So, AKB0048 is a little crazy.
The idol characters in the show are successors of an ancient, legendary idol group (that’s real-life AKB48 for you). They assume the names of these legends and perform guerrilla concerts throughout the galaxy.
I can’t find a more overt way of deifying pop idols. AKB0048 turns them into a platonic ideals: they’re broken down into their essential traits, becoming a mantle for a long line of young girls to don. These successors lose their names, their identities, their own precious personal quirks that distinguish them, all for the sake of being the nth. They become copies, imperfect manifestations of a perfect template in order to spread entertainment in the hearts of men. Forbidden entertainment.
Is this not insidious? I’m an individualist, and this offends me on principle. But the potential is so delicious that I can’t look away.
Take the current Tomochin, who reveals herself as descended from a long line of Tomochin successors, who’ve carefully selected males who carry physical traits of the original Tomochin… my God, it’s really horrifying when you think about it.
And now, this. The manner in which an AKB48 member lived and performed is codified in serious writing. This is scripture that must be followed.
A hallmark of a good world, for me, is the amount of interesting questions it forces you to ask. How does one retire, or in idol parlance, graduate? The Tomochin line implies that being an idol doesn’t involve making dangerous contracts with strange alien beings, which are nasty and binding for life. But in such a dangerous line of work (There are bouncers! With lightsabers!), has there never been a fatality? (Everyone looks so cheerful.) Why did all the centers disappear in mysterious ways? (Did Valkyries take them to Idolhalla?)
I wonder if the future is all that good, really. What legendary feats must the real-life AKB48 perform to attain godhood? Because it hasn’t quite happened yet.
Who could say, though?