AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

September 29, 2013 by  


If you enjoy sci-fi anime but with an idol twist, whether you are a Shoji Kawamori, AKB48 or just wanting something different and entertaining, “AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 SATELIGHT/PROJECT AKB0048. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection


DURATION: 13 Episodes (325 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:33:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, Japanese DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0, English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks


Release Date: September 3, 2013

Originally Created by Shoji Kawamori

Chief Director: Shoji Kawaori

Director: Yoshimasa Hiraike

Series Composition by Mari Okada

Music by Hiroshi Takaki, Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski

Character Design by Risa Ebata

Art Director: Akira Ito

Mechanical Design by Shoji Kawamori, Stanislas Brunet

Art Design by Thomas Romain, Yann Le Gall

Anime Production by Satelight

Backgrounds by Hyoin Entertainment, Korea Easter Studio, Studio Easter

Featuring the following voice talent:

Amina Satō/Monica Rial as Yuuka Ichijō

Haruka Ishida/Genevieve Simmons as Kanata Shinonome

Karen Iwata/Luci Christian as Nagisa Motomiya

Kumi Yagami/Juliet Simmons as Sonata Shinonome

Mao Mita/Molly Searcy as Makoto Yokomizo

Mayu Watanabe/Emily Neves as Chieri Sono

Sawako Hata/Caitlynn French as Suzuko Kanzaki

Sayaka Nakaya/Brittney Karbowski as Orine Aida

Sumire Satō/Carli Mosier as Mimori Kishida

Akemi Kanda/Tiffany Terell as Yūko Oshima the 9th

Ayako Kawasumi/Beth Lazarou as Sayaka Akimoto the 11th

Kana Ueda/Allison Sumrall as Tomomi Itano the 11th (Tomochin)

Mai Nakahara/Shannon Emerick as Sae Miyazawa the 10th

Mamiko Noto/Nancy Novotny as Haruna Kojima the 8th (Kojiharu)

Miyuki Sawashiro/Sasha Paysinger as Atsuko Maeda the 13th (Acchan)

Momoka Kinoshita/Meaghan Avocado as Megumi Wanibuchi

Ryoko Shiraishi/Cynthia Martinez as Minami Takahashi the 5th (Takamina)

Yui Horie/Margaret McDonald as Yuki Kashiwagi the 9th (Yukirin)

Yukari Tamura/Hayley Adams as Mayu Watanabe Type 3 (Mayuyu)

The year is 0048, and in the wake of the great wars, all forms of entertainment have been banned by the dystopian and iron-gloved rule of the anti-music DES. To combat this threat to intergalactic harmony, a group of bold young women have resurrected the legendary J-Pop band AKB48 and formed an all new Band of Sisters – AKB0048! But these rocking rebels aren’t simply singers! Trained in combat as well as choreography, these striking strike team members are equally at home in concert halls and in the trenches. Under the leadership of the mysterious Sensei Sensei, they’re ready to lay down their lives in order to make the universe a safe place for getting your groove on! And as a fresh new team of singer-soldiers join the cause and enter basic training, the batons and battle gear are about to be passed to a new generation of daring divas! Get ready to polish your dancing boots and dive into danger with the latest hard hitting hits as the new recruits take the staging ground and the veterans provide the musical soundtrack to their own action epic in AKB0048!


Shoji Kawamori, one of the well-known anime creators in the industry and well-known to fans of mecha anime series.

Kawamori was the original series concept creator for “The Super Dimensional Fortress Macross”, creator of “Macross Plus, “Macross Zero”, “Macross Frontier” and also created series such as “The Vision of Escaflowne”, “Aquarion Evol” and many countless mecha anime, as well as a mechanical designer for “Ghost in the Shell”, “Dangaih”, “Glass Fleet”, “Eureka Seven” and many more.

In 2012, Kawamori went to work on his new anime series “AKB0048”, an anime series that ties the mega popular idol group from Japan, AKB48 and sets the story in the distant future where entertainment is banned and a rogue group that continues to bring entertainment to the masses is AKB0048.  Trained as idols but also to train warfare to fight against the DES (anti-entertainment) and their large mecha.

With AKB48 creator Yasushi Akimoto as an executive producer, the anime production would be done by Satelight and bringing in talent such as director Yoshimasa Hiraike (“Solty Rei”, “Kaleido Star”, “Aria – The Natural”), writer Mari Okada (“Vampire Knight”, “Black Butler”, “Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine”, “Red Garden”), composer Hiroshi Takaki (“Beet the Vandel Buster”, “Tytania”, “Kaidan Restaurant”), character design by Risa Ebata (“Macross Frontier”, “Macross FB7: Ore no Uta o Kike!”, “Prism Ark”) and art direction by Akira Ito (“Bodacious Space Pirates”, “Durarara!!”, “Elfen Lied”).

And now the first season of the anime series will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

“AKB0048” is set in the 21st century after Earth’s ecosystem was badly damaged by interplanetary war and humanity had to flee the planet.  As humanity populated other planets to create a new society, any entertainment that would affect humanity such as music and art has been declared as forbidden.

48 years later, a rogue group known as AKB0048 modeled after the idol pop group AKB48 was created in which members are chosen through auditions to train and those with special talent will become the latest generation of the original member’s name.  So, a person can be the successor of Minami Takahashi (Takamina), the next Atsuko Maeda (Acchan), the next Yuko Oshima, and so on.

While AKB0048 are looked at as hero’s for those who support entertainment, they are branded as terrorist by anti-entertainment establishments.

One day, four young girls: Nagisa Motomiya, Chieri Sono, Orine Aida and Yuuka Ichijou snuck into a tunnel to watch AKB0048 perform and were touched by their music and saw them fight against the DES, who are sent by the government to stop them.   The four declared that when they get older, they will be come members of AKB0048.

Fast forward many years later and the girls are now teenagers.  Nagisa, Orine and Yuuka find out that AKB0048 will be throwing auditions and the group can now make their dreams come true.

For Nagisa Motomiya, it’s not that easy.  Her father works for the government to ban all entertainment activities and forbids her from dancing, putting up posters of AKB0048 in her room.  And as Nagisa wants to badly attend the audition, she know her father will not let her.

Orine decides to leave her job at the metal factory to pursue her auditions, while Yuuka turns down a relationship with the boy she likes to pursue her dream of becoming a member of AKB0048.

As for Chieri, it is revealed that her father is responsible for creating the DES mecha that attack AKB0048 and she has been declared as missing.

But all four girls made a promise to pursue their dreams to become members of AKB0048 and decide to leave their planet and tryout for the audition to become trainees and future members of AKB0048.  Will they pass the audition?

Meanwhile, for the current AKB0048 members, they must deal with the fact that their will be a new successor to their title when they graduate.  Also, other current members especially the current Yuko wonders what happened to those who became a “Center Nova” and mysteriously disappeared.

The main characters of “AKB0048” are:

  • Nagisa Motomiya – A 13-year-old who can’t sing or dance that great but she dreams to become a member of AKB0048.  The problem is her father works for the government and is involved in banning all entertainment activities.
  • Chieri Sono – The daughter of the CEO who builds the mecha for the DES.  She is a fan of AKB0048 and can’t stand the fact that her father makes the weapons that tries to hurt AKB0048 and thus runs away from home to pursue her dream career to be a member of AKB0048.  Chieri is often with a Kirara that she found when she was young at her first AKB0048 concert.  A kirara can detect idol radiance and it upsets her that the Kirara has never glowed around her but only Nagisa, so she looks at Nagisa as her rival.
  • Orine Aida – A friend of Nagisa who worked at the factory after the death of her parents.  She dreams of being the successor to Sashiko.
  • Yuuka Ichijou – A 14-year-old with a fiery temper and is very protective of her friends.
  • Suzuko Kanzaki – An AKB0048 trainee who wears glasses and knows a lot about AKB history but is not interested in becoming a successor.
  • Sonata Shinonome –  A ten-year-old who failed the first round of the audition but sneaks aboard to audition for AKB0048.  Her older sister is Kanata.
  • Makoto Yokomizo – A trainee who is often scared and stressed out about her body.
  • Kanata Shinonome – Sonata’s older sister and part of the unlucky 75th Generation who have not been able to join AKB0048 for some apparent reason.  A big fan of the current Takamina.
  • Mimori Kishida – A 17-year-old who loves pheromones and often sings alongside Kanata and also belongs to the unlucky 75th Generation.
  • Megumi Wanibuchi – A 76th generation trainee who is resentful of others that came after her who have become successors. She is good friends with the current Sae (Youko).
  • Yuko Oshima the 9th – Current AKB0048 member.  Her dream is to become the “Center Nova” and wants to know what happened to the previous Center Nova’s.
  • Minami Takahashi the 5th – Current AKB0048 member and the Team Captain.  She is affected when the Kirara show the new successor for Takamina and it’s no longer her.  Torn between graduating and her desire to stay as the current Takamina.
  • Tomomi Itano the 11th – Like the original Tomomi Itano, from a long line of Tomochin, she also lacks taste (and can eat anything).
  • Sayaka Akimoto the 10th – The fitness enthusiast of AKB0048.
  • Yuki Kashiwagi the 6th – A current member of AKB0048.
  • Haruna Kojima the 8th – A member of AKB0048 who loves pheromones.
  • Sae Miyazawa the 10th – A member of the 76th Generation who became successor of Sae.
  • Mayu Watanabe Type 3 – An android that has a gun built into her forearm and current member of AKB0048.
  • Atsuko Maeda the 13th – A former member of AKB0048 who was the Center Nova and mysteriously disappeared during a performance like two other previous Center Novas.
  • Tsubasa Katagiri – AKB0048’s manager and producer, formerly known as Mariko Shinoda the 7th.  She was with Atsuko Maeda when she disappeared and joined management to find out what happened to Acchan.
  • Sensei Sensei – The mysterious head of AKB0048.
  • Mr. Ushiyama – The choreographer of AKB0048.
  • Mikako Minamino – A photographer of AKB0048 and in reality is Minami Minegishi the 5th of AKB0048.  She makes a vow to Tsubasa that she will never ever let the Center Nova happen again.

Here is a brief spoiler-free synopsis of what happens in “AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection”:

  • EPISODE 1 – Four young friends discover AKB0048 and are dream to become members of AKB0048 one day.
  • EPISODE 2 – Nagisa, Orine and Yuuka managed to make it to the auditions, but what happens when their transportation is attacked by DES?
  • EPISODE 3 – As part of their auditions, the trainees must learn to protect AKB0048 during a guerilla concert.
  • EPISODE 4 – Introduction to 75th Generation trainees, Mimori Kishida and Kanata (older sister of Sonata).
  • EPISODE 5 – The trainees are given a day off and they learn about the Center Nova.
  • EPISODE 6 – The trainees will take part in their first handshake event, but Orine receives a message from a hater.
  • EPISODE 7 – As AKB48 successors take part in a peace ceremony, Kanata, Mimori, Chieri and Megumi must be stand-ins.  Meanwhile, Chieri’s father’s occupation becomes public among the AKB0048 trainees.
  • EPISODE 8 – A story about Megumi’s jealousy and her backstory.  Meanwhile, Takamina is having difficulties focusing on her job after finding about her status as a successor to Takamina.
  • EPISODE 9 – Kanata is asked to fill in for Takamina after the injuries she succumbed in her battle with DES.
  • EPISODE 10 – The trainees must take part in a gravure photoshoot and the identity of the AKB0048 photographer Mikako Minamino is revealed.
  • EPISODE 11 – The trainees find out they will have a concert in their home planet of Lancastar, which has now become an anti-entertainment planet.
  • EPISODE 12 – While in Lancastar, Nagisa finds out her father has been imprisoned by DES because of his daughter’s involvement in AKB0048.
  • EPISODE 13 – The trainees perform their live concert in Lancaster but will they be able with all the DES forces prepared to attack them?



“AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition and as one can expect from a Shoji Kawamori anime series, the anime series looks absolutely fantastic.  Character designs are done amazingly well, backgrounds are one of the best I have seen for a TV series with a lot of detail, vibrant colors and I did not see any problems with artifacts or major banding issues.

For a TV series, I was very impressed by the anime production from Satelight.  Everything about this series is full of detail, great use of CG. Mechanical designs as one can be expected from a Kawamori series is well-done!  Definitely one of the better, high-budget produced TV series that I have watched.

“AKB0048” looks magnificent on Blu-ray!


“AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0.  Dialogue and music is crystal clear, I do wish this series was given a 5.1 soundtrack for better dynamic range and more immersive sound from the surround channels but for the most part, for this lossless stereo track, dynamic range for a stereo track is clear and understandable and sounds good via the front channel speakers.

Subtitles are in English.


“AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection” comes with the Japanese promos and clean opening and ending animation.


As a fan of Shoji Kawamori’s work and a fan of AKB48, my interested in the anime series “AKB0048” is quite biased.

As a mecha fan, especially a “Macross” fan,  you can’t help but be in awe of Kawamori’s work.  And to see this collaboration with Yasushi Akimoto and tapping into the popular AKB48 fandom, the whole concept involving AKB48 and the training as kenkyuusei (idol trainees), handshake events, gravure shots, the wota fans, etc. and incorporating it into an anime series is rather fascinating.

But let’s discuss what I enjoyed about this anime series.  Having watched Akimoto’s “Ice” and utilizing AKB48 members in his animated film, I’m glad that he tapped into notable talents for this series.  Kawamori’s work not only brings attention, but it also entices mecha fans because you know that it will be a sci-fi-based series.  The other thing is tapping into writer Mari Okada, one of the more talented anime writers in Japan at this time.  And last to incorporate the popularity of AKB48, you have the original music, the use of the original member names plus a new AKB48 sub-unit, No Name, singing the opening and ending theme.

I loved the fact that it features an huge cast.  To know AKB48G (the AKB48 groups), there are many members of Team A, Team K, Team B and their sister groups in Japan right now and as a fan, I don’t know everyone’s names but I love the fact that the series features a lot of names based on real-life AKB members and pays homage with the successor and the Center Nova storyline.

For those not familiar with AKB48, Minami Takahashi is the General Manager of the entire AKB48 groups and her job as a leader is important.  Atsuko Maeda and Yuko Oshima have been the more popular members of the group and both have battle for the #1 center position for AKB48 and both have achieved center status and it’s good to see how the series focused on that.

But the series also manages to incorporate things such as the Mayuyu android (as AKB48’s resident otaku, has joked about it many times before, especially in her solo acts) but also incorporating AKB48 member personalities such as Tomomi Itano’s ability to eat anything, Haruna Kojima’s sweet and sexy image, Sayaka Akimoto’s dedication to working out, Takamina’s previous dedication to having hair ribbons and more.

But there is also a deep storyline about entertainment not being allowed in society and music used to defeat the enemy, a connection to Kawamori’s “Macross” work as music played a big part in the original series and also “Macross 7”.

For AKB48 fans, several AKB48 members are voice talent in this series.  Karen Iwata has the lead role as Nagisa but you also have Mayu Watanabe playing Chieri and many others in their first time as voice actresses.

As for the Blu-ray release, “AKB0048” features stunning visual backgrounds, beautiful character designs especially the close-up of the eyes, the use of CG in combination with the artwork… for a TV series, you can tell that this was a higher budget anime series as their is detail galore in “AKB0048”.  On Blu-ray, the anime series looks stunning and colorful and it is by far one of the most impressive looking anime series on Blu-ray.

As for audio, if there was one small thing that I wished, it would be the fact that I would have loved to have heard a more immersive 5.1 lossless soundtrack considering the action and the music featured in the series.  And as far as special features go, there is only the Japanese promos and clean opening and ending animation.

Overall, I absolutely love “AKB0048” but I know that idol-based anime series is not for everyone.  From the old school “Hummingbird” OVA’s to the “Idolm@ster” anime and video games, I enjoyed them and as for “AKB0048”, I think it’s the best idol-based anime series that I have ever seen and the fact that Shoji Kawamori is tied to the series and brought his attention to quality and mecha makes “AKB0048” even more special.

If you enjoy sci-fi anime but with an idol twist, whether you are a Shoji Kawamori, AKB48 or just wanting something different and entertaining, “AKB0048: Season One – Complete Collection” is highly recommended!


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