AKB48 Team K 5th Stage – Saka Agari

The other day, Team K began its anticipated 5th stage, and I say anticipated because everyone in the AKB48 fandom seemed to have this insane liking for K4 and was thinking that K5 could only continue the supposed awesomeness this stage began(not me in particular though, I personally thought K4 had far too many dud songs to be great overall), and I have to admit, I got sucked into the hype this time around. I mean, its a new AKB stage, how could I not get excited? But I did figure it couldn’t possibly compare to B4 in terms of awesomeness. I’ll always love Team B more than K or A, but K is far from average. They are awesome on so many levels, and I figured this stage would have to be better than K5.

Boy was I wrong.

However, before I get to the meat of my review, here’s the setlist for K5:

M1. tenohira
M2. saka agari
M3. hitei no REQUIEM
M4. sono ase wa uso wo tsukanai

M5. END ROLL (matsubara natsumi, umeda ayaka, oshima yuko, noro kayo)
M6. wagamama na nagareboshi (kobayashi kana, ono erena)
M7. ai no iro (miyazawa sae, masuda yuka, ohori megumi, ishida haruka, oku manami , chikano rina)
M8. dakishimeraretara (kuramochi asuka, kasai tomomi, satou natsuki)
M9. mushi no BALLAD (akimoto sayaka)

M10. furishite maneshite
M11. umi wo watare!
M12. machikado no PARTY


EC1. fugiri
EC2. hanpa na ikemen

EC3.To be continued

For me, there is no easier way to describe this stage that this: Its boring. Plain and simple. While I didn’t completely enjoy K4 as a whole, it had a couple of really awesome rock songs. They were high energy songs that would really pump you up when you listened to them. It really gave Team K an upbeat, tough, rocker image.

Well, that feel is gone with K5, and a more mellow, yet boring and uninteresting image has been shifted into place for Team K. Most songs of this stage are generic, and uninspired. The energy that was present in a number of songs in previous K stages is gone, and replaced with what we see in this stage; something that is really just not that interesting overall.

That’s not to say I didn’t like any songs in K5. There were a couple of standouts with I thought were pretty good, and one I actually thought was particularly awesome.

The first song I found that was pretty good was Hitei no REQUIEM. Of all the songs in this stage, this was the only one that truly felt like a Team K song. Its got a great rock style. However, what makes this song particularly unique is what they do with the chorus. One group will start singing one part of the chorus, then afterward the other group will sing that same part while the lead group continues on. It makes for a really cool effect.

The next song I enjoyed was END ROLL. Its got a very slow temp to it, however it has a very latin-style dance feel to it. It truly is a unique song in comparison to other AKB48 songs.

I also really enjoyed Ai no Iro. Its one of the larger unit songs in AKB history, and it has a really great sound to it. I don’t really care for the fact that the unit is comprised of 6 members though, as that means not everyone gets their fair share of lines and are just relagated to being backdancers and whatnot.  However, the fact that my favorite Team K member Chikano RIna is in this unit automatically means this song is win…and it doesn’t help that the song by itself is just great.

The last song I enjoyed from this stage would be Sayaka’s solo song, Mushi no BALLAD. The whole prospect of Sayaka getting her own solo song was really exciting for me, however, I was initially turned away by the title.  I didn’t want another boring ballad, and Sayaka’s stellar vocals would be put to much better use in a very rock-style song. Thankfully, this song is no ordinary ballad. In fact, I would equate it to more of an 80’s style power ballad, like something akin to a Bon Jovi song or something like that. This is without a doubt my favorite song of the stage (and really, it had absolutely NO competition, considering the dribble it was up against in this stage). Sayaka really puts her best into this song, and just the whole song itself is awesome. The vocals, the beat, the pace of the song all combine to form one hell of a tune.

So yeah, out of 16 songs, those 4 were the only ones I thought worth mentioning. All in all, this stage is a bust for me overall. While it has a couple of exceptional standouts, the fact that the majority of songs are either boring or just plain generic really brings this stage down in my opinion. It doesn’t compare to its predecessor, and doesn’t even hold a candle to B4, which remains my dominant favourite of the current running stages.

So would I recommend checking out this stage. Not really. I would really recommend only checking out the ones I mentioned, but who knows, you might like some of the others. In my opinion, check out B4, A5 or even just keep listening to K4 instead. They are the superior stages.