By now, you’ve probably either watched AKB0048 or decided that you were never going to. And if you have, you probably decided pretty quickly what your opinion was.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but piss on this parade. But isn’t something with “no idol” signs strewn about its world kind of asking you to put aside your seriousness and just enjoy the stupidity? I don’t care. I just can’t get around a couple things that offended my delicate sensibilities.
Let’s get one semi-ignorant one out of the way first: I don’t know a ton about AKB48, but I do know that they’ve gotten some heat for some of their more risqué lyrics and videos which their critics think aren’t fit for their young members, let alone the audience. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the audience probably isn’t that much of an issue because the glowstick-swinging idol fans probably lean more toward the male adult side than the little girls of the opening of AKB0048. Am I wrong? Feel free to correct that — with record sales like they have, somebody sure has to like them.
But this is a peripheral issue. More importantly, I’m having some trouble with the universe these characters inhabit.
Specifically, how far does the entertainment ban go? What exactly are kids supposed to enjoy doing? I suppose you can beat a stick against a tree like we used to do back in the day when I was little and electricity scared us. But this is a modern society with TVs (do they only show the news?) and the internet, not to mention space travel. And fashion. Look at Nagisa’s shorts, the little hussy, or any of the other girls’ outfits. They’re not exactly wearing burlap sacks, are they? So tell me about fashion. Does it fall under entertainment? Without entertainers, who’s going to distribute the styles to the masses? How do Nagisa and her friends know what’s hip and cool to wear if the veritable Beyonce isn’t out there flogging it?
Oh well, I suppose fashion is an easy tool with which to oppress the masses. Distract the people with recreational money-spending and empty occupation to keep them from asking too many questions.
You know what else is perfect for that?
Especially idol pop.
You see where I’m getting at, as if I could make it any more obvious what I think?
I could say it’s ridiculous and ironic. But I could also get into some serious accusations: at best it’s disingenuous, at worst… downright nefarious. What better way to keep the kids in the theater seats and record stores than to associate the ultimate tool of their oppression with rebellion instead?
Now, I get that oppression is probably too strong a word, and I’m familiar with the idea that there’s “no devil in hell” consciously oppressing us, but this is a system that takes care of its own and runs itself.
So while you enjoy all the ironic ridiculousness of AKB0048, I’m going to be over here watching it through narrowed eyes, at least until I find some of Roddy Piper’s glasses from They Live.