Wednesday, March 24, 2010

On Team K's 5th Stage Senshuuraku, 6th Stage "Reset" Shounichi, Upcoming Senshuurakus and Shounichis and Changes in the Shuffle Announced in Budokan

I had to prepare myself for a cryfest before I watched the Senshuuraku (closing day) of Team K's 5th Stage Saka Agari. So there I was, getting ready to shed tears, waiting for everyone to bawl, and then the stage ends. Hey, where's the supercrying part?! I wanted supercyring!

Yeah, while they were performing, some were teary, while others had bouts of crying. I thought the bawlfest would be at the end. There was no bawlfest. Actually, the girls were able to keep their composure. The whole thought that this would be the last stage performed as a team by a beloved and respected team is certainly reason for much emotion, but I guess the girls were very prepared for this day. Why not, this was expected for months now, and I guess the girls have had plenty of time to cry and accept what was happening, and they have made peace with it. Either that, or they bawled off-stage afterwards. I guess they understand that eventhough they will not see each other as often as they did, they can and will still see each other. Well, good times come to an end, but in many instances, to open the door for new good times.

And then Team K's 6th Stage opened, Reset. A rather apt name for the start of the new team formations. After the shuffle kept getting moved, and the shounichi (opening day) of Reset got moved, fans were happy to see the new shuffled Team K and their first stage. And why not, it was a good stage! Certainly one of the better stages in AKB. The stage had a lot of good songs and performances, and as I would expect with Team K, whether old or new, a lot of good stage subunits. Team songs like Uhho Uhhoho and Jigsaw Puzzle 48 were great, just to name a few, but for me, my favorites of the stage are Gyakuten Oujisama and Kokoro no Hana no Sofa, both subunits.

Gyakuten Oujisama ("Come from Behind" Prince) is a fun, upbeat subunit which features AKB original Minami Minegishi as the center for the first time. I think she did great at it, very cute, as well as Tomomi Nakatsuka (former Team B, 4th stage) and Mayumi Uchida (former Kenkyuusei). The fact that Miichan finally got to center a subunit, and a very good one too, that fits the unit quite well, is one proof that the Budokan shuffle is actually a good idea. Miichan would have had difficulty ever getting center position in Team A, with so many front girls who are more popular than her, but now that she's in a new team, she can take the center and do great at it. I love the song and the performance, it's so cute, and so Miichan. Yes, Krisu and Mayumi do well too, but Gyakuten Oujisama is such a Miichan song!

And then, the last subunit of the stage, Kokoro no Hana no Sofa (Sofa in the Side of My Heart), an upbeat love song, centered by Team K topstar Yuko Oshima, with old Team K Ayaka Umeda and former Team A Reina Fujie. I wasn't too fond of it when they were playing the intro, but as soon as Yuko started singing, it just grabbed my attention. Yuko's vocals are great, especially for this song. Reinyan also shined in this performance, I think she was great! I must admit, Reinyan is probably the first or second girl that caught my eye in AKB, but she was hardly noticeable in Team A, but she was great in this unit. Of course, Umechan is always an excellent performer. This unit song was great, the vocals were excellent, the performance was terrific, the dance was great, this is my favorite performance of the stage, and is now one of my favorite AKB subunits. Again, this is proof that the Budokan shuffle was not a bad idea, as Reinyan was able to shine more in this unit than she did in Team A. Her vocals, dancing and overall performance in this unit was great, for me. I hope more big things come her way.

Now that Team K is done with, we await the other two teams' senshuurakus and shounichis. Apparently, shuffled Team B just started rehearsing a few weeks ago, with the girls' hectic schedules and all, but all the while I thought they have been rehearsing since last year. I suppose that means Team B's senshuuraku is up next. Oh, I'll probably cry for that one, those little girls would probably not be able to hold back. And then there's Team B captain CinDy. I still have concerns that she'll announce her graduation at Team B's senshuuraku. Or maybe she'll just finish SDN48's 1st stage and will no longer stay for its 2nd. Don't graduate yet, CinDy!

And after the senshuuraku would be the shounichi of shuffled Team B's first stage, or Team B's 5th stage overall. I'd love to see the new Team B as Team B is still my favorite team. We can easily guess that Mayuyu and Yukirin would still center subunits, unless there would be a surprise like they will have a duet or something, but it would be interesting who else would get to. I suppose Kasai would be center for one. But, if there are five subunits, as typically there are, then I'm guessing the two will be up for grabs by Nacchan, Kitarie, Yuka, and Myao. I would love to see Nacchan and Nacchi center a subunit, but for Nacchi's studies at Waseda University, that wouldn't be the best idea right now, and although I love Nacchan, I doubt she'll get chosen over the other three I mentioned. It would be great if she did, though, finally center a subunit like fellow original Miichan. I suppose the best bet to get center position of subunits would be Myao and Yuka. Team B is poised to give quite a few surprises. Their new stage will be very interesting!

And finally Team A. I don't think shuffled Team A is even rehearsing yet. So I guess Mii and Tomochin are performing in two subunits these days (along with former A members). Hey, Tomochin is centering two subunits, Tsundere! and Seifuku no Resistance (School Uniform Resistance)! We can guess that Team A's 5th stage senshuuraku.will be very tearful also, especially for AKB originals Tomochin, Mii and Yukarin, who would leave Team A after being there since the very first day. But the new stage of shuffled Team A should be interesting, to also see how well the new members would gel. But the ones who will center subunits would be rather predictable: Acchan, Takamina, Haruna, and Mariko, unless some of them will get grouped together, which is rather possible, but if not, it should still be interesting who would be the fifth person to center a unit. My guesses are either Lovetan, Haachan, and Sasshi, all Team B girls. Although it would be interesting if it ended up as Mocchi, Akicha, Natsumi or even Harugon! They're great, but I guess they would get chosen over, but if there were surprises, it would be one of them. Between Lovetan, Haachan and Sasshi, the easy bet would be Sasshi as she has centered every subunit she has been in since she was promoted from Kenkyuusei. That would be great, Sasshi centering a unit at Team A, but she has serious competition with Lovetan, who is a fan-favorite as well, and if the unit fits Lovetan like Tenshi no Shippo did, Lovetan is a no-brainer choice as center. The wildcard here is if some of the original four members end up in the same unit, having both Sasshi and Lovetan center a unit at Team A may be unlikely, although I would love it, but management may go for balance and choose a former Team K member instead, like Mocchi or Natsumi.

By the way, if you haven't kept up, and have been wondering why there are a few discrepancies from the new shuffled teams from that which was announced at Budokan, there have been three changes. First, Shihori Suzuki quit (or graduated) when she was promoted from Kenkyuusei to Team B. Her official reasons included she realized her priorities, and that official stuff, but I'm short of a conspiracy theory to wonder what exactly happened there. Anyway, hope she fares well. Secondly, Haruka Kohara, promoted to Team B on their fourth stage, who was an SDN48 Under also, although it was announced at Budokan that she will be transferred to Team K, it was announced weeks later that she would be fully transferred to SDN48 as well. In SDN's official website, she is still listed as Under, I don't know why that is, if she really is still an Under (although that would be unfair since she is already an AKB48 member, but would only be the equivalent of a Kenkyuusei in SDN), or if their website is just not updated. I haven't seen Eiko Maeda in SDN's website either, although she was transferred from SKE48 to SDN. Finally, Mariya Suzuki, promoted Kenkyuusei at Budokan to Team A, was transferred to Team B instead, to make each Team 16 members each again, finally making AKB48 actually 48 members again, for only the second time in AKB's history so far.

So yeah, Team A and Team B senshuurakus and shounichis haven't been announced yet by the time of this writing, but if the new Team K stage is any indication of things to come, then we have good things coming! Reset is a good stage, and the second era of AKB48 certainly looks promising.

Gyakuten Oujisama

Kokoro no Hana no Sofa