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|Episode 17 - New General Elections|
|Romaji||Shin Senbatsu Sōsenkyo|
|English||New General Elections|
|Opening||Aruji Naki Sono Koe|
|Japanese||January 26, 2013|
|North America||February 4, 2014|
The Idols' Dark Before Dawn
The Forbidden Star
New General Elections (新選抜総選挙, Shin Senbatsu Sōsenkyo) is the 17th episode and 4th episode of Season 2 of the AKB0048 anime series.
All of the understudies and successors are sitting at the announcement ceremony anxiously awaiting to hear who has placed in the General Elections. The first to be announced is Mimori Kishida, in 10th place. Mimori gives a speech of thanks to the audience, and takes a moment to acknoweldge the friendship she has shared with Kanata, and that she is grateful to have had a devoted friend by her side. Kanata rebukes the statement gently, stating that she was the lucky one to always have had Mimori smiling by her side and cheering her up, and she would have been lost without her.
As Mimori sits down, Yuka states that she feels guilty for doubting Mimori's statement that everyone has an equal chance at the General Elections, and that Mimori has proven her wrong. Nagisa looks on, then turns to Chieri, who seems worried. Chieri is remembering a conversation she had with Tsubasa, stating that she wanted to quit because it was not fair to the other girls for her to rank so high. Tsubasa chastises her, but Chieri stands firm, believing her father and Zodiac Corporation are the reason she has gained so many votes and that she got 9th place in the early results. Tsubasa tells her that if she places in the General Elections, she will have the opportunity to give a speech and that what she says will be up to her. Tsubasa also includes that if she wants to quit, she will have to tell her fans herself.
The elections continue with Sae Miyazawa placing 9th. She thanks the crowd, and Megumi seems especially excited on her behalf. As the girls celebrate and Suzuko reveals she voted ten times for Sonata, along with Sonata revealing she voted for herself, Yuka chastises them as Nagisa looks at a nervous Chieri. Back on Lancastar, Yuka's family is waiting to watch the broadcast of the elections, along with Nagisa's mother. Nagisa's mother states she was too nervous to watch the broadcast alone, and Yuka's mother states that their girls probably would not rank this time. Nagisa's mother agrees, but still worries for her daughter, stating that Nagisa has always preferred cooperation to competition.
Tomomi Itano is announced in 8th place, and the girls are surprised as to her higher earlier ranking. Some fans scream out their opposition accordingly, and Tomochin steps up to the mic to give her speech. She talks about the time her sister, Tomoka Itano, placed 8th at the last General Elections, and how her sister had been holding back her tears during her speech while her fans cried openly. She says this was the time when she decided that she wanted to become a member of 00 and receive their love. For that reason, she thanks her fans for their tears, and the crowd cheers back in response. As Tomochin sits down, the girls state that they want to be on the stage as well and share in the fans' love and admiration.
Haruna Kojima is elected in 7th place. She thanks the audience and tries to be brave, but ends up breaking down in tears because she is disappointed with her finishing place. As the fans cheer for her, the girls are surprised she is crying as she is usually so happy and cheerful. Kojiharu regains her composure and thanks her fans, and promises to do even better next year. Chieri thinks about her own votes, her own situation, and shakes as she looks back upon the fans of the group. She nearly collapses as she tells Nagisa she is about to graduate.
Chieri Sono is announced to be in 6th place. She tries to get up, but nearly collapses. Nagisa moves to help her, but an overwrought Chieri waves her off, bows to her fans, and tries to walk up to the stage, but appears to have trouble breathing. She makes it up to the stage, and Toku-san the 3rd presents her with her award and asks if she can continue. Chieri states that she can. She tries to speak, and eventually announces that she loves all her fans. Her Kirara shines brightly as a result, and an astounded audience looks on. She then states that she hopes to continue pursuing her dreams alongside the other girls. The audience cheers. Chieri then sits as Nagisa looks on and Tsubasa comments on Chieri's speech.
Next Mayu Watanabe is elected 5th, and gives a brief statement of thanks. In 4th, Yuki Kashiwagi states "Ultimate idol, here I come!" and blows a kiss to her fans. Makoto and Orine state that at this point, it is safe to assume that none of the other understudies placed in the General Elections. Still, they think it is amazing to see the results, and Yuka agrees with them. Still, some of the members are a little disappointed, as Kanata holds back tears, Sonata glumly strokes her bunny hat, and Nagisa notices a cold feeling in her legs. Sayaka Akimoto is pronounced 3rd and says thank you as she breaks down in tears. Nagisa is now feeling weak, and as Sayaka goes up the stairs, has trouble focusing.
Minami Takahashi is elected 2nd, and seems to barely react. She goes up on stage and states that this General Election has given her an answer to a question she had about herself. She goes on to describe the role that the girls who inherit Takamina's name play in the group. She states that she is the one being encouraged by the other girls, and goes on to thank the others and her fans as well, and asks for their continued support of AKB0048. Kanata applauds wildly as she cries, and Sonata wipes her sister's dripping nose.
Finally, the winner is announced, and it is Yuuko Ooshima. Everyone cheers and Yuuko raises her hands in triumph, as the other girls look on in admiration. She thanks her fans and states that she wishes she could bask in their happiness forever. She then states that she still considers Atsuko Maeda her rival, and that being Center for the next single is not enough, and that she intends to stay in the spotlight, to not disappear, and be the next Center Nova! The crowd cheers wildly for her. After her speech, Tsubasa leaves the viewing screen, silently asking Acchan to watch over the current generation of girls. As the girls not elected leave the stadium, Nagisa stops and looks at the stage, realizing she wants to be up there one day. As her Kirara shines, Sensei Sensei mutters something about the Center Nova and Acchan.
Offstage, the scene is different for many of the girls. An ecstatic Mimori and Kanata hug as Makoto, Sonata, and Suzuko watch and are happy for her, an overjoyed Megumi throws herself at Sae, a despondent Kojiharu leans on Sayaka for support as Yuka and Orine look on, an emotionally tired Tomochin kneels on the floor as a stern Takamina grasps her hand. Yuuko is surrounded by other members congratulating her, while Kitarie and Ume-chan cry in a corner. Mayuyu picks up a happy Yukirin as Mocchii and Shii-chan look on, and Yuuko and Takamina hug as Yuuko cries. Nagisa, who has been watching Yuuko, wanders off and runs after Chieri. She stops her and congratulates her on being elected as both of their Kirara appear. Nagisa tells Chieri she was against the General Elections because she was afraid it would sow seeds of spite among the girls. However, after experiencing the General Elections, she realizes that, that cannot happen. Nagisa warns Chieri she won't be easy to beat, and the girls clasp hands as their Kirara shine brightly. Yuuko comes around a corner and sees them, and whispers, "Acchan" as her own Kirara shines brightly as well.