Namida Surprise! (涙サプライズ!/Teary Surprise!) was AKB48’s 12th official single (the first two indies are generally neglected) and their 14th overall. The single was notable for being the first to include a voting card for fans to elect their favorite AKB48 members. The Top AKB48 Girls voted in would be chosen to perform their subsequent single, Iiwake Maybe.
Appropriately, released on the 24th of July last year (Kitahara Rie’s 18th birthday), Namida Surprise! was marketed as a new type of “Song you would like sung on your birthday”. It begins with an attempt at hip hop but quickly fades into a cheerful pop chorus. Finally ending with the classic birthday song.
The PV is again directed by Takahashi Eiki. Actor Ito Hideaki (Umizaru, First Kiss, Buzzer Beat) was invited to play the role of a teacher in the video’s opening. In case anyone was wondering. The video was filmed at Matsuoka Girls High School, the same location of Oogoe Diamond.
As before, 20 members were selected to take part in this single. For the most part, Namida Surprise!’s Senbatsu team was similar to that of other recent singles. The odd members out being Oshima Mai who had graduated after their last single and Kuramochi Asuka. The two new faces to appear in Namida Surprise! were Nito Moeno and Komori Mika, who was still a research student then.
The cover for Namida Surprise was drawn by the famous illustrator Murakami Takashi. Perhaps one of the mot commercially successful artists in modern times. Some should known him for his rather tasteless statues (that sell for millions of dollars) while more should be familiar with his colorful version of the Louis Vuitton monogram.
Namida Surprise’s logo on the other hand was designed by AKB48’s own Itano Tomomi.
Namida Surprise! came in a Normal CD+DVD version and a CD only theater edition. CD content for both were identical. The B-side for Namida Surprise was Team B’s Shonichi, which serves as sort of a theme song for the group. In addition to the single and B-side, Namida Surprise came with an extra third track “First Love”, performed solo by the former Team K’s Ono Erena.
Apart from the now expected tickets for handshake events at Tokyo Big Sight and the AKB48 theater, Namida Surprise! included for the first time, a voting card. Each card had a PIN number for fans to go online and elect their favorite AKB48 members for their next single.
Perhaps in part due to the addition of these voting cards, Namida Surprise! became AKB48’s best selling single of the time. Topping in at #2 on the charts, over 100,000 copies of were sold within its first week, as opposed to the 100,000 sold in total for their last single. Namida Surprise! eventually got around to selling 145,157 copies while it charted.
Ignoring the inflated sales figures, Namida Surprise! is still one of AKB48’s more popular songs, coming in at #6 during the Request Hour Set List Best 100 2010. More surprisingly, the single’s B-side, Shonichi took the #1 spot in 2009 and was #8 this year.Click here to search CDJapan for official AKB48 goods.
Click here to search CDJapan for Namida Surprise! and other related items.
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