How popular are they? Only that their last 12 singles have all gone #1--here's the list for the curious minds:
- "Sakura no Shiori"
- "Ponytail to Chouchou"
- "Heavy Rotation"
- "Chance no Junban"
- "Sakura no Ki ni Naro"
- "Everyday, Katyusha"
- "Flying Get"
- "Kaze wa Fuiteiru"
- "Ue kara Mariko"
- "Give Me Five!"
And that is just a sample of the enormous popularity they enjoy in Japan. However, an anime based on the idol group? I went in fully expecting to feel like I've been run over by a truck. I came out a little worse for wear, but I still survived.
AKB0048 starts off with an opening title declaring that mankind has finally moved into interstellar travel. The series is situated on a planet called "Rankastar" where public entertainment of any form is illegal. And boy, do they enforce it, being one of the first scenes the audience sees. Our protagonists--Nagisa, Yuka, Orine, and Mimori see their first live illegal concert by the guerilla idol group AKB0048 and consequently audition to be idols 4 years later, which they passed the first round. Some conflict ensues as Nagisa's father is a high-ranking official for the agency that prohibits such entertainment--and his daughter desires to be an idol! That's the episode in a nutshell. There's not much plot to it; in fact we probably already know how it will end.
This is supposed to be "underground".
Basically, if you're a AKB48 fan, then this anime is for you. If you desire something with heavy plot, great music and spectacular effects, then you should skip this. If you want shallow plot, nonsensical characterizations, and using music for battling and not love, then watch Senki Zessho Symphogear. This anime is a vehicle for the '48 idol machine, and it obviously panders to the existing fanbase.
Never question their fabulousness.
Since this is only a first episode impression, I will not give it an arbitary rating--there would be no meaning. Instead the episode will be broken down into pros and cons should you ever delve into the series.
- The animation studio doing AKB0048 is none other than Satelight--Moretsu Pirates being another series from said studio. The details of the environment are lush and filled with industrial knick-knacks crossed with futuristic technology. If you've seen episodes of their space opera, you know what I mean.
- For the AKB fan, the songs are from the AKB set list, and from above, AKB does not run out of #1 singles either.
- Some of the main characters are likable--I particularly have to mention Yuka because she's the type of character who knows what she wants, how to get it, and isn't easily swayed by others' opinions.
- I got through one episode, just fine...unlike another series.
- The animation studio is Satelight--who also gave us the terrible Senki Zessho Symphogear. Racked with plot inconsistencies, terrible character development, and seems more like an anime vehicle for Nana Mizuki than anything else. Since AKB48 has a dedicated fanbase, hopefully this isn't the case where Satelight blew most of their budget on the first episode and had to ration out whatever's left for the entire series.
- If you don't like moe things, skip this.
- If you don't like AKB48, or anything that resembles manufactured idol groups in Japan, definitely skip this.
- If you don't like long drawn-out shallow plots that have the emotional stability of a teenager (I'm looking at Nagisa here) then please, DO NOT WATCH IT.
In conclusion, if you're bored or somehow had to choose between Senki Zessho Symphogear and AKB0048, I would suggest choosing Moretsu Pirates.