I feel completely unattached to this graduation announcement. And that fact almost scares me.
Sayaka Akimoto will graduate from AKB48
This isn’t to say that I wasn’t a bit caught off guard when I saw the announcement. It is pretty depressing to see all these older members biting the dust, especially those that grew around my fandom of AKB48–those like Atsuko Maeda, Tomomi Kasai, & Tomomi Itano. These are girls that have been around since the beginning–it’s weird seeing them go. It’s the equivalent to Ai Takahashi’s graduation from Hello! Project. If you’ve been around before the Colorful Era, isn’t it still a little odd not to see Takahashi’s killer smile lurking in the background?
Sayaka has, well, been there since the beginning. And seeing her leave feels like a big part of AKB48 is gone, as if one of the founders have vanished. But, in all honestly, I really don’t feel sad. I’m not gonna sit here and type up a whole sob story about how much of a pillar she was for AKB48. To be brutally honest, I don’t think she was that much of an asset for AKB48. Sure, she has that foreign blood and that cool, mature, sexy vibe, but I never really thought she could make or break the group. To me, she isn’t a Yuko Oshima or Atsuko Maeda or Mariko Shinoda. To me, she isn’t the type of member that when you don’t see her, you start panicking about the apocalypse and begin to hoard food in your basement. Yes, Sayaka was an awesome member with a great personality and sense of humor but she didn’t epitomize everything the group had to offer. And this, sadly, ends up being why I almost… don’t care about her graduation.
The fact of the matter is all of these older members are going to graduate eventually. Yup, even Yukirin, Yuko, Mariko, Mayuyu, TakaMina, Miichan–all of them. We’re in a state of AKB48 where the younger generation is starting to take over–similar to the status of Morning Musume. All these fresh meat are beginning to rise and OG are going to start occupying the back burner. Sure, there will still be members that are eternally on top, but these younger kids will start to overcome the odds. Remember Paruru’s push that every fan hated? It’s only going to continue, and with other members. The bottom line is there was absolutely nothing that AKB48 offered Sayaka anymore. She had risen to the top and was struck down by scandal nearly 3 years ago. Since then, she’s been swept aside. The last main single track she’s been in was Ue Kara Mariko, everything after that were Under Girls songs. She will never be able to climb her way back up, so why not move on? She’s already 24 years old, it’s time to move on anyway.
Adding onto the “OHSHITWUT” news, the 5th Senbatsu general election registration ended on April 7th. Here’s a list of the ex-members who are participating:
~ Kayo Noro
~ Megumi Ohori
~ Kazumi Urano
~ Yukari Sato
~ Haruka Kohara
~ Natsumi Hirajima
Surprisingly, the list is rather short. I expected at least 10 girls to jump on ship, but that isn’t the case. I also find it fascinating that majority of these girls are former SDN48 members. It kind of shows to me that their idol life was cut short in a sense. I’m ready for Meetan to kick some ass in the fucking rankings. I was praying that she’d participate and here she is. Her membership is a little before my time as an AKB48 fan but she’s held quite the legacy. I’m excited for the soon-to-be bride. I’m surprised Natsumi joined in considering the fact that she was kicked out of the group. I would’ve been like, “Heck naw. Outta here, bitches.”
As for a list of the non-participating, here we go:
Tomomi Kasai, Sayaka Akimoto, Moeno Nito, Natsumi Matsubara, & Mika Komori
Momona Kito, Mizuki Kuwabara, Shiori Takada, Kanako Hiramatsu, Kumi Yagami, Ririna Akaeda, Shiori Ogiso, Seira Sato, Sawako Hata, Manatsu Mukaida, Kasumi Ueno, Minami Hara, Emiri Kobayashi, Mitsuki Fujimoto, Arisa Owaki, & Risa Ogino
Riko Kishino, Kanna Shinohara, Aina Fukumoto, Arisa Koyanagi, & Hitomi Yamamoto
Atsuko Maeda, Natsuki Sato, Manami Oku, Sayaka Nakaya, Rumi Yonezawa, Rikako Hirata, Erena Ono, & Yuka Masuda
Surprisingly, quite a few SKE members chose not to participate. Considering how popular SKE has become, I would think the opposite would be the case. Taking a look at the ex-members list, I’m sure there are many people who are disappointed with Erena’s and Manami’s decisions to sit out the election. I know those were two very popular members during their time(Manami was a bit more popular over the web, I believe), so I’m sure it’s a bit discouraging for fans.
I’m not going to get into predictions just yet since there are over 200 members I’ve never even heard of. We’ll wait until a little farther down the road…
To wrap up this AKB news post, the very gorgeous Asuka Kuramochi(that name does not match her at all) will be getting a solo debut! On May 29th, she will be releasing a song created for a CM of the Japan Racing Association as well as starring in the commercial. Best of luck to her!