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Series review, AKB0048

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Series review, AKB0048

Post by SuperOmegaPrime on Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:59 am

I decided to review a anime I've been watching in recent months, it’s called AKB0048, its split into two seasons, with the second season going by the name of AKB0048 Next stage!

Links to watch the series from the net:

Season 1:
http://www.animecrazy.net/akb0048-anime/

Season 2:
http://www.animecrazy.net/akb0048-next-stage-anime/


From this point, there are spoilers for the series, you been warned, so on with the review:

The setting, is far future, earth has been abandoned, by some disaster or something but that's not the story of the series, the story starts on a planet called Lancaster and four young girls (Pre teens) going through a sewer/tunnel to a concert that’s held in a mining pit! In this era, much of space is ruled by a organisation called D,G,T,O, who runs this organisation is never addressed but, they have an army known as DES, which stands for Destroy Entertainment Soldiers! Because of the D,G,T,O, throughout much of the galaxy, Entertainment is ban, yet there are worlds that have gotten rid of the ban, the symbol for opposing this ban is AKB0048 which is a pop music Idol group! They have an underground city where they are based/live and Entertainment but they do Gorilla concerts on worlds with the ban in place, Lancaster is one of those worlds! The concert inspires the four girls to try to join AKB0048!

Four years later, auditions for the 77th generation, of AKB0048, understudies is held and we're introduced to three of those four girls:

First is Nagisa:



Nagisa, is one of the two most central characters to the series, over the course of the series, she's seen thinking a lot, yet growing over the course of the series! She effectively runaways from home to join AKB0048, because her father disapproved of her joining them, while her mother is more supportive of her daughter's choice, before Nagisa leaves, she gives her a ribbon, while she says it’s not her best work, it defines Nagisa and nearly every scene, she's seen wearing it because she values it on sentimental level!



Next we have, Yuka, she's the only character in the series to have a love interest, she's a character who often speaks her mind, yet not afraid to admit that she's wrong, her growth in the series isn't much but you do get a sense of her relationship with her boyfriend! I would say, she's more a supportive role of a character, thou she does get some good screen time!



The third girl from Lancaster is Orine, she starts out kind of timid and has no family, unlike her friends, she doesn't go to school despite wishing she could, instead she works at a factory! Over the course of the series, she does grow more confident, thou much of her time is shown alongside Yuka, which makes me, think the two are practically best friends!

These three, we follow for the first ep of the series and it ends with the three going into space to travel to the second round of the auditions!


In the second ep, we are introduced to four more girls:


The first of those four is Makoto, the best way to describe her is, that her personality is negative, she kind of gets easily scared and complains a lot, yet despite this obvious flaw! she somehow made it pass the first round of auditions, a ep later in the second season, she gets some real development, thou she does worry about her appearance, a lot!




Next, we have Suzuko, she takes up the nickname given by the third girl of this ep, Linda, thou she dreams of joining AKB0048, she doesn't want to really succeed anyone, instead wants to join the support staff! She rather quiet, yet kind and soft spoken compared to the others! One of her defining characteristics is that, she's full of facts and figures to do with AKB0048, in other words, she's a bit of a egghead!




The third girl for this ep is Sonata, she's the youngest of the main cast, unlike the others, she technically failed the first round or was too young for it, but she doesn't let that stop her, she stoles away on a ship that gathers some of the hopeful understudies! She likes to talk in third person, she gives Makoto the nick name Grumpy, she's the one who gave Suzuko her nick name of Linda, due to how Suzuko is spelt! Most of her off stage scenes, Sonata is wearing, a animal outfit of some kind, she also has a older sister who already an understudy in AKB0048!




The fourth girl to be introduced in this ep is, Chieri, Chieri, starts off as rather cold and distant, but she is the fourth girl from the opening scene in the four years prior to the main story! Unlike the rest of the girls, Chieri is the daughter of a wealthy business owner, who owns a company called Zodiac, yet she disapproves of some of the company's doings and has a strained relationship with her father and like Nagisa, she's runaway from home to join AKB0048! Chieri is the second primary character the story follows and she has a pet Kirara which is a mysterious being that reacts to people's emotions and glow brightly with Idols! Over the course of the series, Chieri does become a more friendlier person and becomes especially close to Nagisa thou the two also become rivals in season 2 while maintaining their friendship!

During the second ep, we get to see some of the members of AKB in action, because DES attacks the ship the girls are on, during the confusion Nagisa loses her ribbon and goes back to retrieve it, there Nagisa is reunited with Chieri and at one point Chieri gets a chandelier stuck on top of her! She tells Nagisa to leave her, but Nagisa refuses because she doesn't like the idea of competing with others! Around this point, we meet Yuuko:



Using the Kirara and her singing, she is able to move the chandler from on top of Chieri and take her and Nagisa to the waiting transport with the other wannabe idols, at this point, we also see the only cyborg/android member in a bit of action, Mayu, she's got a launcher in her arm:



With Mayu, she has a huge appetite and gets a bit mad when the rice runs out, to symbolise that, she gains a glow which makes the chief who looks after the girls food needs go and cook some more rice, as she puts it, five bowls is not enough! hehehe She definitely not just another pretty face, you should see her combat skirt, its loaded with ammo to use in her arm! Don't ask me if she a cyborg or a android its not made clear which she is, but one thing is certain, she is a MK3

The third ep of the series, we see the second round of auditions, if you seen X-factor or any other idol seeking show, this round is nothing like that, all of the wannabes are put through an extreme combat training program, overseen by AKB manger Tsubasa:



Tsubasa is a former AKB0048 member, she graduated some years prior to the main story, but now serves as manger and producer for the group, yet she also in contact with the writer of the songs the group performs, Sensei Sensei who is shrouded in mystery!

Anyway, the second round, is a trial under fire, the hopefuls have to protect a concert being performed by the members until the end of a certain song, which is easier said than done because they come under attack and all of the hopefuls think its DES! Thou some of them, have already quit before this point because it is not what they thought it would be! By the end of the confrontation, the ones I mentioned above for the Understudies remain standing and they become the 77th generation of understudies! The losers, never died, they were only hit by paint balls as it was a trial and it goes against AKB's beliefs to kill people! They were shipped off after the ones who stood out, as the clear winners, never to be seen again in the series, I'm guessing they were sent back to their home worlds but it’s not really implied what became of them!


In ep four, we meet two more girls who play large roles:



First, its Mimori, she is one of two from the 75th Generation of understudies, her generation is known as the cursed generation as there is only two and neither of them have become a successor yet! Mimori, is shown to be a rather kind person, a bit of a gentle person, in a sort of mother way, her best friend is her room mate and fellow 75h understudy! To start with, she practically oozes with hormones, thou its much harder to be rid of them, than to gain them! hehehe Later in season 2, she finally becomes a successor!



The second girl for this ep is Kanata, she starts off, rather serious and has a lot of bottled up frustration because she hates DES with a passion as they killed her father prior to her joining AKB. She also the big sister to Sonata and she wasn't pleased to see her at first and wants her to go home, despite her passing the auditions! Yet Sonata and the rest of her generation are placed under Kanata's responsibility and as the choreographer of the group put it, they served as a boost to Kanata's potential by being catalyst to it! Thanks to some words said by Chieri, she is knocked down to earth and finally all of her frustration comes out in tears and she's made to realise she already got a fan for life in her little sister! After that point, Kanata becomes more welcoming to her sister thou gets a little annoyed with her but she shows her love for her little sister! Kanata comes to idolise Takamina the 5th:



That's most of the central cast of characters for the anime, you might of noticed, most of the characters I mentioned have hearts in their hair and eyes, the only one without a heart, is the manger Tsubasa, instead she has diamonds which symbolises that she graduated from being a member, so she no longer preforms on stage!

The first four eps cover much of the introductions of the cast, for the rest of the first season, we see how life in AKB is like for the girls and the season goes by to Lancaster for the finally! Before that, we see a snowy world where the Entertainment ban is in effect and what it’s done to the people, most of the people seem to just existing, not living, no life in them until AKB performs their concert while DES trying to suppress mini concerts going on around the town by the understudies!

There is some mystery in the series; it’s what happened to Acchan the 13th, she was the former centre nova but disappeared under mysterious circumstances, little is known about her personality, other than, when not on stage, she was quiet and slightly reclusive! Yet on stage she was the light that truly lit up the stage with her energy and singing, which makes the others work harder:



The series core plot, mainly centres upon the Centre Nova, but much of the character story is focused on Nagisa and Chirei, but the songs of the series talk about love, hope, and future, as the plot does a little, yet the series never strays from its cast to much! We do see glimpses of the 76th generation of understudies but only one gets a little screen time, yet they aren’t vital to the plot! One of the themes in the series, is about stepping out of the shadows into the light, this is best shown with Nagisa’s father in ep 13 as he steps out of the darkness of a tunnel into the light of the concert that is being held at the time!

To combat DES, AKB have weapons, they got mecha machines that can fight and fly against DES’s machines, they hold platforms that double as escape units for the girls who pilot them, they use the platforms that move about when in the field to perform their concert and be above their fans and dodge DES’s attacks! They also have Micsabers, which are like Lightsabers, only that they double as Microphones, only one of the girls is shown to use two and that is Yuuko, yet they aren’t alone, there are fans who fight with them, they are known as WOTA which stands for Whole Over Technology Association, thou that’s never mentioned in the anime! They are AKB strongest ally as they are made up of fans who want to protect their Idols and they run underground TV networks on planets where Entertainment is banned!

I think this series is pretty good, it’s extremely well written because you get to understand the characters and their motives, save for the villain of the series, its left a mystery what he wanted because of what happened to him! There is plenty of Drama in the first couple of eps, the kind of drama you might expect for a series finally than a opener and it keeps up a similar level across the series two seasons! It is well animated to, it feels as if nothing was rushed, thou only one track that appears in the series, just didn’t really fit in and that’s Cherry Cherry Boy in ep 13! If anything, I say it is the worse song in the series especially as a solo thou it gets spilt in two between Chieri and Nagisa for reasons more obvious on screen and in the story of the time!

The second season picks up the story a couple of months after season 1 finally and Nagisa having a dream where she sees stair cases like the one in the pic for Acchan and idols going up them until they falter and fall! After the opening sequence, we get a concert featuring the understudies and as soon the girls finish their performance Tsubasa makes an appearance to the public, announcing the General elections, which is where the public vote for their favourite member or understudy for the next single, plus she also announces the return of the centre nova! As the girls let the news that the elections are being held sink in, Yuuko during dinner, declares that she'll become first place using the Karaoke set and declares everyone her rivals! A bit later, the hotel there they are staying on that world gets attacked and DES adducts Chieri, Sonta and one member Yukirin



The three are put on trial for breaking the Entertainment ban, during the trial, the rest of AKB, come to rescue them, despite the fact they can be considered rivals! Yukirin, seems to have some medical knowledge and serves as a doctor as well as a performer, thou I suspect its rather basic medical skills, like a GP that sort of thing! While the other girls aren’t bothered by the ease of the rescue, Tsubasa is because to her, it seemed to easy! Because the trial was broadcast live, it serves as a stage to boost Chieri’s popularity for the upcoming Elections, yet she seems to shun it at first because she feels it wasn’t her own skill that enabled her to achieve the level of response she was getting! A bit later, at a handshake event, she finds out that there is an advert that using trial footage and someone dressed up as her to advertise noodles thou its unofficial, yet AKB is powerless to stop it on that matter!

On the next day off, Chieri meets with a old friend, her father’s right hand man and butler and gets a message from her father who wants to support her but Chieri shuns his help because the two aren’t very close and he has his own agenda!

Midway into season 2, we get the election and see some emotional scenes from various characters who been elected, at this point Chieri is considering quitting but she doesn’t, thou she’s rather overwhelmed by it and Nagisa, who not elected, decides she wants to be on that stage one day! While the Elected are off doing various stuff like recording the single, the rest of the members and understudies are filming programs for a pirate station to be broadcast on worlds where Entertainment is banned, at first they seem rather hesitant about it until they learn what really going on and that’s mentioned above! Therefore, they truly begin to have fun with it!

Soon afterwards, Mimori becomes ill but it is not a normal illness, it is a sign that she’s going to become a member and her soul is merging with the soul of a past member, so she gets a concert where she takes centre stage to reveal her new identity! Mimori has under gone a couple of changes but she still much the same person thou with a new look and a few traits of the soul that has joined with her!

Around this time Nagisa, who been idolising Yuuko, been trying to mimic her movements, thou she gets a bit of a lecture from Ushiyama who is the choreographer for AKB about not trying to directly match the movements of her idol because she’s losing her radiance:



Afterwards Nagisa takes down her posters of Yuuko in the dorm she shares with Chieri and Suzuko! Not long afterwards, the planet Akibastar which is the world the girls are living on, or under should I say, comes under attack by DES and Zodiac, AKB launches a counter attack to defend their home but are overwhelmed! They are forced to retreat, yet Yuuko who been aiming for beyond number one, goes centre nova, but is unable to control the power and vanishes while taking out DES’s forces but AKB is forced to retreat and split into two groups! Some of the members and the 75th and 77th generation of understudies retreat on the flying stage AKB uses in its gorilla concerts.

They land on a planet full of Mushrooms with damages to the ship, very large ones (mushrooms), in that ep Orine gets some character before the finally of the series because they encounter the local native life forms, who don’t really like humans because the planet is being mined by Zodiac! At this point, Chieri conflating having a talk with her father, partly on the advice of Nagisa, to get through to the local life forms that they aren’t enemies, where words fail, music and songs with heart and passion work! Orine becomes to understand the creatures, somehow and what they say, she, gets presented with a large crystal made of Dualium which is pretty mysterious but it’s linked to the creation of the Kirara and aloud for faster than light travel in hyper space, no idea how it works but it also reacts with people’s souls and hearts! Anyway, because of the effect the crystals have, it helps Tsubasa formicate a plan to take by Akibastar from DES and D,G,T,O!

I won’t go into furrier detail from this point because it spoil the ending and it’s a beautiful ending in some respects thou not all questions are answered!

I found this anime to be rather compelling, I found it by chance, the title is what made it stand out at the time and I watched the first ep and I was hooked because of the wealth of emotion that ended the first ep of the series! I really recommend watching this series at least once because it’s a great anime to watch, each season is 13 eps about 25 min, unlike most animes, there is no preview for the next ep so your left wondering what's going to happen next!


My personal favourite characters are Nagisa and Chieri because they are the heart of the story, I honestly think; the characters by the end of season 1 have become best friends! In some ways, I feel a little sorry for Chieri because of her past and what happens in ep 24 or ep 11 of season 2 yet Chieri and Nagisa are very well developed characters, the most developed of the series, plus they are cute! hehehe

That's it for my review, I know its long, I put my heart into this one because I really liked the anime a lot, so I hope you enjoyed the review!

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Re: Series review, AKB0048

Post by Galvatron on Mon May 06, 2013 4:24 am

if the girls were 18 and over i'd be more interested

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Re: Series review, AKB0048

Post by Sixshot on Mon May 06, 2013 10:13 pm

Galvatron wrote:if the girls were 18 and over i'd be more interested

hehehe

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Re: Series review, AKB0048

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