Manila-based idol group MNL48 performing in front of the media guest for the launch of their debut single. (Photo from JM Melegrito / Anime Pilipinas)

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — After months of waiting by their fans, MNL48 is finally releasing their very first single.

© Hallo Hallo Entertainment

The Manila-based sister group of AKB48 has announced on Saturday that “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita” will be the titular track for their debut single which will be released along with “Skirt, Hirari – Umiindak na Saya” and “Sakura no Hanabiratachi – Talulot ng Sakura.”

Physical copies of the idol group’s single is scheduled to hit record stores within this month, while the songs will be released in digital platforms iTunes and Spotify on August 31, produced by ABS-CBN’s record label Star Music.

The single would contain the three songs and its instrumental versions, as well as the track list, complete song lyrics, and ticket for the groups’ upcoming handshake event this September.

 

In a press launch held at the Movie Stars Café in Quezon City, the announcements came one after another, starting off with the reveal of the official music video of “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita” for the first time before the media.

The Senbatsu members, the Top 16 members who represented the all-Pinay idol group during the event, also surprised everyone with their performance of AKB48 songs “Skirt, Hirari – Umiindak na Saya” and “Sakura no Hanabiratachi – Talulot ng Sakura” on stage.

A representative of the idol group also revealed to the media that another single is planned to be released within the year, and the group’s first full-length album will be released next year.

 

MNL48 member Sheki Arzaga, who was voted as the center for the first single, told the media about their experience recording the album, and how the group was able to pull it off.

MNL48 debut single’s center Sheki Arzaga talking to the press. (Photo from Hallohallo Entertainment / Facebook)

“The level of excitement while we’re doing this album keeps us in high spirits po talaga,” Arzaga said. “Yung process po talaga, hindi siya madali. But we were able to do it, that’s why we’re here, and this is the finished product po.”

The official music video of “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita”, which was directed by Japanese director Sho Makino, is set to air on It’s Showtime and music channel MYX on August 18 and August 31, respectively.

 

In an interview with Anime Pilipinas, Hallohallo Entertainment President and MNL48 Producer Paulo Kurosawa expressed his thoughts on the first single.

Kurosawa said that he is proud for producing the album and pointed out how the MNL48 members have improved since their audition days.

“Everyone improved. I’m watching everybody, and from the time they are auditioning–their skills, improvement, development–I’m watching one by one. They are improved now, and I’m happy for that,” Kurosawa said.

He furthered: “It took a long time since the nationwide audition tour. Now, it’s their Day 1 as a group of professional singers. That makes me really happy.”

 

The HHE President also commended the team who worked on the music video and assured that the people will enjoy watching it.

“It’s good quality, actually. Good material. I like the taste of the director which I invited from Japan. He’s good. And the videographer? Nice, I like that. And I’m sure all the people [will] enjoy our music video.”

According to Director Makino, the said music video was inspired by the original version of AKB48 Aitakatta MV. He hopes to share with the Filipino culture what “aidoru” (idol) really means through the Aitakatta – Gustong Makita MV.

 

Kurosawa also told Anime Pilipinas that this single is only his greeting to the Filipino audience, and in the next singles, he plans to expand ‘bigger and wider’ with ABS-CBN, HHE’s media partner.

“Today is Day 1, [the MNL48 girls are like] a baby still, but they are going to grow day by day. They experienced many types of task, and I’m giving them instruction to be real idol. I’m very excited so please support MNL48.

 

MNL48 is an international sister group of AKB48 following previous units namely JKT48 and BNK48. The Manila-based 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 Filipino idol group is managed by Hallohallo Entertainment together with terrestrial broadcaster ABS-CBN.

 

“Aitakatta – Gustong Makita” is the Filipino cover song of the AKB48’s third single “Aitakatta”, which was released under DefSTAR Records in October 2006.

The song is regarded as the idol group’s signature song, which was even performed in the Annual New Year’s Eve musical event NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen in 2007.