AKB General FAQ

Dec 24th, 2020
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  1. Contents
  2. 1. What is AKB48?
  3. 2. How are SKE48 and the other *48 groups related to it?
  4. 2a. What about Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46?
  5. 2b. What about sub-units like no3b?
  6. 3. What are teams?
  7. 4. How do I follow this group when there are so many members?
  8. 5. What should I watch to get to know the members?
  9. 6. Where can I watch/download AKB related shows and other content?
  10. 7. Who is ____ in that picture?
  11. 8. What does this weird word or term mean?
  12. 9. Where can I buy AKB related merchandise?
  13. 10. Other merchandise related guides
  14. 11. What is the election and how does it work?
  15. 12. Why aren't AKB48 members as pretty as American/Korean/European pop singers?
  16. 13. How common is plastic surgery among AKB48 members?
  17. 14. How can I find the girls on social media?
  18. 15. List of major AKB48 shows
  19. 15a. Variety
  20. 15b. Drama
  21. 15c. Documentaries
  24. 1. What is AKB48?
  25. In December 2005, producer Yasushi Akimoto created the idol group "AKB48". With the concept "Idols you can meet everyday", AKB48 performs at the exclusive AKB48 Theatre in Akihabara almost every day.
  27. 2. How are SKE48 and the other groups related to it?
  28. Once the success of AKB48 became apparent, Akimoto saw the opportunity to expand the franchise to other cities across Japan and beyond. I will list the groups in order of creation date below, which should give you some idea of how developed they are.
  30. National:
  31. SKE48 - Nagoya - 2009
  32. NMB48 - Osaka - 2011
  33. HKT48 - Fukuoka - 2012
  34. NGT48 - Niigata - 2015
  35. STU48 - Travels through Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Okayama, Hyogo, Tokushima, Kagawa and Ehime prefectures - 2017
  37. International:
  38. JKT48 - Jakarta - 2011
  39. BKN48 - Bangkok - 2017
  40. MNL48 - Manila - TBA
  41. TPE48 - Taipei - TBA
  43. Rival Groups:
  44. Nogizaka46 - 2011
  45. Keyakizaka46 - 2015
  47. Other:
  48. SDN48 - Defunct as of 2012 - Based around an "adult idol" concept containing many ex-AKB members and run out of Tokyo
  49. SNH48 - Based in Shnaghai, SNH was originally a part of the *48 family but due to contractual disputes are now entirely separate, and have their own associated groups within China.
  51. 2a. What about Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46?
  52. Nogizaka46 are also produced and run by Akimoto, but are billed as being the 'rival' of the *48 groups. Unlike the *48 groups, they do not perform regularly at a theatre and in the beginning the members rarely (if ever) mixed. This has been relaxed somewhat over the years however leading to a blurring of the 2 franchises, which as you can imagine has made some happy and others less so.
  54. 2b. What about sub-units like no3b?
  55. In addition to the entirely separate groups, several sub-units have been created using members already affiliated with one of the groups. These are typically created to cater to one market in particular, rather than the larger group's blanket approach. As well as no3b, the subunits are DiVA, Watarirouka Hashiritai 7, Not Yet and French Kiss, though many of these are now defunct due to member graduations.
  57. 3. What are teams?
  58. Each of the groups in the 48 franchise have at least one 'team' attached to it. Only one team performs at the theatre per day, these are primarily used as ways for there to be a daily performance in a group's theatre without the same girls having to be present there every day. For example for a group that has 5 teams, you could potentially only need to have 2 teams perform twice in one week. By extension, it can be used to facilitate AKB48 performing in several locations at once, increasing the presence of the group across the country. The teams are named after the letters/numbers in the group name, i.e. AKB48 has teams A, K, B, 4 and 8, SKE48 has teams S, K2 and E and so on for the other groups.
  60. 4. How do I follow this group when there are so many members?
  61. You don't need to know every single member, in fact its almost impossible to do so. Don't think of the huge number as being intimidating, but more as a facility to give you options. The more members, the more likely you'll find one or a few that you connect with. Find them and follow them.
  63. 5. What should I watch to get to know the members?
  64. AKBINGO! is almost certainly the best place to start, it is a funny, light hearted variety show which is purely designed to showcase the members. The documentaries are also great, the behind the scenes look at AKB life is fantastic for seeing the sides of themselves they don't normally show. For Nogizaka46, "Nogizakatte, Doko?" performs a similar role, and for Keyakizaka46, Keyakitte, Kakenai? does. It is worth noting that almost all of the members that appear on AKBINGO early on have graduated already, so if that does not appeal to you start slightly further in. Many people would argue that this early period was the best in the show's history though, so it's up to you.
  66. 6. Where can I watch/download AKB related shows and other content?
  67. AKB content has been subbed by dozens of groups over the years so it's quite scattered. Whilst there have been long lasting periods when most of it has been streamable online on one website that is currently not the case. Use the masterlists to find subbed content, then if it is only the subtitle file search for the raw episode on Aidoru-Online (recommended) or JPON. I have also included a master zip file containing large percentage of the softsubs available online courtesy of spiffigit from Nihongogo, though this of course does not include everything or any of the considerable hardsubbed content available.
  69. Subbed Content:
  70. 48/46 Group Masterlist:
  71. AKB48 Masterlist:
  72. HKT48 Masterlist:
  73. Nogizaka46 Masterlist:
  75. Master Zip file of Softsubs:!rAUnHDBR!nLCnoxvFEV8q8Ey2GfqqYasRBb4tHrwQ-Q-h0NzH2EM
  77. For downloading raw TV shows, performances, music, photos and everything else you can think of use
  78. (BitTorrent)
  79. (DDL)
  80. (BitTorrent) (Invite required)
  82. LODs and Live Shows:
  86. 7. Who is ____ in that picture?
  87. Try reverse image searching and then translating the page looking for names, if that doesn't work try and ascertain which group they belong to and then look below. If it's a show then try listening out for a name or skip straight to the member profiles before asking in the thread. The wiki links below have the various groups sorted into their teams containing both current and former members, allowing you to filter to the limited knowledge of the girl you are trying to find that you possess.
  100. 8. What does this weird word or term mean?
  101. There's an extensive glossary of the commonly used expressions in the 48 fandom written here, before you ask what something means in the thread, check here. Or just Google it which should more often than not give you the answer.
  104. 9. Where can I buy AKB related merchandise?
  105. HMV: Notable for its multi-buy discounts that make buying multiple copies of CDs and DVDs effective. They only offer EMS shipping, so costs can get high if you order heavy items.
  107. CDJapan: Offers a range of shipping options, a decent points system and fast delivery. They also have very good packaging.
  109. YesAsia: Free shipping, with inflated prices as a result. Shipping can be slow or delayed, but it can work out well for books and they sometimes have older items that have sold out in other stores.
  111. FromJapan: The most popular proxy service for idol goods. Commonly used for photos and other harder to get goods.
  112. AKB Official Shops: Have exclusive releases and bonuses, but you must use a proxy to access them.
  115. 10. Other merchandise related guides
  116. supermerlion's guide to AKB's B.L.T Photos:
  118. 11. What is the election and how does it work?
  119. The AKB48 general election is a yearly event in which members of the various Japan based *48 groups campaign for votes to be crowned #1 and ultimately become centre of the Senbatsu single comprised of the top 16 vote getters. In 2015 groups of 16 ranked 17-80 also got to be part of separate singles in their own right, though understandably with less of a marketing push. There are several ways to vote in the election, chief among them via purchasing the preceding single which comes with a code enabling you to vote, which has led to some extreme cases of fans buying dozens of CDs to try and help their preferred member to as high a position as possible.
  121. 12. Why aren't AKB48 members as pretty as American/Korean/European pop singers?
  122. This usually comes from the fact that AKB48 isn't trying to do the same things as the people you're thinking of. The members aren't trying to reach for perfection in looks/personality/skills etc. it's more about trying to create character of a person who seems approachable, cute and ultimately real. Rather than being someone to lookup to or admire, AKB members are much closer to being your surrogate best friend, sister, daughter or girlfriend (depending on the idol or fan in question) that you never could meet in real life because the hands off nature of a 'relationship' with a celebrity doesn't necessarily allow for the same downsides as real ones. This isn't to say that Japan doesn't also have these celebrities, because it certainly does, but that is not the market which AKB is targeted at.
  124. 13. How common is plastic surgery among AKB48 members?
  125. Of course no one can be completely sure but the general consensus is that it is fairly uncommon. For the reasons mentioned in the answer to the question above it isn't usually necessary for the girls to undergo procedures since that would detract from what the market wants from them. Of course there is also an ideal for the 'girl next door' look that AKB strives for so there have been minimal rumours about girls undergoing surgery to further this image. However for the most part this is unnecessary and unwanted by both the fans and the girls. If the idea is that these people are supposed to be as real as possible, anything which detracts from that is a negative.
  127. 14. How can I find the girls on social media?
  128. As you might expect, many of the girls are active to varying degrees on social media. The links below give you the tools to filter through which girls' content on Twitter and Instagram you want to see and give you links to their feeds if you want to follow them on the main sites.
  134. 15. List of major AKB48 shows
  135. It's worth mentioning these were all written back in 2013, so while they are enough to get you started they are nowhere near as extensive as they used to be. This is mainly because they don't need to be anymore as the masterlists used in conjunction with the wiki basically perform the same role now.
  137. 15a. Variety:
  138. AKBINGO!: As mentioned above it is the main AKB variety show which has the primary aim of showing off the members. The episodes range from lie detector tests, to games of dodgeball with forfeits. Before morphing into AKBINGO! TV Tokyo's flagship AKB48 show was named AKB 1ji 59fun and then AKB 0ji 59fun. These were based on the same concept and used the same studio, just named differently.
  141. Shuukan AKB: Shuukan was for a long time the 'Number 2' AKB variety show, slightly lower production values and less well known members. It ended in late 2012.
  143. HaKaTa Hyakkaten: HKT48's flagship variety show, an AKB48 member will visit the studio and the HKT members have to convince them to choose them as their favourite
  145. Nogizakatte Doko (NogiDoko): Nogizaka46's primary variety show, all in studio with a variety of tasks
  147. NOGIBINGO!: Nogizaka's answer to AKBINGO! (or as TV Tokyo themselves admit, a shameless cash-in which is cheap because it can use the same studio), similar in many ways to AKBINGO! and hosted by the infamous Ijiri Okada.
  149. Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku: Popular TV personality Ariyoshi Hiroiki is has the role of 'president' and the various members who appear each week perform various tasks to impress him. Co-hosted by Kojima Haruna, and frequently used as a method of showcasing AKB's 'Kenkyusei' or trainees.
  151. AKB48 no Anta, Dare?: Four lesser known members participate in various games and are given time to appeal to the audience. Every week, one of the shows is recorded and uploaded to the AKB Youtube channel.
  153. Kousagi Dojo: Hosted by Terry Ito and Minegishi Minami, Kousagi Dojo focuses on several rotating AKB members solving various personal dilemmas. From advising a girl who likes an older boy, to a father who feels he has lost the relationship with his daughter. As well as this, the members share their own personal trials throughout their lives in an interview section.
  156. 15b. Drama:
  157. Majisuka Gakuen: Cute Japanese schoolgirls fight one another is more ore less the synopsis of this show. Maeda Atsuko as a new student finds the need to continually prove herself at her new school and gradually fights her way up the hierarchy. The second season focuses on an attack from a rival school, led by a familiar face. The third season focuses on an (almost) entirely new set of girls and follows Paruru's trials at a all female prison.
  160. Men*Doll: The girls from no3b (Takahashi Minami, Kojima Haruna and Minegishi Minami) play 3 failed idol auditionees. Through an unexpected series of events they end up achieving their dreams by dressing as males and becoming 'handsome idols'. Utterly cringeworthy in places but ripe with fan-service and generally a good laugh.
  162. SKE no Magical Radio: A variety show with a Drama format. Takayanagi Akane and Matsui Jurina are the host of a new radio show where Matsui Rena is the producer. Other SKE members appear throughout the series acting out various supporting roles.
  164. NMB Geinin! : NMB's variety/drama hybrid. The show is about a 100 year old fictional all-girls school in Namba, Osaka called “Namba Jougakuen,” and their comedy club whose goal is to win the title of JK-1, a comedy competition. The members of the comedy club featured in both seasons are; Watanabe Miyuki, Yamamoto Sayaka, Yamada Nana, Ogasawara Mayu and Fukumoto Aina. Jo Eriko was present in season 1, similarly Yokoyama Yui and Ichikawa Miori are present in the second season. A typical episode will feature a section of drama which introduces further members of NMB to progress the plot, a short variety section with a comedic bent, a second section of drama to wrap up that episode's story followed by a short section of stand-up.
  166. Mousou Deka!: Short format detective drama starring the members of SKE with Matsui Rena and Matsui Jurina playing the lead roles. Worth watching for yuri fanservice and a very surreal atmosphere.
  169. Sakura kara no Tegami: A soon-to-be-graduating girls high school class finds out their homeroom teacher is terminally ill. He writes each of them a letter, and they encounter various difficulties in their senior year. Short format school drama starring Atsuko Maeda and the main senbatsu of AKB.
  171. Bimyo: Bimyo was a comedy sketch show featuring various girls from AKB48 which ran through the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Each episode featured 5-7 skits which would run the gamut of source material, satirising everything from school, the supernatural and even poking fun at their own fans.
  173. Bimyo~ na tobira: AKB48 no Gachinko Challenge (or Gachichare)
  174. AKB48 members take on various challenges, like memorizing the names of JKT48 members or stacking 3333 dominoes in 8 hours. One episode shows 2 challenges (2 members).
  176. AKB0048: Anime tv series based on the group. It's set a future where entertainment is banned in the whole galaxy. The idol group AKB0048 become the resistance against this oppression. It's based on the idea of Macross mixed with AKB idols. That is, defeating your enemies with the power of music, mechs, space idols and AKB48 songs. Expect concerts and mecha action with with plenty of AKB inside jokes.
  179. 15c. Documentaries:
  181. The management of AKB48 makes use of documentaries as a key way of giving a behind-the-scenes look at the day to day workings of the group. Frequently emotional and always interesting the documentaries are often seen as a big part of an introduction to the group.
  183. Documentary of AKB48: AKB48+1
  185. Documentary of AKB48 to be continued (2011)
  187. Documentary of AKB48 Show must go on (2012)
  189. Documentary of AKB48 No flower without rain (2013)
  191. Documentary of AKB48 The Time Has Come (2014)
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