Oh man, it's finally that time again! AKB48's dark days! When I say dark days I mean the "dark" single they always release around this time of year, songs like RIVER, Beginner, and Kaze wa Fuiteiru. I enjoy all three of these songs not just because they're dark but because they're well done! Each one has uplifting lyrics combined with powerful music that really leave you with quite the impact! After the blandness of Gingham Check I am totally ready to move on to better songs! I wonder what UZA stands for? Underwhelming Zone of Achievement perhaps? Undead Zombie Annihilation? God, I wish it were the last one. What I would pay to see a boatload of idols running from zombies and wielding shotguns in a post-apocalyptic world filled with zombies. But no. Instead I get UZA, a title which reminds me of the equally stupid title of NOLZA, some album by some K-pop group I don't care enough to remember. But you should never judge a song by it's title even with a title as odd as this one so let's dive into the actual song!
I hate that opening note, when some Hobgoblin screams "UZA!!!" The first impression of a song is the most important and that was not the first thing I wanted to hear for an AKB "dark" song. Then there are some random explosions (what is this now, a Michael Bay directed performance?) and some gratuitous backup dancers. Seriously, it's AKB48, holder of the Guinness World Record for largest girl group, why do they need backup dancers? But I couldn't remember this song. I literally sat down to write about it, and I couldn't remember a thing. I had to listen to it several times before I could remember the vocal structure and composition of the song and even now I'm still not 100% certain of what I listened. I know that there's an fast-paced beat and there's Autotune. But the Autotune isn't bad in this song but it's prevalent enough that I know it's there and it's rather unnecessary as the song wouldn't have been much different. I hate it when Auotune's gratuitous; as messy as the Autotune in One Two Three is, at least it fitted with the electropop of the song. This song isn't electropop. Sure, it has elements of electropop but it's not. I know my electropop and this is not it. It's similar to Beginner but comparing those two songs is really stretching it. But do you know what my biggest problem with the song is?
I can't remember it.
I can't remember it.
I'm not exaggerating, I cannot remember this song. I've listened to it several times and other than the tone of the song everything else just flies out of my head. The biggest problem with this song is it doesn't have the punch of Beginner and RIVER or even the melodic sadness of Kaze wa Fuiteiru. I feel like it tried to do what their past "serious" singles tried to do but this time, their efforts fell flat. In fact... I think I have the same problem with this song as I do Gingham Check! WOW. I never thought I'd compare an "dark" AKB single to Gingham Check because they were always so interesting. Jesus, Aki-P, did Acchan's graduation just suck all your creativity out of you? But the thing is I don't hate this song; I just can't remember it. Honestly, I think forgetting a song is worse than hating a song though. At least when you hate a song, it indicates that you remember it and those memories are why you hate it so much. When you can't even remember a song, that implies said song isn't even worth your time to memorize and have an opinion about. And that's what this song is to me. Not good, not bad, just nothing. A big black whole of idol nothingness.
The Senbatsu's not bad, but definitely expected. Sadly, Umechan's day in the limelight is over as she is shafted back into B-sides and Sasshi's still there despite being in HKT48. Seriously, why did everyone freak out so much when she was transferred? It was obvious she was going to get the same treatment Rena does doubling with SKE48 and AKB48 singles. Some punishment. Anyways, that's another topic for another time. The big question for me was who would be the next center now that Acchan's gone? I assumed it would be Yuko since she's the most popular and unsurprisingly she was. I like Yuko as center! What is nice though is that we have a double center of Yuko and Jurina! I think it's kind of nice that it's dual and I've always liked Yuko and Jurina as centers even if they're not my favorite members! One thing with the song was that for some reason it sounded like all the vocals were being done by Takamina with vocal enhancers. It's probably just the Autotune but even if all that singing was Takamina I'm not complaining! She's an awesome singer and one of the best in AKB48! Still, this and Gingham Check... I'm not excited. I'm going to move on to something more exciting and memorable. Like rock-paper-scissors!
Now for the more exciting news! The Janken results are out! My first thought was "Already? But I thought they were being broadcast in late September..." Then I realized it was late September; I hadn't paid attention for the dates of this Janken tournament since I've given up on Janken singles. By now I've come to expect that they're bland, cookie-cutter type drek that I won't remember in two days. Still, even I get a little excited at the prospect of essentially an idol free-for-all. No biases, no popularity, no management push just two girls, two hands, and rock-paper-scissors. I'm a little sad that it snuck up on me so quickly since I could only watch recaps. The tournament itself is always more exciting than the single with the quirky costumes and the suspense that your underrated favorite (aka Akimoto Sayaka for me) just might get the chance to be in a Senbatsu song, even if it's a really shitty one. Sadly, Sayaka did not make it but I recognized a few other girls that did! Now let's see how many faces I know and don't know this time around!
16. Matsubara Natsumi - Well hi there, stranger! Seriously, who is this chick? Get used to that sentence because I can guarantee it's going to pop up a lot in this post since I honestly don't know a lot of the Janken winners this time around. There are only like four (five if you count Umechan) regular Senbatsu members. This person isn't one of them. Well... good for her I guess! She just barely made it and I read that this is the first Senbatsu single she'll get to be in so good for her! If only it wasn't the sucky Janken single she got to be in!
15. Kashiwagi Yuki - Here's a sort of familiar face! I'm not the hugest Yukirin fan (though her voice is nice) considering French Kiss is blander than a group called French Kiss should be but good for her I guess! I think this is her first Janken tournament she's won so yay? I'm not really for Senbatsu members appearing in Janken singles (I like it when the less popular members get limelight) but there aren't many this time around and as one of those few, I'm sure she'll bring in some sales. She's popular, right? Meh, let's see who else is one this list!
14. Ueno Kasumi (SKE48 Team E) - Nope, SKE48 nonsense. I'm out.
13. Nakata Chisato - Yay, now we're back to people from ABK48! But I don't know this person either. Man alive, getting through the rest of this list is going to be frustrating, isn't it? Okay, Chisato, Chisato, Chisato... I'm sorry, the only Chisato I can ever care about is Okai Chisato from C-ute! Well... I'm sure, she's a nice person? Oh what the hell do I know, as for as I know she could be a criminal mastermind secretly masquerading as an idol working on her application for the League of Evil. NEXT!
12. Maeda Ami - YOU! Creepy Smile! So... her name is Maeda Ami? I didn't know that until I found her picture; I always just called her Creepy Smile... Not Mayuyu the Fantastic Creeper creepy just... I don't know, every time I see this chick in a picture she just looks really, really awkward, like she's smiling and grimacing at the same time. I know I shouldn't judge her by just her slightly creepy looks but I literally know nothing else about her. Maybe she has a nice personality! I always see her in Janken singles though; at least this tournament didn't break her streak! Yay for Creepy Smile!
11. Umeda Ayaka - Yay for Umechan! I'm so so happy that one of my favorite members made it into the single! It totally makes up for the fact that Akimoto Sayaka didn't (though I'm still sad she didn't get in...). Umechan's my second favorite member of AKB48 so seeing her snag a spot in the Janken single is amazing! It makes me hope that she'll be a more frequent member of Senbatsu (stupid UZA and their stupid lack of Umechan). Even so, I always love seeing Umechan getting a chance to participate in singles! She has an amazing personality, she's sweet, adorable, and ee!! Sorry, I'm not sure what that noise-typed-into-text was...
10. Kimoto Kanon (SKE48 Team E) - Really? Joy, more SKE48 people. I know even less members in SKE48 than I do in any of the other 48 groups, including NMB48! But good for her I guess; she looks friendly from the pictures I saw of her on Google. And I should always trust pictures! I feel bad that I'm just giving up on learning about other members but it's takes so much effort and I have none of that... Oh well, I'll probably never look up anything else about this girl since I've given up on learning any of the members in groups besides AKB48. Still, congrats to her position in the Senbatsu!
9. Itano Tomomi - Please tell me I'm not the only one who finds it hilariously ironic that Tomochin pretty much ranked in the same position for both the Senbatsu Election and the Janken tournament? I mean, what are the odds? Well I'm sure she's happy she got in since I believe this is her first time winning a spot in the Janken Senbatsu. Not that it really means much since Janken songs are usually shit but still, it's the sweet taste of victory and besting someone else that really takes the cake! And I like Tomochin decently enough! Sure I absolutely can't stand her voice solo but when she's singing with AKB48 she is A-OK!
8. Abe Maria - I know this person is from Team 4. I also found out her name is a pun on Ave Maria, a Catholic prayer about the Virgin Mary. See Wikipedia for more info. So that's funny if you're into religion... and you like puns... Other than that, here's another girl I can add to my list of girls I know next to nothing about! You know the drill, good for Maria, I'm happy she won even though I know nothing about her, blah blah blah blah blah. Let's see if I recognize the next person in this Senbatsu!
7. Takeuchi Miyu - ...of course I don't recognize the next person in this Senbatsu! I guess it's kind of fun seeing fresh faces that I can possibly grow attached to and follow in the hopes they make it to regular Senbatsu someday like Umechan in Ue Kara Mariko! But even I have to admit the PV for this song is going to be hard to screencap considering I know little to no one in this single... As for this girl, off to the Generasia! Hm... it says she's part of Team 4 (so that's why I don't know her!) and she's the youngest official member of AKB48. I don't think that's true anymore with Jurina but oh well! Next please!
6. Nakamura Mariko - Another Team 4 member!? I am going to lose my mind trying to match names with faces when the PV comes out! Maybe I should just do what Chiima does and make up names for them when I see the PV... Well, I'm happy for Mariko, she gets a chance to be in Senbatsu, don't do drugs, eat your vegetables... anything else I didn't cover that I need to? Good! Next!
5. Shinoda Mariko - Bless you Mariko! Bless your familiarity! So from number one to number five, huh? That's not too shabby considering Janken's a game of chance (or so they tell us). Mariko seems like the ultimate authority figure in AKB48 and it's nice that she'll be so high up in Senbatsu! She can keep an eye on all the other younger member with her iron fist! Mariko isn't my uber-favorite member or anything but I do like her and the fact that she'll probably still be in AKB48 by the time she's forty!
4. Uchida Mayumi - It took me a moment to realize that Uchida Mayumi was the first winner of the first annual Janken tournament. So YOU started the trend of bland Janken singles! Probably not, but from what I saw the poor thing hasn't been in any other singles since then, not even the second Janken single. Talk about a fall from grace... it's nice that she's ranking again and up high too! She seems like a cute person going off the Chance no Juban PV so maybe her cuteness will spread to this single too!
3. Yokoyama Yui - Honmayan! You must be here to save me from the sea of faces I don't recognize! Or not... I'm glad Yui made it so high up in the Senbatsu this year! I don't know why but every time I see Yui I start liking her more and more. She's funny on Bimyou, she's a pretty looking girl, and... I just like her a lot! It's nowhere near my level adoration for Sayaka, Umechan, Miichan, or Mayuyu but I'm still happy someone I liked made it so far up! Even though Janken singles tend to suck... maybe Honmayan will save the Janken single from suckiness! If she can stop doubting herself, that is!
2. Nito Moeno - You know, for some reason I always feel bad for whoever gets second in the Janken tournaments, just because they were so close to victory but one wrong move and they were put at number two. So yeah, I feel bad for this girl, whoever she is but at least she gets an opportunity to be in a Senbatsu single! And it's a very high ranking so hopefully she'll get a little amount of screen time, maybe even the amount Mayuyu got in Gingham Check! Or not. I can dream...
1. Shimazaki Haruka - And our winner is... unfamiliar to me. My first thought was she looked like a thirteen-year old. I found out she's eighteen. That's older than me! This does not compute! Does. Not. Compute! So yeah, good for her I guess but I don't know her any better than these other contestants... well, at first I didn't. I was digging around the Interwebs reading comments about the Janken results when I came across an interesting conspiracy theory: the tournament was rigged from the start so that this chick could win and management could push her as the next ace. What the what?
I don't necessarily believe the competition was rigged... but I do believe there was some behind-the-scenes talking going down behind the stages of Akibahara. You know, the "if you do X, we'll give you Y" type of thing. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the girls were asked to intentionally allow another member to win to create the winner management wants. But I believe it's highly unlikely considering, despite planning, rock-paper-scissors is at heart a game of chance. You can strategize all you want, but in the end it all comes down to what motion you make with your hand. I will say though, I read a little more about this chick and her win is rather... suspicious. I just think it's incredibly convenient that she won at the same time while managed just happened to be pushing her. I mean, golly, what a coincidence is that? That's really going to help her popularity now! Or maybe I'm just over-thinking this and despite the odds she really did win during a period in her life that coincided with her push to what fans are saying is the new ace position. And on the subject of that, maybe I'm simply mad that Acchan's being replaced so quickly by this nobody. Okay, she's not a nobody but to me she might as well be. I know nothing about her and I've not exactly warmed up to her from seeing the Janken videos. I don't know; this whole "Next Ace" thing is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. This chick will never be Acchan and maybe that's why I'm so cold to accepting her as an ace. With Acchan, I was okay with her because despite her blandness, her being center just felt like the way things should be. But now that management's pushing for this girl to swoop in and take her place... I don't like it. Even if she hadn't won the Janken tournament, I still wouldn't like it. Something about her just ticks me off. Maybe it's the know-it-all smile she wears or the dull surprise at winning the tournament but I don't think. I already have one Riho in my life; I don't need Riho 2.0 for AKB48! Maybe I just need to chill out, listen to some Perfume, and enjoy the fact there is no ace for Perfume. Or perhaps I can condition myself to accept this new ace and somehow look past her and see if I can find Miichan lingering the back row somewhere.
So yay. I have a song I can't even remember and the Janken single has a center I don't even care about. You know what? I wanna do something fun, I'm going to do a poll! I haven't done a poll in a month or two! I say it's time I make another one involving the one and only AKB48! So here's the big question: If you could make your own Senbatsu who would you pick? I'm only including members of AKB48 (including dual members like Jurina and Sayanee) because if I didn't the poll would be so long people would be too overwhelmed to vote on it?