Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? (夕陽を見ているか？/ Are You Watching the Sunset?) is AKB48’s 8th single and their second as part of the combined Himawari group. It’s a bittersweet but comforting melody appropriate for its fall release, the lyrics reflect upon daily troubles and shortcomings, while motivating the listener to press on.
Tahahashi Eiki, the director for Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou’s PV was invited back to film Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?. The video begins from the point of view of the camera staff, before a dolly into the main video itself, that works to make viewers feel like they were part of the set. The rest of video is mostly a series of scenes about the girls balancing their “normal” lives together with their AKB48 responsibilities.
Just in case anyone was wondering. Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?’s train station scenes were filmed at Yagisawa Station, Nagano.
While I was immediately won over by Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?’s simple but effective tune and was amazed by the concept and camera work in the video, the song’s moody “setsunai” feel did not take too well to the public.
Yuuhi wo Miteru ka? is AKB48’s poorest performing single to date, selling only 15,370 copies on its first week and a total of 18,429 over the three weeks that it charted. However, the song eventually grew onto people and it still ranks favorably among the fan voted top 100.
Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? featured the smallest team of singers since AKB48’s 2nd single as only 10 members were chosen for the single release. However, alternate renditions of the song sung by the other members were included in the Limited B release. Which brings up that Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? was the first AKB48 single to have 3 separate versions.
The single came in 3 varieties: Limited Edition A included a DVD for their previous single Boku no Taiyou, while Limited Edition B featured two other versions of Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? by different members. Finally, there was a Regular release that contained only the single and it’s B-side.
A look inside the Limited Edition A below. Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?’s own video was notably absent from the bundle and was instead sold inside AKB48’s best of album 3 months later.
Photos against blue screen sunset on either side of the cover. Inside, the DVD featured an identical design to the CD, just in reverse colors, funny that it was labeled Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka? when it contained Boku no Taiyou’s promo video instead.
To promote Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?, AKB48 invited fans to their own school fair event that the girls had set up. The festival was set up at two separate locations on different days, Geinokandesha Elementary School in Tokyo and Nanba Hatch in Osaka.
Over 10,000 people turned up in total to sample festival food cooked by AKB48 or enjoy playing carnival games together. As a side effect of their immense popularity, such personable events could never be recreated again now.
Photos are from the former AKB48 staff blog. You can view the rest of the images of the event here.
In the month of Yuuhi wo Miteiru ka?’s release, following the continual popularity of the group, the management further increased theater ticket prices up to 3000 yen, money that would work towards their continual increasing production costs.
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