Four months after Sakura no Hanabiratchi, AKB48 released their second indies single, a cheeky song from their stage performances called Skirt, Hirari (スカート、ひらり, Skirt Flutter).
Skirt, Hirari is significant in that it was the first AKB48 single where only a core group of girls would perform. This first Senbatsu (select) team consisted of 7 members: Kojima Haruna, Narita Risa, Maeda Atsuko, Takahashi Minami, Itano Tomomi, Nakanishi Rina and Oshima Mai. The girls were referred to as the Sukahira Seven (abridged from Skirt Hirari) and were meant to be the designated leads of AKB48. Here they are identifiable by the red uniforms.
Skirt, Hirari’s theme bore a certain resemblance to works from Producer Akimoto’s previous pet project, Onyanko Club. And the save for the song’s wicked riffs, the tune was clearly inspired by 80s pop music.
The Sukahira Seven were given solo lines of their own while the other girls only make an appearance in the background of the music video.
Skirt, Hirari also marked the beginning of public recognition for the girl group. Two days after the single’s release, AKB48 appeared on Music Station for their first time to perform Skirt, Hirari. They also received coverage on some smaller media outlets.
The single charted for only 2 weeks on the Oricon charts, selling approximately 20,609 copies. Less than half their debut single. Due to this limited running, it is incredibly rare to find copies of Skirt, Hirari now. Regular versions sell for upwards of $50 on the secondary market.
Like their previous indies release, Skirt, Hirari came in both a regular backing version as well as the more common theater versions featuring a single member. This time round though the designs for the member versions were atrocious so they still go for a lower price on the auctions.
A bonus DVD is also noticeably absent from this single, though it isn’t actually common practice to include one.
Though it was originally Akimoto’s intent that the Sukahira Seven would be the permanent leaders of AKB48, this concept was abolished no sooner than in their next single, Aitakatta.
Back at the theater, the girls performed daily to a sellout audience. The management took this opportunity to double ticket prices to 2,000 yen.