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Music / STU48

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STU48 and the STU48-go

The sixth Japanese sister group of AKB48 based in the Setouchi Region, founded in 2017. The first 48 Group not to be based in one city (not even one prefecture; there are 7 prefectures in the Setouchi Region). Also the first 48 group to have their theater on a ship, launched in spring 2019 after multiple delays, so that they can move it between cities in the region for their performances.

The group is co-owned by the Setouchi DMO (Destination Management/Marketing Organization) and has many TV shows and activities to promote Setouchi tourism.

As of October 2018, STU48 has five sub-units, each focusing on a different type of activity:

  • Setomaiku (MC-ing)
  • Charming Trip (Girls' Traveling)
  • Katte ni! Shikoku Kanko Taishi (Shikoku Island Tourism)
  • STUDIO (Music Performance)
  • Seto 7 (Sports)


Setouchi no tropes... todoke yo...

  • The Ace: Takino Yumiko is the group's center performer and resident saxophonist (she has played since middle school and goes to an unnamed music university in Hiroshima, most probably the Elisabeth University of Music).
  • Alternate Character Reading: Yabushita Fu's given name, written as 楓 ("maple"), is sometimes misread as Kaede, which is a relatively more common female name (and by which she was called as a child until she had the reading legally changed). Same with her sister, former NMB48 member Yabushita Shu (柊, "holly olive"), whose given name kanji is more commonly read as Hīragi. She explained this in several of her early Showroom broadcasts, even showing her old schoolbook with her former name at one point.
    • The group's home region also counts. The sea itself is called Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海 Seto Naikai), but remove the "sea" kanji (海) and add "region" (地方), and the nai ("inside") becomes uchi, making it the Setouchi Region (瀬戸内地方 Setouchi Chiho).
  • Arcadia: Their music videos showcase the idyllic countryside of Setouchi with its rustic shops and beaches. Even their official profile photos were taken outdoors with the sea as background, unlike those of their sister groups which were taken in a studio.
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  • But Not Too Foreign: Former member Cho Orie is ethnically Chinese, but grew up in Okayama.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Otani Marina. It's telling that her nickname is Tenrai-chan ("came from the heavens").
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Like in SKE48 and various other groups, members have preferred lightstick colors. For example, Okada Nana asks her fans to wave yellow and blue sticks (the colors of AKB Team 4 and STU) and Kai Kokoa prefers two red sticks (the color of Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team).
  • Conflicting Loyalty: As a concurrent member of AKB and STU, Okada Nana wants to restore AKB's dominance as the main group over its sister groups, but also aims for the group she captains to grow to rival AKB. In the variety show Setobingo, she insists that both groups are equally important to her and compares AKB and STU to her right and left hands, but Kazlaser points out that she's right-handed which means that she puts AKB first.
  • Cool Boat: Their theater is on a ship named STU48-go.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: The group is co-owned by the Setouchi DMO (Destination Management/Marketing Organization), a joint public/private entity.
  • Country Mouse: The Setouchi Region is mostly rural, known for its seafood and agriculture, and most of the members hail from the rural areas. Exceptions include their captain Okada Nana, who's from Kanagawa Prefecture and is concurrently an AKB member, and Osaka native Yabushita Fu.
    Yumirin, a Yamaguchi girl: I've always admired AKB and other idols, but it still feels unreal that a country girl like me can go to Tokyo and do idol things.
    • In episode 4 of their variety show Setobingo, they made friends with top seniors from their sister groups by feeding them Setouchi lemons.
      NGT48's Ogino Yuka, really pumped up for some reason: Can you feed me while saying "Oniichan, daisuki!"note ? ... Waaaah!!
  • Custom Uniform: While most of the costumes we've seen are identical, the overalls for the "Shukkou" MV are altered in some way for each member.
  • Determinator: In Setobingo episode 10, Torobu Yuri and Iwata Hina reveal that they've participated in many idol group auditions before being admitted into STU, including the AKB Group Draft and HKT auditions. The STU audition was the eighth for Yuri and fifth for Hinapiyo.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: As the first 48 group named after a whole region instead of a city or ward, the members came from different places and are expected to represent the charm of their localities, including the dialects.
  • Fangirl:
    • Everybody likes Okada Nana, but Takino Yumiko absolutely adores her captain, despite being the group's center herself. Many clips exist of her gushing about Naachan and showing off her merch collection on live streams and interviews.
      • She cried Tears of Joy and did a Happy Dance on camera when Naachan agreed to form a unit with her for the Janken Tournament in 2018, and asked her overseas fans to translate her story to their own languages about how Naachan had remembered the promise she made the year before to wait for Yumirin's invitation that year.
        Yumirin: I want this story told in English, in Chinese, in Korean, in Indonesian, the whole world should hear about this... and also Thai... Nana-san is just too wonderful. Really, the whole world should cry. (switches to Engrish) Oru... warudo... cry...
      • After Naachan and AKB's Murayama Yuiri kissed during a live performance of "Oshimeshi" in 2018, it became a hot topic among members for a while (although the kiss is part of the choreography, they're kind of one of the group's Official Couples) and everybody was excited about it... except Yumirin. She was devastated. Even worse for her, during a livestreamed radio broadcast she was seated right beside Yuiri as the other announcing members excitedly grilled the latter about that performance.
      • When Imamura Mitsuki was asked in an ANN radio broadcast whom she would save if Naachan and AKB's Mukaichi Mion were drowning...
        Michu: I would save Miion-san. I think Nana-san would be able to save herself, and even if she couldn't, Takino Yumiko-san would be the first to jump to her rescue.
        Miion: Yaay!
        Naachan, dejected: So that's it...
      • During Naachan's 2018 birthday stage, she was off-stage and the other members were confessing things they couldn't say in front of her. Yumirin confessed that the backstage stairs had Naachan's lingering scent and she deliberately breathed it in while climbing the stairs, and asked the audience not to tell her and creep her out. Of course, Naachan had been listening from backstage the whole time and quickly came to scold her.
    • Yumirin and Kai Kokoa are big fans of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team. Yumirin has thrown a ceremonial first pitch to start one of their games, and Kokoa was a supporting character in a TV drama about the club's fandom.
  • Girly Bruiser: Mishima Haruka has a black belt in judo and knows other martial arts, and is often given the opportunity to demonstrate her skills. She successfully took down Setobingo host Andou Natsu, who weighs 130 kg, in episode 5.
    Paruto: In previous episodes, Andou Natsu-san hurt several members. I saw all that and cannot let it slide, so today I come to defeat her!
  • Gratuitous English: "Kaze wo Matsu" has a few lines of (grammatically correct) English lyrics.
  • Idol Singer
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Although being "almost twice the age" only means 7 years or so in this case.
    • Takino Yumiko admits that she often turns to Iwata Hina for emotional support.
    • Mineyoshi Arisa and Mori Kaho are good friends and formed a duo unit for the 2018 Janken.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: Yabushita Fu's is quite noticeable.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: It is a 48 group, after all. As of early 2019, the group has 33 members and trainees, as seen in the page image.
  • Location Song: "Setouchi no Koe" ("The Voice of Setouchi"). The MV aptly features Scenery Porn from all 7 prefectures, climaxing at the Kuroshima Venus Road, a sandbar forming a natural bridge from the mainland to a trio of islands in Okayama. There's also a version sung by the people of the region.
  • Metalhead: Well, kawaii metal, but still. Otani Marina is a BABYMETAL fan (she went to Actors School Hiroshima which Su-metal also attended) and sings "Gimme Chocolate!" in an episode of Setobingo. She also hummed several Babymetal songs in her Showroom sessions (singing the lyrics is apparently not allowed due to copyright issues) and has photos wearing Babymetal shirts and cosplay.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The announcement video for the group in 2016 mentioned that the group would have a shipboard theater, with an artist's rendering of a luxurious passenger liner. The actual STU48-go is a much humbler converted ferry.
  • Nice Hat: Okada Nana was given a ship captain's hat for her 21st birthday. She's also the only one to wear a sailor's cap in the "Shukkou" MV, which many compare to Donald Duck's.
  • Nobody Touches the Hair: Yabushita Fu is very particular about her hairstyle and burst into tears when it was messed up by the host in an episode of AKBingo!
  • The Oner: The MV for "Kaze wo Matsu" is 4 minutes, 26 seconds of uncut drone shot, seamlessly alternating between bird's-eye view and various closer angles. The released version is from the ninth take, and most of the other takes have also been published.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted as usual. For surnames, there are two Ishidas (Chiho and Minami) who are not related. For given names, there are two Harukas (Mishima and Sano).
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Some of the girls are already known as performers with their own fanbase before joining, but are overshadowed by others in the group.
    • Sakaki Miyu was a YouTube dancer since 2008 under the name CUCA prior to joining STU (~21k subscribers), but removed all her dance videos after joining (some were re-uploaded by fans). In December 2018, she opened a new channel called CUCA Channel, mostly promoting her home prefecture, Kagawa.
    • Mori Kaho was also an independent Showroom streamer before joining the group.
  • Portmantitle: Sakaki Miyu (Cuca) has a segment on her YouTube channel called Cucafe Time where she introduces various Kagawa snacks.
  • Product Placement: The group is co-owned by the Setouchi Destination Marketing Organization and has many TV shows and activities to promote Setouchi tourism in both domestic and overseas markets. They have two subunits related to tourism. This is also why their MVs are full of Setouchi Scenery Porn.
    • In several Setobingo episodes, the girls are asked to introduce and blind taste products from their hometowns, with the hosts jokingly warning that they can't go home if they cannot identify their hometowns' signature dishes.
  • Punny Name:
    • In a TV ad for the Nagasaki-Chan Men ramen chain, Yabushita Fu blows her ramen with a loud "fuu" noise.
    • Imamura Mitsuki's nickname is Michu, so she greets people in English with "Nice to Michu!"
    • Iwata Hina's given name is a homophone for "chick", so her nickname is Hinapiyo, where "piyo" is onomatopoeia for bird chirping.
    • A name like Kai Kokoa is impossible not to pun. For example, her morning Showroom broadcast is titled Morning Cocoa.
    • Shinano Soraha's fans are called the Sora-ha (Sora Faction, which can be translated to Sky Faction).
  • Rail Enthusiast: Takino Yumiko is one and got to host several episodes of a documentary about the Shinkansen in 2018.
  • Rule of Seven: There are seven prefectures in the Setouchi Region (Hyogo, Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Tokushima, Kagawa, and Ehime).note  Presumably because of that, the sports subunit is called Seto 7 and has seven members. Also, their captain is Okada Nana, and Seven Is Nana (she was born on November 7, 1997).
  • Sailor Fuku: Most of their costumes resemble this. And they actually have a boat.
  • School Uniforms Are the New Black: Their second single includes videos of the members modelling the real uniforms of several schools in the Setouchi Region.
  • Signature Laugh: Yumirin's "ehehe".
  • Team Mom: Okada Nana, concurrently an ace of AKB, is the group's captain. HKT's Sashihara Rino, the four-time Election winner, also used to be the theater manager.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Averted; most of their costumes are more similar to real-life school uniforms than the other 48 groups, with a loose fit, knee-length dresses and black school shoes.

Tropes specific to Setobingo!

  • Brawn Hilda: Andou Natsu.
  • Cat Girl: In episode 9, they have a feline-themed sport tournament (all participants wear cat ears and paws) documented by Igarashi Kenta, a photographer specializing in cats, who recently released a photobook of Setouchi cats.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Punishments for losing a game include being put into various wrestling submission holds by Andou Natsu.
  • Cute Sports Club Manager: Two episodes feature the members roleplaying as a club manager who made bento for and confesses her feelings to her crush on the team.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kazlaser is one.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: In an episode, four members become the "Brides of Setouchi", where they walk around a small island in wedding dresses and interact with the locals.
  • Pun-Based Title: The Setobingo segment Setonaikai, which features members chatting over a meal, is a homophone of Seto Inland Sea, but the kai is written with the kanji for "meeting" (会), so it translates to "Seto Internal Meeting".
  • The Xenophile: In episode 8, Otani Marina portrays a member of a mystery research club going UFO hunting and made bento with blue rice for her love confession roleplay (colored using Blue Hawaiian syrup and tastes like the same). She takes several members UFO hunting again around the TV studio in the final episode.
    Marina: I messed up. I recited the alien summoning chant incorrectly. It should be "Ventra Ventra, Space People, Space People" but I said "piaple".
    Kazlaser: Yeah, I also felt there was something wrong.


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