AKB0048 11 - Full Circle

It has been ten episodes since our fledgling girls left Lancastar, but now they finally return to their home planet to make their debut. Home sweet home? Not quite. The girls have grown a lot during this journey, but time also flows on Lancastar; it's not the same as it used to be. Judging by the pacing and what they've covered during this episode, I'm sure the climax of the show will be the concert on Lancastar. Given that we only have two episodes left, it's hard to imagine that they'll tie up all the loose ends very well. I'm sure all of us are hoping for a second season; make it happen Japan!

Seaside Cherry. Nagisa no Cherri. Nagisa and Chieri. Very subtle there. Duet, maybe? Indeed, it looks like Tsubasa is finally making her move to find out more about the Center Novae's disappearances. Unsurprisingly, the girls are baffled that Nagisa is chosen to perform the song sung by Center Nova upon their promotion. But what does she have that the other girls don't? Not only the successors, but Kanata and Chieri are clearly more skilled than Nagisa is. As far we, the audience, know, the kirara arbitrarily glow for Nagisa is because she's the protagonist. This has clearly been affecting Chieri since the second episode of the show, but how will they resolve this? I don't think Nagisa will put on the performance of her life all of a sudden and prove that she's worthy of the Center Nova position.

The mysterious SSSS higher-up asshole is also causing conflict with successors as well. So why did he compose a new song exclusively for the understudies? Because he felt like it, that's why. Of course, these idols and idols-to-be are taught not to question the system, which interestingly mirrors how the common folk are told to unquestioningly follow the entertainment ban with vague bullshit like "entertainment leads the heart astray." Yuuko isn't going to take this sitting down; why should some upstart idol trainees get priority over the successors? The issue of blurred identity is again revisited: Is she Yuuko, or is she the person taking on the name of Yuuko? I think she's not speaking the whole truth here. She's definitely herself, much more so than she is Ooshima Yuuko; she prioritizes her dream of becoming Center Nova above all else. According to the BD booklet, her real name is Kimishima Hikaru.

This scene really gave me a good laugh. I think the majority opinion on Mamoru was that he was anti-entertainment because of the parting gift he gave Yuuka. Surprisingly, it turns out he's part of Lancastar's WOTA forces, and a Suzuko fan to boot! It's nice to see that he's worried about Yuuka's safety. Mamoru and Aoi are both pretty cool characters. More importantly, the anti-entertainment faction of the planet gained momentum since they left and Mamoru even reveals that Nagisa's dad has been arrested. Nagisa, of course, feels that she selfishly caused her dad to be arrested. With so much on her mind, how can she possibly succeed in her debut? Perhaps Acchan will return and guide her to victory. Apparently Acchan wasn't a very remarkable girl herself, but shone brilliantly once she got on stage. It's just my speculation though.

Cue dramatic sound effect. Indeed, the factory that Orine was working in back then produced DES machines. Orine seemed to like her job very much, so I'm sure this is an extremely devastating blow to her. Even worse, what if the machine she helped build actually kills her? Kawamori won't pull that shit on us now, right? Besides, Chieri is too awesome to let something like that happen. It's hard to imagine what they'll actually fit in with only two episodes left. Right now, it seems like Lancastar is swarming with DES forces, even more so than on Tundrastar. Before she was interrupted by the DES, Nagisa was rashly going to try to rescue her dad, so maybe that'll be in the next episode, leaving the debut concert for the finale. Personally, what I want to know most about is the mystery surrounding the Center Nova. Here's to hoping for two impossibly brilliant episodes to cap off this great run.