I gave in to a DVD sale plain and simple, that's my only reasoning behind buying AKB0048….jeesh.
Story - 8/10
So I came into this series with very low expectations. As a series it checked all the wrong boxes, girls idol group, cutsie, and fighting robots, because lets face it for every Evangelion and G Gundam, there's a thousand Gravions and Fafners. For the most part I only purchased it because I was looking for something new, it was inexpensive and I needed to spend a few more dollars for free shipping. Was I ever pleasantly surprised.
So the main story line follows a group of young girls training to join an idol group/ mech fighting force as they attempt to bring music and happiness to planets that are currently under a total or partial entertainment ban. But instead a majority of the show deals with how these young girls deal with pressure, the thought of having to compete against friends and the reality that being this type of pop idol isn't all fun and games.
This is a great example of not judging a book by it's cover. Sure there are the dance numbers, bad songs and the obligatory battles, but a majority of the series focuses on a great story with well written character interactions.
Animation - 6/10
For the most part the show is beautifully animated. The design and detail put ion the locations and different planets is some of the best in recent memory. They also did a brilliant job using shadows and accents to really make the visuals pop. This is what we've come to expect from the world of HD animation now and they didn't disappoint.
Unfortunatly the he characters are very generic and typical for this type of series. Half the time it seems they just looked around at other series, like K-On or Kokoro Connect, and copied every female in them. I know they had a lot to deal with, having thirty or so characters, but even the slightest bit of originality would have been nice here, and seeing how they had that for the backgrounds you know they could have done it with the idols too.
While the character design left much to be desired, they use of computer animation left you wanting to turn the series off. While this is usually one of the aspects i use to nitpick series so it's not always just praising the art, in AKB0048 it really became and annoying distraction. They used the style whenever the girls would partake in a big dance number and it was always strikingly out of place. The dimensions of the characters were bad, the movement was somehow a mix of robotic and gelatinous, and overall it just was a poor choice.
I do have to highlight one specific scene for praise. It's not for the animation itself, but the content of the animation. Early in the series Nagisa is racing for the train that will take them to the AKB auditions. As she reaches the train it's already started taking off, the doors open and her two friends come out and grab to pull her aboard. Everything about that scene echo's the escape scene in the original Transformer's animated movie, where RC is pulled aboard by Springer. Now it might just be a coincidence, but it'd pretty awesome if they were giving a nod to one of the best animated movies of all time.
Sound - 4/10
So I pretty much came in assuming the music was going to be bad, even for Idol standards, and it was. The show had to put out so many songs, so they went for the cookie cutter approach. The tunes were terrible and the lyrics were simplistic drivel.
On the bright side we got a great mix of all the female V.O. artist from pretty much every series that's been released over the last few years. They all were great in their performances, even if some did get a bit grating by the end. Not to mention there are very few things in the anime world as annoying as Nagisa constantly shouting out the name Chieri like an imbecile.
Characters - 8/10
With so many characters you'd think it would be impossible to give them backstories. Heck there are shows like Towa No Quon, The World God Only Knows and K-On! that have a limited amount of characters and over hours and hours of show we learn nothing about them. Somehow AKB0048 finds a way, even in just simple terms, to give us enough information to at least know why the girls are here and what they are trying to accomplish. The series shows that things don't have to be overly complicated in order to give us decent characters, something many newer series can learn from.
Now with that said, there's not a ton behind who these girls are. There's one group who, in their early youth, saw 0048 perform and decided they wanted to be just like them, bringing joy to the worlds that have a complete entertainment ban. Of those girls, Nagisa and Chieri stand out as the two main characters in the series. They've grown to be quite opposite of each other, with Nagisa just wanting to make the band with her friends and Chieri determined to just become the best, which at first seems like her way of trying to protect these other girls from the reality of being in the band, but as the show progresses she just seems like a generally terrible person. (which we know will change in season two because things always have to end on a positive note)
As is common with these shows the characters who play a supporting role often become much more likable than those main characters, and here it's no different. Characters like Kanata, who wants to avenge her father's death at the hands of the DTGO, Sonata, who wants to be like her big sister Kanata, prove to be developed much better than our stars. Others such as Makoto, Suzuko, Mimori and AKB member Yuko aren't as fully developed, but their characters bring the comedy and heart to the series, while Minami fills in a secondary villain roll as another selfish and unlikable member of AKB.
They even managed to make many of the secondary characters likable, despite very limited screen time. Mr. Ushiyama, Papa cook and the WOTA members (a military force that fights along side AKB) all do their part to make sure the show isn't as generic as it could have been.
Overall - 7/10
While the rewatch-ability isn't high for someone with my tastes, I can't say this is a show that shouldn't be given a chance. With favorites such as FLCL, GTO, X and Trigun it would seem this series would score a zero for me, but they went far beyond the outward look of "Girly Fluff" and gave us a pretty solid series.
Even with the simplistic songs and all too neat ending I wasn't disappointed. I can honestly say I look forward to popping season two in my DVD player and seeing where they decided to go with the mysteries behind AKB0047.
The season before this show aired, there was Black Rock Shooter, (BRS) an infomercial aiming to sell via name to its established audience. AKB0048 (AKB) was doing the same thing, made to cater the fans of the homonymous teen idol group. Another thing both of them had in common was how they were trying to have a pseudo-serious premise for attracting the unsuspected.
The story is of course completely retarded and no more than a piss-poor excuse for some conflict, other than cute girls doing cute singing, to exist. No matter how much they tried to spice it up by making the pop-idols a resistance group waging war against an intergalactic oppressive government that hates entertainment, it still plays out as your typical moe-flick where nothing of importance ever happens … even when it is supposed to.
Normally, I would have liked this show more than your typical pop-idol garbage because the stakes are higher than “Oh no, people didn’t like my singing, I guess I will have to find a different job now”. And yet I like it even less because everything is an afterthought. There is no actual tension since nothing dangerous ever happens to them, thus the dark setting is going to waste, and the premise becomes pretentious.
It’s the same problem I have with other titles such as Idol Master Xenoglossia and Bodacious Space Pirates. I love space adventures and giant robots blowing up shit, but when they become background decoration for generic moeblobs, I am angered by this disservice. There was so much they could have done with the premise. What if some of them where occasionally getting injured or killed? What if the girls realized they are sacrificing everything without an actual pay-off?
And none of that happens, it’s the same old coming of age nonsense where they spend most of the time training how to dance and sing about love, than trying to liberate the universe from the dystopian government. All you get is a bunch of cutely dressed pretty girls hovering in the air and singing J-pop songs, while the army is trying to capture them with nets and firework missiles.
Do I even need to point out how this is dealing with an industry that thrives on the dreams and hopes of young people by making it look like they are the saviors of the universe? Just look how they treat the girls in the show as if they are spare parts in a huge emotionless machine. They are not allowed to sing their own songs; they must learn the established songs of the past pop idols and they must dance in the exact same way as they did. They are not even allowed to have their own personality and name, the goal is to replace the older generation of AKB instead of being individuals. Not to mention that mysterious leader figure of their planet. It looks like a demon who has absolute control over everybody’s lives. For all we know pop idols could have been banned to prevent the demon from taking over the galaxy by brainwashing people with cute girls.
That is what I loved in Looking for the Full Moon; the heroine there refused to sing the cheesy lyrics others wrote for her and was dead set on doing her own song. She had only one pop idol and yet she had a million times more characterization than these 47 cardboards. She was being active and was trying to change things. There is none of that here, it’s just girls singing shallow music before turning 30 and are kicked out for fresh blood. Or in the sleazy context of the show, they mysteriously disappear.
And it’s not like I hate everything about pop-idols; you can have a good dark story about the perils of escapism. Perfect Blue, and Millennium Actress are great with the theme. Hell, the very director of AKB is the same guy who directed the original Macross. The way he mixed singing with giant robots and space battles was amazing. Unfortunately he then sold out to the otaku industry and made this garbage, before moving to completely killing the Macross franchise with Delta. It’s sci-fi first and j-pop second, not the other way around. How hard is that to understand?
Anyways, this is not a show of mass appeal despite trying to make it seem like the fans of space adventures will like it as much as fans of coming of age. It was made specifically for people who dig pop idols; most won’t even give it a second glance because of the stupid story, and no amount of good visuals can change that.
i really loved watching this anime. It has such a right, friendly atmosphere on the surface and reading between the lines allows you to get a real sense of AKB0048's ideals. It was fun, a show about girls empowering others while supporting and loving another even with the spirit of competition. I loved that this was a battle type of anime and yet the girls got to remain tough fighters with heart and determination without being sexualized (with the exception of one character who I suspect is just her personality type) or weak. They each had their moments, and the amount of character growth is really touching. I've come to care about each main character. My favorite is A toss up between Orine and Suzuko. I feel a kinship with both~. I just wish they would follow through on some of the Yuri elements that underline some of the friendships!
I reccomend end this as a feminist anime, for anyone who has a fondness of scifi and the magical girl genre. ❤️
Unas morrillas que vieron un concierto de AKB0048 hace muchos años unen sus sueños y bla bla bla, crecen, pasan cosas y finalmente se unen a AKB haciendo un tipo de casting alrededor del universo para reclutar morrillas como ellas. Es una historia demasiado sencilla, aunque con sus temas de terrorismo del entretenimiento y demás tratan de darle más profundidad y tensión a la historia, realmente sabemos que no pasara nada mas allá de unos llantos y epifanías baratas. Solo vemos a las chicas acoplándose a su nueva vida como futuras idols, es divertido y aprecio las comedias que no solo arrojan ecchi a lo idiota, pero es más como un Big Brother de idols preadolescentes.
El problema principal es que todas, o casi todas, las protagonistas tienen de 13 a 15 años, así que sus problemas son muy comunes y sencillos: problemas con sus padres, traumillas del pasado, pasar de niña a mujer, etc. Así que no hay mucho explorar ni profundizar, ahora mismo voy a una secundaria y vería exactamente lo mismo. Además todos los personajes son muy monótonos, en realidad ninguna de las chicas tiene una personalidad llamativa o interesante, así que no llegas a apreciar a ninguna.
Al final Nagisa por fin se da cuenta que su padre no la odia y bla bla bla, concierto, batalla y ya, no hay más, la protagonista queda exactamente igual que como empezó.
Al final de cuentas esta serie termina siendo una publicidad compleja para las bandas, principalmente AKB, aunque un poco innecesaria, puesto que es una de las bandas más populares en Japón. Igual que siempre, tiene conceptos muy interesantes, todo el rollo de terrorismo y que el entretenimiento corrompe el alma y eso, se me hizo muy interesante, casi recuerda a 1984 de George Orwell, todos seriamos unos criminales de pensamiento. Tambien llamo la atención el como hacían la sucesión y demás, lograron transportar a la banda al futuro sin transportar a la banda al futuro como tal y reconozco que estuvo bien realizado. Pero, igual que siempre, perdieron el tiempo en problemas estúpidos y comunes de niñas de 13 años y chicas moe peleando. Si eres fan de esta banda, seguramente te va a gustar mucho, si no, deberías estar haciendo otra cosa.
With the large amount of questionable things AKB0048 attempted, this show was inevitably doomed to fail. The large casts of characters, the doubtable synopsis, & its variety of genres clustered together just to name a few. Most ridiculous of all, the director expected AKB48 singers, a real-life, popular idol group, to successfully convert into voice actresses. Furthermore, most soundtracks in the actual anime will be inserted directly from AKB48's popular debuts, and this all just seemed too convenient to work out. Thus, I walked into AKB0048 expecting some terribly scripted dialogues, incorrect utilization of AKB48 soundtracks, and tons more to name. But here I am, telling you that AKB0048 can actually be safely described as multitudes of great things, one of them being a successful collaboration of impinging, tricky anime genres.
However, ignoring AKB0048’s flaws would be too generous. The plot of this Series was just too chaotic in the beginning, and awkward even to the extent of a laughable synopsis. Its attempt at mixing interplanetary mecha themes with the assemblage of idols, who are all such independent loli's, just seemed too silly to fit together. At first, I continuously questioned the silly premise of the story, but later I just decided to go along with it just due to the fact that I don’t have a time machine.
=Now the Actual Review Begins=
Even with all its flaws, AKB0048 proved to me that any future is possible.
Behind all this seemingly plugged up garbage plot, I found a pearl in the sea of sewages. Before watching this series, I constituted all my opinions about idols in a Western sense. Long story short, I live in a very industrialized environment where idols are all seemingly just good-looking people with no talent whatsoever. In other words, people like Justin Bieber over the past years have influenced me to completely lose respects for others with similar occupations (even in anime). Ironically, AKB0048, a crew consisting of cute girls, has elaborated enough on idols’ daily lives that I’m actually reconsidering my view point on this world’s entertainment industry. How it has done so with the slice of life, comedy, & science fiction genres fascinates me even up to today.
As a male, I never understood why a vast amount of the female population have always wanted to become an idol (not a sexist statement, it’s a fact that most idol groups include females). But, that is not to say they all have such ambitions for the same reason. With different feelings, intentions, and reasons for becoming an idol, most people who desire to rise to a position of fame come from places scattered all across the board. With that being said, most successful idols do share one thing in common; the way AKB0048 depict these idols, they all seem like a determined bunch, despite their inabilities, adversities, or any obstacles in their way. Now the supernatural situation within ABK0048 doesn’t seem as irrelevant, does it? This situational restriction on entertainment, although clumsily scripted, immediately creates a universe where young females are disallowed their dreams of perhaps rising to become an idol. Too bad even in a universe where interplanetary wars are supposedly happening, teenagers still don’t think when they act.
As the story starts developing, three young girls who want to become the 77th Generation of AKB0048 idols consistently meet more and more obstacles as the story progresses. The first few episodes explore some character’s family issues, backgrounds, personalities, and give a vivid detail of where the series is heading, while the whole entertainment ban theme overarches all these episodes. Things get tougher the more you get into it. Haters, dealing with failures, and stressing over little details of your actions will all lead to shed tears. But in the end, you’re never the only one going through it. There are always people going through the same pain as you, as they walk the same path as an idol. This relationship then establishes friendships between the idols depicted in this series, and it is a very interesting concept of friendship that it illustrates, by simply dealing with every day issues. As the Series progresses, the intensity builds up as well. At first the plot was driven simply by a few science fiction references, but by the end supernatural and mecha themes are thoroughly explored. Though, don't get confused because although the plot is very detailed in its description; the overall mood of AKB0048 still remains to mostly be drama/slice of life. Even though the execution of mecha scenes in AKB0048 seemed needless and unnecessary, the appearance of mecha did contribute to illustrating just the difficulties that even idols have to overcome. But to an extent, this theme was probably exaggerated on too much, while lacking the correct coherence most mecha/shounen shows actually have.
Besides these heavily emphasized themes, AKB0048 also frequently (meaning, A LOT) transitions into comedy moments. These scenes often follow serious, dramatic moments, but rarely feels barged in through the whole development. In fact, the serious moments themselves appear to be melodramatic sometimes too. But, those are just the result of the conflicted traits within some characters, which essentially arouses a feeling of dramatic-ness without the actual atmosphere being so just by itself. This makes even further sense because most of the characters are professional drama queens, which, as I mentioned before, makes up these light-hearted comedy moments within this anime. Just the over dramatic atmosphere itself being consistently interfered by clumsy, klutz moments are hilarious by themselves, but the show sometimes even makes fun of itself. I won't go into details, but let's just say perversely suggestive jokes occur frequently. Even in the one beach episode (ep10) and other possible candidates where fan-service was visible, the story still progressed and was always accompanied by those suggestive jokes mentioned above. In other words, fan service done correctly without being too distracting. Personally, this consistent aspect of the show made it a more enjoyable watch.
The developments of characters were incredibly smooth as the series played out. That is, to say, if you didn’t get annoyed by them from episode 1. Some characters are very irksome when they are first introduced. Unlike most anime though, these annoying characters all change in some ways in AKB0048. It's not just subtle or slight adjustments either, it's life changing choices these characters decide on which makes the viewer so attached to them. These character developments don't just occur to a few selected people either. While there are obvious main characters with bigger roles, most other (side) characters actually get their own arcs, and have a re-occurring role(s) throughout this whole series. Please note that though the cast of character is about 2 dozen idols, AKB0048 was able to handle all those characters while getting the plot to flow well, and making sure nobody gets overshadowed for the most part either, now that's just a bit impressive.
For an anime almost made to commercialize AKB48's songs, I'd have to say it did a great job. Any fans of the real life AKB48 idol group should check out this anime (and vice versa), think of this show almost like a behind-the-stage TV series. The music was top notched in terms of the J-pop genre, but I feared for terrible synchronization with the animation, and luckily it didn't turn out bad at all. There were also notable background music playing and it's remarkable how just a light-hearted themed soundtrack can help scenes transition from one to another (especially from those dramatic to comedy scenes). Also, due to the lack of experiences it probably took a while for those AKB48 member to suddenly become voice actors. But by the end not only was the voice acting minimal quality, they all seemed to fit the character very well, so well that It should be considerably outstanding for those undergraduates.
Animation was good, and there were obvious efforts put into the character designs. Those efforts are exemplified by the motif of carving cute (loli-like; moe) things such as hearts with a very shallow curve into characters' hairs. Not only the characters, but it's choreography within those dancing scenes also seemed fairly unique. The animation even switches into a 3-D dancing crew during actual performances of dances, and my eyeballs were just overfilled with soothing joy. For someone who's impatient to the point that even waiting 10 minutes for a movie to start becomes a problem, I'd have to say it did a fine job entertaining me with those mesmerizing dancing performances.
All in all, with a few due casualties, I think AKB0048 deserves a better rating than what most viewers are giving it. While exploring the daily lives of idols, AKB0048 accurately depicts symbolic obstacles faced by those working in the entertainment industry. Although this anime is layered over by exaggerated, heavy mecha/supernatural themes, AKB0048 still manages to blend it in somewhat nicely into the rest of its plot, and ended up with a just right amount of varieties of genres. There's never any overly done action scenes, and the serious parts/arcs of this drama have nicely attached meaning behind them all. Though, do look out for comedy scenes caused by melodramatic moments, inelegant characters, and some referenced jokes which barely cut for PG13-audiences. As for recommendations, this series is a tricky one due to its vast amount of genres; however, I would recommend AKB0048 especially to slice of life fans out there, who won't mind a few awkwardly fastened mecha plot points here and there.
Thinking back on AKB0048 now, there may be hope for the entertainment industry after all. With such a surprising treat from the first season, I can safely say second season may be just as exciting. Now if people would just listen...