Monday, May 14, 2012

Introducing ... NMB48

As I mentioned before I will begin introducing the few girl groups I follow on this blog. It will be only one a month and the group that gets to start it all off is NMB48.

As things stand now NMB48 is my favorite girl group. I gained interest in the group when I first heard about it being formed, as it was the first AKS group that was formed after I began paying some attention to AKB48. My interest was solidified though when I learned that Nakayama Nana, the older sister of Nakayama Yuma, was one of the girls trying out for the group under the stage name Yamada Nana. So with the Johnny’s connection in place NMB48 became the AKS group of choice for me.

The set up for AKS groups can seem daunting at first, if just because of the sheer numbers of girls. This was one reason I was initially interested in NMB48 as it could be an AKS group I could follow from the beginning when there would not be so many girls in the group. It also made it easier to understand the make up of a group like AKB48.

Basically each AKS main group, i.e. AKB48, SKE48, etc… routinely have auditions for new girls to join. For NMB48 so far it has been yearly but it is not always so. After the girls are picked they become KenKyuuSei (KKS) and assigned a generation, the girls selected from the first auditions are the 1st generation KKS, the girls from the second are 2nd generation KKS and so on. At some point teams of 16 girls are formed. Each team gets its name from a letter in the name of the group, so far NMB48 has a Team N and a Team M for example. The teams usually remain static until a girl must leave, which in Japanese girl group terms is graduating from the group. There have been a few of that with NMB48, but mainly KKS and the two team members that graduated had health issues that prevented them from being active members anymore.

Another concept I picked up from NMB48 is that each team will have a leader and an ace. The leaders so far are Yamamoto Sayaka for Team N and Shimada Rena for Team M. The ace is basically the girl that gets the most attention and is often the center. Some might argue that Sayaka also is the Team N ace but usually most concede that Watanabe Miyuki holds that role. For Team M it is much more obvious that Jo Erika is the ace for that team as she was heavily promoted before Team M was even formed.

So what is the point of all these teams and what do you do with a group with so many members you may ask? Well simply you have them perform live “stages”, which are kinda like concerts but are tailored to involve sixteen members, or one team. These stages are meant to be performed daily at the theater the girls are based in. When AKB48 was not nearly as well known the theater aspect seemed to be more balanced as Akimoto Yasushi, the brain behind everything, had a pretty good schedule for writing stages for the teams. Since there are so many releases now and he still writes all, though he has been considering finally bringing in other lyricists, the rate that a new stage comes out has decreased dramatically. So the AKB48 sister groups have to use the stages from the older groups until they eventually get their own stage. So far the NMB48 teams have done stages from AKB48 but Team N should be getting their own original stage soon at least.

There are also plenty of other things that the girls are kept busy with. From have them appear on TV programs, in magazines and of course release CDs. And since NMB48 is under the Yoshimoto talent agency, who specialize in comedians, NMB48 have comedy elements to them, kinda like Kanjani8 is with Johnny’s & Associates.

I have found following the shows that the girls are on is one of the best ways to get to know them. Most of the programs rotate girls for their appearances so it does give you the chance to know more than the just the most popular girls and you can only follow one or two programs and get to see most of the girls.

I really did not expect to follow NMB48 so much, but as Nana is one of the top girls it was easy to get to see and know some of the other members by following her. Though mostly at this point my interest is with the Team N members there are definitely members of Team M that interest me. But if I have to choose favorites, other that Nana of course, Yamamoto Sayaka, Shiroma Miru and Yamaguchi Yuuki of Team N and Yogi Keila of Team M are at the top of my list. Though I do have my eye on some other girls, like Fukumoto Aina of Team NShimada Rena and Mita Mao of Team M, 1st generation KKS Ota Ayaka, and Yabushita Shu of the 3rd generation KKS.

So far the group has released four singles and a few have appeared on AKB48 singles, especially Sayaka. I hope that they will do well with the upcoming AKB48 general elections, as I really would love to see these girls do well as to me they are pretty entertaining and the kind of idols I would have no problem watching on variety programs, even those about eating food, as they have that Osakan knack of being able to make things interesting more often than not.

Right now probably the best way to get an introduction to the members of NMB48 is to check out their videos for the upcoming AKB senbatsu election. Each girl made up a pitch that lasts about one minute for why they should be voted into the AKB senbatsu (the group of girls that are a part of the AKB48 CDs, represent the group in the media, etc…). So it gives you a quick introduction to each current member of the group, and some of them are pretty entertaining. NMB48 also has an official Youtube channel where they upload their music videos and other various videos to watch. So checking that out is a good way to get to know the group a bit better and you never have to worry about hunting for their PVs as they are all there, in full even, to view. You can also visit their official home page to learn more about the groups, which it is good for looking up the names to the faces.

Honestly I would have never thought I would ever become a fan of any AKS group, but NMB48 won me over. And I hope others give them a try as well.

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