07 September 2011
American Premier of AKB48 Documentary Report
As previously announced, San Francisco's J-Pop summit festival held a special screening of AKB48's debut American feature, "DOCUMENTARY OF AKB48 - To Be Continued", a few days ago on August 28th from 1-3 PM PST in Japantown's New People Cinema.
Departure time from home: 10:30ish
After about an hour and a half of commuting from the East bay to San Francisco, I arrived at 12 PM to a Japantown filled with people. It was a bit difficult trying to maneuver around because Japantown only spans a few blocks, and all the festivities were packed into what little space was available. I made my way through the crowd to New People's four-story building, expecting to find many AKB48 fans; but to my disappointment, more people gathered to meet Japanese designer, h.Naoto, and see the premier of an English-subbed GANTZ II.
The poorly lit theater lobby was empty, save for the receptionist and a man selling J-pop goods. While all the fans had gone into the room to secure their seats, I waited until the last minute to enter. To my surprise, there were still many seats available; only about 3/5 of them were filled.
I had expected the documentary to be more comprehensive, reviewing events such as AKB's overseas visits and the 1st Janken senbatsu tournament. Instead, it focused mostly on the select members' interviews. I would've liked to see more of that 1000 hours of footage that were filmed throughout 2010. AKS, I do care about members outside senbatsu, you know. However, I did get to learn more about girls I rarely pay attention to, such as Kitarie and Sasshi. The interview that touched me the most belonged to Kitarie. She is type of person who hides her negative emotions, and does he utmost to remain optimistic; because I can relate to everything she said about herself, I feel that we are very much alike.
The subs, on the other hand, felt empty and incomplete, as they did not cover everything that was mentioned in the movie. Conversations were left untranslated and many explanations felt vague. Those who wish to see this documentary will be better off watching a fan-subbed version. Once the DVD goes on sale, fans will want to think twice before making their purchase.
The movie and the J-pop Summit Event as a whole felt slightly underwhelming. Normally, movies in the states cost about $7~10, depending on the time of the day; however, entrance to this screening cost me $12+. I had high hopes for this event, but became sorely disappointed at the end of the day.