I’m gonna do these series(title taken from a moment in Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku) of epic moments where we see the heroic deeds of AKB’s legendary Superwoman, Akimoto Sayaka.
This first one took place in a Nemousu TV special in Australia. Sayaka and five other girls (Mocchi, Akicha, Sasshi, Komorin and Suuchan) participated in the Darwin Beer Can Regatta on their own beer can paddle boat that they made.
In the middle of the event while out in the sea, the part of the boat that Sasshi (the captain of the team for this event; who previously couldn’t swim until she did the emergency training for the Shukan AKB swim meet way before this), Komorin, and Suuchan(who hates water) were sitting on broke loose and the three of them fell into the water.
Of course good old reliable Sayaka, who is obviously athletic and a pretty good swimmer, dives in to the rescue to help the three calm down and stay afloat as the rescue team came to their assistance.
Afterwards, Sasshi and the other two were taken out of the event and Sayaka took command in Sasshi’s place as the remaining members plus some extra help continued on.
Now how heroic is that?
(Oh and also, as mentioned by Mocchi in 2013, Sayaka also managed to save one of the cameras that was attached to the boat when it fell into the water as well.)
For the second entry in the series, I decided to continue covering members who have reached important milestones recently… and that happened to bring me to Nachu!
Nachu (real name Takekawa Natsuko) was definitely the most conspicuous member of SDN48. With her gigantic gyaru hairdo and her boisterous personality, not to mention her appearances in AKB’s AKBingo and Majisuka Gakuen, it was definitely impossible to miss her. Despite this, she originally started as an under in the group, not getting promoted to full membership until May 2010. After that, she never held a position in the Yuuwaku no Garter stage–instead she received a solo MC corner after the stage’s unit songs. And MC was where she shined, pumping the crowd up, performing wickedly funny impersonations of her fellow members, and teaching the audience the hand choreography for the next song in the set (Ganbariina).
Since Nachu wasn’t included as one of groups the musical performers, she was never a senbatsu member and was usually relegated to the back line of Undergirls songs, with the notable exception of Awajishima no Tamanegi, Nachu’s center song.
This is what most 48Group fans know about Nachu, but what many don’t know is precisely how many professional hats she has worn over the course of her 30 years. In her early life, she was prominent in Shibuya gyaru culture as a founder and later the president of the gyarusa (gyaru circle) НЯК ~traceview~. She became interested in the gyaru lifestyle after experiencing bullying in middle school due to her figure, complexion, and glasses, but once she started hanging out with the gyaru crowd, she found an accepting, non-judgemental crowd. She graduated from HЯK in 2006, but still serves as an advisor to the group today.
She graduated from Mejiro University’s Department of Sociology studying media representation. Later, she enrolled and graduated from the Watanabe School of Comedy as part of its first female class and went on to work in comedy, participating in the M-1 Grand Prix in 2008 and 2009.
After graduating SDN, she got some talento work in the variety scene, but in the meantime started to pursue her new passion for shodo (Japanese calligraphy). Her specialty is body-shodo, in which she paints words on the bodies of women (often former SDN members or other friends of hers from the entertainment business). She also commissions signs and banners for companies. This year, she had her first public exhibition of her work, which nearly half of her former SDN teammates attended, as well as a few AKB members.
She holds a 7-dan in shodo, and this week announced she had attained her teaching certificate in shodo, granting her the authority to teach shodo to kids, which she states is her next ambition.
Also this year, she announced she would be writing a serial novel for the mobile novel platform, Everystar. The novel, “Samurai Gyaru,” is her tribute to the fading Shibuya gyaru culture.
Gyaru, comedian, idol, actress, artist, author, and now teacher - Nachu is the rare person who does not back down from any opportunity, and this is something I deeply admire about her. Rather than spinning her wheels after SDN’s disbandment, she immediately launched into her next adventures and is pursuing them with the same gusto and energy we once saw on the Akihabara stage.
Other facts about Nachu:
She is still a big fan of AKB48, and often live-tweets the results of their events like the election and janken tournaments. She attended the graduation concerts of Maeda Atsuko, Shinoda Mariko, Akimoto Sayaka, and Itano Tomomi, painting each of them personalized banners as graduation gifts.
She remains close with just about everyone in SDN, but in particular, Sato Yukari and Urano Kazumi seem especially close. She also has some unexpected friendships in the other 48Groups - she has recently hung out with Komori Mika, Sato Sumire, and Hiramatsu Kanako, to name a few.
She is a huge fangirl of Akiyoshi Hiroiki, the host of Ariyoshi AKB Kyowakoku, calling him “Aripii”.
This year, she lost 15kg through a yakiniku diet, and was featured on a variety program for it.
She was active in earthquake relief and visited some of the affected areas with other members of her agency.
So, ok. Ok so. Let me give you a little backstory.
Cool internet guy @pepsimangb runs a cool internet guy blog called @demoban that archives old demo discs. One of the coolest aspects of this project is that game demos often have earlier versions of content than retail releases, which offer a glimpse into the development process. When he asked for suggestions on what to rip next, I requested Katamari Damacy, because footage of the demo that I had seen had a song that never made it into the final game, and the song that played during gameplay was an earlier version. When I went to rip the music, though, it turned out to have nearly an hour of early mixes, demo versions and completely unused songs! What a treasure trove. There’s no way I wasn’t sharing this. Thank you very much to PepsimanGB for this bounty.
I won’t detail every tiny little change, but a basic overview of the content:
Nananan Katamari The song is broken up into two parts. One plays over the title screen, the other over the tutorial screen. It’s missing some of the drums in the final version.
Unused  Uses the same OS X-sounding voices as Fugue #7777 in the final game, but is a completely different composition.
Edit: This seems to be an early version of Canon Of Kings from Me & My Katamari.
Angel Flavor’s Present Apart from the version with Lovely Angel appended to the intro, almost identical to the final version. The background vocals had not yet been added.
Unused  A rock track that is unlike the rest of the songs. It sounds as if lyrics for it had not yet been written. Is it possible it was cut from the soundtrack because it was too different?
Katamari Of Love A demo version with a scratch vocal, before Shigeru Matsuzaki’s vocals had been recorded. Could the singer be Yoshihito Yano or Akitaka Tohyama?
Overture This demo version is entirely synths, but the final version is a piano piece with a different arrangement.
Katamari On The Rocks Very early sounding demo of the iconic theme. It does not even have a scratch vocal. The game’s intro cinematic has a version much closer to final, with some mixing differences.
You Are Smart Identical to the final version.
LONELY ROLLING STAR Adorable early demo with a scratch vocal, before any lyrics had been written. It seems the bridge had not yet been written, either, as it fades out quite early. Is the vocalist Yoshihito Yano?
Katamaritaino Largely identical to the final version, but continues for a few more bars instead of fading out. The demo version has a scratch vocal and some different phrasing, but the guitar and saxophone sound like the final takes. The vocalist might be the backup singer, Mika Sato?
Katamari Mambo [Katamari Syndrome Re-mix] Several minor differences, like the background vocals in the introduction being untreated instead of bandpassed, and the missing vocals in the final section.
The Moon & The Prince Identical to the final version.
Unused  (Also sprach Zarathustra - Sunrise) Oh yes. Y’know, in a weird way, this fits, but I can see why it didn’t make the cut. Katamari Damacy has its own identity, it does not need to borrow famous songs.
Why did I include two tracks with no differences to the final version, you may well ask? I see this demo music as a snapshot of where the soundtrack was in development at the time the disc was published. The game would be released a scant two months later, and half of the songs are not even present. Most of Mr. Tohyama’s contributions to the soundtrack were already finished, but there aren’t even early versions of Asuka Sakai’s work (unless you count the version of Fugue #7777 that was totally scrapped), which suggests she may have been brought onto the project later than the other musicians.
0:01 - The Shansho Shimai fooling around. Just before Myao even got to say something the staff called for her, cutting her camera time short. Maachan ‘blowing’ Lovetan away, then she shows us Lovetan in a cup while the latter’s going “Save me!”. Aren’t these three adorable? ^w^
0:26 - Mayuyu bugging Amina with her cute voice, continuously calling her name while Amina keeps shushes her, even if Mayu made just a little sound. But unfortunately she can’t seem to keep Mayu quiet.
0:51 - Yuko rehearses her grand (and amusing) entrance in the Rappapa club upon her brief return to school scene, being energetic and funny as usual with her “Good morning! Good morning! Good morning!”. But even though the director comments that she was very amusing, he says she was too fast and can’t understand what she’s saying. XD Funny as always that Yuko.
1:10 - Mayuyu presenting and describing to us the contents inside the nice bento she has. However she described some of the side dishes as a ‘something’, not knowing what they are.
1:40 - Sasshi’s greatest challenge to fling a hormone in the perfect way…which took about 9 takes to do so. Who knew such a simple little action needed a lot of takes to be perfect?
3:42 - Yuko yelling and charging recklessly into the fortune box table, and a bit too hard. Ouch.
4:03 - Sae’s not the only member who got too much into their yankee character. In the fight scene against Yabakune students, Mariko got a little carried away and accidentally gave a real punch to one of the extras…right in the face. Oops.
4:29 - While filming the fight between Sado and Atsuko(or what looks like a wrestling match), Acchan and Mariko ended up laughing somewhere in the middle of this supposedly serious match.
4:58 - Rena accidentally leaves her handprint on the wall where she wasn’t supposed to touch I think. Hopefully that kind of fake blood is washable.
5:18 - Mocchi shares a moment of what happened while they were filming the scene with them against Black. In that scene, after defeating Black, the lines Daruma says while everyone eats the chicken wings of victory were all ad-lib. I think from what I can see, in Nachu’s ad-lib, she comments on Gakuran’s smile she’s giving while eating her chicken wing, and adding the comment, “It’s the first time I’ve seen you smile like that before!”, which made everyone crack up. It’s so easy and fun to make Sae laugh.
5:57 - While filming the entire Gakuran vs Maeda fight, Team Hormone’s actors had to wait and stay for the entire shooting to be done until their characters can leave, which took 5 hours. When they finally did the scene where Team Hormone finally gets up and leaves. However they acted as if they really were tired from waiting and just wanted to bust out of there even after the director yelled cut. The girls were about to go down the stairs, leaving without giving their regards to the crew first, which is what you always should do to show manners. This probably made the director think that the girls were mad at them for making them stay late for filming the scene. However Team Hormone quickly returns and apologizes for their little joke and properly thanks the crew for their work before leaving for real for the day. The title you see as they leave says 'Just a little joke - by Team Hormone’. And in the last moment Komorin slips on the steps. XD
7:00 - While Takamina was being interviewed, she noticed that the chair she’s currently sitting on was labeled 'reserved for Oshima Yuko’ on the back. So Takamina finds another chair for her to use, but after a second or so of sitting on it she gets back up, claiming that it’s strange sitting there. I’m guessing why she said and has a slight bad feeling about the chair is probably because someone left their mask stretched on the chair. Little does Takamina know that she will experience a bad series of pranks involving chairs in the future after this. Click here and you’ll see what I mean…*snickers
All in all, it’s fun to see that even pretty, cute looking idols can make mistakes or act like normal, silly people just like you and me.