On 30 June 2017, otherwise known as Day 0 of Los Angeles’ Anime Expo 2017, four idol groups performed at the Microsoft Theater as part of the Anisong World Matsuri. The event was known as the Japan Kawaii Live and lasted almost 3 hours in front of 7000 excited fans.
First up were girls from THE [email protected] CINDERELLA GIRLS. Featuring a special selection of performers (Asami Takano, Haruka Yoshimura, Hiromi Igarashi, Rei Matsuzaki, Tomoyo Kurosawa, and Yuuko Iida), the six-woman group made sure the concert started with a bang. Fans of the anime series were enamored with the elaborate skits in which the performers stayed in-character. The idols even reflected upon and reenacted various scenes from the anime. The songs they performed included ‘Star!!’, ‘Yes! Party Time!!’, and ‘Onegai! Cinderella’.
The second group to perform was Wake Up, Girls!, a seven-member group who were formed for the anime of the same name. They demanded the audience’s attention with their complex choreography. The girls, who pampered to the American audience by trying their best to speak English, also brought back the hamburger joke that was mentioned during their promotional video for Anisong World Matsuri. With impromptu shouts of encouragement and on-stage antics during their songs, Wake Up, Girls! entertained the audience. The songs they performed included ‘Tachiagare!’, ‘Koi? de Ai? de Boukun desu!’, and ‘Gokujou Smile’.
After a 15-minute break, JUNNA and Minori Suzuki from Walküre (anime Macross Delta) took to the stage. They dazzled the audience with their strong and dynamic vocal performances. With Walküre down to 2 members at this show instead of their usual five, JUNNA had a few chances to demonstrate her flexible vocal range instead of being shoehorned into her powerful and sultry voice, which is admittedly beloved. The two performers, who put forth a lot of effort to speak English, also encouraged audience participation by asking where they can find a great American hamburger. Their closing song featured an excellent call-and-response for ‘Rune ga Pikatto Hikattara’. JUNNA and Minori Suzuki also performed ‘Koi! Halation THE WAR’, and ‘Ikenai Borderline’ among other songs.
The final act to perform was Aqours from Love Live Sunshine!!. Dressed in their iconic white uniforms that were used for ‘MIRAI TICKET’, each member was given unique and extensive introductions as they filed onto the stage. Their performance was a resounding success and showed the audience that they can truly shine as the members danced in-sync to what was being shown on screen. Aqours also made good use of on-stage props, from drinking from water bottles to pulling out pom-poms for the closing song for their performance. The songs they performed included ‘Aozora Jumping Heart’, ‘Koi ni Naritai AQUARIUM’, and ‘MIRAI TICKET’.
Being at the actual event is so much better than just watching a video. You can actually feel the performer’s energy as well as the crowd’s excitement over their favorite songs. All of these series have received anime adaptations about the concept of idols having auras at least once. I used to not be a believer, but the Japan Kawaii Live has convinced me of my folly. Idols can have auras and they will grab your attention before soothing your heart.
I also entered the venue with low expectations regarding how everyone would be using glow sticks and penlights to demonstrate their support for the performers. But not only were we loud, but we also were more unified in movement and in using the proper colors than I had expected. That’s probably due to the fan callbooks that were being distributed near the Microsoft Theatre a few hours before the event. Made possible through fan donations, these callbooks gave readers valuable tips and pointers in regards to cheering during songs. There were only a limited amount of callbooks available and I ended up only securing the Aqours and Wake Up, Girls! fan callbooks (I’m told there were five different kinds of fan callbooks available), but I really appreciated their effort. I hope in the future, us overseas fans can get more of a chance to try the call-and-response that Japanese idols are so well-known for!
I would highly recommend attending next year’s Anisong World Matsuri at Anime Expo. Even if you lack knowledge of some of the performers (I know very little of Cinderella Girls, admittedly), you can still enjoy the concert. It’s an unique experience that all anisong fans should try at least once. Stay tuned on my report of the second day of the Anisong World Matsuri: Japan Super Live, which was held the following day!
Anisong World Matsuri at Anime Expo 2017: Japan Kawaii Live Set List
THE [email protected] CINDERELLA GIRLS
- Yumeiro Harmony
- Yes! Party Time!!
- Onegai! Cinderella
Wake Up, Girls！
- Shoujo Koukyou Kyoku
- Koi? De Ai? De Boukun Desu!
- Beyond the Bottom
- 7 Girls War
- Gokujo Smile
JUNNA & Minori Suzuki from Walküre
- Koi! Halation THE WAR
- Ikenai Borderline
- Bokura no Senjo
- Ichido dake no Koi nara
- Run ga Pikatto Hikattara
- Aozora Jumping Heart
- Kimino Kokorowa Kagayaiterukai?
- Koini Naritai AQUARIUM
- MIRAI TICKET
- Yume Kataruyori Yume Utaou
Anisong World Matsuri Website: http://anisongworldmatsuri.com
Anisong World Matsuri Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnisongWorldMatsuri
Anisong World Matsuri Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnisongWorld
Anisong World Matsuri YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/anisongworldmatsuri
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