Yeah Yeah I Got It, Takahashi Minami Is Supposed to Be Awesome: AKB0048 Episode 09 And The Meta Mary Sue

[EveTaku] AKB0048 - 09 (1280x720 x264 AAC)[9855BE4C].mkv_snapshot_23.00_[2012.06.26_09.48.46]

[AKB0048 Episode 08]

I want to distinguish how I feel about the different things that are going on involving the same succession conceit in this show.

The conflict and rivalry that exists in Takamina V’s head as she struggles to keep her legitimacy as a successor in the face of Kanata’s obvious legitimacy as the would-be Takamina VI is really something I enjoy.

The fact that Kanata is visibly disappointed – stunned, at the “defeat snatched at the jaws of victory” when her idol Takamina V rallies and performs, which consequently robs her of the opportunity to stand-in for her on stage. The fact that she was already wearing the uniform adds extra cruelty. This is awesome.

The consequence I don’t particularly enjoy is that I am now choking on a meta Mary Sue – not anyone in the show in particular, but Takashi Minami herself, the original idol as she lives and breathes.

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I’m now saturated to the point of irritation at how the strength of character displayed by both Takamina V and Kanata – every good thing they do, every triumph of their will, every gentle and wise act they perform, are reducible to approximations of Minami Takahashi’s soul/persona. And let’s be real here. That soul and persona is an image for sale to fanboys.

Hard sell.

Now I have nothing against Takashi Minami as a person. I don’t know her, and I don’t really care. What I care about is the construction of this piece of entertainment. It’s fascinating to me that the writing/construction is neither weak nor crude. The episode in narrative terms achieved everything it needed to.

But either something was overdone, or the soul (or the utter lack of soul of) the show is exposed. I care about Takamina V and Kanata well enough – they’re the characters with the stories. Don’t force Takahashi Minami down my throat. She’s a fucking 3D Mary Sue in my anime.

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About ghostlightning

I entered the anime blogging sphere as a lurker around Spring 2008. We Remember Love is my first anime blog. Click here if this is your first time to visit WRL.
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21 Responses to Yeah Yeah I Got It, Takahashi Minami Is Supposed to Be Awesome: AKB0048 Episode 09 And The Meta Mary Sue

  1. Xard says:

    Well that was…random reaction I didn’t see coming. Succession drama was just small part in this episode and it was full of awesomeness all around. I’d say the main focus were 77th understudies this time around and they were just joy to follow. Concert scenes were also amazing and made of win.

    Why obsess on Takamina? I mean, in 0048 narrative are great warriors of love, care and justice fighting against the evils of no fun police. Mayuyu has apparently been a freaking cyborg probably from the start, hell for all we know she might be the same person just in new cyborg body, and while that’s what she gets called in real world she still isn’t really a cyborg.

    The AKB48 producer and business genius behind it all (as well as the lyricist) Akimoto is a goddamn mysterious super organism “Sensei-Sensei” (incidentally the reason why anyone expecting eeeevilll tweest about the mysterious SS is being silly).

    All original AKB48 are “glorified” in some sense. Arguably the mouth girl (guhh, tomo-chin) goes much further with generations invoking eugenics to keep her perfection living in this world.

    The whole complaint feels really silly because this has been part of show’s premise from the start. In 0048 verse she’s as awesome as her image allows her to be. Just like Mayuyu is a cyborg due to her “CG girl” image. The AKB members are like heroines of a myth who are the evaluation metre for deeds of modern humans (that is modern humans in the show timeline). The “image” = how the idol really was in 0048 verse.

    I’m now saturated to the point of irritation at how the strength of character displayed by both Takamina V and Kanata – every good thing they do, every triumph of their will, every gentle and wise act they perform, are reducible to approximations of Minami Takahashi’s soul/persona. And let’s be real here. That soul and persona is an image for sale to fanboys.

    While images are always manufactured to a degree AKB48 is much less manufactured in terms of idol personas and the like compared to Morning Musume and such were back in the day. There’s this 2h AKB48 documentary from last year that follows in intimate detail the girls lives without much if any glamorizing. It’s very raw article and when you see fan favourites being carried away from backstage after performance because they passed out from fatigue you can’t help but respect the spirit these girls show for their dream.

    I don’t know much about real Takahashi but while undoubtly her image is manufactured to some degree like with all celebs I doubt it’s all falsitude because idol personas. Even if that were the case that has no bearing on 0048 because the AKB48 that existed in that universe was pretty much the most perfectly polished version of group the real world counterpart can’t approach.

    tl;dr: getting hung up on AKB48 glorification *now* when it has been name of the game from start and is something one accepts or rejects from the beginning is bizarre when the episode was so full of awesomeness all around.

    • No, it’s not an obsession and it’s not an overreaction. That would describe your reaction, consistent with your corpus of commentary here in WRL.

      I do not dismiss the points you raised about the work being a puff piece. You act as if I do. I liked the episode and the show enough to care about this level of construction.

      In before an even more massive response from you. Also, LOL at describing my post and its insight as a “random” reaction. Really, you’ve been reading here long enough to know better.

      • Xard says:

        No, it’s not an obsession and it’s not an overreaction. That would describe your reaction, consistent with your corpus of commentary here in WRL.

        Touché

        with “random” I just really ment unexpected and out of the left field (guhhh RL slang with friends getting mixed with normal English can be pain in the butt). This really wasn’t what I figured ep 10 post would focus on.

        I do not dismiss the points you raised about the work being a puff piece. You act as if I do. I liked the episode and the show enough to care about this level of construction.

        but if you don’t mind it I really don’t get why you reacted so strongly. As far as I’m concerned Takahashi is just another name and in-universe something of a idol legend and a proper role model. Getting annoyed by perceived meta mary sue for real idol can only grate you like that if you find such indirect glorification of the original annoying in the first place. Takahata V and Kanata aspiring for the spot feels more like competition for position of chosen one or being prince in utena or something like that: it’s just that the trappings for the role come from AKB48.

        I’m not seeing any fundamental difference to any other “waahhh he’s the real chosen one/holy warrior/spinzaku master” story pattern. Only difference is that this time around the position is that of “Takahata” instead of some generic “chosen one” because the show is buff piece for AKB48.

        • I took my time thinking about this, reflecting on my reaction and such… and it stands.

          It’s a reaction that takes into consideration the whole premise. After all, did I not thoroughly enjoy the prior episodes leading up to this? I thought the premise played out well enough there, and went overboard here.

          So no, allowing only my reaction validity if I reject the original premise in the first place doesn’t work. There are thresholds for things and it’s not as if Kawamori, or much better, anime in general is known for his restraint.

          You don’t see it because you don’t want to see it. Which is not a bad thing.

  2. Cytrus says:

    ‘Anime has parallels to reality, but it’s not about our reality’ – that’s the way of thinking that comes naturally to me and allows me to enjoy many show to the greatest extent. Keeping the legendary AKB48 of this show separate from the real-life AKB48 might not be easy, but I think it pays off.

    So I agree with the points Xard makes about the show’s interpretation, though his effort saves me from having to write half as much :)

    • I get you, but this doesn’t invalidate the observation and criticism; and see my response to dear Xardie.

      Also, be confident that I am still fully capable of enjoying this show in a big way.

  3. dliessmgg says:

    1. Takamina V is the current (re?)incarnation of the original Takamina, and clings to that title at all price, knowing that she is doomed to fail.
    2. Kanata is running after the title of Takamina VI, not knowing that she only doesn’t have it because of internal politics, and with accepting her role ironically getting even closer to it.
    3. Both is used to construct how the original Takamina was, as perceived by the Kirara.

    Now, the Kirara can sense the “soul” of an idol. What is the soul? In this case I assume it’s the image how someone wants to be, wants to act like, or maybe, as an extension, is supposed to be like. The successors are not copying the original Takamina, with all the right and wrong things she may have done. They’re chasing after an idealized image of the original Takamina. The history books are written by the winner, and 00 corp. says Takamina was ideal, and the fans want to believe it.

    How does that affect the RL-fans of AKB48? They’re told that in the future the faults of their idols are forgotten and forgiven, and they’re worshipped like a goddess, and imitated by the current priestess, who serves as a vessel, a bridge between the new fans and the old idol. The choice of the priestess is a sacred act performed by sacred beings, and communicated to the world by a high priestess. /quit ramble because sleep necessary

    By the way, is Ranka now the queen of England?

  4. Aitakatta says:

    “every good thing they do, every triumph of their will, every gentle and wise act they perform, are reducible to approximations of Minami Takahashi’s soul/persona. And let’s be real here. That soul and persona is an image for sale to fanboys.”

    While this was something obvious since the beginning due to the premise of the show, I think the reason it never bothered me in this particular case -that is, the case of Kanata and Takamina V- is because the real Takamina’s already got this Mary Sue-ish feel to her. I mean, every member of AKB has a particular image they project, and not everything is positive. For example, Yuuko can be competitive to the point of being bitchy, Acchan is a bit stoic and arrogant, Mayuyu can be insensitive, etc. But Takamina is different. Since she’s the leader, she’s shown to be the kindest, most sensitive, selfless and caring of all the girls, and of course the most hard working too. She does have her flaws, but in her case is more like comic relief than actual flaws: for example, her sense of humor supposedly sucks, and she’s shown to be pretty naive which makes her a frequent target for AKBingo pranks, that kinda thing.

    Now whether all that is a manufactured image is besides that point. The point is that the anime’s not so much glorifying Takamina’s name but portraying her in pretty much the same way all those videos and documentaries do. And well… that’s why it didn’t bother me. If any other AKB girl was presented in this way though, I would be pissed. All the other girls have more obvious flaws, and I would like the anime to convey that too.

    To be honest though, the highlight of this episode for me was Chieri’s incredibly cute smile lol

    • Aitakatta says:

      Ah, I almost forgot. There is one thing about Takamina that we can be sure is not a fabrication, and that’s her voice. She is one of the few in the group that can actually sing. Listen here:

      Pretty good, don’t you think?

    • No it was not obvious. It is a reasonably predicted outcome, but it is only obvious in hindsight, after the storytelling.

      But thanks for the Takamina bio, I appreciate it! Flaws as comic relief is the staple of moeblobbery.

  5. Jay says:

    THE SONGS YOU SING ARE NOT YOUR SONGS. LISTEN TO MY SONG!

    Hory… if not for Basara and Aria, the panel would have not been funny to me.

  6. Pingback: AKB0048 10: MY THEORY SOLVES THE MYSTERY EASILY | We Remember Love

  7. Chaz Riggs says:

    DO your research on the real Takamina before making comments. The girl is in charge of a Army of girls now i think the numbers are over 100, all of whom look up to her and bow down to her, And most would not want her position. She is only 21 years of age but acts with the leadership of someone twice her age and wisdom. She has to answer for the whole group when they mess up and she alone has to face management. She was there when the original group was formed when only 7-10 fans would attend there shows, the first captain and now undisputed the captain of captains. She takes blame for other girls mistakes, gives them words of encouragement when they need it. She has a huge weight to carry and deserves every bit of positive attention she gets. AKB48 would suffer a massive loss if and when that amazing person leaves. Watch the AKB48 Documentary you will see what I mean.

    • rabyo says:

      I totally agree with Chaz Riggs
      and I am fan Takamina too.
      I think minami take after character of shonen manga eg. more love for friends and groups
      than myself

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