AKB0048 Next Stage Episode 4: The New General Elections
“Come, follow me! I’ll show you how bright the Center Nova – the most brilliant guiding star – can glow!”
1) Oshima Yuuko
2) Takahashi Minami
3) Akimoto Sayaka
4) Kashiwagi Yuki
5) Watanabe Mayu
6) Sono Chieri
7) Kojima Haruna
8) Itano Tomomi
9) Miyazawa Sae
10) Kishida Mimori
What an intense election! Looking back, the entire episode was spent on announcing the ten newly elected Senbatsu members, yet it feels like so much more has happened in between! All the speeches full of tears made by those who got elected isn’t unusual – it happens in the real-life elections too, and they’re often very emotional events. Replicating that in the anime only enhances how realistic things are being portrayed – in the end, idols are human too, and they have their own hopes and dreams they want to achieve. Mimori had no qualms over announcing her bitterness at not being made a successor after so long, and even Kojiharu, who came 7th, can’t hide her disappointment despite putting on a brave face initially – and it’s the truth. Not everyone is going to be happy with the result that they got, but like Tomochin they can decide to display their genuine emotions, embrace the love of the fans and promise to work harder over the next year. The kenkyuusei noticed changes in each of the members too – such a competitive yet passionate environment brings out different sides to the successors.
Let’s talk about Chieri – who initially decided to participate in the elections, intending to announce straight to her fans that she would quit 0048 if she was elected. I agree with Tsubasa’s viewpoint that it would be a betrayal to all the fans that have voted for her and supported her – it may be that they got to know Chieri because of her father’s intervention, but the fact still stands that they love her all the same, and I can imagine the devastation that would befall all her fans if she went up there, on live TV and told all her supporters that she was quitting. I think her conviction was actually quite strong – until she saw first-hand the love the fans showered the idols with. It was clear she had second thoughts immediately after being elected 6th, and it was so painful watching her hyperventilate and be all internally conflicted, trying to come up with an answer yet unsure of what to say. The answer she found turned out to be the one that came from her heart – “I-I love you all!” That pure, raw emotion on a stage like the elections made for massive feels xD
Once we were down to the last two places, I was pretty sure that Yuuko would win it, and Takamina would come 2nd – and while the latter did show a bit of disappointment, she really was graceful in defeat. That calm yet dignified speech was truly worthy of the captain of 00, and like Kanata’s opinion, Takamina came off as nothing but cool to me. Yuuko’s victory speech was just as inspiring, and it’s just like her to not get complacent and continue to claim the 13th Acchan as her rival – to not be satisfied with being the center for the next single, but to be the fixed star that is the Center Nova. The glow given off by the Kirara at that point proved showed Yuuko’s conviction, and she’ll definitely be a strong contender for the position, whenever it’s allocated. Yuuko might be having a short-lived victory with Sensei-sensei’s latest announcement though – a Center Nova in the form of Acchan, which may or may not be his final choice. Would this be the 13th Acchan, or perhaps one that is yet to be selected? A future Acchan that might have something to do with the ominous foreshadowing that Nagisa felt halfway through the elections?