AKB48's new summer themed single04 June, 2010 by Chad
Ponytail to Shushu is AKB48′s newest single after their recent chart topping album Kamikyokutachi. First press versions of the single contain the ballot cards for this year’s member election. As a result, Ponytail to Shushu has sold more than 500,000 copies since its release last week, making it the best selling CD this year (after Arashi’s Monster). It also takes the cake for the highest first week sales for any female artist ever.
Scrunchie’s are called Shushu in Japanese, so the title for the single literally translates to Ponytail and Scrunchy. Something all of the girls spot in the new single.
In contrast to their last ballad Sakura no Shiori, Ponytail to Shushu is an another upbeat, feel happy song from the group. It sports a beach and bikini theme just in time for the upcoming summer. The theme bears a resemblance to their previous Baby! Baby! Baby! and Bingo! singles, however the amount of fan service in the PV for this single transcends all previous singles, reaching rather tasteless levels.
Like other recent single releases, Ponytail to Shushu comes in 3 different versions. The two normal versions both contain the same single and B-side but comes with a different 3rd song. Type A comes with Boku no Yell, a vanilla J-pop song while Type B comes with Majijo Teppen Blues, a followup to last year’s Majisuka Rock ‘n’ Roll. The singles also come with the usual bonus DVD containing the music videos for the songs. Majijo Teppen Blues has what is AKB48′s most ridiculous PV ever.
The cheaper theater version doesn’t come with the bonus DVD but it comes with all 4 songs instead.
The main reason for high sales though is the inclusion of a voting card in each copy of the single for this year’s Senbatsu election. Each first press printing comes with a voting card which will allow you to place a single vote for any member of AKB48 or the related groups. The outcome of this election will determine which members will appear in subsequent singles and B-sides. I previously covered last year’s results here.
As with other recent releases, Sony has spared no expense in advertising for Ponytail to Shushu. Commercials can be seen daily on television and advertisements were put up throughout Tokyo. Last week, Akihabara shops replaced their Kamikyokutachi banners with the new posters.
Special thanks to Gabriel and wife who took time off during their recent honeymoon in Tokyo to take these photos.
Honestly, I’m not too impressed with the new single. Ponytail to Shushu has a disappointingly weak melody and the least catchy chorus for any AKB48 single yet. It also has their silliest dance to date. To show my ongoing support though, I didn’t cancel my subscription to their release.
I had a hard time deciding between covers, but eventually got the Type B release on account that Mariko was on the cover. Yan ordered the Type A version instead.
While not nearly as impressive as Kamikyokutachi’s holographic cover, Ponytail to Shushu comes with a foil embossed cover and obi. The foil cover design is duplicated onto the single’s obi.
The free promo photo was taped to the back of the casing to hide a pleasant surprise, unique reverse covers!
As such, the Type B version that I got essentially covers most of my favorite members. Those who bought the Type A cover didn’t really lose out either, since it features everyone.
For this single, the girls traveled the Guam for the video and photo shoots. In addition to the covers, the different versions also featured varying inserts and foldouts. The foldouts were interesting in that they contained the same layouts but alternate photographs for each girl. It is nice how fans are rewarded with the tiny attention to details in each release.
As mentioned, each copy of the CD comes with a voting card. Like last year, the 21 members with the highest votes during the election will be featured in the next year’s worth of singles. To ensure the participation of their favorite idols, some fans have gone so far as to buy hundreds of copies of the CD. One fan even bought 700 copies of the CD just to vote.
The voting cards have overflowed into the secondary market with cards going for close to 1000 yen each. So if you couldn’t care less, you could pretty much resell the cards to cover the cost of your purchase.
Voting will end on the 8th of June and the results will be out the following day. I will cover the outcome when the time comes.
I was surprised to find that the first press printings of the CD also came with tickets for a nationwide handshaking event. Yan’s Type A came with a ticket for the event on the 13th of June, while the Type B copy came with a ticket for the second one on the 19th. The tickets come with a holographic label to deter forgeries.
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