The first AKB48 performance since two of their girls were maimed in a saw attack has finished, but with steel fences between them and the girls, body searches, metal detectors, police guards and physical contact banned there have been complaints AKB48 otaku are now paying for the equivalent of a prison visit – perhaps appropriately enough, as soon after an AKB fan was arrested for a series of arson attacks in the middle of Akihabara.
AKB48’s first event since their sawing took place in their Akihabara stronghold, and incorporated some of the basic security measures police demanded.
The event – which finished without incident – saw fans groped and screened with metal detectors in full TSA style, a metal fence erected between them and the stage to keep them where they belong, and extra guards and six police officers to keep an eye on them, with post-event “high-touching” banned for good measure.
They were unfortunately not able to stop AKB otaku causing trouble outside the venue, as a 26-year-old man was arrested on 4 counts of arson after he started setting fire to garbage bags near Akihabara station, saying he “came to Akihabara as an AKB48 fan” and “watch the police and firefighers rush about made me feel better.”
A 25-year-old woman in attendance witnessed the new measures:
“It was a magnificent performance, some fans were moved to tears. Security was tight and I was subjected to a full body check and a metal detector screening, but I hope the members don’t give in to this incident and keep performing!”
A 46-year-old man who traveled in from the wilds of Ibaraki prefecture, perhaps closer to their core constituency, was somewhat less enthused:
“The first row of seats is now walled off from the girls by a metal fence, there is no high-touching, so there is now a very regrettable distance between us and them, but we should make their safety the number one priority.”
Online the reaction is even less diplomatic:
“What is this, a zoo?”
“Like a prison now isn’t it – amazing they still go even so.”
“Police, seriously? What are they wasting our taxes on this for.”
“Using our taxes to police AKB events is crime in itself.”
“Who’d want to go to an AKB event with no opportunity to get close to the girls. That’s the only point in going.”
“This is the beginning of the end for them.”
“Unbelievable that they use taxes to support AKB48’s despicable business model now.”
“What is this, the UFC?”
“May as well go to the zoo to watch the primate exhibits.”
“Can’t be helped given the latent criminality of AKB48 fans. When one of them finally offs a member it would cause the police to lose a lot of face.”
“Well if there is no touching it is not hard to see their business model failing shortly.”
“Amazing the kind of treatment creepy otaku will pay money to endure!”