Both AKB48 and Nogizaka46 release competing music videos
By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist
In the beginning of the previous decade, AKB48 was one of the biggest groups in Japan—setting the standard for female groups in the country. As the decade progressed, rival group Nogizaka46 (also produced by AKB48’s producer, Yasushi Akimoto) was starting to get a lot of attention. By the end of the decade they were mainstream, made high quality music, set a whole new standard for female groups, and produced one of the most famous celebrities in Japan right now and possibly the greatest female idol of all time: Mai Shiraishi.
The beginning of this year is surprising and unexpected—huge setbacks have been presented for the 46 group. AKB48 is also possibly making a big comeback since it has new members. This continues the rivalry between the two groups. Both groups are releasing singles this month; AKB48 is releasing “Thank You Heartbreak” on March 18 and the week after, on March 25, Nogizaka46 will release “Protective Colour of Happiness.” Coincidentally, the music videos for both songs were released at the same time. Both offer a lot of nostalgia and look like musicals. It is unknown and hard to determine which single will sell the most copies.
Review of AKB48: “Thank You Heartbreak”
The group’s next hit single might be paying homage to the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. It has Mizuki Yamauchi as the lead member—who potentially could be the next face of the group. It is also the last single for the only remaining original member and my favourite member in the group, Minami Minegishi, who will be leaving the group next month. The music video begins with the members waking up and we see them in their rooms, going back and forth between them with choppy French New Wave style editing. It gets more unusual when they go through a corridor with psychedelic colours and stairs that go outside of the black bars.
In the dance scenes, the members are in a bedroom that is bigger than life. The choreography enhances the song; it is potentially inspired by 1960s dance moves, and I would jam to it. The song is on par with the group’s 2016 single “Wings Aren’t Needed” which sounds like a 1970s working class protest song. This song sounds more like a hit 1960s song though. I like this style of music—it is highly enjoyable.
Review of Nogizaka46: “Protective Colour of Happiness”
This song has got the 1970s feel to contrast AKB48’s 1960s feel. Nogizaka46’s 25th single is also the group’s 200th song overall and Mai Shiraishi’s last single with the group as she will be leaving the group. This is why the music video of the song has been viewed 2.5 million times on YouTube.
Similar to the AKB48 music video, the scene is reminiscent of La La Land. We see Shiraishi waking up, going through elaborate sets, and meeting members from every generation of the band in multiple continuous shots. She looks like a mom in it—especially during the scene when she sees two of the fourth gen members. The song sounds like an ABBA piece, and even the clothes that the members wear near the end of the music video resemble the iconic disco group’s fashion.
The choreography shows the members together, united by disco moves. They are giving a big send off to Shiraishi as she begins life outside of the group.