Atsuko Maeda, The Next General Election – AKB48 on The Final Day at Saitama SA

  March 26, 2012

On 25the Mar, the third and last day of “AKB48 concert Gyomu-Renraku, Tanomuzo Katayama Manager!” was held.

The last day’s performance had total 261 members, which is the biggest number ever for their concerts, from AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT, JKT as well as trainees of each group. The selected members for the latest single “Give Me Five!” coming on the stage riding on the floating gondola, and the concert started with Band version of “Heavy Rotation”. This was the first time to play this song live.

Following number was “Give Me Five!” , and after the song, members spoke to fans. Yuko Oshima, “Finally this is the last day!”, Atsuko Maeda “I was really fun. I also got tense but I enjoyed that tension!” Minami Takahashi, “This is our first time live performance of Heavy Rotation. I was like DOYA (see the meaning)”, each talked with smiles on their faces. Then, Yuko Oshima said “this time, we have many Kawaii (=cute) costumes”. Mariko Shinoda responsed to her saying “We added 712 new costumes, and totaled 1,242 costumes!! (for only AKB48 members)”

After that they performed hit medleys, team songs, unit-shuffle songs. Among those, Mayu Watanabe sang “Muzin Eki (a solitary train station)”, which is the song of Miyuki Iwasa, Jurina Matsui performed “Soredemo Sukidayo (Even though, I love you)” of Rino Sashihara, and Sashihara sang “Syncro Tokimeki” of Mayu Watanabe were amazing and surprising shuffles. This was the only appearance of Jurina Matsui on that day. She spoke to fans that she felt a little sick and be suggested to take a rest but asked the staffs to sing this song.

Another surprise was the first time joint performance of Atsuko Maeda and Yuko Oshima sang “Kinzirareta Futari (forbidden two)”.

In the encore session, the election to choose members for their 27th single was announced. This time it will select top 64 members to make up 4 teams (top 1~16, top17~32, top33~48, top49~64), and will be held on 6th June at Nihon Budokan, Tokyo.

Then At the end of the concert, Atsuko Maeda revealed her graduation from AKB48.

Minami Takahashi was there listening to her speech, told fans “This comes really sudden and I am surprised just the same as you. Other members didn’t know about it too. I was always with her in these years. A lot of tears and smiles. She confessed me last December (about her gradution). I want you to understand this is not a spontaneous idea and it’s because not she just got emotional. It came after a lot of and long long thoughts. Just being a member of AKB48 is not a goal of us. I believe your cheerful support, warm voices will push her back (means ‘support someone’s decision and urge the person to do it’ in Japanese). Everything is gonna be alright because our fans are with us. Actually I don’t want to her leave the AKB, but we ddon’t have a right to stop her to pursue her dream. I rather want to push her back (means ‘support someone’s decision and urge the person to do it’ in Japanese), and support her, and I want you all to do the same. Please give her warm supports.” After the speech, she hugged Atsuko Maeda.

The mood got pretty dark after the speech, then, Minami Takahashi, getting back her usual cheerful character, shouted “We can’t end this with tear!!!” and starts singing the last number for the concert, “Aitakatta”. 3 hours and half long concert closed curtain with this song.

After the concert, AKB48’s chief producer, Yasushi Akimoto talked about Atsuko Maeda’s decision on his google+ page. “I support her decision and her new path. She has been under tremendous pressure of being the center position of AKB since she was 14 y/o, so I just want to say “Yoku Ganbatta. (You really worked hard) Otsukaresama (good job, as a greeting)” to her. We have not yet decided anything so far, so I will talk with her. For the question of ‘Did you already know this?’, she’d conculted me about this since some time, but in the end I think it’s her to decide her way. But I thought if there was an appropriate time to talk about this to fans, it must be on the final day of this concert, after the song “What can I do for someone?”.”