Much has been said about the upward trajectory of P-Pop in the country. But have you heard the story of who steered P-Pop in the direction it is heading now? Well then, remember the name: MNL48, the trailblazers of P-Pop. Amongst the emerging and rising names actively making their way in the P-Pop industry, there is MNL48, who pioneered the generation of P-Pop dreamers.
Now in their senior year, MNL48 reveals exclusive stories about their humble beginnings, personal experiences as P-Pop idols, aspirations for their upcoming artistry, the in's and out's of being an MNL48 member, and the group's vision for P-Pop as a thriving community of dreamers who aim to bring P-Pop to the top and beyond.
There's no way you would want to miss out on our much-awaited Asian Pop cover stars. Proving why they are idols through and through, here's a quick primer on what you need to know before heading into the cover story.
MNL48 is a fusion of P-Pop and J-Pop.
For some of you who don't know yet, MNL48 is one of the sister groups of AKB48—a Japanese idol girl group named after the Akihabara area and one of Japan's leading and most successful groups. MNL48 is its Manila (Philippines) counterpart. And while it follows the J-Pop concept and formation (the never-ending members!), all of the group's songs are translated into Filipino with a Pinoy groove incorporation, as told by team captain Sheki. Where else can you see a group this unique and interesting? Indeed, MNL48 is a concept of its own that sets itself apart from the rest.
MNL48 pioneered the P-Pop industry.
Before SB19 shocked the global scene and the numerous P-Pop groups out there were rocking the charts every now and then, MNL48 had been there from the start to witness all of these historical breakthroughs. MNL48 was formed in 2018 when P-Pop was not yet a thing, and they opened the door and inspired many hopefuls to the endless possibilities that Pinoy pop dreamers could achieve. They, along with SB19, founded and contributed to solidifying the P-Pop industry we have now.
MNL48 is an idol group you can grow with.
This might come as a shocker for long-time fans of K-Pop who are just getting to know MNL48. But, yes, you read it right. Unlike the more recent P-Pop groups that have adopted the K-Pop training system, MNL48 stays true to its roots. Sticking with AKB48's system, MNL48 members also did auditions and underwent selection processes to be declared members, except through pre-debut training. Yet, look where they are now. After all of their experiences, MNL48 have become idols in the process—not just in vocals and performance but also as inspiration and role models to the youth. Like how the mainstream quote goes, "trust the process," the girls are improving day by day to showcase their full potential.
MNL48 maintains healthy competition within the group.
MNL48 follows a quite complex system. Terms like Kami 7, Senbatsu, Kenkyuusei, and General Elections are concepts you wouldn't hear from other P-Pop groups. This jargon is endemic in the 48g franchise, which holds significant meaning in the formation and moving forward of the group. While you may think they'd become complacent years after debuting, MNL48 begs to differ. Every member strives to mark their place in the Senbatsu (Top 16) lineup, more so in the Kami 7 (Top 7), and all the way to fulfill the MNL48 dream of center stage (Top 1). The members' healthy competition not only motivates them to achieve their desired positions but also showcases the premium talent they can offer for MNL48 to continue leading the P-Pop industry.
MNL48 are idols within your reach.
Fan service? Check! Handshake events? Check! Birthday events? Check! These are just some of the many personal moments you can have with MNL48. The group seeks to break down the traditional god-like image of idols and turn it into something ordinary and relatable. This way, they could connect to their fans on a more personal level and build long-lasting relationships with them. They show everyone that idols like them can also be reached by ordinary fans and not just be admired from afar.
MNL48 is Asian pop excellence.
As frontrunners of P-Pop, MNL48 doesn’t fall behind with other groups in bringing honor and excellence to the country. Aside from gracing features in Japan Movie Film Vol. 83 and Bounce Magazine, they have been invited to represent the country on the global stage as well. MNl48 shared the big stage with top Asian acts at One Love Asia Concert, Asia Song Festival, Kohaku Uta Gassen, Tokyo Game Show 2019, and 48G Asia Festival.
The pop act also bagged Gold and Platinum awards for Pag-ibig Fortune Cookie in just their rookie year. Some of their hit songs are being repeatedly played, earning them a Favorite OPM Music Video win at the Most Played Songs Online Awards in addition to their Top 1 spot at the Tower Records’ Japan digital music subscription "EGGS" for Baby Blue’s (MNL48 sub-unit) debut single, Sweet Talking Sugar.
They have also been awarded New Artist of the Year, P-POP Youth Model of the Year, Favorite OPM Artist, Most Favorite Pop Girl Group of the Year, and P-POP Girl Group of the Year. The most recent addition to this tally of honors is their P-POP Group of the Year award at the Tiktok Awards Philippines. With all these titles and notable achievements attached to their name, MNL48 is truly an epitome of pop excellence.
Intrigued? Seated? Get to know more about MNL48 when you check them out in our VOL. 2 THIRD QUARTER Issue. Exclusive takes on their P-Pop journey await you. Grab your print copy now via www.parcinqmarketplace.com.
Words by Kryzzle Cailing
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Art Direction and Video by Joe Andy
Sittings by Philip Vargas
Cover Story by Marielle Filoteo
Makeup by Aron Guevara and Remcy Cardona
Hair by Bhads Castor and Mark Capalar
Styling by James Bradlee