Kinda belated, but here's a Nikkan Sports article from last week about the Junjou Shugi performance at Kitarie's last AKB stage, featuring an interview with Maho, Mofu, and Gatanee. In particular, I'd like to call attention to the second half of the interview because it has some interesting talking points about NGT's future makeup, in my opinion. Spoiler: Translation For you, a great person who's about to depart The words left in Kitarie's wake For "Junjou Shugui", holding so many fond memories, three NGT members were selected At the 10th anniversary of her debut, on March 1st, the last stage performance at the AKB48 theater Only two weeks are left now before the graduation concert (14th of this month, Toki Messe) of NGT48 captain Kitahara Rie (26). At the last stage performance held at the AKB48 theater on March 1st, on the commemorative day for the 10th anniversary of her debut, in the same way as it was on the day of her debut, she served as backdancer for the unit song "Junjou Shugui". At Kitahara's own request, dancing as main performers were Nishigata Marina (22), Murakumo Fuuka (20), and Yamaguchi Maho (22) of NGT48. We had the three of them, who felt Kitahara standing behind them with her own presence at that time as they danced, look back at the stage performance for us. As backdancers "Junjou Shugui" is one of the songs from the "Pajama Drive" stage, which was performed until last June by Team NIII, to which Kitahara and the other three members currently belong. Behind the three girls dancing as the main performers, they are accompanied by a team of backdancers. For Kitahara herself, this is also the song in which, in the role of backdancer, she hit the scenes and made her debut in theater performances almost 10 years ago. What did the three of you think when you heard about performing there? Nishigata: I was told by Kitahara-san "I'd like you to make an appearance in it", and at first I thought to myself "Am I the right person to appear there?". That she would go on to serve as our backdancer, like in that memorable day when Kitahara-san made her debut as a backdancer, felt so wonderful. Murakumo: As for me, initially when we three (me, Nishigata, and Yamaguchi) were asked to do it, I was wondering "What? So Kitahara-san isn't going to appear?" Yamaguchi: Me too. Since my position in the song coincides with that of Kitahara-san, I was like "What?", but then it turned out that Kitahara-san was actually to perform as a backdancer of all things! Nishigata: Other than the Captain (Kitahara), we had the winner of the 1st place at Sousenkyo (Rino Sashihara), and in addition Oya Shizuka-san, all serving as our backdancers. For this reason, I felt more tense than I was on the opening day of the theater stages. (laughs) Murakumo: I was a bundle of nerves when I was walking and passed by them. In the sense of "If I bump against them, I'll never be forgiven!". (laughs) Yamaguchi: I had the opportunity to watch the rehearsals, myself, and when I saw Rie-san cry during the song "Rikyou", I couldn't help crying as well as I thought "And so she is finally graduating..." Murakumo: I too faced downward and began crying... Adults who can understand the weight and importance of things Kitahara explained that the reason the three of you were chosen was "Because they are adult people who understand the gravity and significance that having carried on with my job for 10 years represents". Yamaguchi: Considering how this was to be Kitahara-san's wonderful "final stage" there, I knew I couldn't afford to make any mistake. "Let's dance gracefully, then!", I thought to myself. I put my all into that one single song. Murakumo: Since our stage performance consisted of only one song, I spent much of the time watching the theater show as a spectator, and in doing so, I felt touched by it from the perspective of one of her fans. Being able to watch Rie-san in a different form than how she normally is when in NGT48 made me realize once again what an amazing person she is. Yamaguchi: Even on my part, I was a fan ever since before joining the group, and I was also aware of the greatness of "Kitarie" during her AKB48 days. This is why, even though the other NGT members walked up to Rie-san to give her a hug, I couldn't personally bring myself to do it. Seeing Rie-san shine so splendidly in that theater performance makes this feeling grown even stronger and more intense. Nishigata: When it comes to such "last theater performances", many of them have a rather mourning mood to it. But in Kitahara-san's case, she instead made everyone laugh with that handmade boat they prepared for the occasion, I thought it was all so typical of Kitahara-san. Once again, I felt so glad that she had been appointed as Captain of NGT48. Regarding NGT48, how do you think it is going to be like, what is it going to do, once Kitahara will have left? Murakumo: I feel sad, but at the same time I feel a sense of crisis, of urgency. Nishigata: I feel uneasy about it, I can't even begin to imagine it. Murakumo: Up until this moment, there has been many aspects in which we relied on Kitahara-san for assistance. Striving to "make NGT better", as she said, Kitahara-san gave so much consideration on it, and in equal measure, we would like to all compensate for this role. Yamaguchi: For the first time ever, we'll have new kouhais (3rd generation Draft members) joining us, and it is not long before the 2nd generation members will join in as well. Once Rie-san will be gone, it is necessary that there will be a person who can voice her own opinions firmly, and at times give a reproach. I want to bring out the courage to make my voice be heard, on my own personal initiative. Nishigata: I too, as a 1st generation member, would like to give others a good example with my own actions, the same way as Kitahara-san did with us.