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AKB48’s Heavy Rotation PV: Is there such a thing as too much fan service? August 1, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Jpop.
Tags: , , , , ,

Now, as an idol fan I’m no stranger to fan service. For example GAM’s Melodies comes immediately to mind. Even AKB48’s last PV for Ponytail to Chouchou laid on the fan service pretty thick with their bikinis (and opening scene), but Heavy Rotation takes it quite a bit farther…

(Triple Edit: Replaced embedded video as AKB48 now as an official Youtube channel with PV’s.) I have taken the liberty of capping what I thought to be some of the most offending scenes in my opinion:

So, we start off the PV with you, the viewer, playing the role of a peeping tom watching her undress. Classy.

From which we segue into a lingerie pillow fight. A little better.

This cap isn’t that significant save for the fact that you have a fantastic shot of the girl who you were just peeping on’s derriere.

Classic up-skirt shot. Nothing too shocking here.

Blurry cap is blurry. >< The other "provocative" outfit the girls wear in this PV is sort of a mix between a maid's uniform and a cat suit. Where in the lingerie the theme seemed to center around the bedroom, the catsuits seem to be connected with a dining room sort of setting.

That must be really good. I’ll take whatever she’s having.

I mean, really? With all the sales that this group gets you think the management could spring to buy enough cupcakes for all the girls? What cheapskates!

Maybe it is time that AKB48 repeal their “no boyfriend” rule, just look what it is making these poor girls do!

Wow, okay, maybe I could understand that the reason their management didn’t buy a whole bunch of cupcakes was because they didn’t want the girls to gorge themselves on them. That seems reasonable. But not supplying enough bathtubs? That’s some seriously greedy penny pinching!

Okay, I take it back, let the “no boyfriend” rule stand… =D

Now, honestly, I don’t have much of a problem with all the examples that I’ve provided above. While I think it’s a little much that they all can be found in a single PV, they can all be pretty much labeled as done in good fun. The next example, not so much.

Very briefly around 2:41 you get to see who I believe to be Tomomi Itano with a little bit of whip cream on her face. Observe:

Now, I know that is whip cream on her face, but that is certainly not what it looks like to me. Now, it might just be that I have a perverse mind, but when that little shot of her is shown during the PV it doesn’t make me think, “Oh silly girl! You are oh so messy when you eat cupcakes!,” but rather how she makes a mess during other activities. You never get to see her take a big bite out of a cupcake or cookie or what-have-you. No, you just she her there, on her hands and knees giving you a mischievous smile with white stuff all over her face.

Now, this whole thing could just be my imagination, but that sure as heck doesn’t mean I have to like what it could be implying. I understand that idols are a big sex symbol, I mean the whole Alo-Hello! series is nothing more than a thinly veiled facade to watch your favorite Hello! Project idol running around Hawaiian beaches in a skimpy bikini, but there is a difference, and that difference is restraint. The Alo-Hello! series, and even the bikini frolicking of Ponytail to Chouchou, are all done with a healthy does a playfulness that leaves quite a bit to the imagination. Honestly, this is one of the main reasons that I enjoy Japanese idols. While I wouldn’t call it any less sexual than the popular music and personalities we have here in the United States, it certainly is a different type of sexuality.

Now, I honestly hope that what I believe that scene looks like wasn’t intentional by the director, and that I am horribly off base in my ranting. I really truly do, because if it really was intentional, then I must say I’m rather disgusted. For idols who are so prized on their pureness to be displayed in such a manner is almost insulting. I’m moderately upset about this, and the only thing I know about that girl is that she announced her 19th birthday at AX. If this were Aya, or Risa, or Ai, I couldn’t even imagine how upset I would feel. Then again, I might just be a perverted minded Puritan.



1. clocutron - August 1, 2010

I don’t think you’re off-base at all. This PV definitely takes the fanservice thing a bit too far. But the scene with Itano Tomomi doesn’t surprise me a bit. She has always seemed to go for the slutty-type sexy appeal (not really a turn-on for me).

2. dreamtiny - August 1, 2010

Apparently this is the director’s ~style~. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t seen any Anna Tsuchiya videos…

The lighting in this PV is atrocious. And I’m just upset that they would do this :s AKB48’s been about fanservice since Skirt, Hirari but they deviated from it for a while and stayed a fun pop group. Then 2008 and Baby!x3 came. And now I don’t know what they’re thinking. AKB48’s getting attention for all the wrong reasons for this one :/

3. Nights4Saturn - August 2, 2010

@clocutron:I have to admit, coming from a H!P background a non-AV idol with a “slutty” appeal seems pretty strange. Even with that, I still find that scene to be done in incredibly poor taste =[

@dreamtiny: Yeah, it really is a shame. I’ve always thought that an idol group really is half about the music and half about the girls themselves, and stuff like this puts me off from getting into the AKB girls. I really don’t mind the song, and to be honest I’ve been wishing that Morning Musume would release something similar (as in unapologetically genki) for quite a while now.

4. 2ne1fan - August 3, 2010

AKB has ALWAYS had sexy/slutty songs, in their theater (or their b-sides!! check their lyrics!!). You seriously need to watch some of their stage shows, if anything I can assure that performance wise the songs are 10000 times better than the usual crap they release as singles.

And, to OP, and everyone else:
Don’t make me remind you of GAM (the melodies pv, anyone? seriously???) and Viyuuden’s last pvs. Seriously, don’t. I like both H!P and AKB, but the wank these days makes me ashamed to be a fan of either of them.

dreamtiny - August 3, 2010

…to clarify for anyone else who may come along, I know this. I’m not a new fan to AKB48. I may not know the members as well as I should for someone who’s known them since 2007, but I am familiar with their songs/PVs/history.

and I hope you don’t mind Nights4Saturn, but it’s all right here… my history with AKB48/fandom war rants that is.

@Nights4Saturn: I want something genki from H!P too… Manoeri’s new song may be it for now, but I’m hoping Momusu’s new single will be too :/

2ne1fan - August 5, 2010

I meant more that AKB has a totally opposite image on their theater shows than their public one, so people that only follows them on PVs and singles may/will be shocked by stuff like this. Although their “L” type songs are more about the lyrics than the performance itself, the famous OshibeMeshibe unit, or SKE48’s “Innocence” (in which the younger girls didn’t sing the chorus) was as fanservice-like as this PV. Not to say that AKB’s stages are full of pervy songs, but they are definitely more serious and “mature”, again, the complete opposite of single songs (and I’m sure they do this on purpose). Someone even listed all the ‘sexual’ lyrics and songs they have had since their very beginning, here:


And, I’m not upset or anything. I have my own opinions on the pv, but it’s good to see people discussing it, making reasonable arguments. I’m just pointing out that the fanservice/whatever you want to call it, has always been an essential part of AKB/SKE/SDN, even if it’s not always on the public spotlight

5. Nights4Saturn - August 4, 2010

@2ne1fan: Thanks for checking out my blog!! ^^ I don’t deny that Melodies was heavy on fan service, but I still find that example to be less abusive. For example the Melodies PV took the fanservice route that Aya and Miki were a couple and then indulged the viewer in it, same with Ponytail to Chouchou and the bikinis. To my eyes the only overall “theme” as it were with Heavy Rotation was promiscuity. It almost looked like the director made a list of all the possible things he could potentially use to top the bikinis from the last PV, and then just said screw it and did everything on the list.

With the exception of Kimagure Princess most of H!P’s recent releases have been fairly clean, which ones did you find offensive?

@dreamtiny: During the first minute of Manoeri’s new single I was beside myself joy, as I thought that she finally got a truly great single, and then… it just kinda fizzled away. I dunno. I’m a bit on the fence about it. The PV for it looks like it could be all kinds of awesome though, so maybe that’ll swing my opinion a bit.

2ne1fan - August 5, 2010

As an H!P fan myself, I get your point. But I remember having watched AKB’s Skirt, Hirari, and also Melodies, and also Some Boys! Touch, when I wasn’t a fan of neither of those two, and I was waaaay more shocked with the latter ones. Melodies is the one we can compare this PV with Heavy Rotation the most. But GAM had some scenes that really implied the thought of going to the bed. And then you have Maki Goto crawling and rolling around, not only on the PV, but also on the stage! and wearing almost nothing. I still think it’s too much, but I like both songs. What I don’t like if H!P only fans forgetting about it or pretending it didn’t exist and then bashing AKB and claiming H!P girls “would never do something like that”. Come on. I think what Maki did was much more ‘pervy’ than AKB, but then again, I have nothing against girls showing off their sexuality.

These idols have to go on diets, waxing, peer pressure, stress, and it’s unfair they get called ‘whores’ for wearing a bikini or lingerie, while male idols get naked and people don’t say anything. They all have killer bodies and they take great care of their image, so I don’t really see the problem.

I haven’t been really offended by anything H!P (and AKB) has ever done, btw xD I’m just appaled by the hipocrisy and double moral of some fans. They’re both idol groups, and they both sell the same stuff, and not only that, they’re fans of each other, so WTF??

Nights4Saturn - August 9, 2010

Ahh, I had completely forgotten about Some Boys! Touch. You’ve got me there. Also to be honest with you, I really wasn’t a huge fan of where Maki took her career after Ima ni Kitto… In My Life.

6. kyoomi - October 15, 2011

@Itano with whipped cream on her face: haha! we share the same sentiments! xD That’s what I also thought when I saw this PV for the 1st time. I was like “WTH!!??”. (looks like a cum to me.. x___x)

7. Daniel - June 5, 2012

I’m a new AKB48 fan, and this is this their first PV I’ve watched, and I’m hooked! I must have watch it like 40 times by now.
I agrees with you that these scenes are for the good fun and enjoyment for male audience.

However, I’m disturbed at only 1 scene: how they put the audience to be a peeping tom watching the girls undress. That wasn’t much fun to me.

Now, I’m commenting to reply to the Tomomi’s scene. She was one of my favorite members (other two being Mayu and Mariko 🙂 . I really enjoy that scene. However, it was because of her mesmerizing eyes and grin. Honestly, never once did I picture what happen they way you.. imagined. (Not that I’m calling you a pervert though; I read your explanation and sorta understand).
Perhaps this is due to a few factual errors you’ve missed:
1. the scene just before that scene, it’s a top-down scene panning across the table, clearly showing Tomomi taking a bite out of a pink cupcake.
2. The next scene, the stuff that’s on her mouth isn’t white; it’s pink. Pink cream from the cupcake to be exact.

Anyway, thanks for the entertaining blog post!

Nights4Saturn - June 9, 2012

Hi Daniel, thanks for the comment! It’s always good to see new idol fans!

As for Tomomi’s scene, you do bring up some good points. If I had noticed those details when I wrote this article I probably would have never mentioned this scene like that. The problem is that those details are very easy to miss. I’ve watched this PV a fair number of times (though by the sound of it, nowhere near as many times as you :D) and I only noticed them after you pointed them out.

I agree with you about that grin, though! 🙂

8. 【AKB】整形ジャニ漁りBBA小嶋陽菜 | ガスパリャン - にちゃんねるまとめ - April 14, 2016

[…] Heavy Rotation PV: Is there such a thing as too much fan service? https://nights4saturn.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/akb48s-heavy-rotation-pv-is-there-such-a-thing-as-too-&#8230; Through the AKB48 Peephole: Voyeurism and Female Sexuality […]

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