Team B (and former Team K) member Oku Manami to graduate

It was announced today that longtime AKB48 member Oku Manami will be leaving the group in May. To be honest, I’m not upset by this announcement in the least bit. Oku has always been incredibly low in my rankings, primarily due to the fact that she is not that great of a performer. She never showed any emotion on stage, and I always thought as the years went on, she got worse instead of improving. In short, she was somewhat boring to watch on stage.

I think it got even worse when it was stated in an interview that AKB’s head honcho, Akimoto, viewed her as an “ace” in the group. How he ever came to that conclusion is beyond me, as Oku was leagues behind a great many of the girls in AKB. I guess that whole “ace” thing no longer matters though, seeing as we’ll never see it come to fruition. Still though, graduations suck, no matter what, and I can only feel sorry for her fans. It’s never nice to lose your oshi.

AKB48 News – February 17, 2011

First up, AKB48 is once again shattering sales records (like thats a suprise anymore :) )
AKB48’s 20th Single, Sakura no Ki ni Narou, sold an astounding 655,344 copies on the first day alone. This is the highest first day sales figure EVER since the ORICON charts first started recording the daily sales numbers. These numbers mean that Sakura no Ki ni Narou could enter the 1 million mark in a matter of weeks. AKB48’s only other million seller, BEGINNER, took a few months to reach the million mark, so this is pretty fantastic news. As of now, the total sales for this new single stands at 756,648.

Also in the last couple of weeks, we’ve had both a promotion and graduation in the AKB family. Kenkyuusei Nakamata Shiori has been promoted to the status of full member, though which team she will be placed on has yet to be said. The general consensus seems to be that she will be headed for Team B, however. Over at SDN48, however, 1st gen member Ito Kana has graduated due to poor health, as apparently she had been previously away from the theater due to issues with influenza.

Despite not having even aired as of yet, AKB’s new drama, Sakura Kara no Tegami, is already getting a series of DVD releases. There will be 3 seperate DVD volumes released, with 2 additional box sets. Here’s the details (as of know):

Vol.1 DVD – 3000 yen US$35/84.58

Description: First DVD release from the TV drama series “Sakura Kara no Tegami” featuring all AKB48 members.

First Press Details:special feature/bonus available

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Vol.2 DVD – 3000 yen US$35/84.58

Description: Second DVD release from the TV drama series “Sakura Kara no Tegami” featuring all AKB48 members.

First Press Details:special feature/bonus available

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Vol.3 DVD – 3000 yen US$35/84.58

Description: Third DVD release from the TV drama series “Sakura Kara no Tegami” featuring all AKB48 members.

First Press Details:special feature/bonus available

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DVD Box [5DVD+micro SD / Limited Edition] DVD – 17048 yen US$202/84.58

Description: DVD box set release from the TV drama series “Sakura Kara no Tegami” featuring all AKB48 members. The set includes three discs plus two bonus discs. Also contains a micro SD card with bonus video footage, a booklet, and more.

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DVD Box [Regular Edition] DVD – 12190 yen US$144/84.58

Description:DVD box set release from the TV drama series “Sakura Kara no Tegami” featuring all AKB48 members. The set includes three discs plus a bonus disc. Also contains a booklet.

First Press Details:special feature/bonus available

Iwasa Misaki – AKB48’s Best Singer

I always knew that Wasamin was among AKB48’s top vocalists, but I am know convinced she is the best, bar none. This particular performance should be enough proof for any disbeliever:

I think any AKB48 fan would be hard-pressed to say there’s anyone better than her in AKB…she’s just that good :)

New AKB48 Subunit – Not Yet – 1st Single:Shuumatsu Not Yet

A new AKB48 subunit has been announced called “Not Yet”. The group consists of 4 girls, Oshima Yuko, Sashihara Rino, Yokoyama Yui, and Kitahara Rie. The group was revealed at the end of the second night of the ongoing Request Hour Concert. The 4 members are all members of the Ohta Pro Agency. They will be releasing their first single this March.

1st SIngle [Shuumatsu Not Yet]
Release date: March 16, 2011

【Type-A】CD+DVD
COZA-501-2 ¥1,600

【Type-B】CD+DVD
COZA-503-4 ¥1,600

【Type-C】CD+32page Photobook
COCA-16454 ¥1,200

【Regular】CD
COCA-16455 ¥1,000(税込)

Official Website: http://columbia.jp/notyet/

I’m actually really excited for this unit. The member lineup is fantastic, and it looks like they might have a sort of “rocker” feel to them, or at least that’s what I’m hoping. I’ll defenitly be picking up their first single. (And I’m really glad Yui is in this. I’ve really been liking her a lot recently, at least enough to put her in my top 5, so this news is awesome!)

AKB48 News – January 12, 2011

Hey everyone, here’s the latest AKB related news:

New Drama:

AKB48 will be releasing a new drama starting February 26th called Sakura Kara no Tegami AKB48 Sorezore no Sotsugyou Monogatari . The first episode will be 30 minutes long, while all subsequent episodes will be 10 minutes in length (except for the last one, as its listed as 60 minutes apparently). There will be 17 episodes in total. The drama seems to revolve around the girls as students at a school, with each having their own distinct traits and personalities. For those who plan to watch this drama, here’s the broadcast schedule:
Broadcast Schedule
#1 – 2/26 – 23:55~24:25 (30minutes)
#2~4 – 2/27 – 23:55~24:25
#5~7 – 2/28 – 23:55~24:25
#8~10 – 3/1 – 23:55~24:25
#11~13 – 3/2 – 23:55~24:25
#14 – 3/3 – 24:38~24:48
#15 – 3/4 – 24:28~25:38
#16 – 3/5 – 24:50~25:00
#17 – 3/6 – 22:30~23:30 (60minutes)

In other news, we know have some more info on AKB48’s 20th single. The title is Sakura no Ki ni Narou. The DIVA and MINT units from Beginner will also be making a comeback, with the songs Area K and Kiss Made 100 Mile respectively. The Undegirls will also have a song, titled Guuzen no Juujirou and Team Kenkyuusei will have a song titled Ougon Center . Its also been reported that the title track will be a ballad.

That’s all for AKB48 news. I’d also like to announce that I’m currently writing up a review for the awesomeness that is the Gundam 00 movie, so expect to see that in the near future.

AKB/SKE News – December 27, 2010

I’m back! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday! Still got a bit more time off before the new semester starts in January, so its time to get back to blogging!

In AKB48 news, there are quite a few things to report on:

– First things first, I would like to make a correction on something I previously posted on. I posted that Iwasa Misaki and Komori Mika were being added to the subunit Watarirouka Hashiritai, however that does not seem to be the case. They will only be partaking in the upcoming 7th single, and will not be added to the group permanently.

– AKB48 has also opened up its own MySpace page. Yeah, MySpace. Apparently Japan hasn’t gotten the memo that MySpace has been dead for the last few years. Its all Facebook and Twitter now. However, this is a good first step into connecting with western fans.

– Team A member Sashihara Rina will be getting her own 30-minute TV show called “Sashiko no Kuse ni”, which will be airing every Tuesdays starting next year. This is a big thing for her as she will be the first AKB member to get their own solo show.

– Both SKE48 and AKB48 will be releasing new singles near the beginning of the new year. SKE’s 5th single is set to be released 2011/2/9 while AKB’s 20th single will be released on 2011/02/16. Both singles are still untitled as of yet.

SKE48 will also be airing its own short drama. The drama is called Mousou Deka, and will air only in Nagoya on Wednesdays during 24:40PM to 24:55PM. The air date is set for January 12th. The drama looks to be a sort of murder-mystery show with Jurina as the lead character. The members participating in this new show will be:
Team S: Matsui Rena, Yagami Kumi, Rikako Hirata, Oya Masana, Kizaki Yuria, Kuwabara Mizuki, Nakanishi Yuka, Haruna Ono, Yukiko Kinoshita, Hiramatsu Kanako, Takada Shiori, Suda Akari, Deguchi Aki, Kato Rumi
Team KII: Ishida Anna, Takayanagi Akane, Mukaida Manatsu

– Team K member Itano Tomomi will be releasing her first solo single, titled [Dear J], on January 26th, 2011. It will be released in 3 regular versions and a theater version.

AKB48’s 9th Gen kenkyuusei promotions + 2 new additions to Watarirouka

A couple of days ago, it was announced that all of the current members of AKB48’s 9th Generation of kenkyuusei will be promoted to the status of full members!It has yet to be announced what teams they will be going to, but this is still exciting news. There are quite a few talented members of the 9th Gen, so I’m defenitly looking forward to see who goes here.
For those who don’t know anything about the 9th Gen, here’s a list:
Yamauchi Suzuran
Mori Anna
Nakamura Mariko
Takeuchi Miyu
Shimada Haruka
Oba Mina
Nagao Mariya
Shimazaki Haruka

I’m especially excited to see where my fav, Shimada Haruka, ends up.

In other news, its looking like AKB48 Subunit Watarirouka will be getting 2 new members, Komori Mika and Misaki Iwasa, starting with their upcoming 7th single! I really hope this is true, as it would give me a reason to actually give a damn about Watarirouka. Wasamin is my #2 fav member after Yukirin, and I’ve really started to like Komori as of late, so this is great news to me.

Its quite clear…

That the AKB48 management has very little confidence in the newly selected senbatsu group for the upcoming single, Chance no Junban. As you all know, the senbatsu for this single was chosen at that Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, which was apparently a huge success. The winner of the tournament was Team K member and former Research Student Mayumi Uchida. The senbatsu for this single only has a few of the normal members, so it is a big gamble for AKB48, especially coming after the huge success that Beginner was, and still is.

Now, it was announced awhile ago that instead of the usual Undergirls/Theater Girls routine, each Team would get their own track and PV on the single. Sounds good to me! Well, its quite clear the management thought that too, because from the looks of it, all the budget on this single went to the team tracks, and not the main one. Some magazine scans showing shots from the 3 Team PV’s were released online, so judge for yourself:

And here’s the PV for Chance no Junban:

I don’t know about you, but it just seems that the superior PV’s and songs are the the Team tracks. Is this the Managements way of making sure the single doesn’t bomb? Likely not. This is AKB48 were talking about. This single is going to sell boatloads regardless, but I do think that the management didn’t have much confidence in the main Senbatsu for this single, so they made sure the Team tracks were far superior in nearly every way. This is just my opinion, so feel free to disagree.

Lipsynching – Why AKB48 does it and why I don’t give a rats ass if they do or not

Lurking around the cesspool of a forum that is Hello!Online, I have noticed that whenever discussion of either a Morning Musume or AKB48 single pops up, there is always a heated argument between the two sides of Idol fandom. Its not all-out war, but more akin to the odd border-skirmish. However, AKB48 fans are clearly the winners every time, at least over at H!O where the intelligence level is at an all-time low on the H!P side of things. But anyway, the combative topic of late seems to by lipsynching, so I thought I’d share some opinions and observations with you on the subject. I would have posted this over at H!O to get my point across, but I gave up on that place long ago.

So the argument most H!P fans bring to the table is that AKB48 lipsynchs nearly every performance they do, even their theatre shows and rarely does anything live. This seems to equate to them that the AKB48 girls are all bad singers. Now, does AKB48 lipsynch? Yeah, they do, and quite a bit actually. Does this make me think less of the group? Not at all. It all comes down to this; their Idols, not true artists, so to speak. But does this mean that none of them are decent singers? Hell no. Heck, I can name quite a few AKB48 members of the top of my head who are phenomenal singers; Yuki Kashiwagi (duh), Sayaka Akimoto, Minami Takahashi, Yuka Masuda, Ayaka Umeda, Misaki Iwasa…the list does in fact go on. AKB48 does have some damn good singers, and they do lipsynch, and I don’t care if they do.

But here’s the kicker, and the one thing H!P fans always seem to forget; frequency of performances. H!P has like what, a couple of concert series a year? The bottom line is they don’t perform a whole lot of live shows, and in those shows, they do lipsynch, just like AKB48 does. H!P fans can deny it all they want, but we know they do. Now, how much does AKB48 perform. Well, Not only do they have periodic concert tours, but they seem to have unique concerts at least once a month, the AX series of concerts once a year…oh, and they perform near DAILY at their theater. That’s a lot of performances, and this is what I think is the reason for lipsynching so much. Performing all the time can be a strain, so they can’t always be at the top of their game. Lipsynching just ensures us that when they do go live, its damn good.

So yeah, AKB48 lipsynchs, and I don’t care. I still love them. H!P fans, its time to find a new argument to wield against AKB, because your running out of options fast.

AKB48’s Latest single another Record breaker

So, anyone else feel that its time for other Idol groups to just pack up and call it a day? (I’m just kidding…sort of)

AKB48’s latest single, Beginner, has once again proven that there is no better musical act in Japan than AKB48. In its first day alone, the single sold a staggering 568,095. Why is this so big, you ask? Well, not only have they nearly eclipsed their previous few singles total sales in ONE DAY, but this is the largest First Day sales tally since the Oricon charts in Japan first starting keeping track. Chalk up another broken record for AKB48. Someone should really compile a list, it seems like they break records every other day now.

This is great news for the group. But it does make me think. Its quite clear that AKB48 is on a level entirely of their own, and it seems no one can touch them, not even mighty boy-band Arashi. And what about poor old H!P and Morning Musume? I mean, they don’t even register as a threat for AKB anymore. They really need to just pack their bags and call it quits, if you ask me. Their clearly not up to producing quality music, because if they were, I’m sure they’d be selling at least half-decently. Now, this is just my opinion, so feel free to disagree, of course.

It does make you wonder though, if AKB48 will keep rising upwards, or if they will ever reach a point of decline, just like MM did. Only time will tell I suppose.
(sorry for the short post, its 1:30 am where I am so I’m not really up to going into much depth with this at this time :) )