AKB48’s Kizaki Team B Begin a New Chapter! “Tadaima Ren’aichuu” Revival Shonichi Report!
AKB48‘s Kizaki Team B held their shonichi (opening day performance) for the revival of “Tadaima Ren’aichuu”(A4) at the AKB48 Theater on December 26, 2015. It may not have been the long awaited new stages that fans have been waiting for since “Theater no Megami” (B5) ended in 2012, but it was the return of a classic AKB48 stage showcasing the group’s “most idol-like” team.
The opening act Zenza Girls were 2nd generation draft kenkyuusei: Rei Nishikawa, Ayu Yamabe, and Kira Takahashi. Flashing bright smiles and tails bobbing playfully as they performed “Tenshi no Shippo”, these are definitely 3 names to remember as the 2nd decade of AKB48 begins!
As “Overture” faded out, the curtains parted and Kizaki Team B turned on the heat right away with the opening song “Tadaima Ren’aichuu”. Moving up and down on the stage, which had split into 3 levels, they fluttered their arms and shook their shoulders, pointing out into the audience. During “Kuma no Nuigurumi” they kicked up their heels and Moe Goto and Nagisa Sakaguchi played “Daruma ga koronda” (aka Red Light, Green Light) as the others tried to sneak up on them. Yuki Kashiwagi blew a whistle, signaling Miku Tanabe to start a teddy bear relay.
Bouncing and skipping to the ska-pop of “Only today”, the members unleashed a chain reaction of cute poses and moved out to the far ends of the stage to blow kisses to the fans before stopping to introduce themselves and welcome everyone to the first day of the new stage. As it was the first day for Kizaki Team B to perform “Tadaima Ren’aichuu”, the members were asked to share their feelings about the change.
Moe Goto (Moekyun) tried out a new catchphrase where the fans would answer “Moekyun!” when she asked a question, in this case it was, “Who has the best smile?” (Minna no best smile to wa?). She expressed some worries about moving to Team B from Team K but vowed to do her best. Nagisa Sakaguchi, who had come all the way from Hokkaido, was full of enthusiasm at the chance to show the potential of Team 8 as she is concurrently in both teams. Mayu Watanabe (Mayuyu) wanted to make Kizaki Team B known as the hottest team with her performance today. Despite being nervous, Nako Yabuki was cheered on by her fellow HKT48 Team H teammate Rino Sashihara who was in the audience for the dress rehearsal, yelling out “kawaii” and “daisuki” as she talked. Seina Fukuoka felt like she had gotten older since she was no longer the youngest in Team B, Mayuyu pretending to be among the “young members” when Seina glanced over at Nagisa and Nako.
Makiho Tatsuya had no idea what her catchphrase “Viva Hurricane!” that was thought up by Mariya Nagao meant but delivered it with full conviction. Misaki Iwasa (Wasamin) felt a bit nervous to be back in “idol mode” after months of being in “enka mode” while promoting her new solo single. Rena Kato (Renacchi) vowed to do her best to not fall behind the others in dancing. Yuki Kashiwagi (Yukirin), despite having become the oldest member, wasn’t about to give in to all the young members around her. Ayano Umeta wanted to stand out despite feeling that she didn’t have as much individuality as the others. Veteran Theater girl Miku Tanabe (Tanamin) promised to do her best in her own way for the performance.
Aeri Yokoshima wanted to make everyone come to believe that Team B is the best with her efforts. Miyuki Watanabe (Milky) talked about her various concurrencies and looked forward to being with Team B again as they started a new stage. Captain Yuria Kizaki felt that “Team B was kind of loose and carefree in a good way and a bad way” but hoped that their feelings would reach the fans. Ryoka Oshima, having suddenly ben thrust into a position of influence as a vice-captain, hoped that she would be able to shed her past image as the leader of the “kusogaki” (brats) of AKB48. Graduate to be Natsuki Uchiyama (Nakky) was exploding with enthusiasm, ecstatic that she was selected for the shonichi performance, vowing to keep going at full strength until the days of the “Nakky Happy Idol Legend” would come to a close in the near future.
As the last row left the stage like a train pulling out of the station, Nako, Seina, Moe, Nagisa, and Makiho appeared from behind the revolving doors at the back of the stage in frilly pastel outfits for the cute ode to first love, “7-ji 12-fun no Hatsukoi”.
It will remain to be seen if Yukirin and Mayuyu will ever come close to the heart-breaking performance of Mai Oshima and Michiru Hoshino’s “Haru ga Kuru made”, but when it’s a duet with two of AKB48’s most powerful members, isn’t that enough? Times change and if you have never seen the original, this version seems to have a bit more optimism mixed in with sadness.
The mood switched to dark and sexy as Wasamin, Renacchi, and Tanamin moved seductively to “Jun’ai no Crecendo”, the sequins on their outfits sparkling on the dimly-lit stage. The temperature seemed to rise as the trio’s performance burned up the oxygen in the room as they maintained nearly unbreakable eye contact with those in the audience.
Continuing with “Faint”, Yuria, Milky, and Ayano slithered and shook across the stage in sparkling black vests and knee-high stockings to the trembling synth bass lines in a performance that could definitely cause some to go mad.
Ryoka, Nakky, and Aeri took the stage for a sunny performance of “Kikyou” dressed like travelers from the countryside returning from the big city. True to her promise to run with all of her strength until her graduation, Nakky’s bright smile threatened to steal the show from Ryoka and Aeri as she danced behind them. Taking time to talk about their relationships with each other, they decided on a new nickname for themselves, “Team Diet”, even though the 3 of them are already quite thin. During the evening performance, the name they came up with was a little less innocent, “Team Petanko”, which refers to them all being relatively flat-chested.
Taking the stage in school uniforms, Yukirin wearing glasses, Team B vented the feelings of schoolgirls dissatisfied with their lives accompanied by the creeping synth bass of “Darui Kanji” before collapsing in a tired heap. The bouncy disco beats of “Mr. Kissman” took them into the night clubs of the city as they searched for excitement even at the risk of it coming from a dangerous handsome stranger.
Changing into glittery red, white, and blue sailor fuku-style outfits, the members recalled a love lost during “Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta”, waving their hands from side to side and taking the live in a lighter direction. Speeding up immediately with “BINGO!” the energy jumped up several notches as Team B kicked up their feet to one of AKB48’s most beloved songs.
Mayuyu, Yukirin, Nakky, Nako, Seina, Makiho, and Renacchi revealed some intimate details from backstage. Just like Sashihara, Mayuyu found it impossible to resist Nako’s cuteness, calling it a “grandmotherly feeling” when it came to the tiniest member of the team. Yukirin felt old because Nako was 10 years younger than her. Nakky was teased for not seeming like she was 20, which caused her to explain that she’s stuck in “18-year old mode” since she’s an idol. Tanamin, Ryoka, Milky, Yuria, Nagisa, Wasamin, Moekyun, and Ayano, who had changed into black and grey outfits, traded places and continued with things they wanted to say about each other. Wasamin bemoaned Milky’s sexiness and Ryoka admitted to feeling a bit unsure of the new Team B due to Yuria’s kind of carefree attitude and reputation of being one of the dumb members, citing that she had gone so far as to change the English lyrics to a song into hiragana to make it easier to remember.
The final song of the main performance was the dark “Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou”, the formerly bright smiles on their faces twisted into pained expressions as they moved like marionettes being controlled by the unseen hands of society.
After a few minutes of a lively “Team B” encore call, the members of Kizaki Team B streamed out of the rotating doors at the back of the stage right after the guitar riff of “LOVE CHASE” resounded through the theater. Swinging their arms in exaggerated running motions and making their hands into claws, comparing the search for love to that of a predator stalking its prey in the wild. The hunt continued with the controversial “Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru” as they crept across the stage like a pack of schoolgirls in the streets of Shibuya.
Thanking the audience for the encore, Team B ran off the stage and a short video set to “Sakura no Hanabiratachi” showed the short history of Kizaki Team B as they filmed the MV for “Kin no Hane wo Motsu Hito yo”, competed in the AKB48 Sports Day, toured Japan, and rehearsed for their new stage.
Returning in pajamas and slippers Team B ended the first day of “Tadaima Ren’aichuu” on a cool and relaxing note with the soothing “Nante Suteki na Sekai ni Umareta no Darou”. As they moved to the front of the stage while waving and smiling warmly, it was a comforting end to a performance that spanned a wide spectrum of emotions.
Captain Yuria Kizaki admitted to feeling a little silly speaking seriously while wearing loungewear but thanked the audience for coming and asked them to continue supporting Kizaki Team B as they move forward in the new chapter of their history. Taking their final bow, a new page was turned as AKB48 moved into their 11th year. Knowing how beloved many of the songs performed at the various 48 group theaters around the world are, it is no mystery why fans and members alike are always looking forward to news of a new stage. However, until that day comes, its a good thing that there are those like “Tadaima Ren’aichuu” that continue to stand the test of time.
01 Tadaima Ren’aichuu
02 Kuma no Nuigurumi
03 Only today
04 7-ji 12-fun no Hatsukoi
05 Haru ga Kuru made
06 Jun’ai no Crecendo
09 Darui Kanji
10 Mr. Kissman
11 Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta
13 Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou
E1 LOVE CHASE
E2 Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru
E3 Nante Suteki na Sekai ni Umareta no Darou
Misaki Iwasa, Natsuki Uchiyama, Ayano Umeta, Ryoka Oshima, Yuki Kashiwagi, Rena Kato, Yuria Kizaki, Moe Goto, Nagisa Sakaguchi, Makiho Tatsuya, Miku Tanabe, Seina Fukuoka, Nako Yabuki, Aeri Yokoshima, Mayu Watanabe, Miyuki Watanabe
AKB48 Official site: http://www.akb48.co.jp/
Photos by Nathan Gey
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