Around ten years ago, beach episodes and hot spring bath episodes were already a staple. Somewhere along the way though, creators got clever. Why not combine them into one? Granted, this is more bearable, but it still is a really dead horse that gets used way too much. Mari Okada, you should know this.
Still, underneath all of the boob jokes was the same kind of cynicism of the other episodes, with the extreme focus on looking “sexy”, being forced upon teenaged girls like that. This did give the beach part of the episode a point. As for the bath scene though… that was pointless like a broken pencil.
Also, while it was previously hinted that “graduation” could possibly mean death, that rumour turned out to be false. It seems like you simply get kicked out because you’ve gotten too old. Instead the big fear is never being able to achieve your dream of making it into the spotlights, which I guess does fit quite nicely into this series’ themes. Instead, there were members who lost their lives, and that mostly had to do with that mysterious front line position.
I’m a bit puzzled right now about the structure of this series. I mean, from my experience, one of the earliest ways to determine how many episodes a series will b is to search for DVD releases on the Japanese Amazon. If six or seven are scheduled, the you can bet your hat that there will only be 13 episodes. AKB however is a bit of an oddball in this, because I can only see 5 dvds listed. That fifth DVD will carry up to episode 13, but it seems a bit of a weird number for a series that just is scheduled for 1 cour, especially since this is a type of series that people want to cash in on: there is no reason to have less merchandise than usual.
Rating: * (Good)