The following is my own opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff and our partners or affiliates.
On February 24 AKB48 and its sister groups will undergo their next mass shuffle at Tokyo Zepp Diver City. This of course has many fans speculating what will happen to their favorites.
Who will go where? Will there be new captains named for the teams? Will someone reject her transfer/concurrency/trade? How about possible graduation announcements? Then we have the betting/drinking game questions. What’s the over/under on uncontrollable sobbing/fainting?
Will Togasaki come out all disheveled, dressed as dude love, high as a kite and holding a giant bong? Will he be giving a bit of that puff, puff pass and all that to the girls to relax them before and maybe during the shuffle itself? And most importantly, who will run screaming out of the building?
Let’s face it. There are so many questions to consider when it comes to this event.
Now let’s go back in time to August 2012 and the most recent shuffle type deal at Tokyo Dome. If you recall I was actually there in person and saw it all go down live with the other members of the Japan 4.
Suffice it to say my knowledge of AKB at the time was pretty much nil and I had no idea what was going on. All I knew at the time that based on the reaction of the wota around me that was going on was a big a deal and just to be around that historic event in AKS lore was enough for me looking back on that time.
Of course things actually went down during Tokyo Dome so perhaps it’s best to recap everything.
AKB Shuffle 2012
We learned of the deportation of Miyazawa Sae and Suzuki Mariya to Shanghai and Takajo Aki and Nakgawa Haruka were shipped off to Jakarta. Ota Aika was transferred to the kids table called HKT48.
Also new captains were named for teams A, K and B in the forms of Shinoda Mariko, Oshima Yuko and Umeda Ayaka. Lastly the original Team 4 was dissolved and absorbed into the 3 AKB teams and Takahashi Minami was promoted to general manager.
That was 2 years ago and a lot has changed in the world of AKS with members making lateral movements within the organization or just graduating outright. The lines between the various groups within Japan have been blurred slightly more than back then as well because of such movements.
With that in mind will the next shuffle make as big as an impact?
That depends on what you are expecting out of this. Are you thinking that everything will get blown up or that only a few functional (and maybe completely irrational) moves will be made to even out the power balance between the various teams?
Let’s assume that everything gets blown up. Not only would this bring the most attention it would also be the more interesting of the possibilities. In this case only there are only a few untouchable members or even just one untouchable and everyone else is fair game.
Would this show that AKS has lost confidence that they can maintain their stranglehold on the public with the lot of members they have left at the moment? If that is the case then consider this shuffle a hit of the reset button.
The more realistic scenario is second one, where only a few major moves will be made and the rest will be middle to lower tier members going back and forth. In this scenario the shuffle could end up being much like the draft last year where the hype was intense but the end product is full of fail and disappointment.
Place your bets
For my predictions I will go with the idea that reset button is going to be pushed. These musings are purely for entertainment purposes and should not be used as a source for your AKB gambling/drinking games. If you do use these, then thank you for putting so much faith in my bullshit because I still don’t know much about AKS.
Obviously Oshima Yuko is on her way out and to move her anywhere would be highly illogical and most likely a waste of time unless AKS management really wants to fuck with the masses. Pull a Tsunku/UFP type of troll just for shits and giggles.
Ditto for Sato Amina. She’s returning to the ocean soon so there should be no reason to move her anywhere unless it’s a new team that is under the sea. (If you get the reference congratulations!)
After reading Garry’s article on New School Kaidan I agree that the majority of the moving pieces will be from the sister groups and not the other way around. It is likely that one or more of their members will be permanently moved to one of the AKB teams.
The first likely candidate from those teams is Matsui Jurina. Her removal from Team S and becoming a full member of Team K could be a given. The next could be J’s other half Matsui Rena. It’s hard to say where she would go if she were to be freed from Nagoya, but Team A would probably make the most sense.
For pure shock value also drop Watanabe Miyuki from NMB completely and just keep her on Team B and ship one of the team A, K or B members the other way. Ichikawa Miori is already in the NMB fold right? Why not tell her to find an apartment near a lemon store in Osaka because she’ll be there for a while.
Maybe some are hoping that Sashihara Rino goes back to Team A. Don’t hold your breath on that one. She’s staying where she is. That doesn’t leave the rest of team loli on safe ground though.
HKT48 recently pulled a shuffle of their own and created a new team of their own. While it would make sense to leave well enough alone, Ota Aika could get screwed out of her captaincy and whatever moves were made previously may be moot.
It would not be a shuffle without a few deportations. It’s hard to say who would get the boot to the jungle or China. After all, Nakagawa Haruka seems to have become full jungle and isn’t coming back anytime soon. With Takajo Aki and Nozawa Rena there part-time is there really a need to send another body to Jakarta?
It would be great to see JKT48’s captain Melody come back the other way though. Although I don’t know where she would fit on any of the Japanese teams. Maybe SKE?
Shanghai seems to be the spot outside of Japan with the most need and even though they have Miyazawa Sae and Sukuki Mariya they could certainly use the assistance of maybe another popular member (like someone from the top 20) from Japan to put them over the top. The question is who? My vote is to send Shimazaki Haruka over and let the salt rain down on upon the masses.
Just kidding. I would send Watanabe Mayu or Yamamoto Sayaka over. What’s the saying in WWE right now? Oh yeah, “It’s best for business.” These are contingent on whether there is going to be a serious investment in SNH at all in the upcoming year. Otherwise it’s just a free vacation to Shanghai to learn Chinese for a few months.
At the moment those movements have a low probability of happening and instead Izuta Rina or Kobayashi Kana or another member with more to gain from a change of scenery will get their Chinese study materials.
Honestly it’s hard to say what will happen with this shuffle. The AKS landscape at the moment is open to massive changes if management is willing to take a few risks with the more popular members to fill in the holes left by the numerous departures of 2013. While I personally don’t think anything earth shattering will happen during this event I could be proven wrong.
As long as the boneheaded move a certain other idol organization pulled off isn’t done with the old guard of AKB members I’ll be fine with whatever goes down. If that stupidity does not happen at the very least there should be one major move that will have people buzzing.
I guess we’ll find out soon and I’ll be back to try to analyze whatever the fallout is.