The dream is over. It has been announced that on March 2012, SDN48 will officially disband. This came as a big shock to any fan of the ...48 family, as there were no clues, no hints and a 3rd generation including former Team A member (and a very popular one indeed) Hana Tojima were added just a few months ago.
This seems really unfair, and I am trying to understand why Yasushi Akimoto would start up this band 2 years ago, only to not really let it run it's course. The stage shows were selling out and the single sales figures were much higher than some other idol groups could ever hope to achieve. I have no idea about the merchandise sales figures but surely they were doing well enough to be treated better than this.
My thoughts are that perhaps a few wanted to graduate, or maybe a lot of them did, so many that it would take a major restructure of the group, and that just wasn't worth it, if it wasn't this, then I can genuinly see no reason why this group is disbanding. We thought that in the future, people like Mariko, Haruna, Yuko and Sayaka would be the first to be moved over. Although I am relieved that they aren't going to be, to be honest. The over sexualization in AKB48 alone is something I feel funny about, so having them be as overtly sexual as SDN isn't really what I wanted to see from these girls.
Even though the girls are acting quite cool and calm about it, I can understand if former AKB48 members, and especially founding members Kayo Noro, Megumi Ohori, Kazumi Urano and Yukari Sato would be ferociously angry about this. Being moved over to a new 'sexy' [re: soft porn] group just because you were too old for the original group? It's blatant ageism, and it's a problem that is long overdue to be addressed in Japan.
This group should have been treated more as a performance group and less as an idol group, they all have extreme talent and were basically made to parade about on stage half naked (sometimes practically fully naked in photoshoots >.>) and this was somehow an idol group. Girls like female groups too Akimoto! Why wasn't this group based on say, After School or SNSD? Wasn't their aim to crack the Korean market? Of course something like this would fail!
The problem is, idol pop, as quoted by Kinenbi on stage48 forums 'starting to get weird again' - and I agree with this. There are far too many idol groups that concentrate on Lolita-esque type properties, exploiting girls as young as 11, that very old and quite pervy men drool over. It's really unacceptable. Boy bands for girls, Girl bands for boys. Ridiculous. If an idol-type group debuted in the West they would be absolutely aimed at girls. Girls would want to join and the 'no boyfriend' policy would only be in adherance if it was produced by Disney (shudder).
The founding members new nothing about this group until it was announced in the team shuffle in 2009, and they didn't look pleased about it, now they have all new reasons to be annoyed. Another suggestion that has been said is that Akimoto is spreading himself too thinly, and I tend to agree with this. Why he can't hire a few protegee's that can write songs for him I don't know. He doesn't have to do everything himself. There's AKB, SKE, NMB, HKT, JKT (so there will be Team KIII and KIV -_-) and now Taipei as well. It's too much and it is destined to start folding in on itself. Like a red giant when it swells and becomes a white dwarf.
We say goodbye to SDN48 and hope that the girls will get better and more popular posts in the future, but I have a sinking feeling that most of them will probably never be seen again, which is something we should probably get used to in the ...48 world, because with so many girls, we are bound to be inundated with graduations and favourites who will just become a passing fancy. The girls themselves should be wary of this, and make sure they all have good plans for their futures, as for us, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
I must write to Kayo Noro before she leaves. I will miss her utterly and dearly.
What are your thoughts?