Documentary of AKB48: The time has come Due for Release in July

Documentary of AKB48 The time has come posterThe yearly AKB48 documentaries—a sort of annual “this year, in AKB48!”’ promotional exercise—have become something of a familiar tradition by this point, and like so much in AKB48 fandom, can often be perceived with a sense of faint unease and anxiety.

Following on from the previous three documentaries—to be continued (2011), Show must go on (2012), and No flower without rain (2013)—the recent announcement of Documentary of AKB48: The time has come promises to cover the previous tumultuous year, its trailer focusing humorously on stylist Shinobu Kayano at first before weighing in with Yuko Oshima’s graduation statement and a wave of images of tearful regrets and surprise. Mariko Shinoda, Tomomi Itano smile through their tears, both assured significant roles in the documentary by merit of their own graduations, whereas the ever loyal, ever patient, upcoming younger members of the group express their earnest desires to do their best, and the trailer wraps up on the forlorn sight of the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium in stormy weather, deserted and rain swept, following the cancellation of Oshima’s graduation concert due to such adverse conditions.

Yet what is most striking about the brief two minute trailer is that there is not even the slightest mention of Rino Sashihara or her election as centre during the 5th Senbatsu Election and subsequent role in Koi Suru Fortune Cookie.

Regardless of the final product, this admission of AKB48’s successes in favour of promotion of the group’s tribulations shows something of a possible desire to return to promoting the group as average-girls-turned-superstars, the plucky pop group underdogs that you can root for. And whilst this approach is something that the previous documentaries have engaged in to a degree, it is hard to consider a group that is consistently shifting 1,000,000 units with each release the underdogs.

Despite the fraught politics of both the fandom and the industry, Documentary of AKB48: The time has come is due for general release in Japan on the 4th July 2014.



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