It seems that the management over at AKB48 have found a new girl to push to the front, and its new 9th gen kenkyuusei Shimazaki Haruka. In a recent gravure shoot for Young Jump, she was featured alongside the AKB48 front girls and Matsui Jurina from SKE48.
Now, this has quite a few members of the western fandom (or at least Stage48, which in reality really IS the western fandom) in an uproar, and I agree with them. It makes no sense for this new member to be featured alongside the AKB regulars, considering she is not even a full member yet. I also have to say that she looks terribly awkward in the shoots as well. Now, you can tell it might be because she’s new and perhaps not totally comfortable with these kind of things yet, that’s understandable, but it again begs the question as to why the AKB management would choose her for this and not a veteran member who would probably work better in one of these photo shoots. AKB has a HUGE roster of girls to choose from for something like this, so it makes no sense why they would choose the awkward new member. This is just like what happened with Komori Mika. She was pushed quite a bit when she was a kenkyuusei, and it just didn’t work. She was awkward and really didn’t deserve to be there with the veteran members. In these situations, I can’t help but wonder what the other girls who don’t get selected for these kind of things feel when they get passed over for the new girl. If it were me, I would be pissed to be perfectly honest.
The worst part of this is that unlike Komori, they seem to be setting Haruka up to be the new “face” of AKB48. Umm…no thanks. It also doesn’t help that this girl seems to have ambitions within the group that, in my opinion, need to be brought down a notch. It was said over at Stage48 that she wants to be a front girl and more specifically be added into the awesome subgroup Watarirouka Hashiritai. Not very humble, are we? Now, I have no qualms with her wanting to be a front girl. I’m sure pretty much every member of AKB48 has that desire, but for her to want to be added into WH, now that’s just wrong. She would not fit in with them AT ALL. Besides, WH is a Team B subgroup, as all of its members are/were in Team B. She’s not a member of Team B, let alone a member of any team.
I’ve stated before that I do not like the idea of any kenkyuusei being promoted over full members, but this is just taking it too far. Now, I haven’t seen Haruka in action yet, so for all I know she could be quite talented, but so are dozens of full members of AKB48, so AKB management, let those girls have some time in the spotlight before you go pushing the over ambitious new girl please. In the cases of Komori and Shimazaki, I can’t help but think that when they were chosen to be pushed, the management over at AKB had a board with the names of all the kenkyuusei on it and just threw darts at it while blindfolded, and whosoever name a dart landed on is who they would push. There’s really no logic behind it at all, but then again, its something we should just expect from the guys who run AKB48.