This is exactly what I look like when I watch AKB48 music videos! I know, my cap is a different style, but I groove at the computer just like the actor here (see time 1 minute 45 seconds). This is a very fun and cute music video, and it is an important part of AKB48 History. I think any Pop Music historian would like it.
Sorry only 480 p is available, but you can turn on English translations(!) if you click the CC button.
This one goes all the way back to 2010. Even casual Jpop fans are familiar with AKB48’s hit song “Heavy Rotation”. However, most are not familiar with this song “Namida no See-saw Game” (See-saw Game of Tears), which was the coupling song (B-side) of that hit single. The song is performed by the “UnderGirls” unit. It makes a great B-side, and it was good that the understudies got this chance to shine. Many went on to become members of other AKB teams in the reassignments that would come later.
The clip is an homage to the old musical show “SOUL TRAIN”. I used to listen to it on Saturday afternoons growing up in the 1970s. The song begins with the AKB48 “manager” (not Yasushi Akimoto, oddly) giving the girls a pep-talk before they perform on live TV. They really were at the start of their careers, so the managers words about “this will make your careers” were true. Especially as this was filmed just before “Heavy Rotation” became a big hit, and the AKB juggernaut rocketed to success. “Let’s Go!”
At first I was a little confused with the introduction. The same actor who plays the manager ALSO plays the emcee. He is just wearing different clothes and a wig. He should have deepened his voice a little, in order to make himself sound more like Don Cornelius, the longtime host of Soul Train. They could have hired another actor. I would have imitated Don Cornelius, if they had asked.
There are a lot of great moments as you will see. The girls look super-pretty-cool-retro-great in their 1960s-1970s-styled clothes and hair. Some are even sporting “Afro-style” hairdos! They really are the “epitome of cute” as the emcee says.
Interesting: At time 2:15, the TV performance turns from Black-and-White to color! Who knew — you could change a B&W TV to color just by “slappin’ it upside”?
… and there I was for the entire 60s and 70s watching in B&W, like a big idiot. If only I had known. Also, I do not remember so much Japanese Katakana on American TV back then.
The song itself, owes a lot to the 1960s hit song by The Supremes — “You Can’t Hurry Love” linked here. For Buddha’s sake, listen to it if you have never seen it. It is a very important part of Pop Music History. Mr. Akiomoto-san, I said your song “owes a lot to” — I am not saying you plagiarized it. This music video is a perfect tribute.
Another Funny moment: At time 3:30 this guy swoons … and falls in love with AKB48. Then at time 3:33 is immediately smacked by his jealous girlfriend. Yup, know what that’s like.
If you want to see a LIVE version of the same song, here is a DailyMotion link:
Full lyrics are available from Stage48.net linked here.
Starlight: It took two years for me to receive this incredibly fun music video.