Mayuyued already wrote about this, but this is my own take on it. Sorry Ed but I just had to do this. Warning for those who haven't seen the PV: SPOILERS AHEAD.
AKB48's 20th Single [Sakura no Ki ni Narou] (Let's become Sakura trees) releases today, 16 February 2011. This is the 3rd time AKB48 has done a Sakura themed Single, the previous being their debut Single Sakura no Hanabiratachi in 2006, and then 10nen Zakura in 2009 and Sakura no Shiori in 2010. Their 4th if you count Sakura no Hanabiratachi 2008.
Sources indicate that Sakura no Ki ni Narou is another million seller. It has certainly shipped that much, but how long will it take to sell it? Their last million seller Single Beginner took around 2 months IIRC to reach a million sales. Maybe this one will sell faster, but who can say for sure. The cover song will be used as the theme song for AKB48's upcoming 17 episode drama Sakura Kara no Tegami ~Sorezore no Sotsugyou Monogatari~, which starts airing 26 February.
Mid day sales of Sakura no Ki ni Narou is 70,734. Beginner was 77,821 with a first day sale of 568,095 and Chance no Junban was 66,665 with 471,242 first day.
So.....Jurina "died" eh? I hope those haters of her out there are happy now. We also get to see the kid that Yuko was pregnant with in 10nen Zakura PV. The concept and story of the PV is just plain beautiful, although I can't help but to notice some resemblance to that anime Da Capo, which also has people turning into Sakura trees. For the majority of the song, except for the chorus which is sung by all members, as well as a few solo lines from Acchan, the rest of the lines are sung in duets. Even though it is yet another slow ballad song, response has been quite good.
The Undergirls song for this Single, Guuzen no Juujiro (Crossroads of Chance) takes a more upbeat and lighthearted path compared to the heavy mood which Jurina sets in Sakura no Ki ni Narou. The PV features 3 boys, presumably fans, watching the girl's daily life, as well as a surprise cameo from AKB48's theater manager Togasaki Tomonobu and Ohori Meshibe. Yokoyama Yui and Kimoto Kanon, both of them recently promoted rising stars in AKB48 and SKE48 respectively, gets loads of screentime in this PV, especially in the Another Version of the PV.
MINT makes a comeback with Kiss Made 100 Mile (100 Miles to our Kiss) after being disbanded in Kimi ni Tsuite. However it is safe to say that their fashion designer as well as their hairstylist did not come back. MINT too decided that Jurina's "death" in Sakura no Ki ni Narou was too sad and lightened the mood with a upbeat and happy tune like like Guuzen no Juujiro. Just like Guuzen no Juujiro, there is a surprise cameo appearance in this PV, this time from NMB48's Yamamoto Sayaka.
DIVA however, didn't like Jurina ever since she intruded into AKB48's Singles and decided to celebrate by rocking it out and having a mad dance off in some underground dance club in Area K. Since Oya Masana is in SKE48, she opposed to this and was subsequently kicked out and replaced by Wasamin. Strangely, Amina and Nacchi are vocally missing from the main DIVA group (Sayaka, Yuka, Umechan and Mocchi). Despite all these, DIVA undoubtedly has the best PV compared to the others.
The Kenkyuuseis bring back the happy mood by doing some MIXes in Ougon Center (Gold Center), although it is hard to tell if they are happy or sad for Jurina since they do not have a PV. Even so it doesn't really matter because they MIX and that's all that matters
Sakura no Ki ni Narou
Release Date: 16 February 2011
Senbatsu - Sakura no Ki ni Narou (桜の木になろう)
Team A: Kojima Haruna, Sashihara Rino, Shinoda Mariko, Takajo Aki, Takahashi Minami, Maeda Atsuko
Team K: Itano Tomomi, Oshima Yuko, Minegishi Minami, Miyazawa Sae
Team B: Kasai Tomomi, Kashiwagi Yuki, Kitahara Rie, Watanabe Mayu
Team S: Matsui Jurina, Matsui Rena
Undergirls - Guuzen no Juujiro (偶然の十字路)
Team A: Ota Aika, Nakagawa Haruka, Maeda Ami
Team K: Uchida Mayumi, Kikuchi Ayaka, Nito Moeno, Fujie Reina, Yokoyama Yui
Team B: Ishida Haruka, Oku Manami, Komori Mika, Sato Sumire, Miyazaki Miho
Team S: Oyama Sana, Yagami Kumi
Team KII: Takayanagi Akane, Mukaida Manatsu
Team E: Kimoto Kanon
MINT - Kiss made 100 Mile (キスまで100マイル)
Team A: Katayama Haruka, Maeda Atsuko
Team K: Nito Moeno, Matsui Sakiko
Team B: Kasai Tomomi
DIVA - Area K (エリアK)
Team A: Iwasa Misaki, Oya Shizuka, Kuramochi Asuka, Nakata Chisato, Nakaya Sayaka, Matsubara Natsumi
Team K: Akimoto Sayaka, Umeda Ayaka, Tanabe Miku, Nakatsuka Tomomi, Nonaka Misato, Yonezawa Rumi
Team B: Kobayashi Kana, Chikano Rina, Sato Amina, Sato Natsuki, Suzuki Mariya, Hirajima Natsumi, Masuda Yuka
Kenkyuusei - Ougon Center (黄金センター)
Kenkyuusei: Mori Anna, Nagao Mariya, Nakamura Mariko, Oba Mina, Shimada Haruka, Shimazaki Haruka, Takeuchi Haruka, Yamauchi Suzuran, Abe Maria, Fujita Nana, Ichikawa Miori, Iriyama Anna, Izuta Rina, Kanazawa Yuuki, Kato Rena, Kobayashi Marina, Nakamata Shiori, Kawaei Rina, Kojima Natsuki, Morikawa Ayaka, Natori Wakana, Suzuki Shihori, Ushikubo Sara, Yamaguchi Nau
Sakura no Ki ni Narou
Guuzen no Juujiro
Kiss Made 100 Mile