Ranka Lee Isn’t an Automatic Shoe-in for AKB0048 at This Rate (AKB0048 Episode 02)

[EveTaku] AKB0048 - 02 (1280x720 x264 AAC)[8C5FA1FE].mkv_snapshot_20.32_[2012.05.10_08.23.44]

[AKB0048 Episode 01]

I’m pretty harsh on idol shows, because my favorite show is too, an idol show: Super Dimension Fortress Macross, Macross 7, Macross Frontier, Macross Plus, Macross: Do You Remember Love? These shows give interesting idol contexts, phenomenal music (relative to pop idol fare), and are love triangles set against the backdrop of great battles. I remember some fanboys trying to convince me about the awesomeness of Idolm@ster characters. Better luck selling refrigerators to walruses.

Thus, I approached AKB0048 with a view of at least finding one idol to approximate one of the least of Macross’ roster: Ranka Lee. The second episode showed me that the search would be challenging but not because all the candidates are of poor stuff. Conceptually at least, the AKB0048 roster of idols are necessarily awesome.

[EveTaku] AKB0048 - 02 (1280x720 x264 AAC)[8C5FA1FE].mkv_snapshot_07.55_[2012.05.10_08.05.40][EveTaku] AKB0048 - 02 (1280x720 x264 AAC)[8C5FA1FE].mkv_snapshot_18.03_[2012.05.10_08.21.58]

What I mean by this is that the idol role requires the incumbent not only to have song and dance skills, but also combat, hostage rescue, ship-to-ship assault/raiding, and space fighter piloting (basically, some kind of Mylene Jenius). These abilities must be held together by a high level of teamwork that overcomes the competitive nature of maintaining roster spots… as careers are short by design (because loss of appeal increases exponentially with age).

A whole bunch of characters get introduced here, but the high contrast that tells the theme of the episode if not the show as a whole is between Chieri and Nagisa. Chieri is the runaway rich girl who is not only talented, but also the most combat-ready among the hopefuls. She is also the most cynical among them and is the caricature of the “we’re all rivals here” attitude. Nagisa, suffice to say, is her opposite.

Predictably, Chieri is made an example of by the story. She’s the one who has that mascot character (see Gubaba from Macross 7, Ai-Kun from Macross Frontier), who is revealed to be some kind of “idol validator” – it glows when there is a “true idol” in its presence. Obviously this is Nagisa who spiritually embodies what AKB0048 is about – teamwork and comradeship (towards making the galaxy a better place by making people free to entertain themselves).

Ranka didn’t have anything as inspiring or cheesy, but she’d never have these combat skills either (she won’t need to because she’d have either the SMS/NUNS behind her, or LOL the Vajra swarms); she didn’t even have to fight along with her band (Lovely Bomber) – she just needed to get them space lolicons serving their prison time all hot-blooded. So, if I inserted Ranka in this episode, would she have stolen the show? She’s prettier than everyone so there’s that, but unless she sings Aimo out of context or something, that’s not quite going to happen.


I won’t be able to keep the Symphogear girls away for long.

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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20 Responses to Ranka Lee Isn’t an Automatic Shoe-in for AKB0048 at This Rate (AKB0048 Episode 02)

  1. bluemist says:

    I think they’re playing up Chieri and Nagisa in a similar tone to how the Sheryl and Ranka rivalry worked out. With Ranka having real Vajra-controlling power compared to Sheryl, Nagisa seems to have more of those so-called “true idol” characteristics than Chieri.

  2. megaroad1 says:

    “We’re up to our eyeballs with moe right now” Alto Hime


  3. Jay says:

    SPOILER: We have a member who is a cyborg. Also, someone said Symphogear.

  4. Xard says:

    Thus, I approached AKB0048 with a view of at least finding one idol to approximate one of the least of Macross’ roster: Ranka Lee.

    Come to think of it, I’ve never seen you make a power level ranking of Macross idols. Minmay is obviously at the top and after that she’s very likely followed by Minmay.

    To be honest I’ve never quite understood why you like Mylene so much. She was very likeable brat in Macross 7 but she got screwed over by her series’s and never got character development, leaving her characterization a bit too flat for me. Which is one of the things that has always bugged me the most about M7 (Basara’s the kind of character who’s pretty much impossible to develop into any direction so lack of development with him didn’t surprise me) – they wasted some completely fine characters on it like her and poor Gamlin

    re: the cyborg girl/Mayuyu

    lol’d at her being a cyborg. I don’t follow real world idols but I have a friend that does who’s more than capable of pointing out the numerous in-jokes in 0048. Mayuyu’s legacy character being a cyborg being just that (apparently they tend to say she’s too pretty to be a human – hence she’s a cyborg here lol).

    by the way, real Mayuyu is a *huge* Rankafag: http://blog.oricon.co.jp/watarirouka/archive/9038/0 😛

    (she has also cosplayed Sheryl once)

    • Xard says:

      Minmay is obviously at the top and after that she’s very likely followed by Mylene.


    • That’s probably worth its own post. However, my ranking would be in terms of favor vs. power level. It’s because Ranka would be hands down the most powerful idol. She is after all, a little Vajra Queen.

      Character development LOL

      I don’t have the power levels to blog this show with any relevance to the source material (i.e. the real idols), nor would I want to.

      • Tolarin says:

        Is Basara an idol? He should be. Most powerful. He is anima spirtia incarnate.

      • Xard says:

        uhh yeah I didn’t mean “power level” literally so I was really thinking about preferences

        I’m not really seeing what’s so weird about using word character development… and all Macross lead girls, even Mao who’s probably the most ignored one in terms of focus, have undergone evolution by the time series ends. Except with Mylene – I’ve always put main blame on this for the neutering of love triangle resolution in 7 (LOL BASARA CAN’T LOSE BECAUSE HE IS LEAD SO MYLENE WILL NOT MAKE THE CHOIC) which was the one channel through which Gamlin and Mylene had some dynamic change… but that was reset in the end too for Mylene’s part.

        I’m not really suggesting that, I just thought you’re usually interested by all these kind of homages: they’re a form of remembering love after all

  5. DarkFireBlade25 says:

    So this show is legit right?

  6. r042 says:

    I’m still holding out an odd sort of hope here that Kawamori goes “screw the lot of you” and the whole thing turns into Glass Mask in space.

    For those who haven’t seen it, it’s largely “the whole world is a dick to a young girl who dreams of stardom” and features an almost parodically cruel tutor and manager figure. IT’s also hugely compelling.

  7. Pingback: Live Exercise: AKB0048 Episode 03 | We Remember Love

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