“We don’t need weapons. We’re here to sing and show our love!”
RECAP: The guerilla live concert to take back Akibastar is met with an angry audience. But that doesn’t stop our girls from going out there and expressing their love. In an attempt to revert the hearts of their fans, Nagisa confronts them head on, succeeding at the same time to become Atsuko Maeda the 14th. When DES pushes their assault further, the radiance of the understudies’ concert escalates to the point where a Center Nova gate opens, allowing Yuuko to return. Chieri faces DES filled with thoughts of her departed father, reaching Center Nova status herself. With everyone on the same wavelength, AKB members and the audience alike, the overflowing emotions of love bring about victory for AKB0048 to take back their home.
With the Center Nova radiance bringing the “other side” closer to reality, Yuuko can hear the songs of her comrades. With this Acchan the 13th also makes contact with her, revealing the truth behind that dimension. To combat the possibility of entertainment ever losing its grasp on the world, that dimension exists to hold the light of hope that comes with their song. Basically, Acchan and all the other previous Center Novae have been transformed into the light in everyone’s hearts. With this big reveal, we are able to make a connection between the emotions of people to the radiance of an Idol’s love.
The hearts of our Understudy girls were unyielding to the anger of the betrayed fans. With that vigor and determination, Nagisa expressed her feelings to the audience. Because of that strong feeling of protecting entertainment itself, more than just AKB, she succeeds mid-concert to become Maeda Atsuko the 14th. We were expecting Nagisa to become Acchan for a long time now, but the other “succession” caught me by surprise. I was under the impression that by becoming Acchan, Nagisa would pretty much be auto-locked into being a Center Nova. However, when Chieri obtains this title without a proper name to succeed, I was baffled by how this works out for 0048. What name does Chieri go under after this? That doesn’t matter because what matters more right now is defeating DES. For Chieri, doing so is her way of avenging her father’s death, by shining bright like he wanted.
With the resonance of the Kirara, Center Nova wavelengths, and the Dualium, the Kirara Drives that enable the spaceships to jump into hyperspace activate, allowing the girls to force the DES warships all around Akibastar to retreat. While this doesn’t completely defeat DES, this victory and the hijacked inter-space broadcast has allowed AKB0048 a stage bigger than ever.
GO Rating: 4.5/5
AKB0048, aside from the AKB48 concert in Washington DC, is the pillar that helped me become a fan of AKB48 in general. As an animated advertisement for the widely-popular Japanese pop group, it sure as hell did its job getting me to fall in love with the songs and traditions of AKB.
Visually, AKB0048 Next Stage can be quite blinding with the constant radiating Kirara light. But if you look beyond that, the mo-capped, CG choreography is very well done. There are a few hiccups in the animation, but that slightly forgivable as the concert scenes are gloriously spectacular. The colorfulness of the cast in visuals and personalities, gives viewers a reason to fall in love with a member of their liking, even if they don’t get as much screen time as the more main characters (Sonati ;_;)
The story of AKB0048 is one of hard work and determination. Aside from the rivalries brought on by other Idol groups, AKB0048 does a pretty damn good job with showing the hardships with becoming a successful Idol. Following traditions and becoming a successor holds a lot of responsibility. While the first season focused primarily on the beginning stage of what it means to become a 0048 member, Next Stage focuses beyond that. It focuses on the meaning of entertainment as a medium for hope and a bright future.
A good advertisement to get any anime fan into the world of Jpop and AKB48, AKB0048 is a good start towards that road.
Overall GO Rating: 4.5/5