AKB48 Otaku Idol Group Gets AKB48 Sprout Online Manga (Updated)
posted on by Egan Loo
AKB48, the 48-member female idol group named after its theater in the Akihabara otaku shopping district, has been adapted into its own manga. The AKB48 Sprout manga began distribution on Kodansha's MiChao! online manga website on April 25. (The term "moe" comes from the Japanese term for "budding" or "sprouting.") The manga will spotlight each member of Team B, which is one of the three teams in the group along with Team A and Team K. Each profile will cover the "secret story of a member's debut" and life backstage. The first installment deals with Mayu "Mayuyu" Watanabe. AKB48 producer Yasushi Akimoto writes the manga and Natsuo Kume illustrates it. Akimoto had previously conceived of the stories for Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, ICE, and several other manga and anime projects.
The AKB48 group formed in 2005 and has since sung the theme songs for Deltora Quest and other programs or campaigns. The first time many Japanese (who are not otaku) had heard AKB48 singing live was when the group performed during the heavily watched Kōhaku Uta Gassen ("Red and White Song Battle") competition on New Year's Eve 2007.
Source: The Mainichi Newspapers' Mantan Web
Update: The manga is free to read, but requires Japanese registration and a proprietary browser plug-in.