The AKB48 Monthly Theater PicturesIf you happen to be in the area of Akihabara, drop by the Don Quixote building or the home theater of AKB48. On the 5th floor, you will find the AKB48 shop where the theater photos are sold and new ones are released every 26th of each month. However, the photos are not available everyday because they tend to get sold out quickly. Thus, you will have to make sure to check on what days of the week, usually 5 days, the store is open. Also, the closer the date after the 26th, there is almost certainly going to be long queues. The theater shots are studio shots so they have a similar resemblance to the kinds of photos released by the B.L.T. They also have a bar in the same area of the photograph which is at the bottom of the picture with the details such as name, team, and date the photo was printed. With the B.L.T. shots, the color of the bar was constant. With the AKB48 theater shots, the bar color changes monthly. The bar colors are coordinated to match the costume so it looks like it is part of the photograph instead of simply being an identification bar. In addition to the different bar color, the theater shots come in sets of 4 per girl as compared to the B.L.T.’s sets of 3. And instead of colored backgrounds, the theater shots are always with a white background and the girls are in different theater costumes in each monthly set.
Comparing B.L.T. and Theater Photos In Greater DetailThe theater photos were always considered a poor sister of the B.L.T. shots because fans thought of them to be of lower quality. For instance, until 2010, the quality of photo paper used was very inferior and they looked like they were printed on a home printer instead of being professionally done. After 2010, the prints started to improve and in 2011 the theater photos looked very professionally done although still compared slightly unfavorably to that of the B.L.T. Of course, the theater pictures are sold at a lower price than the B.L.T. which gave fans an alternative. In fact, when compared side by side on release dates, the theater pictures are almost always about 50% cheaper. It’s not clear whether the price difference is because of the printing, low demand, higher cost, or that they printed more sets so it ended up as a volume discount of sorts.