Monday, 21 May 2012

AKB0048 - Episode 4

Now that their war games are over, it's time for the wannabe future members of AKB0048 to meet their real immediate futures - training hard as successors to the idols they so love.

The first performance the group gets to see upon arrival at their new home for the foreseeable future also provides a stark tale of how not every story here is a success, as a performance by the group themselves is preceded by a warm-up act by an idol duo who are known as the only survivors of a "cursed generation" - unable to progress and become full-fledged members of AKB0048 themselves, and with all their fellow idols having left, these two individuals are left in limbo.

What's more, one of this pair - Kanata Shinonome - happens to be the sister of Sonata, and given her position she's unsurprisingly not too happy to see her younger sibling.  As her complaints fall on deaf ears, the episode progresses to tell us a little more about Kanata - most importantly, her drive to become a member of AKB0048, which is one of vengeance rather than a love of song and dance (which is what you get for having a final audition based upon military strength rather than singing, I would wager).  With no heart for her work, and the stress of having her sister around, it seems as if Kanata is going to crack - but can the power of music save her?

After threatening to do something hugely interesting with its premise last week, AKB0048 enters more predictable territory this time around - melodrama based around the desire to become a successor to the idol group's existing members, ever-more ridiculous positioning of entertainment into an environment where military force is used against those who support such "deviant" art forms, and CG that jars against the rest of the animation whenever dance routines are required.  It's the schmaltzy resolution to this week's drama that really irked me the most though, as it proved to be as predictable as it was contrived, turning around years of hatred with just a single song.  Even AKB48 aren't that good, and it signals the moment where I can officially expect nothing worthwhile to come out of this series.  Lightsaber microphone notwithstanding, that is.

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