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Days 2 and 3 of AX: AKB48 Panel and Reflections July 7, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Hello! Project, Jpop, Mano Erina.
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The only idol related thing of note to happen on Day 2 of Anime Expo was the AKB48 panel. Since this thing started at around 11AM me and the friend that I was going with were actually able to get some sleep that morning which was quite welcome.

We actually got into the convention center at around 10:45 or so and she went off to the Nabeshin panel while I headed off for AKB48.

Figuring that it would be ran like last year I took a seat near the back of the panel that was currently running waiting to move forward when it finished. Not so. It turned out that they now empty the rooms between panels and there was a already a line outside for the AKB48 panel. A long line. A line that went all the way outside nearly to the end of the building, I would say roughly 250 people in front of me, and by the time we started to move in, about 80 people behind me. While waiting in line I met a guy in front of me that got into idols through Kayo Aiko and became a big fan of Koharu, really nice guy.

Once we actually got into the hall I was really surprised by the fact that I was able to get a decent seat. The Q&A was set up in Petree Hall, the same place as Morning Musume’s panel last year, but reversed, as in the guests now sat at the opposite end of the hall. I ended up about 6 or 7 rows back on the right side of the table for the guests. All in all I would say about 20 to 25 feet away from the members.

As for the overall turnout off attendees and audience energy I found them both to be much lower than for Morning Musume’s panel for last year. I came nearly an hour before their panel and got a horrible seat where I could hardly see any of the girls, this time though, I came only 15 or so minutes before hand and I got a pretty decent seat. As for the audience energy I would classify it as “appropriate” rather than insane as for last year. A nice benefit of that was that I could clearly hear both the girl’s answer’s and their translations. =D

Once the panel started they played a VTR explaining what AKB48 was and gave a short history of the group and then pretty much went straight into questions. Most of the questions were pretty generic so I’m not going to try and summarize them all but I would like to touch a bit on the first and last people to ask questions. The first guy was a slightly older (maybe early 50’s or late 40’s) Western wota who gave the AKB48 girls a warm welcome, which really was quite nice. Then he spent the better part of a minute brown-nosing about all the times that he has seen them live at their theatre and about how they’re the greatest performers on the face of the planet all before he even got to his question. I know all fans want to express their gratitude to their favorite idols, but in a situation like this you really need to try and be short and succinct in your praise. I would put the limit at a sentence or so, even if you have to make it a long sentence, but anything much more than that just seems slightly inappropriate for the setting. The other person whose question I would like to bring up was the last person, who asked the girl’s if they liked any k-pop girl’s group. Now, I dunno about the girls of AKB48 (their manager answered the question, and I have no idea what he was answering, certainly not the question asked), but I’m pretty sure he did. The question just annoyed me because he seemed to be looking for answer he already wanted rather than simply trying to find out more about the girls themselves. Meh.

On day 3 of AX there were no idol related events scheduled but I actually managed to meet up with Charles, the fearless leader of Group 1 from AX ’09 (I’m going to have to flesh this out in the future =D), and his two friends named Aaron, both of which I actually recognized from the Mano event earlier. We hung out a bit around the HelloStoreUSA booth, and it’s always good time to talk idols with people. Fun stuff =D

So, what were my overall thoughts on Manoeri? I must say, I was really impressed. Her acting in Kai-Ki: Tales of Terror from Tokyo was not only far better than I had expected, but she also seems to just exude this great charisma in person. I’ve never really paid too much attention to her in the past, but I’m definitely going to keep my eye on her now.

This picture was actually taken by my friend right next to me at her movie screening. You can really get an idea of how close we all were to the stage, plus she looks pretty cute =P

As for AKB48? While I must say I really enjoyed their concert, something had been bothering me slightly about it, and it wasn’t until after their Q&A panel that it hit me. It all seemed slightly sterile. While their choreography and MC were all quite excellent, the actual performances seemed to lack personality, like I could have watched them perform the same setlist in Japan and it would have been the exact same show. I believe that the fact that they don’t actually use live vocals contributes greatly to this, but the performance itself didn’t seem to have any interactions or spontaneity between the girls. Now, I know why the producers would want to stamp such things out in a group as large as AKB48, but I couldn’t help but find it slightly disappointing.

Now, don’t let this discourage any of you from ever going to see them live as they do put an a fantastic show, just know that it is a different type of performance from what you would expect from a Hello!Project group.

So, that wraps up my coverage of Anime Expo 2010 and Mano Erina’s movie premier at Club Nokia. Really, a fantastic idol-filled couple of days. I really do feel lucky that in the span of a year I was able to see three of Japan’s major idol acts all within 30 miles of my humble abode. Los Angeles truly is a lucky city!

Note: So, I just realized that all the events that I’ve talked about so far actually took place on day 1, and not day 2 lol. I’ve updated the titles but I left the permalinks alone.



1. clocutron - July 8, 2010

Thanks for the recaps of the events you’ve been to – sounds like a great time. Although I’ve never seen AKB48 live, I’ve watched live performance DVDs and I would have to agree with you. Their choreography is fantastic and the music is great but the lip-syncing gets to me and the concerts generally seem sterile and lacking personality, like you said. I would still go see them live if I had the chance but I wouldn’t expect the same thing I might from an H!P concert.

2. dreamtiny - July 8, 2010

On the lipsyncing thing, I would agree. It is quite boring after a while.
I’d recommend that you read Celestia’s post on it in regards to AKB48 if you haven’t already, she touched on some really good points in regards to why lipsyncing detracts from their performances.

3. clocutron - July 8, 2010

Thanks for the link, dreamtiny. Celestia really nailed exactly how I feel about it but gave it more and better words. I guess that’s why I’ve preferred the live H!P stuff I’ve seen – it may not be prefect but it seems more real. I’m still an AKB48 fan but this is a big difference I see between them and H!P groups.

4. Nights4Saturn - July 9, 2010

Thanks for checking out my blog dreamtiny! I have to agree with clocutron that Celestia really nailed my feelings on lip-syncing as well. Honestly, their LA concert was the first time that I’d ever seen them perform anything live other than maybe a couple Youtube clips. I was actually expecting their lip-syncing to bother me more than it did, but I think the overall excitement of the concert and their awesome dancing did a pretty good job of making up for it. I dunno how well it would go over if I had seen them multiple times, though.

5. dreamtiny - July 10, 2010

No problem 🙂

I just don’t see how they can stand lipsync so much (I certainly wouldn’t be able to). Some of their performances are killed by their lipsync, specifically the very emotional ones :/ And apparently their DVDs are edited to have the recorded version of the song instead of the version they sang (if they did sing live). Sometimes their management is very smart, but sometimes they do things that make no sense. At least 90% of their live stuff is lipsynced…

6. Nights4Saturn - July 11, 2010

Wow, so they effectively dub themselves at times? You’d think if the management were alright with letting them sing it live to an audience they’d be alright with putting that performance on a DVD. That really doesn’t make too much sense… ><

7. dreamtiny - July 11, 2010

Isn’t that so weird? I just don’t get it. Someone over on Celestia’s post was saying how in the making-of they’re singing live, but the actual concert DVD has the “perfect” version of the song, the single/album version.

8. clocutron - July 11, 2010

One of my favorite things about live performances is how they differ from the original recorded version, even if that means making mistakes. I know it’s hard to sing and dance at the same time but that’s what I really want out of a live performance and I understand that the singing won’t necessarily be studio quality. It’s just more authentic when it’s live and I disagree with those who say they should focus on the dancing and not have to sing too.

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