One thing I hear often from more general 48G fans is the concern over NMB48 being really imbalanced in terms of popularity. They’ll look at the handshake numbers and see Sayaka towering above all, Milky not far but still behind, Miru catching up, maybe Nana because of the graduation…
Then a huge gap.
I think some of us fans have tried rationalizing it one way or another, I know I’ve probably used all of these.
“6/35 slots could be the same as 15/15 slots.”
“Popularity varies city by city.”
“It’s not fair because they can just see them at AKB handshakes anyway.”
“Albums are expensive.”
“They probably used it all up on the other events like the autograph one.”
But when I think about it, it really doesn’t matter to me whether it’s imbalanced. What I do know is that the girls I do like are getting work. And I like a lot of the girls. And the work they’re getting is pretty decent too, it may not be national, they may not work with top of the line talent, but the content is usually interesting.
I’ve never believed popularity should be a goal. It’s such a nebulous goal, especially in show business. You could get on TV for weeks saying something dumb like “I didn’t do it,” and then the next day no one cares about you and you’re off the Krusty show.
Instead, you should strive to boost your skills in being entertaining. You should get better at talking and telling stories. You should get better at dancing when you need to dance, singing when you need to sing. Are you modelling? Can you strike the right poses, give the best smiles? How about social media, are you connected as best you can with fans? Are you giving fans what they enjoy seeing, whether it’s silly jokes or good pictures or funny videos?
All of that is what I want to see them get better at. That’s something more concrete that they can work on. Not “Fuuchan needs to become more popular.” I mean… how? What?
And then, not to be hipster or anything, but it’s actually quite nice to like an unpopular member. You can get a better relationship with them at handshakes since with less fans they’ll tend to remember your name and what you talked about with them unless you’re absolutely memory god-tier like Sayaka. You don’t have to wait in line, you can just go at your own pace. That’s not to say that once they become popular it’s time to move on, or that you’d actively oppose them becoming popular, but at that early going rate, as a fan, it should be enjoyed and it should be more fun! Why complain?
If Sayaka/Milky ever leave, I’m not sure how troubled NMB48 will be, but at the moment all of their members seem to be improving and becoming more skilled and comfortable on camera and a lot of them have really bright futures. Aika/Yuuri/Shuu/Nattsu are all incredibly young and have yet to even hit their prime, so it’s an exciting time to be an NMB fan right now. There is no need to be concerned about the future.