RSL over at Where’s Natsuki? already somewhat posted on all of this briefly, but I’ve wanted to talk about this for sometime now myself.
So after probably being the longest running AKB48 Stage yet, B3 is finally coming to a grand close. Its been a great stage, probably the best stage yet to be honest, but this stage has also seen Team B utterly decimated.
First of all, we had Kikuchi Ayaka fired for that whole boyfriend scandal. Now, I won’t oging into the details about it, but it was sad to see her go, as she was one of the front runners of Team B. Now, she’s been brought back as a Research Student. Kinda pointless to fire her in the first place, eh AKB48 management?
Next was the graduation of Inoue Naru (or did this happen before Ayarin was fired, I don’t recall). Now, I’ll admit to not being the biggest Naru fan, but she was a damn powerful performer, both in dancing and vocally. This was a huge blow to Team B, losing one if its best.
Now both of these happened quite a few months ago, so there was a brief period of no bad news. The calm before the storm if you will. Then it all exploded in our faces.
First, Matsuoka Yuki announced she would be graduating at the end of B3. For me, this was another huge blow. Yuki is an incredibly talented performer, but for some bizarre reason, she was in fact the least popular member out of all of AKB48. A travesty, no? It kinda makes me wonder about the Japanese fans. Do they even recognize talent? Yuki is talented, there’s no doubt about that. And now that she’s gone, it feels like Team B has lost one of its most vital organs.
Next up would be Saeki Mika’s announcement that she would be on leave for 6th months due to injury. Now, this is actually not as bad as everything else. She hasn’t been fired ot graduated or anything, but she will be gone for quite some time, so that means for a long portion of B4, she won’t be there. I absolutely loved Mikachi in Temo Demo with Yukirn, and that proved to me how talented she is, so I will defenitly miss her, and I can’t wait for her to return already, and she what she does in B4. Hopefully they save a spot for her.
If all this wasn’t bad enough, then we got the news that Saotome Miki apparently had decided to go down to Team Research Student. Now I already posted my thoughts on this, so I won’t go into detail about this again, but I will re-iterate what crap this whole situation was. Remember it was supposedly because she wasn’t up to Team B standard or some crock, yet anyone who has seen Miki perform will tell you how absolutely fierce she is on stage. But its hard for someone to be at their full potential when they are not given the chance to.
Now, to end all this bad news, or to add to it I guess, it was announced today that Noguchi Reina would be graduating at the last performance of B3 (Which is today as far as I know). Know, I was never a big fan of Reina, but I was starting to warm up to her. She’s incredibly adorable, and like Miki, never really got a chance to show her full potential.
So, over the last year, Team B has essentially lost 6 members (well, Mikachi’s leave is only temporary, but still…). This for me is just utterly ridiculous. Team B is already shafted enough within the group. Their members are hardly ever chosen for singles, and they don’t get publicity like the other Teams do.
But let me bring this back to the whole issue of the singles. When Team B was first brought into the fold, Mayu was semmingly the face of Team B, and was the only one selected for singles (I’m excluding Bingo from this as practically everyone was in that one). Now, I’m starting to like Mayu alot more lately, so I won’t say anything bad, but it was like Team B didn’t exist for a time when they first debuted, besides Mayu. Now lately, its gotten a little better, and by that I mean its still not as good as it should be. We are not at a point where Team A continues to dominate the singles in terms of selected members, while Team K usually gets around 5o or 6, and B continues to get just 2 or 3. And this brings me to another point, over half of Team B has yet to be selected for a single, and as should be obvious, a few of them never will. I’m talking about Noguchi Reina, Matsuoka Yuki, Inoue Naru and likely Saotome Miki. In the case of the first 3, obviously they are gone from the group now, and have never been chosen for a single. Thats a crying shame if you ask me. They had all the talent, all the ability to perform well in a single, but I guess it boils down to one thing…popularity.
In regards to this issue, RSL posted something on the Stage48 problems struck me as quite substantial in this regards:
All three Teams are in their own ways. I think we’ve decided that by now. I hate to say it again and again, but Team B won’t have more members in a single until more members get popular enough to get in the single. It’s not a ‘Team’ thing at all. It’s a popularity contest between the whole group.
Sadly, he’s correct, but that doesn’t mean I can’t say its right. Yes, members are put into singles because of their popularity (or because they want to push certain members forward, like the age defying Matsui Jurina of SKE48 ) but one thing I don’t think nobody realizes is that perhaps a member can gain popularity by being seen in a single, or…gasp…getting solo lines in a single. Its stuff like this that kinda makes me think that the AKB management is afraid to take risks at all, and will be giving us the same members over and over again for some time now.
This really all boils down to the fact that Team B gets hit the hardest of all 3 teams. Now some will disagree with me, but I just don’t see the other Teams being hit as hard.
Now, you may be going, “but Aigon, what about the 5 members of Team A who just graduated.”
Ok, there’s that. But this brings me to another point. Those 5 members got quite a grand sendoff at the NHK Hall concert. It was pretty tear jerking from what I’ve heard. Now, lets take at look at the 3 members of Team B who have graduated recently (Naru, Yuki, Reina). Lets look at the great sendoff they got…..oh wait….they didn’t get one.
Am I the only one who thinks thats horribly unfair? Now sure, the 5 Team A members are essentially some of AKB’s original members…but the 3 from Team B are also original B members. Do they deserve less simply because they were part of Team B and not A or K? I personally don’t think so…and I think its just sad that they get no real graduation sendoff like others have gotten in the past. Its like saying to them that they weren’t really important to AKB48.
So I think I’ve gone on long enough. But it does feel good to vent about this. Thanks for bearing with me.