AKB49 – Renai Kinshi Jourei Manga

Nope, this isn’t the live action cast of the students in Negima.  AKB48 is a super-sized pop girl group in Japan that started in a theater in Tokyo’s Akihabara section.  There’s three teams within the group (A,K,B) with 16 girls per team, and “research” girls who have the opportunity to make their way up the ranks to the main teams.  Plus, there are multiple sub-groups that have spawned, including Not Yet, French Kiss and Itano Tomomi’s solo single.  There are also other “48” girl groups in Nagoya (SKE48) and Osaka (NMB48).  What does this all mean?  Well for one, somebody’s making a shitload of money off these girls, but also that AKB48 has finally hit the mainstream music industry in Japan in a big way.

Still, the group stays true to its roots and continues to hold up-close concerts for fans in their Akihabara theater.  Somebody also realized the marketing potential of Akihabara gamers/anime fans and produced a manga that promotes the AKB48 girls through a story about looking for the 49th member.  Which, of course, will never happen in real life.  As if they’d go through the hassle of changing all their logos, trademarks and shit.

lol @ This page.  Well I guess if you’re going to be delusional fictional, you might as well go all the way.

If you would have asked me what tropes this manga would use, gender bender/trapdom wouldn’t have been on my list.  The story centers around Urakawa and his wish to help the girl he likes (Yoshinaga) make it through the AKB48 auditions.  So he immediately decides to crossdress and sneak in to help her.  This logic, I can’t even…  But seriously, I think I’d be a lot more interested in AKB48 if they had a reverse trap.  I guess I’ll make do with watching Arashi’s dance off with Perfume every so often.

Uhhhh, is Itano Tomomi supposed to be blond in this manga?  Cause she’s always had brown hair every time I’ve seen her.  This seems like a VERY loose adaptation of her personality.  Gurl, I’ve seen your “Dear J” performances and nervous, wooden dancing ≠ confident and sexy.  And yes there is a lot of fanservice in this manga.  I would expect nothing less from a group that did an entire music video of playing around in lingerie.

Dun dun dun, of course the A Team queen is the main member of the series.  Not going to lie, Maeda Atsuko is my favorite.  I think it’s the hairstyle.  I love how the manga plays her out to be this outcast, whose fandom is dwindling.  Of course this is only going to push her popularity further.  Anyhow, I’m certainly not the biggest AKB48 fan out there, but I do know that these girls work pretty hard and have earned their recognition.  The manga will also do well with both fans and those unfamiliar with the group since it has a solid comedic love story to back it up.

The videos below are my favorite songs from AKB48 – check them out if you want a preview of their music.

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