March 26th, 2012
The Documentary of AKB48…. To Be Continued follows the popular female idol conglomerate throughout 2010 with concert, behind the scenes footage and one on one interview segments with the more popular members of the group. This film was recommended viewing as part of my indoctrination into the world of AKB48. For newcomers this is not the easiest documentary to follow since it is required that you know who the members of the AKB Senbatsu are before going in.
If you manage to get a hold of the 4 disc set & you’re a stranger in the big city of AKB (like me) you’re better off watching the DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 – The Future 1mm Ahead (Disc #2 in this package) first since its scope is much wider and it gives a broader overview of what the group is about. This allows one to get a general idea of what the various members are talking about in their 1 on 1 interviews that make up the first disc in this set.
Normally an idol interview is carefully constructed with many prepared canned responses to maximize style over substance. That is not the case here & I was surprised at the open nature of the various member’s responses. It’s not every day that you catch an idol with their guard down. That in itself makes this worth watching. Although if you don’t speak or understand Japanese I would suggest getting the release from New People Entertainment so you get an idea of what ‘s going on.
It’s refreshing to see their vulnerable sides & to hear that not all of them are comfortable with certain aspects of their idol lives. I’m all for seeing them goof off backstage as well, but stuff like this interests me much more than the standard fluff normally presented to fans. After all, it’s can’t be good times and everyone struggles through hardships to get to where they are.
The segments I found most interesting involved any of the no3b members, Sashihara Rino, Watanabe Mayu, Kashiwagi Yuki & Oshima Yuko. Sashihara, Watanabe & Kashiwagi’s seemed to resonate the most with me. Visiting grandparents, old friends or geeking out felt very down to earth & relatable.
A big difference from what I am accustomed to seeing from any idol group. Speaking of differences. If you like to watch the credit sequences you get to see the various members of AKB in the studio, goofing off back stage and here’s a shocker. Openly eating.
Yes. Idols scarfing down food as if they haven’t seen it in years. The only time you ever see idols eat is on TV when they’re forced to do participate in games for candy or desserts. So yes, idols eat a lot of food. They also are capable of sleeping anywhere. An idol’s lifestyle is hectic and one must catch sleep whenever and wherever they can.
The only things that irked me a little about this documentary were hearing that damn piano music every time a new part started. The other was that Kitahara Rie’s interview was too short. I needed more Kitahara. Was there really that little material to work with for her?
Was it kind of backwards to watch the entire series this way? Yes, but since it was recommended by my more knowledgeable AKB friends to view this way I didn’t question it. And in the end it made complete sense. I was finally able to put names to faces & learn a little bit about each person along the way. Not that I mind learning from 3rd party sources like blogs & social media but there’s some authenticity when information comes direct from the idol’s mouth.
After completing all 4 discs I have gained a stronger understanding of the primary entity that is AKB48 and while I wish there were a bit more about the offshoot groups SDN, SKE, NMB, etc. there was enough to at least give me some knowledge to continue my head first dive into the 48 family world.
I would highly suggest giving this a look even if you don’t like this group. It’s an interesting look behind the scenes of the idol world. Probably not as in-depth for those who really want the dirt on how the idol machine works, but it’s enough to satisfy most.