Saitama Super Arena News Overview

Since its conception, AKB fans seem to be specially conditioned for radical changes. Every year brought on more surprises than the last, to the point where fans just learned to go with the flow and adapt accordingly, not unlike seemingly jaded New Yorkers.

As most of you know, Saitama Super Arena was the most recent concert venue for AKB48 which took place from March 23rd to the 25th, and as our previous training has taught us, we expected big announcements— but with a good amount of confidence. After all, we’ve endured a wealth of wacky and controversial announcements in the past. What could surprise us now? We had done our preparation: We dug the trenches, we set up our barricades. I was fairly confident that I could take anything this concert could throw at me. But now, as most of us know, it clearly wasn’t enough. Let’s chronicle the large announcements by day.


DAY ONE: Tokyo Dome
Tokyo Dome, one of the largest and most revered venues in Japan where only two female idol groups have performed in— is now primed for AKB48. The phrase, “Aiming for Tokyo Dome!” has been on the banner of the official AKB48 ameblo blog since the beginning, serving as a constant reminder and incentive. Going from thinking it was an extremely idealistic goal to knowing it was just a matter of time in the span of one or two years is a monumental feat all on its own. But upon hearing this announcement, something felt different. One of AKB’s best-held goals is now fulfilled; what now? Is the group going to end? Crazy graduations? But people have been speculating that at nearly every concert: those speculations slid off me like fashion sense on Miyazawa Sae. Signs of what to come were planted with this announcement, but I promptly brushed off the obvious foreshadowing.


DAY TWO: Expansions and Transfusions
Firstly, AKB48’s next single will be due in May 26th, called ‘Manatsu no Sounds Good’. An odd title, but I think most fans are just wiping their brows in relief that it’s not about yet another hair accessory.

Though not necessarily news, There has been official word that Team 8 is to be created. It was really just a matter of time; you didn’t think it’d end at team 4 did you? Speaking of Team 4, they finally filled the team out proper with five additional members, bringing the total count up to a full sixteen. Congratulations to Kato Rena, Kawaei Rina, Iwata Karen, Tano Yuka, and Takahashi Juri! The remaining reservoir of Research Students waiting to be promoted finally have somewhere to go with Team 8 in construction, and with plenty of strong members left, I hope to see it formed sooner rather than later.

This other bit of news is the first hard-hitting announcement: Matsui Jurina of SKE48 and Watanabe Miyuki of NMB48 will be temporarily moved to Team K and Team B, respectively. The lack of information is probably what’s driving people nuts, primarily the concern of the girls having to pull double-duty by doing both team’s theater performances and work, but I really doubt that is the case. The other question is how long this ‘temporary loan’ is supposed to be. The reasoning also wasn’t explained, which caused more speculation and confusion. As for me, I’m pretty excited about this. It’s not a whole lot different than what’s been happening in singles; having group representatives perform with AKB.


DAY THREE: The Bomb, Volcano, or Whatever
It has always been a large and threatening presence, the inevitable ticking time bomb: Maeda Atsuko’s graduation announcement. While the simmering volcano looked over the quiet town of AKB, the townspeople knew it was a fact of life. They just had to live with it and face the consequences should it erupt in their lifetime. Fans were always aware of Maeda Atsuko leaving, but easily shelved it to the back of their minds, as worrying about it all the time served no purpose. Then it exploded.

Hope you have your Graduation Emergency Kits ’cause you’re gonna need ’em. She announced that she would be graduating, but made it clear that she would be performing at the Tokyo Dome concert, meaning she is likely to be leaving AKB by this fall. I’ve always held my belief that Maeda Atsuko’s graduation would be the ultimate test for AKB and their fans, as whatever happens immediately afterward would start the dreaded decline or defy all expectations and keep steady.

So overall, the announcements have been juicy, shocking, and controversial; perhaps more than they’ve ever been. While being surprised and confused is pretty much expected, this is a mile stone in mind-fuckery shenanigans. It did a great job setting the tone of what’s to come, and letting us know that the landscape of AKB is going to forever change. Are you going to tag along for the ride?


About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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  1. Saying that I’m not prepared for Acchan’s graduation would be a vast understatement. The sad part is that I’ve been attempting to prepare myself for it this past year. As much as it pains me to say, Acchan has probably outgrow AKB48 and the decision to leave it, a logical one.

    However, I don’t think it was a necessary decision to say the least. Acchan is one of my favorite members, an oshimen candidate for me (not that I will ever have an Oshi). Losing Acchan is a big deal and I’m not sure how it’ll effect my love for AKB at this time. I just know I can’t imagine an AKB without her.

    I was also set on marrying her, looks like she’ll be entering the dating world sooner than planned, so my goals have been thwarted.

    With the DC concert two days away, I had been stressed and overly sensitive to all the shitty news being unveiled. On this final day, the cherry atop the shit flavored ice cream has been placed. In the past announcements have been a fair share of good and bad ones. Seems this time around the announcements were a huge AkiP fuck you to Wota.


  2. This weekend was full of surprises. I am curious on 2 things about the Maeda Graduation. The first would be is the sales for next single. I expect it to beat “Everyday” sales due to the idea that wotas want to make sure Maeda is on top for her last senbatsu. I am just curious how much it will sell because my prediction is that its plausible for them to beat that Morning Musume record. The 2nd thing I have a question about is the AKB single that will be release that will have Maeda for the last time. I hope the single itself wont be a song about her because she can just have a b side track on the single’s release.

    Im not too worry about the success of AKB when she leaves. There are still many other members there. They may lost a lot popularity but they are still going to sell over half a mil with the members that are still around. I will only worry when members like Takahashi or Sayaka graduate. They are the members who are leaders and although Aki-P can just rotate centers, finding a person to replace a leader is far more of an issue. I expect Yuko or Yui to just be at center and as long as they dont mess up somehow, the center position is fine.

    With Jurina, it all depends what she will be doing in AKB. If she has to do something where she has to do Team K songs, then it will be a problem because her learning songs for a team she is being loaned to for a few months is useless and working her to death. However, there hasnt been anything about what she will be doing so if she is just participating in media events and tv shows then its like if she was still in SKE. The only real question is if Jurina will still be apart of the next SKE single or just will sit it out (depending if she is still on Team K when the next single is released).

  3. Garry gonna hate me but I wanted it Jurina & Milky to be “transferred students”, not this foreign exchange student crap. That would of been the most awesome of trolling lolsz

    After Team 8 is formed, I’m assuming no more AKB KKS auditions for awhile,. Maybe we will get KKS from other groups to transfer to AKB when new members are needed then.

    The over-saturation of relent in AKB doesn’t give me worry. I be more worried if TKMN graduated. Being the leader and all. But there’s Yuko though. The backup center and (in my eyes) the sub-leader of AKB48

    I hope u remember tgsk and Yasusu saying this year is the year of reform, kids!

    And Yasusu said something about how to not let the stone collect moss, to keep it rolling. I also believe this.

    And Yasusu, stop putting your resignation on the line! U scaring me…..

    • The way things are going I could see a scenario where Jurina ends up replacing Acchan as the center of AKB48. I bet that’s an even less popular opinion than the one you have about the whole situation. :D

      For what it’s worth I’ll support Jurina no matter what ends up happening. I just hope management actually do look out for her health (which they kinda did on day three of SSA).

  4. This graduation announcement will reveal the fan’s true allegions: To the individuals or to the group.

    And anyone thinking they gonna die like MM kuz “popular members are leaving” make me lmfao seriously…. I blame the biggest hole in MM’s ship is management

    This is unprecedented territory but AKS is best when it comes to damage control due to graduations. Yasusu isn’t showing any desperation at losing Acchan, he’s confident in AKB’s future.

    But whatt I’m most excited for is to see who will want to step up to the plate once she’s gone. Like, “Yuko! You won’t be at the top for long! I’m coming at u!”

  5. Well what to say, Well lets start with Tokyo Dome, well it was going to happen eventually wasn’t it, It’s great that they have got thier too, I wonder what they will reach for next? The World most likely….. still with other news I wonder if they were saving this concert for Acchan?

    You know I’m not sure that the fact Acchan is going to graduate has sunk in yet, im sure it will but for the moment I think my mind is still trying to process it, I mean I didn’t expect Acchan, I thought a big name would go but I though it would be Mariko after the Janken and more recently I wondered if Yuko, with alot of Drama and film work seeming coming her way would go, Acchan graduating didn’t cross my mind, not for this year anyway….

    Yet the fact is she is leaving and as we all said this is the test, can Acchan carry on thier charge without Acchan? probably impossible to say but, though it seems a might cold to say it now, it’s gonna be exciting to see what happens, and who out of the pack might ‘take’ the place that Acchan leaves at the top.

    It’s gonna make every event extra special too, mainly the elctions this year (I expect Acchan will be in this tbh, a swansong that she rightfully deserves) will be extra signifigant as it could help mould some future of an Acchan less AKB questions might well arise about team shuffles to as Acchan is no longer there, may we see a big move to a for someone perhpas? All these things, gonna be interesting!

    A quick note about Team 4, well thank goodness they are finally sorted and now have 16 intial members, hopefully they can push on as a proper team now, as for team 8, well as soon as team 4 was formed I exopected for thier to be an 8 so really not surpised by that.

    As for Jurina and Milky, well my initial reaction was WTF it seemed a really odd call, especially as thier was so little in the way of detail, apart from the fact it wasnt permanent (at the moment)

    however, thinking about it I sort of like this, it works, in quite a few ways too, Firstly and most simply both girls match the ‘image’ of the respective teams they have joined, a small concern I know but at least that glove fits. I am looking forward to seeing these guys in the stages too, Jurina will give Team K an interesting youthful edge (health permiting) and Milky is sort of a cross between Yuki and Mayuyu and of course will fit into they dynamics over there….

    It’s going to be facinating watching these girls if they are on TV shows and stuff to, Jurina of course has a history on AKBingo and other shows so seeing her turn up there more and kick some ass will be a blast, as for Milky, well she is always fun to watch so i’m facinated to see how she will get on if they use her….

    This also sort of works for thier sister groups too, It might seem harsh but, well Milky is not massivly needed NMB right now, thnaks in part to her own suspention where girls like Ogasawara Mayu, Fukumoto Aina and Eriko Jo step up during her absense, so maybe a spell in team B, under girls such as Mayu and Yuki will be good for her…. As for Jurina, well WMatsui have long been the top two in SKE so her moving to K might well give more of a chance to a very talented chasing pack and give them a little bit more of a chance to lead SKE in things…

    A last thought would be that after Acchan’s graduation there would be a spot on each team open, how interesting would it be to keep these spots open to girls from SKE, NMB, HKT and dare I say, JKT? It would be facinating seeing some of these girls in AKB and of course would open up AKB fans more to the girls from the other groups…..

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