The second night of the back-to-back Anisong World Matsuri at Anime Expo 2017 concerts occurred on 1 July 2017 and featured six popular and famous anisong artists performing together. The end result was the explosive and amazing concert billed as Japan Super Live.
The concert opened with an unexpected duet of a beloved song, ‘A Cruel Angel’s Thesis’ (from the TV anime Neon Genesis Evangelion). Performed by Konomi Suzuki and angela, the theme song set the tone for the night: the performers would primarily be playing both recent songs and iconic fan favorites.
After the duet concluded, Konomi Suzuki went on to perform ‘This Game’ (from No Game No Life), ‘Blow Out’ (from Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor), and ‘Redo’ (from Re:Zero). Dressed in red, Konomi energetically traveled from one side of the stage to the other as her powerful voice left the audience enthralled. During a brief break between ‘This Game’ and ‘Blow Out’, Konomi announced that this was her first performance in Los Angeles. I think this was a stellar first performance in the City of Angels and that Konomi Suzuki far exceeded the audience’s expectations.
The next performer was Mashiro Ayano, who performed ‘Vanilla Sky’ (from Gunslinger Stratos: The Animation), ‘NEWLOOK’ (from Re:CREATORS), and ‘Ideal White’ (from Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works). True to her name, Mashiro was clad in white (NB: ‘Mashiro’ can mean ‘pure white’ in Japanese’). She was decidedly less prone to moving around the stage compared to Konomi, but her clear and pretty voice, which conflicted with her boyish rocker attitude, charmed the audience.
Following Mashiro was GARNiDELiA, the Japanese pop rock duo who consists of the vocalist MARiA (Mai Mizuhashi) and toku (Yoshinori Abe). They received an amazing round of cheers and applause from the audience. GARNiDELiA performed ‘Ambiguous’ (from Kill La Kill), ‘Grilletto’ (from Mahouka Koukou no Rettousei), ‘SPEED STAR’ (from The Irregular at Magic High School The Movie), and ‘Yakusoku -Promise Code-’ (from Qualidea Code). Starting from ‘Grilletto’, GARNiDELiA was accompanied by two back-up dancers dressed in gold. For their final song, however, GARNiDELiA performed a cover of ‘Sorairo Days’ (from Gurren Lagann) with Mashiro, whom MARiA called ‘her dearest Alice.’ Mashiro’s white ensemble coordinated well with toku and MARiA’s black-and-white outfits.
After GARNiDELiA came ALI PROJECT. Their performance began with a long instrumental interlude; vocalist Akira Takarano didn’t appear until a minute or two had already passed. She, along with three back-up dancers who were all dressed uniquely, performed ‘Boukoku Kakusei Catharsis’ (from .hack//Roots), ‘Yuukyou Seishunka’ (from Code Geass Lelouch of the Rebellion), ‘Seishoujo Ryouiki’ (from Rozen Maiden), and ‘Rara Eve Shinseiki’ (from The Girl Who Leapt Through Space). Compared to the other artists, ALI PROJECT’s performance was mystical and mysterious; they projected a sense of tension throughout the theater, which kept the audience anxious, yet engaged. In other words, the songs primarily fell squarely in their dark and mysterious ‘Black Alice’ phase. Akira wore an elaborate white dress of sorts which limited her mobility until she discarded the sleeves right before performing ‘Seishoujo Ryouiki’.
The fifth artist was Minori Chihara, who performed ‘Paradise Lost’ (from Ga-rei-Zero-), ‘Terminated’ (from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere), and ‘Kyoukai no Kanata’ (from Beyond the Boundary). I was especially pleased to hear her perform ‘Terminated’, which is one of my favorite anisongs. After a brief speech following ‘Kyoukai no Kanata’, Minori, who wore red, did a duet with ALI PROJECT, who had switched into a red outfit, for a song called ‘Celestial Diva’ (from game Chaos Rings II). Minori Chihara then performed the infamous ‘Hare Hare Yukai’ (from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) and closed with ‘Freedom Dreamer’ (which was an ending theme for the TV Tokyo series Anison-Plus). Her dynamic and distinctive voice, coupled with the classic anisongs, made the audience glad that she had returned to Los Angeles for the first time in 10 years. The fact that she represented songs that weren’t necessarily from anime was also refreshing.
The sixth and final artist was angela, the genre-blending duo consisting of atsuko, who wore a striking lion uniform, and KATSU, who was dressed as what I could only describe as a military circus ringleader. The pair performed ‘Boku wa Boku de Atte’ (from Ajin), ‘Asu e no brilliant road’ (from Stellvia), ‘Kings’ (from K), ‘Sidonia’ (from Knights of Sidonia), and ‘Shangri-La’ (from Shangri-La). Several things set angela apart from the other artists. Firstly, they facilitated audience participation, which is very important in anisong concerts, during both ‘Kings’ and ‘Shangri-La’. Secondly, the duo had an incredible sense of humor as shown by purposefully misidentifying themselves as fripSide, angela Master Cinderella Girls, and GARNiDELiA. angela also referenced several more modern shows, such as Love Live! Sunshine!! and Kemono Friends, during their comedic bits. angela essentially knew how to be entertaining between songs yet were able to entrance the audience with their somber and theatrical songs.
There was no break during the Japan Super Live. For better or for worse, the audience experienced 3 hours of non-stop action from six powerful anisong artists. Despite the lack of a bathroom break, I believe that the concert was split into two halves. The first half featured Konomi Suzuki, Mashiro Ayano, and GARNiDELiA, who are all relatively new to the anisong industry and who all performed either recently released songs or their popular songs. In comparison, the second half, which featured ALI PROJECT, Minori Chihara, and angela, featured anisong veterans who primarily performed songs that were more nostalgic and regarded as timeless classics.
I loved how the audience didn’t know what would happen. I certainly didn’t expect each of the anisong artists to pair up, but it was a pleasant surprise! I also loved how most, if not all, of the music was performed live by very talented band members who received their hard-earned and well-deserved praise before the concert concluded.
Living up to the brand name, Anisong World Matsuri Japan Super Live was a lively festival where emotions ran high and dreams came true. I am very thankful I got to see this live in-person and I would highly recommend any anisong fan to make every attempt to do so, too.
Anisong Matsuri will continue onto Shanghai China, before a surely spectacular finale at Otakon in Washington DC. MANGA.TOKYO will be there for the Otakon performance, which will feature artists such as FLOW, T.M. Revolution, Yousei Teikoku, and JAM Project! Don’t miss it!
Anisong Matsuri at Anime Expo 2017 Japan Super Live Set List
- Zankoku na Tenshi no These (Special Collaboration with angela)
- This game
- Blow out
- vanilla sky
- ideal white
- SPEED STAR
- Yakusoku -Promise code-
- Sorairo Days (Special Collaboration with Mashiro Ayano)
- Boukoku Kakusei Katharsis
- Yukyou Seishunka
- Seishoujo Ryouiki
- Rara Eve Shinseiki
- Paradise Lost
- Beyond the Boundary
- Celestial Diva (Special Collaboration with ALI PROJECT)
- Hare Hare Yukai
- Freedom Dreamer
- Boku wa Boku de Atte
- Asu he no brilliant road
Anisong World Matsuri Website: http://anisongworldmatsuri.com
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Anisong World Matsuri at Otakon 2017
Date: August 11 & 12
Venue: Washington DC Walter E. Washington Convention Center
Lineup: FLOW, JAM Project, T.M. Revolution, Yousei Teikoku
Tickets and Info: https://www.otakon.com/concerts/anisong