More and more I realize I have become an unabashed AKB48 apologist. While I don’t go as far as some and try to buy all their singles, photobooks, etc., I at least try to stay up on major happenings connected to the group. So that being said I wasn’t surprised to hear AKB48 were going to be featured in a manga; however, I was surprised to see how that worked out specifically in the newly released manga AKB49.
While only a few chapters are currently out in Japan, the story essentially is this: guy likes girl, girl likes AKB48 and wants to join, guy cross-dresses as a girl to help her in the audition, both pass the initial auditions thus starting their path to potential idol-dom. Needless to say this has ‘Japanese wackiness’ all over it, because a) it obviously highlights AKB48, Japan’s #1 female pop group currently, and b) it involves cross-dressing. Despite the silly premise AKB49 does indeed feature characters clearly based on actual AKB48 members, which is cool for a fan such as myself. The main focus of the story though appears to be related to Yoshinaga and Urayama, the female and male lead respectively, and the potential quirky romance that could build out of this strange experience.
While I can’t speak to the overall story, again because not many chapters have released, I know I’ll be following along excitedly. This manga is being published in Weekly Shonen Magazine, and seems to be supported by AKB48 themselves, so it will likely become quite popular.