8. Takino Yumiko (瀧野由美子) “Yumirin”
Takino Yumiko is the overall center of the newest Japanese 48Group, STU48. Being one of the tallest in the group, she is also one of the only two 48group members (the other being Nakai Rika of NGT48) to graduate highschool before centering their debut single. She is a pretty good saxophonist as well, displaying this talent on many stages, like the one below:
She has a very natural, innocent and fresh feel as a center. Notice throughout videos in this article how although she is not as polished in her dancing as many other members, she seems to embody the overall earnestness each song needs.
7. They aren’t afraid to try something new
Just LOOK at this video of them performing Oogoe Diamond in English
And then, they attacked Shonichi in Chinese!
Their ocean concept runs through every aspect of their group, from the ship their theater is on, to the blue flowy dresses they usually sport. See their music video Shukko, the B-side to their 2nd single, filmed on the boat that houses their Theater.
And below, their 3rd single, Daisuki na Hito, which utilizes their dresses and choreography to simulate waves! Notice Takino Yumiko as center in all the following music videos.
6. Mubou na Yume wa Sameru Koto ga Nai (無謀な夢は覚めることがない) (2020)
This song speaks for itself. It’s the type of song that makes you feel strong and motivated to push through. The music video itself is simple and beautifully shot. The energy builds and the momentum doesn’t stop. From the bridge on the 4:14 mark, where they stand holding hands, to the breathtaking ending where they look over their shoulders at the viewer, you feel the strength. Check out a live performance version below!
5. Kodowaki Miyuna (門脇実優菜) “MiyuMiyu”
After HKT48’s Miyawaki Sakura, Yabuki Nako, and Team 8’s Honda Hitomi’s leave for Korea in late 2018, AKB48 found themselves without the three centers to their new A-Side, NO WAY MAN. After hosting an emergency audition open to all 48 members, Kodowaki Miyuna was chosen to stand next to center. See her audition video below (she is on the far left).
Miyuna is shown to be quite the talented dancer. She has an intense gaze and tends to do best with their stronger songs, like STU48’s 4th single mentioned above, and AKB48’s 28th single, UZA. Click here to see her perform UZA solo at the 2020 STU48 Senbatsu Concert!
4. They seem to be a hybrid 48/46 group
If you are familiar with the 46 groups, you would understand exactly what I mean. Starting with their longer, less frilly dress and their angsty storytelling in their music and ending with their lack of a team system, STU48 has always seemed like a 46 group that accidentally got on the 48 group bus. Watch them perform their beautiful 1st single, Kurayami, below.
3. Imamura Mitsuki (今村美月) “Michu”
Imamura Mitsuki is a golden gem in STU48. She is a talented dancer, not just being one of three chosen to be the temporary frontgirls of AKB48’s NO WAY MAN, but being chosen as Center. See her audition video below. (She is center)
After Okada Nana’s shocking 2020 announcement that she’d be reliquinshing her title of STU48’s captian, Imamura Mitsuki was appointed in her stead. Imamura Mitsuki has centered 3 STU48 B-sides. Click here to see her performance of Yaban No Kyuuai!
2. Their focus on energy
STU48 are one of the few 48 groups who seem to really focus on a strong emotion packed dance presence. It doesn’t take away from other groups, it only adds to STU48’s charm. To compare, watch Izone, 2019-era AKB48, and lastly STU48 perform Heavy Rotation below.
As you can see, IZONE, the ones we all know and love, prioritize synchronization in their movement and choreography. They present the perfect stage, centered by none other than HKT48’s Sakura herself. This performance drove fans wild.
AKB48 went a completely different direction with Heavy Rotation during Request Hour 2019. They very much created a stage that one could only dream of attending. Centered by Sashihara Rino, they prioritize liveliness. They are just short of playing onstage.
Centered by Kadowaki Miyuna (mentioned above), STU48 dances from the tips of their toes to the tips of their fingers. Notice the strong kick at the 1:33 mark, and the impossible height of their jumps at the 2:19 mark. They really bring their whole selves when they perform this! Please note that I am not bashing any group, merely noting the differences that make each of them great.
And as mentioned twice before, 2 of the 3 winners of the NO WAY MAN dance auditions were from STU48. See their performance of NO WAY MAN at Request Hour 2019 below.
and #1) Kaze wo Matsu (風を待つ) (2019)
Arguably the best 48 video of it’s year, watch the one-take music video and making of their 2nd single, Kaze Wo Matsu, below:
No words can describe how perfect this entire Single was. Enjoy a live version below:
BONUS: Okada Nana (岡田 奈々) “Naachan”
Okada Nana is arguably the most popular new generation AKB48 member. Many people seem to think that in the event of another General Election, she would win. Only time will tell. Okada Nana is a kennin member, serving as the founding STU48 member and still serving as a Team 4 member. Most recently, she centered Aisuru Hito, a B-side in AKB48’s 57th single. Click here to watch the fantastic live performance from AKB48’s Request Hour 2020.
She’s a very talented singer, coming in 3rd place in AKB48’s singing competition. Click here to watch her and Takino Yumiko center a beautifully modified version of their song, Setouchi no Koe.
STU48 has proven themselves to be a solid addition to the 48 group system, and we are very excited to see how they grow and change and what shape they’ll take 5 years from now.