I haven't seen much word of it here in SanCom, mainly because the episodes don't have enough fanservice in them to warrant one of Artefact's picture-based episode guides, nor has it generated enough fanfare for him to do it either.
So long story short, I want to hear people's opinions on it.
I suppose I'll start with myself. I love the thing to death, in all it's cheesy, overblown glory.
It has one of the stupidest premises I ever heard. The idea of "fun/entertainment" being outlawed is up there with the line "I'll protect everyone's smiles" in cheddar-filled cliches. The show is also absurdly melodramatic at times (I suppose this is to be expected of Mari Okada) and is definitely not afraid of overly-dramatic BGMs and having characters get very emotional or teary-eyed (hell just look at the OP).
But when I watch, I can't help but love the hell out of it. It's filled with both Crazy Awesome and What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome in equal (and plentiful) amounts. Idols that defeat the Culture Police (more like Culture Army) with High Kicks, Mechs, weaponized Ribbons, Batons and Microphones all whilst singing perfectly on key with choreography that is perfectly in step. The show looks amazing as well, with character design that seem to be in a race to see who can shove the most hearts on to a single girl. This is both awesome and very cute to me (not to mention it sends my moe meter flying higher than Suika's idle and running sprites in Touhou Hisoutensoku). The costume design as well as the designs of the various tech on the show does not disappoint me either. The show is awesome to look at. It has a few moments of weird CG but it's mostly well placed and I find little to complain about.
But beyond that, I sympathize with the characters and there is not one so far that I dislike (at the time of typing this I have watched episodes 1-3). I sympathize with their plights and I think their "Power of Friendship" dynamic is very well portrayed. Nagisa makes for a nice lead and Chieri is a good contrast to her. Just as well, something else I enjoy is that it chooses a very optimistic tone despite it's setting. If we go of the setting, they could have made this series quite a gridmark one indeed, what with this series taking place after a war so destructive that it caused humankind to move off of earth, and Culture Police that are incredibly draconian and quick to resort to violence. However I enjoy the fact that it chooses not to focus on that, and just focuses on the Rule of Cool and the Power of Friendship. I like that the series focuses on optimism despite the bleak setting (The last time I saw something that tried this it was Sora no Woto, and that to me was a nice series that kinda fell flat for me for various reasons. I am enjoying AKB0048 a lot more however).
I need to see a little more of this, but it will probably become my favorite of the Spring 2012 season, along with Jormungand, Lupin III: A Woman Named Fujiko Mine and Acchi Kocchi (with Naruko-san trailing just outside this).
So I said my bit, what to you random folk think about the show?
*(PS: I did not go into this with any knowledge of AKB48's songs or even who's in the group, and I still have no knowledge on the subject. I understand that the idols of AKB48 are doing voicework for the show and I do think the show is well voiced. I am also aware that their songs are used in the show as well, and I am enjoying them for the most part)*