This month AKB48 released Kamikyokutachi (神曲たち) to major success. Kamikyokutachi (which literally translates to God Tunes) is their second major album after 2008’s “Best Of” set list. It sold a godly 300,000 copies within its first week and charted number one on global charts.
The album features all of AKB’s singles for the past two years, with the exception of Romance Irane and the 2008 remix of Sakura no Hanabira Tachi. It also includes some popular theater songs that were never released as singles.
AKB48 perform regularly (daily at one point) at their own theater in Akihabara. The songs they perform are rotated seasonally and are split into “Stages” of 11 to 16 songs. As of now, there have been a total of 16 Stages between the three teams for a total of 239 songs. The most well received songs are later released as singles.
Expecting simply another compilation album, I wasn’t intent on ordering the album at first. I ended up ordering it on release when I learned it featured other songs. For Kamikyokitachi, Sony has released two different versions of the album. A regular edition and a special Theater edition purchasable from the group’s home in Akihabara.
Both versions feature a holographic cover. The cover for the regular version is featured in the title image of this post. The theater version is special in that it comes with a foldout cover featuring portraits of 12 selected members. Fans can customize the album by choosing to display their favorite member’s portrait as the cover.
AKB48’s recording label spared no expense when it came to the promotion of their latest album. Large banners were placed all around Akihabara and at various music outlets prior to the album’s release. One shop in Akihabara even had autograph bromides of all 48 members along with one of their costumes. For obvious reasons, they were kept behind a solid glass display.
The first press of Kamikyokutachi came with a random shitajiki one of the group’s members. It’s one of those A4 plastic boards often sold in stationery shops with no apparent purpose (except to perhaps provide a smooth writing surface). I ended up receiving one featuring Ono Erena.
I was incredibly irritated to find out that the person shipping my parcel had bent the shitajiki in half to fit a smaller envelope, thus destroying any chances of me trading it for another member’s version. I would had been more irritated though had it been a member I was more fond of.
Apart from the holographic detailing on the cover the other thing that caught my attention for this cover was the unknown person gracing the top left hand corner. I haven’t been following AKB much the past few years so I have trouble identifying newer members. The member turned out to be Takajo Aki, one of the fresh stars of Team A. She bares a startling resemblance to Morning Musume’s Michishige Sayumi.
Hidden inside the album was a pleasant surprise, a random photograph of one of the members. It was inserted face down at the back of the case. I flipped it over to find…
Akihabara photos courtesy of Kalleboo and Fukapon.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for Kamikyokutachi and other related items.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.