She might have been losing some ground with the public of late if those Senbatsu Election results are anything to go by, but you’d be a fool to count the achingly cute Tomomi Itano out just yet, especially when she’s capable of producing material as pleasing to the eyes and ears as her new single ‘Fui ni’, released this week.
The song, available in Japanese retail outlets from the 13th, is the second physical single release from the 8th-placed AKB48 starlet, following last year’s quite well-received ‘Dear J’.
Cleverly (or should that be cynically?) coupling a pounding, dancefloor-infecting chorus with reflective balladic verses, it’s sure to appeal to AKB’s followers and teeny-boppers across Japan and the globe alike.
The other key demographic, comprising those of us who prefer AKB members to be seen rather than heard, will undoubtely be equally pleased by the classy-but-sexy music video, which showcases the lovely Tomomi in a variety of appealing outfits.
It might seem more than a tad cruel to publicly name and shame the least popular members of your group while vaulting others onto a pedestal to flaunt at the head of your column (at least until the next election rolls around).
Then again, with 48 members to keep track of, the marketing team over at AKB headquarters are probably grateful for any help at all in that department – hate to put a dud on the next single cover, after all. Thus, we have the results of the 3rd Senbatsu Election to mull over.
The divine Atsuko Maeda has, somewhat predictably, nabbed the top spot in this year’s rankings, knocking former reigning Queen Yuko Oshima into a not-unrespectable 2nd position. Undoubtedly buoyed by greater exposure due to her TV and film appearances, both past and upcoming, comely young Ms. Maeda’s star continues to rise. Her starring role in the recently-released PV for AKB’s 21st single ‘Everyday, Kachusha’ reflects this – we’re not likely to see her fade into the background anytime soon, but that’s hardly a cause for complaint.
Elsewhere, the perpetually cute-as-a-button Tomomi Itano slipped a full four places, from last year’s 4th to 8th position, a little surprising given the launch of her solo career this year has provided her no shortage of publicity (or are peeved AKB loyalists punishing her for the slight?).
Though gracious when interviewed about the drop, apparently unperturbed, she might do well to take steps to boost her image before the next election arrives. It would be a pity for that darling face to disappear into the featureless mass of background flesh that is, well, everybody else in AKB48.
Creator and marketing mad scientist behind AKB48, Akimoto Yasushi, was quoted as saying, “The least popular members are holding us back and we need to get rid of them.” due to the less than stellar turn out for Oku Manami’s graduation announcement event.
Of course you know Atsuko Maeda, Tomomi Itano and Yuko Ohshima. He’s not talking about them. He’s talking about the huge chorus of unknowns behind them who do little more than create a cheerleader effect that gets so many otaku hearts fluttering.
Upon hearing this news, quite a few of the “unpopular members” as they are referred to, said they would rather quit than be cut, and many have moved themselves straight up the list and next to “graduate”.
Akimoto, the man and not the hot captain of Team K Sayaka Akimoto, used the concept of “meeting real idols daily” when he started AKB48. With that in mind, the AKB theater was opened in Akihabara and AKB shows can been seen daily there. As one could imagine, with a daily show the heavy hitters of AKB’s supple line up won’t be in attendance, so it takes these less popular members to keep the day to day business afloat.
The other problem being if the “unpopulars” all decide to leave at once, that leaves no room for the headliners to move on and graduate as they move on to other projects. In order to try and counter this kind of problem, at the most recent AKB48 new member auditions more trainees were accepted than usual and seem to be rushing through their “initiation” of sorts. Once they are full fledged members, the next in line to graduate can start to leave.
Aside from a few very dedicated fans, does a large changing of the guard have that much affect on the rest of us? Sorry, but no. We can still watch the “Heavy Rotation” video with the girls in their lingerie and the sound turned down as we try to guess who the next Riko Yamaguchi is. Sorry girls, I hardly knew you…because you were basically backdrop.
As Itano Tomomi, of AKB48 fame, embarks on her solo career, she took some time to promote her new single with a live performance.
After performing a few songs, Tomomi took a break to reveal a special prize. Seeing as the event took place just before Valentine’s day, she would give one lucky fan a batch of her very own hand made chocolates. Let’s back up just a second. In Japan, couples and lovers don’t exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. Ladies give the man of their choice some sweets, usually chocolate. Guys reciprocate with sweets of their own, but not until White Day (March 14th).
Seeing as Tomomi’s hand made chocolates were a very big deal, the crowd erupted and every guy in the place wanted them probably almost as much as they wanted to get in her pants. There was a quiz and a few other games to determine the winner. I personally would just use the chocolates as a bridge into her pants, but that’s just me.
Later, Itano did an interview where she went on to tell everyone that she was very nervous seeing as the rest of the group wasn’t there. Then close friend and well known tranny Haruna Ai came up on stage, gave her some flowers and told a story about how good “Tomochin” smells after she gets out of the shower. Yes, these are the type of things that occur at single release parties in Japan.
She then went on to sing a song with the bubbly transsexual and closed out the show with her single (again). The moral of the story is…ah who am I kidding, she’s hot, and that’s what counts.
Presented by Tokyo Kinky