The first-generation members of MNL48 have surprised the fans with their Filipino version of select AKB48 songs during their First Fan Meet event held at Elements at Centris in Quezon City last Sunday.
In their first performance since the General Election, the all-Filipina members of AKB48’s newest sister group performed Aitakatta, Heavy Rotation, and Sakura no Hanabiratachi with Filipino lyrics for the first time to their fans.
Opening the performances were all 65 members singing and dancing to Aitakatta in Filipino. Despite the audio difficulties experienced throughout the event, the acts continued with the Senbatsu members performing the Filipino version of Heavy Rotation.
The first-generation members of MNL48 concluded the event with a tearful performance of the translated Sakura no Hanabiratachi.
Some fans with knowledge of the Japanese idol system have noticed that the group did not perform an “Overture,” an opening song that AKB48 and its sister groups usually start their events with.
“Gusto ko lang po magpasalamat sa inyo kasi nagsisimula pa lang po kami pero ang dami n’yo na po…” Sheki Arzaga, MNL48’s Center, said.
(I just want to thank everyone here because there’s so many of you here even though we’re just starting out.)
Arzaga adds, “Sana po ‘wag n’yo kaming iiwan hanggang dulo po. Alam ko po na marami pa kaming pagdadaanan; simula pa lang po ito. At alam ko po na magiging successful itong MNL48, at kayo po ang dahilan kaya po kami nagiging successful ngayon.”
(I hope you won’t leave us until the end. I know that there are more things to come our way, and this is just the beginning. I know that MNL48 will be successful, and that’s all because of you.)
Aside from the performances, there were also games and raffle promos for the fans during the Official Meet. Photo Cards of the girls were also sold at the event for PHP400 per set of 5.
A trading area was also set up for fans who want to trade cards of their oshi or favorite members.
MNL48 is an international sister group of AKB48 following previous units namely JKT48, BNK48, and TPE48. The Philippine idol group is set to perform daily on its own theater, continuing AKB48‘s concept of “idols you can meet.”
AKB48 was formed in 2005, regularly hosting events where fans can interact with its members, including taking pictures or shaking hands.
Since then, they have been one of the most successful girl groups in the world, releasing several singles and albums which are being sold in millions worldwide.
The idol group currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records for “Largest Pop Group,” which was set in March 2013.
They have since expanded to several sister groups in Japan, which include SKE48 (Sakae, Nagoya), NMB48 (Namba, Osaka), HKT48 (Hakata, Fukuoka), and NGT48 (Niigata).
Their first overseas expansion was JKT48 based in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2011. SNH48 followed the next year, but AKB48 suspended its partnership with the Shanghai-based group in June 2016 due to a contract violation, removing its references on their website.
In 2016, the idol group expanded their overseas sister groups to three more cities, which are BNK48 based in Bangkok, TPE48 based in Taipei, and MNL48 based in Manila.
The idol group announced in December last year that they are launching another overseas spin-off, which is MUM48 based in Mumbai, India.