The response toward AKB0048 has been overwhelmingly positive, with most respectable publications hailing it as the pinnacle of entertainment, a truly moving experience whose legacy will transcend time and space. However, there’s a very vocal minority that claims it’s not the greatest thing in all of creation. They’re so vocal, in fact, that I have yet to see any opinion of the show that isn’t a ridiculously hyperbolic negative, such as “boring” or “fucking unbearable to watch, I hate this shit”, at least outside of my own delusions. Once again, it’s a case of the uninformed masses not knowing quality when they see or hear it. Keep in mind that these are the very same masses that think Guilty Crown didn’t save anime by eschewing such conventions as plot or logic, so their unfounded complaints should be taken with a grain of salt.
It’s extremely difficult to review a show with the unmistakable brilliance of AKB0048 simply because it’s the pinnacle of excellence, the very thing that anime has been working toward for years and years. The synopsis alone is enough to make the manliest of men burst into tears, and likely had the scriptwriters nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize the minute it started coming together on paper. The plot moves with almost unbearable lethargy so the audience can bask in its glory for as long as possible, even long after they’ve succumbed to the drowsiness that accompanies mental inactivity. This euphoria is helped in part by the characters, who are all so one-dimensional that all I remember about them is either their overwhelming negativity toward idolatry, or the hearts stenciled in their hair and tattooed on their irises. The ones that hold predominantly negative opinions are men, incidentally, making this the best Lifetime original movie ever.
To most people this would constitute sloppy storytelling or aggressive mediocrity, but they don’t understand that if characters and plots are developed, it won’t leave enough room for all the melodrama that AKB0048 wants to uncomfortably squeeze in. Just like somebody trying to cram a particularly stocky walrus into a box for cruelty’s sake, AKB0048 feels the compulsion to stick the bloated beast of half-baked melodrama into every conceivable orifice, leaving no part of the story untainted by its glory.
It’s abundantly clear that the blood, sweat and many, many tears of AKB48 went into the portrayal of their characters, everything acted with such fervor that it could be mistaken by laymen for overcompensating for a lack of real talent. However, just like every other negative supposition, every bit of criticism directed toward the voice acting is clearly because they didn’t get it. It’s supposed to be laughable, dammit!
It takes impeccable directing to avoid making any kind of recognizable transition from “not in an idol group” to “in an idol group” and AKB0048 certainly delivers in that regard. Yoshimasa Hiraike excels at cutting right to the chase, trimming out entire segments of plot only to replace them with girls crying and screaming at friends and family. You know that if a show takes cues from the masterful drama of Black Rock Shooter, you have a winner on your hands.
To be blunt, AKB0048 is a flawless masterpiece that anybody with discerning taste will definitely enjoy. From its meandering plot to the shallow characters, there’s so much to enjoy that you’d have to be some kind of soulless monstrosity not to derive unparalleled joy from watching cute girls do not much of anything that doesn’t involve shrieking at authority figures. There are a fair number of detractors, but we, the silent majority, don’t pay them any mind. AKB0048 is the best thing ever, and anybody who says otherwise can’t appreciate greatness when they see it.