...the one that is fabulous, successful and full of youthful energy, a shock: Maeda Atsuko (20) is "graduating" from AKB 48. The gigantic group's pivot point, two-time winner of the title of Party Leader (sosai) announced her retirement/ascension/eviction at the end of the group's concert on Sunday (J and SP -- I cannot help myself: the news sounds so much more poignant and significant en español).
Serious discussions must have already begun on whether the fans of AKB 48 can be brought together for a snap election of a new Party Leader, so as to avoid leaving the group, the fandom, the marketers, the makeup artists, the clothes designers, the lighting crews, the semi-closeted nympholeptics leaderless.
Questions will also now grow ever louder as to whether Shinoda Mariko, the oldest member of the group at 26, should not also announce her departure.
Later - Oh dear, I was pipped by Japan Probe. Oh well.
Later still - And yes, they can sing beautifully, when they try (Link).