The Succession Wars: AKB0048 Episode 08


[AKB0048 Episode 07]

While I didn’t expect that this show will let go of the cliff it hung all of us on last episode, I didn’t think it would be this committed to the succession drama of Takamina. On the one hand we have the current successor, Takamina the 5th who is the Captain and beloved leader of the band; and the other hand we have Kanata, the Captain of the understudies and the devoted fan of Takamina the 5th. The Kirara of Succession have, for about a year now, identified Kanata’s soul as the one closest to the original Takahashi Minami. Something’s about to give.


The thing about playing a role, like in theatre, is that you know you’re on borrowed time. It’s a zero-sum game. You get to play the role only for as long as you physically can, and there’s always an understudy waiting on the wings hungry to take over. That, or the show finishes its run. In the case of AKB0048, the role one plays is that of a reality show superstar. You stop being you. You suspend your identity for the number of years you get to play the successor to the original idol, and then you graduate.

And then what? Whatever fame you had, was borrowed. No one remembers your real name. You were great at becoming someone else, even though you’re just playing the part. You as yourself was never famous. We don’t know Takamina the 5th’s real name. She does tell us that she’s a mediocrity as a performer who found strength in playing Takamina’s role as leader of the band.

Worse, as a successor you’re told that the very essence of your soul is closest to – that is – most similar to the original idol. It’s not just a role you play, your very essence is practically that of the original… until such time someone else is better than you. You’re completely a copy, until you start failing as a copy – but not by coming into your own! You’re just bettered.

Even more cruel, is the coincidence in how Takamina the 5th is for all intents and purposes the mentor of Kanata – who would be Takamina the 6th. The whole succession process is withheld and kept secret from all the idols. This allows for “best case scenarios” like this, wherein the current successor can mentor her replacement, who already has her soul closest to the original. It isn’t like the creepy rivalry between prima ballerinas in Arnofsky’s film The Black Swan, but it can feel far more insidious.

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As far as Yuuko’s concerned, ultimately they’ve got to think about their own dreams first. They aren’t there to enable their immediate replacements. They’re there to succeed AKB48. It’s their dream, and no one can blame them for living it for as long as they possibly can.

In the mean time, Takamina the 5th starts second-guessing herself as Takamina. If she’s not getting it right, who is she? Kanata is soldiering on, thinking nothing of the indignity the 76th generation feels and wants her to feel. As Chieri moves up, warms up towards, and begins to sparkle, she’s being proven right: they’re all rivals too.


This show has gotten better and better, far more than I was willing to give it credit for. I didn’t even get to talk about the killer mecha action this episode!

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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9 Responses to The Succession Wars: AKB0048 Episode 08

  1. Niko says:

    “As Chieri moves up, warms up towards, and begins to sparkle, she’s being proven right: they’re all rivals too.”

    Awesome line!

    Btw, all those sweet little moments between Chieri and Nagisa feel awfully like the proverbial calm before the storm. It will be very angsty and dramatic if their rivalry gets rekindled in the last episodes, and somehow I feel that’s exactly where the story is going.

    Also, is it just me or all this whole deal about taking someone else’ name and identity is starting to feel really creepy? To be honest I don’t want Chieri and Nagisa to be anyone but themselves!

    • Thank you.

      I look forward to the three-way conflict between Yuuko, Chieri, and Nagisa as well. After all, Yuuko doesn’t seem close to graduating — she has her own goal of being center to achieve.

      As for your desire, it can’t work. The whole thing is a homage to AKB48. Unless, both aspirants fail, and then strike it out on their own. Yeah right.

  2. Jay says:

    Can’t see the panel well — it’s a thumbnail. The second image too. Looks harmful for the next readers of this article.

    By the way, did you activate the “limited-edition” 25GB space in SkyDrive?

  3. Pingback: The Succession of Takamina the Sixth: A Captain’s Role and Character | The Untold Story of Altair & Vega

  4. Laziness says:

    I was half expecting this show to be somewhat of a moeblob when I watched the first episode. Boy was I wrong. For there to be actually be a good story with so much drama… I’m enjoying every minute of this~

  5. Pingback: Yeah Yeah I Got It, Takahashi Minami Is Supposed to Be Awesome: AKB0048 Episode 09 And The Meta Mary Sue | We Remember Love

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