Thursday, March 4, 2010

AKB48 and the Philippines' Sexbomb Dancers

Years before AKB48 existed, around 1999, a group of all female Filipino dancers started performing on the background of the Philippines' longest-running lunchtime variety show, Eat Bulaga!, one of the few Filipino TV shows I actually enjoy watching. They were good-looking, young girls that danced quite well. They would eventually be named by the hosts as the Sexbomb Dancers, so named because they often danced to Tom Jones' hit song that time, Sexbomb. Besides dancing, and singing, I can point out a number of similarities between AKB48 and the Philippines' Sexbomb Dancers.

Sexbomb started out with only four members, and their number steadily increased as their popularity rose, although they would stop at around 20. AKB started with 20 members, and as their popularity rose, so did their numbers, with currently more than 100 in the whole AKB family. Many members have come and gone with the Sexbomb Dancers, although many of the most familiar faces have stayed for several years now. The same goes with AKB.

Sexbomb's popularity rose because they performed almost everyday (except Sundays, unless they guested someplace else) as mainstays of the very popular noontime variety show Eat Bulaga! which airs everyday except Sunday. (The name is a play on the Filipino children's phrase, It-Bulaga!, Bulaga being a word used to surprise someone.) They were accessible to people essentially everyday. So goes with AKB, because of the Akihabara theater, which they perform in everyday. (The hosts of Eat Bulaga! would rival the hosts of AKB shows. The two main hosts of Eat Bulaga!, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, would rival the Bad Boys' Sata and Kiyoto, especially in the naughtiness department. AKBingo! has certain similarities to Eat Bulaga! such as original games, and focus on original humor. Even the names of the shows have a similar structure.)

The Sexbomb Dancers had the girl-next-door image, and had a very approachable image in the show. AKB's original image (and arguably still today) was also girl-next-door, and part of their first marketing campaigns (and still today) was that they were "idols" you can meet everyday.

AKB48 has wotas, the Sexbomb Dancers had the Kurimaws (the word doesn't mean anything, it sounds like something awful, denoting the street-image of what were supposed to be most of its fans). The image of wotas in Japan can be likened (but not the same) to Kurimaws. Each has its own chants. The fanaticism of the Kurimaws was very similar to the wotas.

AKB has several teams, Sexbomb would eventually be divided into two, the Sexbomb Singers, and the Sexbomb Dancers, where the Singers also sang original songs.

Like AKB, Sexbomb would release CD's of original songs they perform. Interestingly enough, Sexbomb's first album, Unang Putok (First Explosion) was a hit by Filipino standards, it sold over 80,000 copies (released year 2002). Their second album, Round 2, sold over 100,000 copies. Note these are albums, unlike AKB's singles. (Albums contain around 12 songs, while singles contain 1-3.) They have sold more albums throughout the years, albeit with less success.

AKB would have AKBingo! and several other weekly shows, Sexbomb would have many other TV shows, mostly with contests, like "Let's Get Aww!" and "Tok! Tok! Tok! Isang Milyon Pasok!" (Knock! Knock! Knock! One Million, Come In!). AKB stars in its own dramas, like Majisuka Gakuen. Sexbomb has a successful one-hour-a-day, every weekday (five days a week) soap opera called Daisy Siete (a play on the Spanish word for Seventeen). The long running soap opera has been around since 2003 and has been running for at least 25 seasons. (After the 7th season, each season was its own story. Interestingly enough, the 13th season, "Moshi, Moshi Chikiyaki" [ran 2006-2007] was shot in Tokyo, Japan.)

AKB performs in Japan, Sexbomb has had stints where some of their dancers go to Japan to perform for an extended length of time. (So, when is AKB coming to the Philippines?)

AKB has auditions for additional members, so did Sexbomb. AKB had Kenkyuuseis, Sexbomb once had their Showdown Sweethearts, which when disbanded, a few were absorbed by Sexbomb.

The girls have many individual endeavors, both in AKB and Sexbomb. They both guest star in various TV shows, movies and get featured in many magazines. Both have had movies where it is their members that are featured prominently. (Densen Uta [Suicide Song] for AKB, Bakit Papa? [Why Papa?] for Sexbomb.) They also do a lot of fanservice by performing in various locations.

Their songs are truly alternative, both AKB and Sexbomb. Though would fall under what Filipinos call novelty songs, many of the songs of Sexbomb, especially in the first albums, had been quite original. So goes with Aki-P's very creative lyrics for AKB.

Sexbomb is still around, but their popularity has greatly diminished compared to their heyday. What happened? One of the members, Sugar, became a point of contention between Sexbomb and Eat Bulaga! I'm not exactly sure, but I believe what happened was when Sugar left the group to study, I think, she came back to work for the rival network, and then eventually came back to Sexbomb. I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it, but eventually, there came a point when Sexbomb's manager wanted to fire Sugar, but since she was popular, Eat Bulaga! wanted to keep her, so when Sexbomb boycotted Eat Bulaga! because of this, Eat Bulaga! closed their relationship with Sexbomb (Sexbomb's popularity was waning at the time too). Eat Bulaga! would start another all-girl group, called the EB Babes, and although they never became as popular as the Sexbomb girls during the peak of their popularity, arguably, the EB Babes are more popular today than the Sexbomb girls. Sexbomb has already patched things up with Eat Bulaga! and appear on the show at least once a week, but they have lost much of their popularity.

Lesson for AKB: don't get tangled in management problems. I still think Sexbomb boycotting Eat Bulaga! was a bad and immature decision. I'm glad that with all the questionable and troubling management decisions AKB has experienced (for example, the Budokan shuffle), AKB has maintained their loyalty and responsibility to the fans and have hung in tight.

Let me share with you a little bit more from Sexbomb. The first one is my favorite Sexbomb song, "I'm not that Girl", along with its english translation, and a youtube "video" (actually just audio) containing the song.

I'm not that Girl
by Sexbomb Girls

Hay, buhay, talo
(Oh, life, such a loser)
Mga lalaki, puro manloloko, hmp
(Guys, all deceivers, hmp)

Mag-isip-isip nang isa, dalawa, tatlo
(Think once, twice, thrice)
Puro ka 'I love you,' 'I love you,' 'I love you'
(You're all 'I love you,' 'I love you,' 'I love you')
Everyday na lang na naririnig ko
(Everyday, I keep on hearing)
Ang 'yong mga istilo, pare-pareho
(Everyone's style, it's all the same)

Eight days a week kung tayo'y magkita
(We see each other eight days a week)
Baka magkapalit na ang ating mukha
(Our faces might accidentally get exchanged)
Telebabad sa phone 'pag uwi ng bahay
(We talk endless hours on the phone when I get home)
Panay pa ang text, aray, nakakangalay
(You also keep on texting, ouch, it gets wearisome)
'Wag mo 'kong ilipad sa 'yong magara mong kotse
(Don't drive your fancy car as if we're taking off in a runway)
Hinaan mo ang sounds, ako'y nabibingi
(Lower the volume, it's deafening)
'Wag mo 'kong daanin sa 'yong pagpapa-cute
(Don't use cuteness on me)
Alam kong gwapo ka pero huwag kang malikot
(I know you're handsome but you look like you play around)

Marami nang girls ang nakitang lumuha
(I've seen a lot of girls cry)
Pagkatapos ng lahat, naku, nakakaawa
(After everything, oh, you'll feel sorry for them)
One night stand, two night stand
(One night stand, two night stand)
Kung 'yun ang gusto mo, magkasa ka
(If that's what you want, go to a red light district)

I'm not that girl (what)
(I'm not that girl (what))
Na iniisip mo (ha)
(That you're thinking of (huh))
Hindi ako katulad nila, yeah (naman)
(I'm not like them, yeah (of course))
I'm not that girl (talaga)
(I'm not that girl (really))
Na hinahanap mo (promise)
(That you're looking for (promise))
Kung 'yun lang ang gusto mo (yeah)
(If that's all you want (yeah))
I'm not that girl

Lahat na yata ng boys, marunong magpanggap
(It seems like all boys know how to pretend)
Laging walang asawa 'pag babaeng kaharap
(Always single when in front of a girl)
'Can I get your number, can I call you later
('Can I get your number, can I call you later)
Can I pick you up, and how about dinner'
(Can I pick you up, and how about dinner')

Wow, grabe, talagang nakakaloka
(Wow, too much, it will really make you crazy)
At kung kakagat ka, tapos kang bata ka
(And if you take the bait, you're done for)
Ibibigay sa 'yo lahat ng gusto mo
(Will give you everything you want)
Pero ang kapalit ang pagdurusa mo
(But in exchange for your suffering)

Imagine, last night, 'yung dating boyfriend ko
(Imagine, last night, my ex-boyfriend)
Mahal na mahal ko siya pero iniwan lang ako
(I loved him so much, but he just left me)
Sumama sa tisay na kabarkada ko
(Went with my whiter-complexioned friend)
Kaya tanong sa sarili, pangit ba ako
(So I ask myself, am I ugly)

Kaya don't be mad kung pakipot ako
(So don't be mad if I play hard to get)
Aaminin ko sa 'yo, tipo mo ang gusto ko
(I will admit to you that you're my type)

Maginoo at hindi bastos
(A gentleman and not rude)
'Yan ang gusto ko, hindi ba obvious
(That's what I want, isn't it obvious)

I'm not that girl (what)
(I'm not that girl (what))
Na iniisip mo (ha)
(That you're thinking of (huh))
Hindi ako katulad nila, yeah (naman)
(I'm not like them, yeah (of course))
I'm not that girl (talaga)
(I'm not that girl (really))
Na hinahanap mo (promise)
(That you're looking for (promise))
Kung 'yun lang ang gusto mo (yeah)
(If that's all you want (yeah))
I'm not that girl

Kung iibig pang muli sa isang katulad mo
(If I'll love again someone like you)
Ang feelings mo kaya ay hindi na magbabago
(Will your feelings not change)
Kasi kung sasaktan lang at iiwanan mo
(Because if you'll just hurt and leave me)
Forget me na lang, 'yan ang pakiusap ko
(Just forget me, I ask of you)

Dahil baka masaktan lang ang puso ko sa 'yo
(Because my heart might just get hurt because of you)
Sa bandang huli, ako pa rin ang talo
(In the end, I still lose)
Kasi in love na ako
(Because I am already in love)
Pa'no mapipigilan pa ito
(How can I still stop this)

I'm not that girl (I'm not that girl, yeah)
I'm not that girl (I'm not that girl, yeah)
I'm not that girl (I'm not that girl, yeah)
I'm not that girl

My collection of Sexbomb stuff I personally had them autographed. (Click on the images to enlarge)

The leader of Sexbomb

The other members of the Sexbomb Girls [the singers] (Che would replace Monic during the time she retired)




  2. wow that was really informative. I don't watch noon time shows that much, but I do know about these girls. I didn't know they had that much merchandise lol.

    But yeah, I do agree on some of your points of comparison. The two groups may have a lot of similarities when it comes to their structure but the image they portray is really different. The first thing that got me hooked to AKB was the music, good profound lyrics and a variety of musical arrangements. And ofc, the girls are undeniably cute. As for the Sexbomb, the name itself pretty much implies their image, they're like the "showgirl" types, (kinda like the Spice Girls maybe) and they sing novelty songs which are usually just cheap ass double meaning catchy songs with catchy dance steps that goes with it. They could try to be cute, but it would just be a nightmare lol. But its a subjective thing, depends on who's looking I guess.

  3. I bet you've also gone to Broadway Centrum to watch them live hahaha.

  4. I've seen them live a number of times, but never been to Broadway Centrum, so pay up!

  5. I am proud of you!

    You really are a pop girl group fan who does not discriminate against his own country.

    And really, when you think about it, SB and AKB have a lot in common.

    In the end, it's just a matter of choice which you prefer more. Heck, some people might find SB more appealing than AKB (although I don't, hehe) and I guess I can respect that.

    And yes, sadly, SB's popularity have waned but I still think they are more popular than the EB Babes.