Companion book to AKB48’s 2012 Janken Tournament13 September, 2012 by Chad
AKB48’s Janken Taikai, has now become routine in its third consecutive year. The extravagant event held at the Nippon Budokan, Tokyo’s “Martial Arts Hall” arena has the pop group and its extended members competing for screen time in their next single release through “janken”, or rock-paper-scissors. At the same time, publisher Kobusha takes this opportunity to release its annual AKB48 Janken Taikai Official Guide Book. Here’s a look at 2012’s.
A look at past years books puts the Janken Taikan Official Guide Book as one of the year’s most attractive. The cover with AKB48 members decked out in their senbatsu single costumes is easily one of the most graphic of the year. Add in a foil cover into this year’s mix and it looks especially attractive. Unfortunately, the contents aren’t exactly impressive. I’ll spare you an overused cliche here.
Little has changed in this year’s format for the guide book. This makes it a nice collectors item, when sitting beside past books. It is slightly thicker though, now that the competition has expanded to include members from Team 4, and more from the AKB48 sister groups.
Since not all members are featured and little actual profile information is provided, the yearly AKB48 General Election Guide Book is a better who’s who book. Instead, the exclusive full body shots of each participating member is definitely the draw point here. The layout of the book isn’t as strong as last year’s book, but there’s a more nagging qualm with this year’s photographs.
Rather than keep each member’s photographs to scale, someone had decided to scale each photograph to the entire page. Even the shorter members are stretched to ridiculous scales and is especially apparent due to the format of the book. Only in the cases where members are photographed together (like when the Team 4 members are paired up with trainees) or if they are already of already similar height, are the proportions kept.
The addition of more members also gives the book an excuse to cut down on all the other content, an excuse they willingly take. While some of the predictions from “charisma” celebrities return, candid pictures and coverage of past events have been reduced to nearly naught. Most of that missing information will no doubt find its way into the “AKB48 Janken Senbatsu Report Book” which will be kept for after the janken tournament.
Personally, I’d give the AKB48 Janken Taikai Official Guide Book 2012 a miss as even some of the most stout of AKB48 fans have been disappointed by its content. For those who must absolutely get their hand on one, this year’s book retails at a slightly pricier 1,100 yen (but is thicker) and can be found online or at the local Books Kinokuniya store.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.