AKB0048 Episode 9: River of Hope
“In a tiny town, beneath skies of gray…a dream was born.”
AKB0048 decide to carry on with their guerilla concert, and enlist the aid of the wota and their mecha to combat the DES. After witnessing the kenkyuusei inspire four little girls while out in the nearby town, Tsubasa decides to hold multiple concerts – with the kenkyuusei opening the performance in a separate location from the main members, splitting off the DES forces and scrambling their plans. Meanwhile, just as Kanata puts on Takamina’s uniform, Takamina herself demands to perform, arguing that she’ll show the audience all her passion as an idol. Tsubasa agrees, and Kanata ends up being impressed by Takamina’s display, showing no feelings of bitterness and being inspired to reach greater heights.
Looks like they ended up going ahead with the concert…I must have thought that the last scene with Yuko and Takamina talking was after a timeskip of sorts. It wasn’t just a single concert either, but instead one held by the kenkyuusei as a warm-up followed by the main event performed by the current members. The kenkyuusei really seem to be getting the hang of being idols now – performing in front of a crowd full of confidence, and with all they’ve got.
I love how they’ve gone back to the main idea at the start of this show of inspiring the next generation to become idols and to never lose faith, with Nagisa, Chieri, Orine and Yuuka realizing that they’re closer to fulfilling their dream. There were those four little girls secretly watching AKB clips as well, which definitely reminds me of the first episode and the dreams they inspired. One of those girls actually developed the heart thingy that symbolizes idols while watching the main performance, which hints that she might be auditioning in the near future.
River being performed over an actual river…that’s very clever, guys xD I’ve heard somewhere that the lyrics of the song refers to suicide, and talks about how we shouldn’t give up on our lives and look forward instead. In the context of the show, that’s definitely a good motif to follow especially on a planet like Tundrastar, whose villagers looked so depressed like it was wartime or something. It was similar on Lancastar actually – factory smoke, armed forces and an atmosphere like they were part of some warfare campaign. AKB singing River now could also be a reference anime-wise to Takamina and her struggling emotions, who even now is still considering to give up her position to Kanata.
To be honest, I’d thought that Takamina was completely worthy of upholding her name for the most part of the episode. She was sick, yet still got up and refused to quit, and was willing to prove her passion and perform even when not fully healed yet. Multiple Kirara shone for her, and even though she fell once on stage she decided to carry on – yet after seeing Kanata not holding anything against her and even look up to her, Takamina is still unsure of herself and her own feelings. After seeing her performance I have no doubt she has the passion and will to be an idol…but it must have been what the Kirara showed her that really shook her, since now she’s noticing all the strong leader qualities Kanata has, and thinking about what’s best for AKB just like Kanata did with the performance – who the best leader for the group would be.