AKB0048 Episode 11: Return to Lancastar
“Lancastar, where our dreams were born. Where, without even saying goodbye…we left behind the places we loved. That Lancastar. The place where it’s all going to start again.”
Tsubasa reveals that the next AKB concert will be held on Lancastar, and that there will be two separate concerts – one for the kenkyuusei and one for the main members. Among the repertoire is the solo song Seaside Cherry, sung by all newly promoted Center Novae – and given to Nagisa, who expresses her own insecurity at singing such an important number. At concert rehearsals, Yuko reveals the existence of a new song that Tsubasa is forced to announce, which turns out to be a song for the kenkyuusei, Dreams are Forever Reborn. On Lancastar, the kenkyuusei meet up with pro-entertainment forces in a now-abandoned school, but are suddenly attacked by DES and split up.
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It’s not much of a link to last week’s episode, but there’s a strong implication that Tsubasa has ulterior motives for giving Nagisa a solo song, Seaside Cherry to perform. The fact that the song was last sung by Acchan the 13th further supports the belief of the fanbase that Nagisa will be the one to succeed Acchan – Tsubasa probably thinks so too. I can’t help but feel that Tsubasa might be trying to emulate the position of Center Nova without actually recreating it, which would possibly grant her the information she wants without making Nagisa disappear like all the past Center Novae did. Thus, having Nagisa, the kenkyuusei that can make the Kirara shine so brightly, sing a song that the 13th Acchan last sang might be her method of finding out what happened to her. It’s important to note that the Kirara shone for Nagisa and Chieri together, which brings me on to my next point.
And that’s the new song the kenkyuusei are getting, Dreams are Forever Reborn. It’s actually the ED, which made clear why there were silhouettes of the kenkyuusei dancing along – it’s cause it’s their song. I have a feeling that Tsubasa’s idea for Nagisa to sing solo won’t get her any closer to what she wants to achieve, and so she’ll do what the ED implied, which is to create a double center position for Nagisa and Chieri, in order to make the Kirara shine as bright as they can.
I share Chieri’s sentiments on Yuko and her reaction to losing out on a new song. It is indeed shameful for Yuko to press so hard and stubbornly practice the song in an attempt to get Tsubasa to relent, but on the other hand, that kind of passion and dedication not to lose out is admirable, especially when you consider how hard it is to continually be an idol. Everything Yuko’s aspired for, including the Center Nova position represents what it means to be a true idol.
Going back to the planet where it all started, Lancastar can bring nothing but trouble, and they tried to show that in Lancastar’s even more bleak and desolate imagery. Forget the sad miners lining up for soup; there aren’t even any people on the streets at all. Schools are turned into secret pro-entertainment factions, and young people like Mamoru are being conscripted to fight. For Yuuka, knowing that the guy she loves is in danger must be hitting hard on her, and for Nagisa, it must be terrible feeling the guilt that the reason your dad is in prison is because of you. It looks like it’s not just Chieri who has a connection to DES either, since it seems the factory Orine worked at were manufacturing DES parts.
AKB0048 is approaching its climax, and I have a feeling that everything will come full circle during this concert. Everyone’s going to have to face their pasts somehow, and secrets which are better off hidden will be revealed.