Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Thoughts on the Reshuffling of AKB48

I actually wrote this post a few days ago on the day the news broke! However, I later looked over it and realized my writing made me sound like I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Seriously, this was my original draft:

What the what? Why is it that shocking news always catches me on the days I'm most unprepared? I wake up and I think to myself "Hm, I wonder what exciting news will happen today!" and I bum around the Interwebs for a period of time in a state of content boredom. I was actually thinking to myself that I needed to write something but I just couldn't find anything particularly interesting I wanted to write about. Looks like I got my wish! Because once again I find myself sucker punched with the news that AKB48 has been shuffled and all the members I know and love have been either switched around or booted to different countires.

Just... WHAT?

Now I really feel like I've toppled into wonderland. But not the fun kind of wonderland with cute little bunnies and quirky tea parties but the kind where everyone's tripping on cake and hallucogenic substances and I have no idea what's going on because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON.

SEE? I'm using PERFUME in an AKB48 post. This all wrong! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

Yeah. To say I was more than shocked would be the understatement of the year. So I decided to leave this post for a few days and return Because I didn't even know where to start with this. I mean... I know that AKB was shuffled another time but that was a time when my world was Perfume and AKB48 might as well have been some mathematical equation. So was this how the old fans felt, when the group you thought you'd finally figured out was turn upside down like a bowl of Cheetos and said Cheetos were subsequently picked up and placed in different bowls? I really felt like I'd been sucker punched. And I'm not even a die-hard fan of the group! Even now I just... I don't get it. I understand it's most likely another attention stunt to keep the group interesting and relevant after Acchan leaves (because yeah, she's totally the only reason AKB48's remotely interesting with her oh-so-interesting personality!). But I don't like this. This was the point where I really felt like I was starting to be able to place names with faces and faces with teams. I developed my favorite teams, members I loved in certain teams, which teams I knew would crank out the best songs, and I felt like I was closer to understanding the infrastructure of AKB48.

But nope! I guess I'll just toss all that knowledge out the window and subsequently pack it up and send it to Canada. Bye!

Instead I get to spend all my time matching names and faces with teams all over again! What fun! I totally can't wait! The hardest part for me is just getting used to who goes where and the sheer size of each team now. When I do the math it really isn't that much of a change... so why does it feel like one? I think it's because of the disbandment of Team 4; everything just feels more claustrophobic. I know there were some pretty vocal Team 4 fans that most likely are more than disappointed that they've been disbanded. As for myself, it doesn't really bother me; I never bothered to learn the faces or songs for them so whatever. Now that they've been spread into the stable teams maybe I can figure out who's going to be promoted and worth learning about! What with all these new faces I can't help but wonder if they're going to be more pushed in lieu of some of the older, less popular members. I hope not, but I think I kind of know it's coming, what with Aki-P in his "WE'RE MAKING A NEW GENERATION!" phase. The one thing that I really don't like is the fact that some of the girls were transferred to overseas groups like JKT48 and SNH48... I mean, shouldn't they learn each respective country's languages? You're not K-pop; you can't get away with half-assed language skills! Not to mention it really screws some of the subgroups over, like French Kiss, Warota 7, and worst of all DiVA. Without Sae, how is this going to effect the group? I hope they don't disband; I love Sayaka and Umechan and they're too talented to be wasted! Maybe they'll get a replacement? But I don't know who could replace Sae... For other subgroups, I also wonder how many more lines Mayuyu's going to get in Warota 7 without Lovetan because we all know at this point those other girls are too threatened by the Creeper Smile to attempt at stealing any spotlight! On the up side, no3b is still intact! So yay for the power of Takamina! Not to mention some of the Kenkyuusei got promoted! I'll bet it's nice to feel like their hard work has finally paid off even although they'll probably get shafted.

One of the biggest changes when reshuffling such a large group like AKB48 is the reassignment of who's captain of what team. Now personally I figured the current captains would keep their respective positions just because it seemed like kind of a dick move to demote them like that. Naturally, I was wrong. Instead we have three (four if you count Takamina's new position) captains to do whatever is it captains do. First of all, Takamina's been officially promoted to General Manager of the whole group. Then again, she pretty much had that position already; she just has a title now! In my opinion, Takamina's one of the best captains I've seen in any idol group so I'm happy she didn't get demoted! Taking her place as captain of Team A will be Shinoda Mariko, a decision I'm pretty okay with. I like Mariko and she seems like she'll be a good mentor for all the newbs that have been added to Team A! It also pretty much solidifies the fact that she ain't never leaving the group; she'll probably still be there at age forty! I kid, I kid. Now there's one thing about this entire reshuffling that I'm bloody pissed off about: Team K's new captain, Oshima Yuko. Before you pelt me with Yuko glowsticks I like Yuko. I like her personality and she makes a nice center for the group! But I don't want her to be captain mainly because it's at the cost of the Akimoto Sayaka losing her spot. How DARE they demote Akimoto freaking Sayaka from her position of captain! She was awesome! I know management hates her but why? Next thing I know they're going to force her to graduate! Oh dear god now that I said it, it's going to happen O_O. It's probably because she's my favorite and I'm extremely biased toward her but... ugh, it makes me want to bang my head against the computer with Kyarypamyupamyu playing in the background. It doesn't make sense! Or maybe I just don't want it to make sense... Last but sure as hell not least, Umeda Ayaka has been promoted as captain of Team B which I think is the only thing I'm truly ecstatic about because she's one of my favorite members. But yay for Umechan! She totally deserves the position; she's been in AKB since their beginning and she's never had the chance to shine despite working her butt off on stage and in the Undergirls PVs. With her being in Gingham Check's Senbatsu and this sudden promotion as captain it makes me wonder/hope that Aki-P's going to use her in further Senbatsu PVs. I really think she deserves it and I just really like her personality. It helps I'm a sucker for underdogs. It's not that I dislike Kashiwagi Yuki but I never really saw her as a captain, just the awkward person stepping in for the captain that was currently absent. I suppose it does suck for Yukirin and Sayaka to get demoted like that (it could seem more like a slap in the face to them)

But there's still one little detail that bothers me. There are a lot of members in each team now, like 22 or 23 per team. And I'm all for a large group of girls because more personalities are what keep each team interesting. The thing is... management might not see it that way. What if they've come to the conclusion that there are too many girls in the group to give them all promotion, payment, and other idol necessities? So what if they decide they're going to slim the group down? And what if they do that with... graduations? I admit, I'm very, very worried some of the older members' days are numbered, especially Akimoto Sayaka's. It might only be because she's my favorite member of AKB48 and I will be crushed the day her graduation is announced... and I can't help but think it's coming soon. What with Yuko replacing her as captain of Team K and management hell-bent on shafting her at every opportunity possible... I feel like I'm going to wake up one day and see printed in ugly black letters "Akimoto Sayaka to Graduate." Of course there are other older members too that have been languishing in the back of the stages and barely present on singles too I'm not addressing. What of them? Has AKB48 become nothing more than an overgrown garden that the management feels compelled to "weed"? At this point, I'm not sure what lies in store for the stability of some of the girls; I just hoped there aren't any forced graduations. Hell, I just don't want Sayaka to graduate yet! Curse my biases... Oh well, I'm not going to get myself worked up just yet but I smell a mass graduation near; let's hope I'm wrong.

Things are definitely a-changin' for our lovely Akibahara idols. For better or worse... only time will tell. But either way, I'm absolutely looking forward to it.

Yep, that's a pretty good picture of my whole reaction to this reshuffling!

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