Produce 48 is a collaboration project between the Mnet series Produce 101 and AKB48. It is a large-scale music reality show where the public “produces” a girl group by voting for members out of a pool of 96 contestants. This voting continues until there are 12 winners (regardless of nationality) remaining to form the final group. The winning members will promote as a group for two and half years.

For this season of the Produce 101 series the contestants are made up of 57 members from South Korean idol groups and companies and 39 from the various Japanese 48 groups. The show made its premiere on June 15, 2018 on Mnet South Korea and Mnet Japan. It premiered for other Asian countries on tvN Asia on June 21, 2018.

Before I continue I will preface this review with the following. I have never watched the first 2 seasons of the South Korean version of Produce 101 or any other version of it from other countries. All I really know about this program is that the girl group I.O.I. was birthed from the first season from South Korea.

However, I am a sucker for these reality competition music shows. That combined with the fact there are various 48 members involved in this makes it relevant to my interests. With that said let’s get to the prologue episode of Produce 48 which introduces viewers to some of the 96 contestants.

The show started with the introduction of the hosts who happen to be four members from Season two of Produce 101:

  • Jung Sewoon
  • Takeda Kenta
  • Yoo Seonho
  • Lee Seokhoon (vocal trainer)

These men explained the concept of Produce 48 the nation’s producers (a.k.a. The Viewers) as it is different from the first two seasons of Produce 101. (As explained in the introduction to this article.) After some banter and a little bit of circle jerking about their season of the show they get talking about this, the third season of the Produce 101 series.

The first thing they talked about was the theme song for this season called “You’re Mine” In just six days after its release it amassed 4 million views on YouTube. Which lead to them reviewing the video for it. They immediately mention that Miyawaki Sakura gets a lot of screen time and the stage the girls are performing on is huge. They were getting goosebumps from watching all the cute girls perform this song.

After all the fluff and gushing over the theme song video ended some of the trainees were introduced through various segments featuring those who stood out to the staff of the show.

The first segment was a 1-minute PR video that allows the trainees to show off their charm points to the nation’s producers. The second was a dance demonstration and the third was a display of their vocal abilities. There was a fourth segment at the end of the show that allowed the trainees to show off their individual skills. Which is related to the first segment in a way but really didn’t accomplish much other than fill time.

Charm, personality and special skills are subjective in regards to what appeals to fans of Korean and Japanese idols. The second and third skill sets are going to be what set the two groups of idols apart. Well those skills will probably matter more to people who care about that stuff in these kinds of reality shows. This type of program is a popularity contest first, talent show second. (Or maybe third, fourth or fifth.)

Anyway, it becomes very obvious that the Korean trainees who have gone through the trials of the militant agency training programs have a bit of an advantage over some of their other competitors. Time will tell if that will be something to watch out for in future episodes.

Overall there was not much to this prologue episode content wise. There was enough to make you want to watch what could turn into an incredible train wreck or walk away and save your viewing time for something else.