Posts Tagged ‘AKB48’

Tweet Beat: #deresama13, #akb総選挙, #日本代表, #ほこたて

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

The Twitter Japan blog releases a list of top hashtags for each week. Tweet Beat investigates the buzz behind the hashtag.

Bands compete for a spot on a Summer Sonic stage

926 bands are competing for a chance to perform at e+ Meets x Summer Sonic’s #deresama13. “Derreno!? SamaSoni!?” (“You’re playing Summer Sonic?!”) is in its fifth year, offering ostensibly any band the chance to be a hit at #サマソニ, one of the major summer music festivals. The Side-show Marine stage may be small, but it can supposedly put you in front of over 2,000 people.

Bands had to enter by June 4, but the hashtag really lit up when public voting began on the 6th. In addition to votes, which can be submitted via Twitter, plenty of other tweets are flying, including appeals from bands and recommendations from venues. The video included above is by the band in first place overall as of this writing, Mesumen.

After the voting phase ends on the 16th, 500 acts will move on to be culled further by judges. After a final live performance inspection, the winning line-up will be announced on July 24. In 2012, 14 bands performed. Who will make it through this year?

AKB48 fans crown new center for 32nd single

On June 8th, the results of idol group AKB48′s 32nd single general election (#akb総選挙, also #akb48総選挙) were announced live on Fuji TV. Rino Sasahara of sister group HKT48 came in first. This is the fifth years fans have been able to vote for which girls they want to see and hear the most. The right to vote is earned by being a member of various fan clubs or buying the previous single CD for a code — or in one case, 1.9 million yen worth of CDs (that’s almost $20,000 US) prompting someone to ask if it was even possible to open them all in time to vote, in addition to plenty more dropping of jaws.

While the general search results are a mess thanks to some bots, it is still possible to find genuine reactions. One fan remarked how Mayu Watanabe seems to be growing up as evidenced by her speeches, while another admired Yuko Oshima’s ability to take her dethroning lightly. An AKB48 fan club in southern California recorded a video of their reaction to the results, which was later found by Japanese fans. Their conclusion? “They’re just like us.”

“Hoko x Tate” outrages viewers with absurd Hacker vs. Security Co. special

“Hackers: ‘We’ll show you how we can hack any program!’ vs. Boujin: ‘We’ll change any virus into a safe file!’ but what it ended up being was a ’15 hour endurance file search game.’”

Hoko x Tate” is a show on Fuji TV that pits absolute opposites against each other to see which side comes out on top. The June 9 two-hour episode was “Hackers who can invade any program vs. A security program that won’t let any hackers invade,” which translated into pitting three Russian hackers against a security company called NetAgent, makers of email security software, Boujin.

The hackers were supposed to break into a computer to find specific photos, but the computers given to the security team were running on versions of Windows over 10 years old and there were all sorts of rules about what they could and couldn’t do. The hackers were deemed winners in the first round, but not as fast as the show made it out to be. Maybe “30 minutes” was cited as the time it took to the hackers to break in, but in reality they had only jumped threw half of the hoops the security team had thrown at them.”

In the end, NetAgent won overall, because the hackers forfeit due to losing the second round (of three planned rounds) despite hacking into the computer because they couldn’t find the image; it was explained that the “file name was changed,” but it turns out this is was edited by someone on the show’s production side in post and the security team had actually “encrypted the file.” Nevermind that the hackers actually got into the computer. But then, the show was rigged so that the computers had huge security holes. I feel exactly like this Twitter user:

“I didn’t watch it, but looking at my timeline it seems like today’s Hoko x Tate was, simply put, lose-lose?”

The fiasco prompted comments like ”I trust TV show production companies waaay less than computer security companies,” and “Fuji TV vs. Viewers.” NetAgent later posted a detailed blog post about exactly what conditions were like and security measures they took that ended up leaving some people with a positive image of the company, despite Fuji’s harmful editing choices and the overall bad set-up.

Info added from Gadget Tsūshin.

Bonus: Japan qualifies for World Cup

Although the official hashtag for team Japan is #daihyo, the most popular one during last week’s World Cup qualifying match versus Australia was #日本代表. The Japan Times social media team actually created a Storify summary of the event featuring plenty of tweets, so if you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out!

Cult of the voice actor continues to grow

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Peace Love

Seiyu supergroup Peace Love employs 45 anime voice actors

Stepping out from behind their animated alter egos, a supergroup of seiyu (voice actors) made their debut at Womb in Tokyo on Nov 5. Performing tracks from their recent album “Rebirth,” 45-member Peace Love treated fans to a mélange of pop, rock, house and R&B at the sold-out show. Though the popularity of this band owes much to the similarly overpopulated and insanely popular act AKB48, another factor at play is the ever-evolving cult of the seiyu, which shows no signs of abating.

Since the late 1970s seiyu actors have been forming bands or putting out solo records, so the success of Peace Love will come as no surprise to the industry. As seiyu stars became famous in their own right, they began to increasingly appear in the media, so that by the ’90s magazines dedicated solely to seiyu actors started to appear. Despite the flagging fortunes of the magazine industry, in January 2010 Voice Girls, a gravure mag dedicated to female seiyu, joined other established titles such as Pick-Up Voice, Voice New Type, Seiyu Grand Prix and Seiyu Animedia.

Using seiyu talent to provide dialogue for the games industry is also becoming increasingly popular and this month a new title just got released that employs no less than six big name voice actors. “Blue Tears” is an action online fantasy RPG for PC. Those who’d like to hear the dulcet tones of these voice actors before buying the game can access sample sound files on the game’s website.

As the demand remains high for seiyu related merchandise, one canny business has discovered the perfect way to feed the appetites of a hungry fanbase. The Seiyu Cafe in Akihabara opened its doors in July this year. Closely resembling a recording studio, complete with a professional microphone on a small stage, all the serving staff employed at the café are professional seiyu actors. A quick glance at the staff list shows that the café employs actors who’ve worked on such big titles as “Darker Than Black,” “Fairy Tail” and “Death Note,” albeit in rather minor roles. Visitors to the coffee shop can order dialogue from the menu from the staff who then perform their lines. This way starving seiyu actors forced to wait tables are still able to practice their craft.

AKBaby invites fans to breed with their favorite pop idols

Monday, October 31st, 2011

"Won't you make a baby with me?" asks AKB48's Yuko Oshima

AKB48’s Yuko Oshima has just had a baby with Prime Minister Noda Yoshihiko — a virtual baby that is. Brandishing a toy baby with a mask depicting the composite infant features of the two parents stuck over its face, Model Press reported that Oshima made the happy announcement to a pack of stunned journalists at a recent press conference. “He’s adorable,” she said beaming at the bemused crowd. “He’s destined to become a high flyer.”

There to promote the launch of AKB’s official site on Nov. 1, Oshima was singing the praises of one of the services available to subscribers. Hardcore fans who cough up ¥1,480 a month will be able to use the AKBaby app that allows them to see what kind of baby they might have in the extremely unlikely event that they got to impregnate their favorite pop idol. The app merges the features of mouth-breathing otaku with those of their most beloved AKB48 member and voila — a downloadable photo of the resulting baby is born.

From Nov. 1 a commercial will be aired nationwide that appears to show Oshima suckling a real live baby (see above) accompanied by the hurl-worthy tagline, “Won’t you make a baby with me?” Oshima was keen to point out that she didn’t really get her boobs out for the campaign shoot. “The photograph was taken in a way that made it look like that,” she told reporters.

Other perks available to members are a little less creepy. Subscribers get an AKB48 email address, tickets to concerts at the AKB48 theater and access to “special content” made exclusively for AKB fans.

The reaction thus far from netizens has been less than enthusiastic: ”It seems too expensive, one year costs more than ¥20,000,” commented one fan. “Who the hell dreamt up this messed-up scheme?” asked another anonymous commentator.

Can anything stop the AKB48 mutations?

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Hot on the heels of the b-kyu gurume (local cuisine) and yuru kyara (local mascot) crazes, gotouchi idols looks like the next big thing to come out of provinces. By copying the massively successful formula used to create AKB48, these all-singing, all-dancing, locally based pop groups are aimed at revitalizing tourism in their respective hometowns.

AKB48, the many-limbed J-pop monster, officially resides in Akihabara at their very own theater on the 7th floor of Don Quijote, where the group gives performances daily. Then there are the regional clones, such as NMB48, from Namba, Osaka, SKE48 in Nagoya, and HKT48 in Fukuoka.

Along those lines, Fukuoka’s Himekyun Fruits Can established its own theater at Matsuyama Kitty Hall where the goup also performs daily. Like most gotouchi idols, Himekyun Fruits Can strongly resembles AKB in numbers, age range and gender: all eight members are young women in their teens and early 20s.

Continue reading about the spread of AKB48 →

‘Support angels’ are always there, thanks to AR and AKB48

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Ever get the feeling your computer support techs are playing around in their futuristic offices? No? Not even just a little? Hewlett Packard’s summer “Support Angels” campaign features TV commercials with members of all-girl pop group AKB48 enacting that fantasy.

Yes, there is an interactive experience, powered by augmented reality, embedded in this promotional fan. Pretty cool, no?

Meanwhile, in the real world, the company is launching a campaign for new new 24/7 support service in Japan that blurs the line between offline and online advertising. They’ve set up a big interactive display outside the east entrance of Shinjuku Station, a popular night-out meeting spot. A TV screen, the size of a small stage and ringed in neon, plays a slideshow of AKB48 members posing in headsets and the OL-of-the-distant-future costumes from the commercial. People hanging around the area are encouraged to interact digitally and physically: Tweets that are hashtagged “support angel” (#サポートエンジェル)  scroll instantly across the screen. And at smaller monitors nearby, people can win prizes by taking a quiz. (Electronics are the big prize, but everyone who plays will get at least a branded bottle of water.)

You can take the interactive experience home, too. On a recent hot night, they were giving out paper fans. The disks have a silhouette of a woman in a box on them. When you go to the website and aim the fan just so at your computer’s webcam, the silhouette activates an AR version of AKB48 member Yuko Oshima. You can interact with the image and use your webcam to take a photo side by side.

Can she help with your tech troubles? Nah. “It’s called ‘Support Angels’ because it’s like they’re always looking out for you,” said a young man staffing the display outside Shinjuku Station. “The support people aren’t really AKB48,” he clarified. But the AR gadget gives you something to play with while you’re waiting for a real tech to fix your computer.

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