Thanks again to community member Malcolm (SleepyOta) for submitting this article. If you too would like to submit an article to be posted on the site please express your interest via the contact form at the top of the page or by messaging me on Twitter @Mage77
I’ve been extremely impressed by AKS’s ventures in anime and manga. AKB0048 and AKB49 have been surprisingly high quality and have even attracted the viewer and readership of non-AKB fans. This is surprising because usually spin-off projects such as these fail miserably but it’s obvious that AKS know how to hire quality people to work on their endeavors. The testament to this fact being that these projects have received a lot of praise from anime and manga fans who aren’t fans of AKB. This is very important because I think the quality of AKB manga and anime can have a huge effect on the overseas popularity of AKB48. While it does nothing but provide fan service to wotas in Japan, I believe that AKB49 and AKB0048 could help the overseas idol fan community grow.
Given that this is an English-speaking Japanese idol website, I’d assume that most of you aren’t Japanese. So if I were to ask; “What was your first exposure to Japanese pop culture?” I would guess that most of us would say “anime.” Most Japanese idol fans I have met online originally had their introduction to Japanese music through the openings and endings of their favorite anime. I think it is safe to assume that anime is a stepping stone towards idol fandom for non-Japanese fans. I already see people’s interest being piqued on anime forums due to AKB0048’s excellent writing and soundtrack. Comments such as “Wow, that Aitakatta song is really good” and “This AKB thing seems really interesting” can be seen on many anime forums that I frequent. It seems that AKB0048 and AKB49 are being enjoyed by many non-AKB fans and so far have introduced many people to idols.
Also, AKB0048 and AKB49 have been doing a really good job explaining just what AKB48 is. They have made it so anyone who has even just a slight interest in the group can learn just what makes AKB48 so different from other idol groups. Even concepts that are completely foreign to non-fans such as kenkyuusei and handshake events have been put in terms that anyone could understand. This makes AKB49 and AKB0048 the perfect introduction for any anime/manga fan with a budding interest in AKB. Coupled along with the AKB documentaries, it makes the daunting task of learning the members’ names and learning the inner workings of the group much easier.
Previously, the only exposure many anime fans had to AKB was if they were invested into Japanese music. As you may know; while many say that they are into Japanese music, most just listen to songs from their favorite anime. Sadly, many don’t even bother to follow the group past the anime songs they have sung. AKB0048 introduces several songs from the same group including lesser-known stage songs. With the show’s concept, it would be hard for any fan of the series to ignore the group that produces the music. This is quite honestly the perfect way to advertise AKB’s music to overseas fans who receive little exposure to it otherwise.
I believe that the AKB anime and manga are golden opportunities for the 48’s to attract more overseas fans. It gives them the chance to explain the concept of AKB, introduce idols to anime and manga fans, and introduce the music to new people. These efforts are extremely important to the overseas community and I hope that they will help us as a community to grow.
@SleepyOta on Twitter