The second season of AKB0048 is called Next Stage and it continues to follow the journey of the 77th generation kenkyuusei and 0048’s battle with the forces of DES. If you paid attention to the final episodes of the first season, Next Stage covers the revival of the senbatsu election and who becomes the successor to inherit Maeda Atsuko’s name. (As if that wasn’t blatantly obvious already)
This season of AKB0048 also manages to answer some lingering questions with the center nova phenomena investigated and explained in a deeper manner. The revelation of the reason behind the center nova will probably not be satisfactory for most viewers and it borders on the same level of stupid as the the explanation of midi-chlorians in the Star Wars series as they pertain to the force.
Yup, that dumb.
Much like its initial season the majority of the episodes are engaging and leave the viewer wanting for more. The mix of action and drama is enough to please fans of both genres. There are some inside jokes or references that only AKB fans would understand but it doesn’t distract from understanding what is going on.
The storyline was consistent until about the tenth episode Screaming Paradise. It’s odd to see a half filler type episode placed so deep into the series. That leads into the major problem with AK0048 Next Stage, and that is the pacing as the show reached its climax.
Everything felt very rushed as the ending neared. At times it seemed that the show was made up on the spot. (i.e. The infamous Minegishi Minami kenkyuusei line is a great example)
With members of the voice acting cast graduating from their respective groups and /or leaving the AKS organization resulting in the dissolving of NO NAME perhaps the need to accelerate events was needed.
For what it was, AKB0048 Next Stage was an enjoyable watch and had its share of WTF moments to keep things interesting. I believe there was more than enough content to stretch the story (as there were some major questions in regards to Chieri & her daddy issues) and make a run at a third season.
Unfortunately circumstances brought the anime to a pre-mature end so we’ll never really know how far this concept could have gone unless there’s some sort of side story or a completely new cast is assembled to take over.