DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 No flower without rain announced for 2013

DOCUMENTARY of AKB48: Show must go on, million selling girl group AKB48‘s second documentary film was both a success with its target audience and a somewhat gruelling look at the behind-the-scenes events following the 2011 Tohoku disasters.

Recently announced for a 1st February 2013 release is the third chapter in the AKB48 documentary series, No flower without rain, which promises to provide a further look into the backstage world of AKB48.

Of great importance (to this writer) is the inclusion of previously unseen footage involving the fallout of former centre member, Atsuko Maeda’s surprise graduation announcement at the Saitama Super Arena on 25th March of this year.

Reaction to the film’s announcement amongst Japanese fans has thus far been muted, with much speculation on the events that will be covered during the film, but some also unwelcome criticism of former Team A member and current HKT48 member, Rino Sashihara – transferred earlier this year as the result of a boyfriend scandal – and SKE48 centre, Jurina Matsui.

While difficult to quantify the appeal of these documentaries, the audience is given an unreserved and often brutal look at what it takes to be a member of such a popular group. At the same time there is the sense that these facts are still controlled in the way they reach us. It is of course impossible for the management of any group not to wish to filter out certain details of its member, yet its surprising to see the degree of brutal honesty exhibited within the AKB48 documentary series.

When former Team A and present Team B member, Rie Kitahara was announced as a cast member for Japanese reality television show, Terrace House – imagine a Big Brother scenario involving three men and three women cohabiting in the same house as a social experiment – there was concern that it would be difficult for a member of an idol group to maintain their image.

Yet the significance of both Kitahara’s involvement with Terrace House and the AKB48 documentary series appears to be part of the underlining strategy of the group; they are the idols that come to meet you. Through the display and cultivation of evidence regarding what might identify them as regular individuals and diminish celebrity culture, AKB48 are at the forefront of a new form of celebrity.

If the acquisition of Paris Hilton’s best friend via television was the tip of the iceberg, No flower without rain is the dark underbelly of how we relate to entertainment in the 21st century.

Much has been made of the fact that AKB48 is entering a new era. Whilst the transition has been thus far difficult, it is obvious that the direction producer Yasushi Akimoto is steering the group in has changed. The goal of playing in Tokyo Dome has been surpassed and No flower without rain promises to be the first indication of what will come next.

As recent promotion of 29th Single Janken Senbatsu Tournament winner, Haruka Shimazaki warned: “Don’t overlook next star!”

DOCUMENTARY of AKB48 No flower without rain will be released in Japanese cinemas from 1st February 2013.

Sources: natalie (Japanese), AKB48 Wrap Up

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