WARNING: Spoilers follow, reader discretion advised.
In the current season of the AKB0048 anime, we get an inside look at one of the intergalactic idol group’s arcane rituals: the selection of a “successor,” when an idol’s
power of the Force latent idol-ness kicks into overdrive and she takes on the identity of one of AKB48′s renowned members from the early 21st century. Similarly, just a day or two ago, we got to witness one of the Catholic Church’s arcane rituals: the papal conclave, when the Church’s top leaders elect a new pope and the freshly-appointed pontiff takes on a new name to reflect this great change.
There’s a lot of power in names, especially famous names that are linked to powerful organizations with a rich tradition. Okay, so maybe being able to do the MIX (“Tiger! Fire! Cyber! Fiber!…”) isn’t quite as ~traditional~ as being able to say the Lord’s Prayer (“Our Father, who art in heaven…”), but let’s roll with the fictionalized world of AKB0048 and assume that future-AKB probably is as powerful as the Church. And let’s suppose that the mention of historic names like Mariko Shinoda, Minami Takahashi, Mayu Watanabe, and so forth might, someday, be held in the same esteem as that of St. Francis of Assisi. To that end, selecting one’s successor name is a very weighty choice. It’s not like you just walk in one day and say “I’m gonna be Acchan!” and BOOM you get to be Acchan after 3-4 years of training and study. It is a very powerful, personal choice that goes far beyond just what happens on stage and in front of the cameras.