With their first music video now airing on TV and their first single up for pre-order, MNL48’s rise to stardom seems to be unstoppable.

With MNL48 taking their first steps as an official overseas sister group to AKB48, longtime fans and casual listeners alike have been exchanging their thoughts on social media about them. But what does their big boss have to say?

After the successful launch of MNL48’s debut single last August 11, Anime Pilipinas had an exclusive interview with HalloHallo Entertainment (HHE) President and MNL48 producer Paulo Kurosawa, where he shared his thoughts on the idol group’s recent activities as well as his plans for the future.


Kurosawa On MNL48’s First Single

Anime Pilipinas: How does it feel now that MNL48 will finally be releasing their first single?

Kurosawa: Of course, I produced this album. I spent big time for [them to] improve their singing, and their training, and their choreography. AKB48 costume, choreography, singing, performance, of course, should be complete. Now, I am proud of it.

Anime Pilipinas: What do you think about MNL48’s first MV?

Kurosawa: 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.

Anime Pilipinas: How do you feel about the criticisms being thrown on MNL48 before and after becoming an official idol group?

Kurosawa: Everyone improved, of course. We have many girls. Today (MNL48 first debut single press launch), we present the Senbatsu, the 16 girls. We have 48, and the Kenkyuusei.

I’m watching everybody, and from the time they are auditioning, their skill, improvement, development, I’m watching one by one. And now, they are improved now, and I’m happy for that.


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)


Kurosawa on His Future Plans

Anime Pilipinas: What will be next for MNL48?

Kurosawa: I’m setting up the second album already. I’m setting up their many activities, which I will [make an] announcement soon.

After the album release, we have the nationwide promo tour, and video tour, many TV guestings. At the end, we’re gonna start the fan meet, handshake.

I have long years planned. This is the first single. Actually, this single is only my greeting to the Filipino audience. The second single is another target market. And during my plan, it’s going to expand bigger and wider with ABS-CBN. So I’m not being worried about the market.

Anime Pilipinas: Are there any plans to do original songs?

Kurosawa: Actually, not planned yet. But [I’m] thinking the possibility and the timing. We are now covering AKB48 songs, of course, it’s official AKB48. But someday, we may try.

Anime Pilipinas: What are your expectations for the MNL48 members?

Kurosawa: As you know, AKB48 started the World Senbatsu now so I should choose World Senbatsu girls from MNL48 next March. Time is really short.

Anime Pilipinas: Any update on the MNL48 Theater?

Kurosawa: I can’t announce yet talaga, but we are practicing now which show, which song, which group. Wait for that, don’t worry. You watched Movie Stars Cafe here, (but the MNL48 Theater will be) mas bigger, mas maganda.

Anime Pilipinas: Are there any plans already to have MNL48’s second generation?

Kurosawa: That’s next year. Of course, every year. We [will] have another general election, second general election, on April next year. That’s the time we [will] have second generation.


Kurosawa on MNL48’s Supporters

Anime Pilipinas: Any message to those who support MNL48?

Kurosawa: Today is Day 1, (the MNL48 girls are like) a baby still, but they are going to grow day-by-day.

They [are experiencing] many types of task, and I’m giving them instruction to be [a] real idol. So I’m very excited, so please support MNL48.


© Hallo Hallo Entertainment

Physical copies of MNL48‘s debut single, “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita”, is already open for pre-order on HHE’s website. The songs are now streaming released on digital platforms including iTunes and Spotify since Friday.

The single contains three songs and its instrumental versions. It includes the titular track, “Aitakatta – Gustong Makita”, as well as “Skirt, Hirari – Umiindak na Saya” and “Sakura no Hanabiratachi – Talulot ng Sakura”.

The single would include the track list, complete song lyrics, and ticket for the group’s upcoming handshake event possibly this October.


“Aitakatta – Gustong Makita” is the Filipino cover song of 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.


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, in cooperation with media conglomerate ABS-CBN.