A new ad campaign in Japan enthralled the fans of the pop idol group AKB 48. It revealed a new member of the band named Aimi Eguchi. The fact that AKB 48 had a new member wasn't so surprising--the all-female group has been adding members with a systematic auditioning regimen since their formation in 2005. However, this time around, there was no audition, and fans could find few details about Aimi on the internet. On Sunday, the candy company running the ad released a new video that revealed what many already suspected. Aimi Eguchi was a robot.
Aimi's not a robot in the same way that the Jetsons' maid Rosie is a robot. She's a digital composite of the band members' best features. Her eyes, lips, hair, ears--everything was copied from the individual members of AKB 48 and digitized to create this Platonic ideal of a pop star. It fits in well with the over-arching concept behind AKB 48. The group is the brainchild of Yasushi Akimoto, a music producer who envisioned a group of "idols you can meet everyday." AKB 48 has its own theater in Tokyo where they perform almost daily and expand as demand for their music allows. Though they started in 2005 with 24 members, they claimed the Guinness world record for the largest pop group when they swelled the 48 members. The lastest count, minus Aimi, is 61.