in as the new Acchan and now they’re working on Takajo as she has had a much better reception from fans.

New Team Theme Theory:
Nakata Chisato

The second half of my New Team Theory involves the general concept of the Team.  From the looks of which girls were selected for Team A, they’re continuing the tradition of Team A representing the classic idol group.  In this way, the feel of the New Team A is built around Chiichan.  She’s lovely and beautiful with a nice voice and figure to match.  She’s in many ways the perfect idol, albeit a tad quiet.  I think this new Team will have similar characteristics.

Lower Senbatsu Theme Shuffle:
Kuramochi Asuka, Katayama Haruka

The only somewhat popular girls that were moved to Team A are Mocchi and Haachan.  Both have wonderful, deep voices and along with Takamina, Mariko, and Sasshi, these two will probably be the power behind the lines that all the girls sing.  To fit my theory, these two match Chiichan’s image, and my idea of the new Team A: pretty in every sense of the word.

Correct Team Shuffle:
Matsubara Natsumi, Nakaya Sayaka, Oya Shizuka, Maeda Ami

The filler girls: Natsumi, Nakayan, Shiichan, and Ami also fit the new image.  Natsumi and Nakayan are just like the Chiichan model.  Shiichan doesn’t fit well with the other girls, but I feel this is the right Team for her since she’s been stuck as an RS forever and Team A has always been the most famous third of AKB.  Ishida and Uchida are also old RS, but they’ve had a bit more opportunity in my opinion.  On the other hand, this is the perfect fit for Ami, as she’s being pushed almost as much as Aki at some points.  On a Team with so many major members, girls that get pushed are very lucky.

Wrong Team:
Sashihara Rino, Oota Aika, Nakagawa Haruka, Iwasa Misaki

Some choices are just weird.  Sasshi does not fit with the other girls at all.  She’s totally Team K.  She could easily fill up Natsuki’s position as a strong member in songs and an important part of MCs.  Aika should have stayed in Team B.  She was beginning to get extra popularity there, and I’m sure if she was left there she’d get more spots to shine.  She would also fit my perception of Team B pretty well.  Harugon could be stuck back on Team B or on Team K.  Like Sasshi, she just doesn’t mix with the others well.  And Iwasa is too fierce for Team A.  She needs Team K.  Quickly.

Team K

Front Girl Theory:
Oshima Yuko, Ono Erena, Miyazawa Sae, Akimoto Sayaka

These four are from the two sides of Team K.  Since it’s conception, Team K has always been split between cute songs and cool songs.  Korin doesn’t completely subscribe to either of these genres, but she’s kind of the most popular member from the Team, so in this theory, she has to stay.  If she were to be shuffled, she’d definitely be Team A, as she’s the perfect mirror for Takamina.  Erena represents the adorable side of the old Team K.  She’s also really popular, so she’s stuck here, even though she might not fit the image quite right.  If one were to pick out the members are the epitomy of the original Team K, Erena would be the cute side, Sayaka would be the cool side, and Sae would be the versitile one.  Sayaka is hardcore and unbelievably talented, though she’s been shafted when it comes to senbatsu in the past.  Sae brings the energy and spirit of Team K.  While she doesn’t embody the core characteristics of the Team, as she seems more Team B-like, the other members work as a foil for her and she fits in quite well.

New Team Theme Theory:
Umeda Ayaka

Continuing my idea that the only unpopular girl that gets to stay in her original Team is the one that sets the mood of the New Team, Umeda gives off the fierce part of Team K’s aura.  Though she could fit pretty well with the new Team A, her dancing keeps her in her first Team.  In my theory, this means that the new Team K will focus much less on vocals, but put more attention into their dancing and presence: two things that Umeda is good at.

Lower Senbatsu Theme Shuffle:
Itano Tomomi, Minegishi Minami

Despite the fact that the front girls stayed in their original Teams, these two were moved.  Yes, they fit the new dance-y Team K perfectly, but their popularity, especially Itano’s, would make me think that they wouldn’t be shuffled.  Miichan, though, I’m aware has definitely lost some popularity over the years.  Anyway, these two work into the possible fierce image of the new Team K perfectly.

Correct Team Shuffle:
Yonezawa Rumi, Kikuchi Ayaka, Fujie Reina, Tanabe Miku, Matsui Sakiko, Uchida Mayumi

These girls all are great choices for the New Team.  Rumi’s always been a great dancer and vocalist.  She could fit the New Team A, but is fine here, too.  Kikuchi’s first unit was hardcore, and from fan recordings, she definitely rocked it, so this is good for her.  I’ve seen more of Fujie in her cooler roles, despite her rise to (short-lived) fame due to her cuteness as Mayu’s under, so Team K is a good decision.  Tanamin is… Tanamin.  And Tanamin is fierce.  So… yeah.  Got that one right.  Sakiko and Uchi are both very versitile, but I like them more in cool songs, so I feel they’ll do well in this coming Stage, even though they’ll probably just be in the background for most of it.

Wrong Team:
Nito Moeno, Nakatsuka Tomomi, Nonaka Misato

Moeno is obviously Team A.  She just isn’t in-your-face enough for this New Team K.  She’s perfect for the New Team A, though.  I still haven’t cared about Chris enough to have feelings about where she should have been placed.  I think either of the other Teams would be better than the power-house of this New Team.  And Nonaka is supposed to be Team A.  She should have been placed in Team A a long time ago since she’s been fairly regularly performing an RS position in a unit for so long.

Team B

Front Girl Theory:
Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki

Team B has always had very few representatives in senbatsu.  Mayu’s always been there, and Kikuchi was important for a while, too.  When she left, Kashiwagi took over.  In the beginning of Team B, I believe that the leaders were these two, Kikuchi, and CinDy, but these two are the current important members.  And they’re still on Team B, unlike those other two.

New Team Theme Theory:
Hirajima Natsumi

Nacchan was on Team A for a while, then transfered to Team B when it started up.  As said by nearly everyone, Nacchan is crack.  She is energetic and fun and entertaining.  She is essentially what I think they were aiming for originally for Team B.  Now that they are honing in on specific themes, I think that’s what the New Team B will be like.  Get ready.

Lower Senbatsu Theme Shuffle:
Kasai Tomomi, Miyazaki Miho, Sato Amina

Tomomi-chan getting thrown off Team K is crazy.  She’s popular enough that it shouldn’t have been an issue, so she’s almost sort of proof as to why I think they’re going for certain Team-by-Team images.  She’s too cute for the New Team K.  Miho and Amina, I think, are too energetic for the New Team A.  Here, I think they can prosper under a similarly interesting enviroment.  This also frees them from the shadows of the ever-popular original Team A front girls, as none of them transfered to Team B.

Correct Team Shuffle:
Kobayashi Kana, Chikano Rina, Masuda Yuka, Oku Manami, Sato Natsuki

These Team K girls are generally very adaptable when it comes to performances.  Kana was at one point a real front girl, and now that this shuffle has taken place, she may take a similar position again where instead of just leading unit songs (which she has in many Team K Stages), she may help lead the Team.  Rina was brand new to Team K when she was switched over to the New Team B, but she, similar to Fujie, can carry out any type of song.  Now, I think she’ll focus more on her cute side.  It might not seem like Yuka could fit here, but I think it makes sense.  She’s always been used when a deeper voice is needed, so she’s usually in hardcore songs.  In Team K songs that have a cuter twist, you can tell that she’s versitile enough to pull them off, too.  I think they want to start pushing her again, but this time show off how good her voice is in any song they put her in, not just the ones that were made for her.  Like Chris, I can’t say much about Oku.  She isn’t really energetic enough to be in Team B, but she doesn’t fit the others either, so I think they just threw her in the New Team B.  Finally, much like Yuka, Natsuki does well in most any song, and while they aren’t really taking a chance on her push-wise, since she’s been in a whole range of songs since her popularity peaked two years ago, I think they’re going to use her fun side to their advantage.  And the fact that they need someone to talk a lot in MCs and that she’s good at that helps, too.

Wrong Team:
Kitahara Rie, Ishida Haruka, Komori Mika, Sato Sumire

I don’t pay enough attention to Kitarie to really give thought to her, but keeping her on Team A or switching her to the New Team K makes more sense than putting her here.  Her ownly original unit points to Team B, but I don’t think it showcases her all that well.  Similar to anyone that should be on Team K, Ishida is just too fierce to not be on the New Team K.  I don’t care that she’s cute and energetic: she’s needed where she’s needed.  Komori doesn’t have enough fun to be on this Team.  She would fit with Ami on Team A.  And Sumire is too pretty for the New Team B.  She’s also supposed to be on the New Team A.  I’m not saying that no one on this Team is as pretty as her, but I’m saying that’s her only definable quality, and that’s part of the Chiichan model.

 

So yeah, those are my feelings on this new arrangement.  I’m excited for the new Stages, and I hope they start a little earlier than their currently expected to (K6 in December, A6 and B5 next year).

A Summer Festival Reviewed a Few Seasons Late…
October 26, 2009

Today I’ll be looking at the Natsumatsuri Hibiyayaon concert.  It’s a favorite of mine, so I don’t have all that many bad things to say about it.

Click the pictures for the review, or you can read it all below!

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Let’s Keep on Reviewing! Onward to JCB Hall 2008!
October 23, 2009

In preparation for the next set of DVDs, I’ve decided to go through a few older concerts, this time it’s JCB Hall from December 21st, 2008.

Full-length text-only review below…

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