Shit just got real-er, folks. According to news sources, Yasushi Akimoto is getting into some SERIOUS BUSINESS about franchising the AKB48 concept on an international level. Reports say that the Big Wota and his people have been in talks with six countries, name-dropping China, Thailand, Singapore and Italy, which leaves us two others to guess. (Don’t quote me on my amazing psychic powers or anything, but I’m gonna say USA and Le France. Maybe substitute South Korea for one of those.)
I think it goes without saying that a ____48 clone in each of these countries would be hilarious and freakin’ weird. Consider the cultural influences that would inevitably give each group its own unique homeland flavor:
As the existence of Icecream Musume shows, it can be done, but they will be more popular with gaijin-ass wotas than fans in their own home country. Also, maintaining member blogs may be an issue since it’s, like, illegal to do anything on the Internet. IN CHINA.
PEDOBEAR SEAL OF APPROVAL. If there is any country in the world that could be called the real Pedostan, it’s Thailand, where even 50-year-old creepers from the West come on “vacation” so they can “groom” prepubescent girls into having squicky relations with them. You know why Berryz Kobo is doing a special live concert in Bangkok? Because Thailand has a higher ratio of Berryz fans per capita than any other country on earth outside of Japan. (Of course, they’re showing up about 3 years too late, but that’s beside the point.) In Bizarro Thai48-land, Erena Ono is the face of the franchise, Manami Oku is second in command, and Watarirouka Hashiritai is the most popular subgroup. Welcome to the froo-froo world!
It’s hard to imagine an exuberant, joyful celebration of youth in draconian Singapore, where chewing gum means JAIL and drug possession means DEATH. But as one of the true economic successes in Asia, this ambitious city-state definitely has the financial wherewithal to support the walletraep that inevitably comes with idol fandom. Whether they have the actual fanbase, however, remains to be seen.
Mayuyu would love it here. You know why? Because it’s HETAAAALIAAAAAA! But more importantly, Italy ranks right up there with Brazil and Scandinavia in total hotties per square kilometer, so even if they don’t have the most successful ____48 group, they’ll definitely have the prettiest. I think the existence of half-Japanese half-Italian girls speaks for itself.
There are some other points I’d like to address, but I’m reserving a second post for that. Stay tuned.