Tuesday, September 10, 2013

AKB48 Janken Tournament

I just came back from Narita-LAX. I happen to see a poster which caught my eye, the "Janken Taikai (Janken Tournament) promotion."

I think today’s concert is just one part in a series of events that couples the music of AKB with some inter-group Janken competition. Some of the most popular members go head to head in games of Janken. Looking at the web promos, there were tears and emotions tied to games of rock, scissors, paper. I guess it must be to get the fans into it or something. But what I saw of it was pretty entertaining. *Janken is the Japanese version of rock scissors paper

Janken, The Ultimate Rock, Paper, Scissors Game.
The world would be a better place, if we just used janken to decide on things. If two warring nations were fighting over a coveted piece of land, instead of fighting it out with guns and missiles on the battlefield, a simple game of janken could determine who gets the land. Or if two men are fighting over a woman, they could just use janken; the winner gets the girl, the loser backs off. Ahh, if only things could be that simple in reality. Oddly enough, though, here at the elementary school, it often IS that simple. Janken is like the ultimate decision-making tool. As I’ve mentioned before, during lunch time, there is always a little extra food, an extra carton of milk…something that’s left over. Instead of fighting over who should get seconds, it’s decided by rounds of janken: the winner gets second helpings. There are never any arguments after the game is done. The students who don’t win just accept it.
Rock, Scissors, Paper is a game that I see every single day. You might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m completely serious. Because janken is such a big deal here!
So shout out "Janken Pon"! and go battle and win! (http://www.thejapanguy.com/how-to-play-janken-video/)

AKB48 Team K Miyazawa Sae dressed as a white prince.

AKB48 Team A Takahashi Minami (right) yankees it up, and easily wins her first round. 

AKB48 Team A Kojima Haruna (left) was going strong in another lucky colour dress.

After tying with rock twice, AKB48 Team A Matsubara Natsumi (left) gets into senbatsu with scissors after 4 years of not being part of senbatsu. The last single where she was in senbatsu was for "Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008". AKB48 Team K Fujie Reina (right) placed 2nd in the Janken tournament last year. This tournament is really the only ways that girls, who are never picked for senbatsu, get a chance to be part of it.

Best 8

AKB48 Team K Uchida Mayumi (left) gets into Best 8 with another rock, beating AKB48 Team K Itano Tomomi (right).

SKE48 Team E Kimoto Kanon (left) loses to AKB48 Team 4 Takeuchi Miyu (right) for a place in Best 8.

AKB48 Team K Nito Moeno (left) beats fellow team member Umeda Ayaka (right) to get into Best 8.

AKB48 Team A Shinoda Mariko (left), last year's Janken Queen, beats fellow team member Maeda Ami (right).

AKB48 Team K Yokoyama Yui (left) beats AKB48 Team A Nakata Chisato (right).

SKE48 Team E Ueno Kasumi (left) loses against AKB48 Team 4 Abe Maria (right). 

So what does a simple game of Scissors-Paper-Stone have to do with a whole tournament in Japan’s Budokan stadium with flashy lights and a whole production setup that can rival any concert setting?
Well for the uninitiated, this seemingly simple game will be used to determine who will be in AKB48′s 24th single lineup. And that is not all, the overall winner of the whole tournament will also get to be in the center of the 24th Single as well!
With stakes this high, it is no wonder that AKB48 fans all over have a keen interest in this tournament. And just for local fans here in Singapore, the whole tournament was live streamed in a cinema and thanks to AKB48 Singapore, POPCulture Online was there to experience it as well.

In a knockout format, many of the AKB48 members including some from SKE48 and NMB48 took turns to go up against each other. And after 2 intense rounds, we have the top 16 members eho will be featured in the 24th single:
AKB48 – Shinoda Mariko
AKB48 – Fujie Reina
AKB48 – Kobayashi Marina (Research Student)
AKB48 – Minegishi Minami
AKB48 – Akimoto Sayaka
AKB48 – Sato Sumire
AKB48 – Oya Shizuka
AKB48 – Maeda Ami
NMB48 – Hikawa Ayame
AKB48 – Umeda Ayaka
AKB48 – Kasai Tomomi
SKE48 – Kuwabara Mizuki
AKB48 – Kojima Haruna
NMB48 – Yamaguchi Yuuki
AKB48 – Yamauchi Suzuran
AKB48 – Kitahara Rie

Well, it is always an interesting experience to watch a live tournament, be it the world cup or Olympics where you can never predict the results as anything can happen next. And this Janken tournament is no different as Scissors-Paper-Stone can really be random at times. You can really feel the atmosphere in the cinema with fans who were all rooting for their favorite idols, were shouting away in support and especially right before both competitors reveal their choice with the shouts of “Jan Ken Pon”.

Another unexpected surprise was that once we were backstage, we also saw members SKE48 and NMB48 (the lesser known, but still kinda popular, girl, J-Pop super groups) who made guest appearances during the show. You know what else was intersting/semi-creepy though? So many of the fans that were waiting way in advance, standing in line for six hours or more to get a glimpse of these tender, young girls…were men! I’m not talking teenage boys either, I men grown-ass twenty somethings and thirty somethings! We were literally scanning the long line for kids and girls, and literally couldn’t find a single one. Once the concert actually started the crowd balanced out quite a bit more, but I just found that so interestingly strange.

Despite me not being the biggest fan of these groups, I have to admit…they were all pretty friendly (especially AKB48), they didn’t know any of us, but several of them tried speaking to us in English during their rehearsal down time. We watched them do dancing warmups, and watched the chosen members go through their Janken practice games. It was cool to see the work that went into the show behind the scenes: from pyrotechnics, to costumes, to camera work. It was a show complete with all the trimmings.

I don't listen much to AKB48’s music, but after seeing them practice, meeting some of them (they’re really little by the way), and just seeing how the crowd responded to them, I definitely respect them more.

"Uza" seems like a very badass song, which is completely different from the previous single's "Gingham Check"

【MV】UZA -Dance ver.- / AKB48[公式] -- http://youtu.be/WIdWXhV33vs
AKB48 新曲 28thシングル 「UZA」 -- http://youtu.be/KzXNT3OPpaw

【MV】ギンガムチェック / AKB48[公式]  -- http://youtu.be/XHdcW2axwMk

Official Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/AKB48?feature=watch

 AKB48 member Tomomi Itano is my favourite AKB48 member. ( http://www.youtube.com/v/fTVuAd_F7O8 )

The popular social game on Gree, named “AKB48 Stage Fighter”
The commercial will be delivered in two verions, one with Oshima Yuko as a main role, and the other with featuring all 8 members who won top 8 positions in the competition. This commercial also featured AKB’s new song “君のために僕は… (Kimi no tame ni boku ha – For you, I… )”.



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