AKB48 Stuns with Animated Personality


AKB48 in their “AKB48 in TOKYO DOME ~ The 1830m Dream” concert. Considered their biggest and best concert with an attendance over 955,000 fans over the course of three days.

Algeo Rosario, Reporter

While there are bands out there with three, five, or even 10 members in a group, imagine having over 90 members in a band. Combined with its sisters groups, there are over 200 members. AKB48 is a Japanese pop all girl group whose growing popularity has taken over this Asian nation. Every time their new singles debut they are guaranteed to sell over 1 million copies in a week and take #1 in the Oricon Charts for Japan. But what makes them so special?

AKB48 has a school like concept. Each year, girls audition to be a part of the group. When the girls pass auditions they are called Research Students. They learn how to be idols and eventually get promoted to a regular member. The girls are placed in Team A, K, B, or recently reformed Team 4. Once a member feels like she’s ready to be on her own, she graduates from the group and uses what AKB48 has taught them.

AKB48’s producer and lyricist Yasushi Akimoto founded the group based on “idols you can meet.” AKB48 has been known to have many kinds of fan service. They started off with their very own theater based in Akihabara, Tokyo where they perform every night. They have handshake events where fans line up to shake hands with members. And they have yearly elections where fans vote for members to be in the next single and determine their rank in the group.

Their music is very catchy and each song has a different theme to it. Some songs have a bubblegum pop sound to them, some are very soft and relaxing, while some are really cool that it makes you want to get up and dance. The variety in different themes makes you anticipate what the next single is going to be like. No song has disappointed its audience yet.

However, with a band like this, there has been controversies. People have argued that their music videos and lyrics are sexually suggestive such as its “Heavy Rotation” music video. The video shows scantily clad females and even girls kissing at some points. While this sparked criticism, it was moreso  because some of the girls are very young, it’s something you can’t show to children, and people say it degrades women. Yasushi Akimoto states that he wants to “depict reality” through the songs he writes. I never really understood that because few of the videos barely depict reality. However, there are many other songs that aren’t suggestive. Songs like “River” and “Beginner” have very powerful lyrics that can motivate you to do your best.

Rules are created and strictly enforced such as the case with the no dating rule. Members are not allowed to have relationships with anyone once they’re in the group.  Minami Minegishi was caught in a scandal in the past year because she was secretly in a relationship, which resulted with her shaving her own head and getting demoted.

The biggest problem with the group is the massive amount of members. Out of the over 90 members you’re probably only going to remember 10 or 20 names if you stick with them. In addition, the same girls get chosen to be in the forefront of performances and it’s hard for the other girls to share the spotlight or gain popularity. However, each girl is different in her own way. Each has her own unique personality from cute to cool that you’ll love the girls in an instant. It’s very easy to pick out your own favorite. The girls also form friendships with each other too and it’s really fun to see them interacting on stage or on television.

Other than the enormous size or controversy surrounding them, this group is simply amazing. It is not surprising that they sell out stadiums and domes and with their performances so well synchronized, it’s difficult not be to impressed by all their hard work. With songs that are so good, fans download them in an instant. A member may catch your eye and she’ll become your favorite so the group’s popularity keeps growing each day. Once you get past all the suggestive fanservice, this group is really fun and original. All in all I definitely recommend this band if you like international music.