A rival for Hello! Project?
Johnny’s Entertainment has always sort of been the male equivalent of Hello! Project and thus doesn’t directly compete with Hello! Project in that H!P aren’t going to lose many wotas to Johnny’s Entertainment…
However the emergence of the relatively new group Akihabara48 which consists of (despite the name) 53 members sorted into three teams (A,K,B). AKB8’s first single: “Sakura no Hanabiratachi” made it to number #10 in the Oricon charts, an extremely surprising result for a group who then were under an indies label. Consequently the signed with DefSTAR Records, a part of Sony Music Entertainment in August 2006.
AKB8 could be a formidable opponent for Hello! Project, in particularly Morning Musume for various reasons. Firstly, the songs that they sing do not always follow the same style, they have a different team work on different songs and thus each song can sound different. For example, their latest song (which I have to admit I absolutely love) Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru features a more mature style, still however upbeat. The topic of the song is rumoured to be enjo kosai (voluntary underage prostitution). A topic you won’t find in H!P anytime soon! Another slightly more dubious reason for AKB8’s popularity is the fact that they show a lot more skin than Morning Musume when they wear their skimpy school outfits. Although Morning Musume wear little in Egao YES Nude for some reason, I don’t think it comes across as particularly sexy, it’s not as if any of the members are trying to be seductive. AKB48 achieve sexy, even although some members are rather young far better than Morning Musume or even Biyuden manage.
Finally, it is evident that the quality of AKB48’s PVs are superior to that of for instance C-ute or Berryz Koubou. The time and effort that appear to go into AKB48’s dance routines and costumes make C-ute look quite shoddy unfortunately. It also helps that AKB48’s producer also produces Utaban, a big time Japanese music show. It is well known that Hello! Project members don’t appear that much on Utaban nowadays…
All in all, I don’t think AKB48 currently pose a threat for Morning Musume or H!P but I think it’s time Tsunku watched his back, there’s a new big girl act in town and she’s ready to take on Momusu!
AKB48’s latest single: Seifuku ga jama wo suru: