I haven’t written anything in a while. I’ve actually been slowly removing myself from the scene, which is kind of sad to say. I still like NMB, still watch their stuff, but when I think about it, there’s not that much stuff to watch. We got Docking and maybe Teens Hakusho, and that’s it? Maybe I should listen to the radio shows again.
Before I used to watch a lot of AKB, religiously, but I feel like steadily it’s getting worse and worse and I’m pretty much on the verge of quitting the group. Or, maybe, it’s not getting worse but it’s actually not going anywhere. Or something like that.
So, where do I start…
1: The Minegishi Scandal
I feel like the reaction to the Minegishi scandal started a spiral of awfulness. Shaving her head was an uh… interesting way to repent for something, which I guess is cool and all but it started a raging fire over the global internet. It was kinda cool to be the stealthy AKB fan in the US, now, sometimes people ask me “Aren’t you a fan of that group where the girl shaved her head?” Yeah, that’s kind of awkward.
On top of that, as a fan of the group, the punishment by management to demote her to kenkyuusei makes absolutely no sense. She’s taking away time from other kenkyuusei who need to improve as well as attention. Big fish in a little pond. It’s also shameful that people are going to keep asking her about kenkyuusei status. IMO they should’ve just suspended her from the group if they didn’t want to fire her. Let her get it together first instead of playing with kids and ignoring the fact that she’s a much more developed idol that even regular members can’t match.
Lastly, the fact that she needed to desperately remain in the group shows how untrained and dangerous it will be once the group goes under. She’s one of the top members and she still doesn’t have enough talent to strike it on her own, and it’s been what… 8 years? That’s really dangerous. Which leads into my next point:
2: Stifled Improvement
One of the things that initially drew me to AKB48 was the fact that they needed to steadily improve in order to keep up. They might not have been the best but they had to get better at everything to survive. Aspiring solo singers, solo actresses, people happy to be in variety shows, etc.
And now I think that some people have been there a little too long, some people seem to have accomplished everything and are being held back in the group, and some people it seems like the group is detrimental for their dreams. Minegishi is one thing, but I’m seeing people like Kojiharu and Mariko there for a long time. Is that it for them? What does being in AKB offer them? Didn’t Kojiharu star in a top-rated drama (Ikemen desu ne)? It seems like the top AKB players are either ready to move on and should, or they are not ready to move on which is a shame if they’ve been working there for 8 years. They might be at the top of the entertainment business, but I would be hesitant to include them at the top of the entertainment business talent-wise.
Even Takamina’s solo debut seems too late. Whereas before it was cool because she was the big tenor voice to Acchan’s high pitched one, and was seen as the aspiring singer… her voice has not evolved and was overshadowed by the likes of Wasamin and Yuttan, and other girls were given the chance before she got hers, like Itano, Sasshi, and Mayu. Did they seriously give no thought to her voice development?
On the other hand, non-senbatsu has literally nothing to do but stage shows, where they sing and dance to songs that they’ve been doing for 2-3 years because they still haven’t updated the stages.
It’s funny, AKB is known for crazy announcements and shakeups at concerts, but honestly I just think it’s a way that they can keep things fresh without actually getting better… and they really need to fix that.
3: Not a fan of the new centers
One reason why I think Acchan worked so well is that she played the girl-next-door type very well. She was cute but not overly cute, she was good but not extremely talented, and she shined while managing to help everyone else shine on stage with her. She was probably the epitome of slightly above average.
Now we have this Mayu/J/Paruru mix and… I can’t say I’m a big a fan.
I like Mayu, but not as an idol for some reason. Hikarumonotachi was probably the best non-AKB single to come out of their members but she seems a bit distant compared to the other members. She definitely has solo power but I wouldn’t say she has that much leadership power.
J is… SKE. I can’t get over that. To have someone in the group be center to me just seems weird when she’s center in her own group. I don’t like that dual identity. (FWIW, as an NMB fan I’d rather not have them as dual AKB members either.)
And lastly… Paruru. Sure she’s cute, but she’s never shown anything to me that demonstrates that she’s talented at all. I just don’t understand. She doesn’t have the warmth of a girl-next-door type. I don’t want to knock her too much, but having her as a focal point of the single and of AKB promotion strategy… it’s just not interesting to me.
I am still keeping an eye on AKB for now, but safe to say my interest has cooled considerably.
In the meantime…