Even for fans of Eastern pop, AKB48 is an acquired taste. Personally, I love Yasushi Akimoto’s miniskirted army, but not everybody is going to be into hyperactive Japanese idol pop sung by a group of schoolgirls with roughly 90 members. However, AKB48’s underrated subunit, DiVA, is a lot easier to get into, and turned me into a fan long before I came around to their mother group.
Billed as the “dance & vocal unit” of AKB48 (i.e. “the AKB48 girls with actual talent“), DiVA debuted as a four-member act in 2011 with the gorgeous “Tsuki no Uragawa (The Other Side of The Moon).” Stylistically, they’re the most different out of all the various AKB subunits and sister groups: Their image is much more mature, and their music sounds like blockbuster anime theme songs with a melancholy twist (I call it “Gundam Pop,” but that’s just me).
For their last single, “Lost The Way,” DiVA did something very J-pop by randomly adding six new members. Thankfully, it did absolutely nothing to change the dynamic of the group beyond adding names and faces to the backup dancers.
In the year-and-a-half since DiVA was last active, one of the original four members has left, while my fave, former AKB48 Team K captain, Sayaka Akimoto, will officially graduate from AKB48 next month. With that sad news, it looked like DiVA was done for, but that may not be the case.
Last week, DiVA’s official website confirmed that Sayaka will continue her activities as a member of the group despite graduating from AKB48. Additionally, DiVA’s also been booked to perform alongside the likes of Koda Kumi and E-Girls at the next A-Nation concert on August 3.
It’s too soon to tell if DiVA’s actually planning a proper comeback or if they’re just technically staying together to perform at the odd AKB-related event here and there, but I hope it isn’t the latter. They have a lot of potential to continue on as a great girl band, and with a little tweaking and the right promo, they could stand alone as their own group, rather than just a subunit.
The only other thing I’m willing to accept other than a full DiVA comeback is a Sayaka solo career in which all her songs sound like DiVA’s.