The IDOLM@STER M@STER OF IDOL WORLD at Saitama Super Arena, Feb. 22-23, 2014

The Sun Sets on One Great Live

This is a very long post about a two-day concert. I touched on various of things but I sort of had to stop writing because it’s simply way too long. So this is just kind of the key notes I wanted to jot down, some impressions, and stuff that I don’t want to forget.

Over the weeks after I returned from the trip, I read plenty of reactions from people, mostly the performers themselves, and it really adds to the after effects, the post-concert high.  I mean, you can spend three minutes listening to the ML kouhais enjoying their 765Pro senpais “noticing them” [Gosh, not sure if I would like more, to hug Mocho, get hugged by Eriko, or see it happen.] and how these newbie seiyuu-idols transform into glittering stars. It sure beats reading these 10,000 words. It definitely beats writing it up, which is why it took me so long to write it.

It’s really hard to write up the concert in a cohesive way without giving you some of the back story. Most importantly, the movie is in itself a major part of the experience. Granted, there are a dozen other important things at play here, to explain myself in terms of the feelings that I now hold inside, more so than the sounds and sights I experienced. But the movie is important. I hope anyone reading this is avid enough of an IM@S fan that they’ve at least seen the movie ads and trailers, because that is enough to get by. Anyways, all of this, this, is partly why it’s so long.

It’s also gotten to the point where I am talking about how long it is, and how I considered doing it in parts, and how I have already done it in parts through the 059Pro blog. I mean a better way to break it down is to do day 1 and day 2 separately, but screw that good sense. Incoming!

Background Information, Meta and Shopping

In short, I flew to Japan to watch this concert. I also flew to Japan to do a bunch of other stuff, but this two-night concert was the linchpin. This and the IM@S movie are two big, big reasons why I was there in the first place. And it turns out those two things are intertwined in a deep way too.

Landed a week before the live, I took the opportunity to enjoy what Japan offers its otaku patrons, and not just in Akihabara alone. Be it shopping or fellowship with other nerds, we had a good time. It’s my second time going to Japan for nerd concerts, so I more or less have some idea how everything works. Going with a bunch of other people doing the same thing just make it so much easier. At the same time I’m going to my first Yukarin live, my first KOTOKO live in Japan, and my first IM@S live event. It’s all quite challenging in different ways. Well. Let’s talk about IM@S.

The day after I returned home I was catching up on unread items on my feed reader and read some discussion about how the live show’s call synchronization ratio is lower than expected, showing that there are a lot of new fans. I’m not sure what to make of it, but one thing I know for certain is that a lot of new fans are present at the two-day live. I sat next to one on day one who was also having his first IM@S live. I suspect another of my neighbor on day 2 was seeing them for the first time too. And it does check out, older-time seiwota types probably had a lot of other choices for events this February and even on just Feb. 22nd and 23rd. There’s a good turn over rate for this franchise, and a lot of newcomers.

And it also ties into anim@s, which is what people call the 2011 TV anime series. The IM@S Second Vision games revolve around the two anime works. It’s not clear what One For All will bring, but if the live show is a launch point for the next wave of IM@S products/services, then the movie is just one hella good ad for the live event. And for those of us who’ve seen the movie, it’s plain as day. Heck, the merch they sell for the movie can almost double as goods for the concert. I know once I frame my movie goods poster I would treat it just like that.

So, goods for the concert? This is pretty intense. First of all, you can read up my news clipping on the 059pro blog leading up to the fateful date. On Friday presales, we waltzed in SSA sort of late. Based on my experience last time queuing at SSA, we were towards the 2-2.5 hour mark of the sales process. What surprised me was that it only took maybe an hour and fifteen minute from start of sales to me getting my stuff. The way the lines were herded was tops, and they gave out order forms for people to fill out while in line to speed up the process. What was much less exciting was how fast certain items sold out. The wristband was still there when I got to the kiosk (and there were probably somewhere around 40-50 kiosks) but none of the black shirts or keychains were left, nor were the CG/ML lights and the 765Pro i-Light sets.

Ok, that’s not a problem, it’s not like we took first train or anything, so I expected things to sell out. We also had one person line up at the CD sales to get the tokuten before that sells out; by the time I reached the CD line there were only 3 out of the 5 total types of tokuten left. Still not a big deal. What became a big deal was when a couple people who took the first train (from Omiya, which is just one stop away) to SSA on Day 1. They were still unable to get the black tee (only size S was left) nor the CG/ML lights. Pretty crazy.

So that’s one disaster I kind of avoided by “cutting off the limbs” so to speak by not try buying anything I can’t buy. I ended up still picking up a good amount of crap. The pamphlet is particularly awesome (at 3000 it’s also one of the more expensive pamphlets), the white tee is a memento more so than something to wear, along with the wristbands (which is practical) and towel (which is practical, but also as a scarf). Luckily a bunch of us ordered the 765Pro i-Light sets online with a local P so we were able to get them that way, along with the light holder belt.

The belt is not a great way to manage lights, but it’s an easy way to do it when you don’t have a lot of space. I found that I had more space in Arena seats than at 200 level. Oh well. With 13 penlights, it’s a challenge no matter how you do it.

Day One vs. Day Two

It’s not to say Day One was not awesome, but Day Two was more awesome. The song choices and ML/CG girls who repeated on both days are outright better in the latter show. Maybe it’s a matter of doing it once for the repeated ones, or maybe it’s because there are more live veterans on day two. I don’t know. The 765Pro girls were about the same on both days, although Azumin broke down hardcore on Alright. There’s also the Haruka Tomatsu factor, who appeared as a surprise guest on day two to do Hello and join in on the last two songs.

Blue Symphony on day 2 was a 2-player song and 4-player on day 1, so there’s that going for day one. Aimi did her usual rockstar impression and it’s even more impressive seeing it in person. I’ll get into the details in the blow-by-blow toward the bulk of this post, but Day Two was just better despite these differences.

Before the Live

I pre-gamed on Day One via the Saitama Movix, to rewatch the movie. Not only did I attended a special screening (tho I left early), I also watched Mouretsu Pirates that day. Why not, right? Details of the pre-game can be found here, along with the details on flowers (videos etc). Plus me wandering around taking photos of bicycles. I also took pictures of the exhibition at the SSA from Friday of the concert.

The bunch of us camped out around gate S1 to prepare our gear and somehow we secured a locker. It’s good because a bunch of us has the 765pro pen light boxes, and they are huge.

I think I ate a movie theater hotdog that day for lunch. A few kernels of popcorn and a Coke makes this a complete meal, right? Right? The fact that I had breakfast both days really went a long way. It’s good to eat light for dinner, but you definitely don’t want to do this on an empty stomach.

For Day Two I trekked out to the national palace area to attend a radio recording for Non Non Biyori and had to trek back to Saitama with about 45 minutes to spare. It was enough time to eat a quick conbini lunch, stock up on fluids, unwrap all my UOs and get ready for battle. Unhindered by goods and luggage this time around I was a lot more ready prepared, but the knowledge of the day before went much longer than any gear.

Light and Prep

I really don’t have much expectations. I did expect that half or more of the show will be CG/ML music, which I am only cursory familiar with. A lot of it is cram session the weeks prior to coming to Japan as I set up a playlist with all the songs that the CG/MS can do–most only have one or two songs anyway. I didn’t expect Mayachan or Haramii bust out their LTP songs, but for the older ones I thought I had a shot. In the end the studying helped a lot; half the show really turned out to be just CG/ML stuff.

For lights, I did have a KB on me because ultimately I don’t have enough UOs. While I stayed away from it on day one, I noticed there were a ton of people using it anyway, so it emboldened me to use it on day 2. For those of you who are unfamiliar with IM@S, the concerts actually “forbid” you to use AAA, AA or LR20-powered lights. Nobody was enforcing this, but most Ps adhere to this. In the end it was still kind of annoying as way too many songs require using multiple sticks. I’m just not well-practiced enough to handle them. I remember busting out all 13 lights for the first two songs and realized quickly that it’s foolish LOL. Yeah, I ended up dropping one and my next-door neighbor picked it up.

I also dropped a light on day two, when I was only using 6 lights for the first two songs. So go figure. I recommend no more than 8 if you want to just have a good o’ time doing it. It doesn’t matter if you are using i-lights or normal v2 penlights. In some ways the v2 lights are an easier grip because there’s more contact area and it’s easier to space the lights within the same two fingers than the i-Lights.

For all SSA-class concert goers, note that Akiba (and Tokyo in general) will sell out of UOs the day before and of the show. I don’t know if it was an Yayoi thing or not, but it was intense trying to get these. It was a battle trying to buy them on Day 1, but somehow one of us Kaigai Ps were able to pick up 40. Best bet is to buy them as soon as you land or bring them. In light of this I had ~14 UO and I played it safe for day one, using only 5. After knowing what to expect it’s easier to plan your UOs for the second show, or so I thought, until Tomato threw things out of order.

That GamiP UO actually came into use. It’s a bonus item for buying the 765Pro penlight and the light strap. I saved it as a last resort and popped it at the end for M@STERPIECE. Did I tell you I ran out of UOs after the 765Pro medley on day two? It was that bad, for someone who doesn’t break 8 on Kiramekirari.

For general prep, I had at least 16oz of water/fluid for both days. Got a whole liter of spring water for day two (and demolished that). The live lasted for almost five hours both days, and you spend most of it on your feet. Bring something to wipe down your sweat if you sweat. I packed my heavy coat underneath my seat or sandwiched in the stadium seating. Space is at a premium so don’t wear bulky clothes if you can avoid it.

Day One Drilldown

Location-wise, I had pretty decent tickets. For the movie lottery (2nd lottery) I got back of C2, for day one, which puts me about 18 rows from stage left, just in front of the left stage extension. It also puts me roughly towards the center of the catwalk that connects the main stage with the center stage, 16 rows back. Which is to say, I’m really close to the left main stage and can get a good view if the performers stood on the catwalk. If the performers are on center stage, I get just a side or back view.

Which is why for me Day 1 can be summed up by this image.

For reference, this is a picture of the “left stage” mini-stage. This happens to be during Day 1 for Lime-iro Seishun (IIRC). (Via 4gamer)

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If you just look at the 4gamer post I linked you can get a feel of how the stage is set up.

Before the live, various IM@S music piped into the stadium. I got to my seat with about 5 minutes to spare. Too busy getting set up I forgot to greet my neighbors orz.

Shachou comes on the main screen a couple minutes past 5pm, and explains the rules to us. And then it begins.

01. The IDOLM@STER (Everybody)

02. READY!! (765pro All Stars)

03. CHANGE!!! (Eriko, Chiaking, Mayachan, Azumin)

I don’t know what to really say about the first three. I was so overwhelmed by The IDOLM@STER and all my lights, LOL. I did take the time to look at how everyone just shows up and parade up and down the stage. Probably because I have no choice in terms of where I was sitting (ie., by where people are walking up and down). I did begin waving at people like Hashii and the like tho, as she was one of them facing right at me.

Eriko did her “I can see you all the way in the back” line right here. OMGGGGG.

I did notice people getting out of the way for Ready, and again for Change, but I was again fumbling with my lights. Orz. Seeing this in the live though did check off some stuff on my bucket list. Really wanted to bust out a UO for Change too…refrained from doing so because I noticed this is just a 4-player version.

After Change the 765Pro girls came back up and started to MC. Four girls took off to get changed after their initial intro and that leaves the other 8 to entertain the crowd, turn around, etc.

04. Lime-iro Seishun (Kugyuu, Hirorin, Akki, Juri)

Not that I wasn’t expecting it, but I also didn’t look for this song–it’s a very memorable sequence from the movie…and it felt right at home because it’s not only on the soundtrack, I’ve watched the damn thing enough times by then. A nice piece with Kugyuu in it but I was busy waving at Hirorin and Akki. The guy on my left (towards the stage) is a Miki P, and he did jump around a lot.

After this set, things take a slower pace with the next set of 765pro solos.

05. Rebellion (Nunu)

This track from LTP 03 is one of those that I picked out from “benkyou” so the calls came naturally. I just don’t have particular attachments to it. But a live Nu is always a good Nu.

06. Mythmaker (Chiaking)

On the other hand this song I know quite well, and it’s great to see Chiaking shake it on stage. Speaking of which, she’s shaking it all this time for THE IDOLM@STER and such. OK, she’s a lot more serious for Mythmaker but unfortunately I can only see her back for this one, for the most part.

07. Visionary (Asapon)

OK this is where things begin to click in my head about “hey they WILL play every song I like…right?” Which is kind of no surprise given most of the songs I like are relatively recent–the Shiny TV games are a new/current thing after all, and Visionary is a part of that, despite being over a year since they first performed it. Solo version of Visionary works well with Asapon, it’s not the best version but I’ll take what I can get here.

08. Otome yo Taishi wo Dake!! (Eriko)

I wasn’t sure if she’s going to do this song or something else, but I’m glad that they choose this one. Because it’s 1000% better with FLAGS. When she bust out the flags with the dancers I was like LOLOLOLOL YES.

Man, I want to wave around little flags too. Also, this is somewhat of a classic Eriko track now, so it’s always good to see it perform live for my first IM@S live. Feel the calls rumble in moonrune lines I don’t remember, and all that jazz. I guess I will have to learn the calls for this for the next Eriko live I attend.

After the song and flag, Eriko introduces the “theme” for M@STER OF IDOL WORLD which is something about connections, as in, now they will chain in ML and CG idols connected by themes or just by the songs they do. Or Scamco trying to connect your 765Pro All Stars spending to ML/CG spending. Doesn’t matter, this is a cool collab in the way that collabs can be. Given the options I would probably prefer ML/CG performers do 765Pro songs after all…

09. The world is all one!! (Eriko, Yamazaki Haruka, Hashii)

This is a classic piece, and it’s too bad it’s all taking place on center stage! I think I could see Haruka’s face at an angle. Oh well.

It also begins the Cinderella Girls portion of the concert.

10. Atashi Ponkotsu Android (Hasshi, Matsuzaki Rei)

The dance to this song is pretty cool. It’s not fancy but it’s cute….which matches the whole Cute CG girl group thing. The calls are fun too. Probably why I have a pretty positive impression of CG performers overall. It’s a good first song.

11. TOKIMEKI Escalate (Yoshimura Haruka)

It’s not a bad song live, but it didn’t stand up to the practice listening so it kind of just came and went. I was also way out of my elements in terms of calls here so I was paying more attention to that.

12. Marshmellow☆Kiss (Matsuzaki Rei)

It’s marshmellow hoppe? Whatever. Way too cute vocally. Imagine this woman plays Nagahide from Oda Nobuna! Man. On the other hand, it was far from the most jarring match. She looks like she can pull this off.

13. Mitsuboshi ☆☆★ (Hara Sayuri)

This song is pretty fun in a live setting, and the crowd comes alive somewhat more so now with a lighter song. Sayuri Haya is pretty solid here.

It’s a good point in the set list that the CGs called for reinforcement too, so this Hara did exactly that.

As an aside, all the “benkyou” paid off as I’ve gotten familiar with all those CG songs so far! Pretty good for someone who hasn’t paid them much thought besides some of the voice actresses themselves.

14. MEGARE! (Akki, Machico, Hara Sayuri)

Continuing the theme about being connected, we have our second collab 765Pro song. Thankfully it’s one I have a soft spot for, because the lyrics are so luls! And the calls are fun! I had a blast doing this one and I’m not even sure if who was on the vocals mattered much. I think for the most part Machico did a good job, Hara Sayuri is vocally not too far from Akki and you can count on Akki as always.

Just as a note, the performances tend to happen either all in the center stage or all on the main stage. A few involves walking between them, and a few more take place on the cat walk. For the most part, the CG/ML sets happen back-to-back between the main stage and the center stage. You’d get a song that finishes in the main stage, things go dark, and the light pops out on the center, for example. And it would alternate.

15. Blue Symphony  (Tadokoro Azusa, Amamiya Sora, Fujii Yukiyo, Machico)

This was probably the one ML song that really wowed me on Day One. Very cool with all the blue penlights going up, and the four-player dance works well in the center stage. It already is a remarkable piece of music and the visuals just add to that. I remembered it as one of the more interesting LTP songs while studying for the show.

This also marks the beginning of the ML section. CG and ML girls will get another round after the intermission.

16. Liar, Rouge (Amamiya Sora)

After the MC, Amamiya took center stage with this piece. This is another “cool” song and follows up well to Blue Symphony. I guess that’s how they arranged things… I enjoyed it a lot although probably because more due to the music (which is unusual for IM@S w).

17. Ryuuseigun (Aimi)

This is an idol live, right? So when Aimi walks up to the main stage all by herself before the light popped up from stage left I could remember it well, because it’s so striking. It was also close by (hey). Especially with the guitar she was lugging. When the light comes on it was a rather awesome visual. It’s just her, a guitar and a mic stand. Out from the speakers come something that sounds like nano.Ripe. LOL.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally loved it. It was also a nice break–something I can actually rock to. It was also kind of amusing that she kind of just waltzes in and out as if she’s got nothing to do with the rest of the show (Aimi does show up for a couple collabs later). If you’ve seen her solo live, you know what’s up with her deal.

18. PRETTY DREAMER (Yamazaki Haruka, Yuiton, Natsukawa Shiina)

Having seen Natsukawa and Watanabe at the theater screening the week before, it’s a welcome sight to see them again. In retrospect, I guess Nu could’ve joined this group.

The song is a nice change of pace too, since Ryuuseigun kind of stood out too much. PRETTY DREAMER is back to the usual idol nonsense and its fun-to-do calls. YES x3’s and those bridging measures that has an anthem-like hook to them.

PRETTY DREAMER also marks the end of the first ML segment. Back to 765Pro!

19. Alright (Azumin)

She’s gotten better at this, but I haven’t seen 8th yet so I have no way to really compare. What else can I say? It’s a Yukiho oldie, and she really let it go on the center stage–which means I watched her back the whole time.

20. Jitensha (Hirorin)

Now this I didn’t quite expect. I suppose given that Hirata did just return to lives with this one, sticking to the tried and true is somewhat expected. But it’s such an old piece! She casually drops a “tadaima” in the first instrumental interlude to our cheers. Also, you can’t yell 好きだよ loud enough for this song. Oh man the crowd was nuts, second only to Ippai Ippai.

How does Hirorin look after her maternity leave? Pretty close to before if I say so. I’ll keep my kimoi detail comments to myself LOL.

She’s also on the center stage for this, so it sure is weird yelling it at her back.

21. edeN (Akki)

The solo version of the rocking Shiny Festa piece is now something I expected given Asapon’s solo earlier. I have to say it isn’t too bad, because this is one of the songs that will get more power the more vocalists you throw at it. Should expect nothing less at the possibly most all-around skilled performer in 765Pro. The dancing was pretty nice too, in Akki’s usual relaxed ways.

22. Jibun REST@RT (Harami, Mingosu, Asapon, Nunu)

Time to break out the UOs for Jibun REST@RT. Sure, it’s still just 4-players, but full Jist@rt is full of awesome calls and full house of UOs.

I think by this point I was hyped and ready for anything, because there just aren’t much left I want to hear.

At the end of this we got a MC by the Jibun REST@RT team. They stood at the center stage and gave us instructions on getting a drink, etc. We did air kanpai with Nunu and Haramii. Well, we had drinks and they didn’t. You got the clue that the medley is up next.

Saitama Super Arena Special Medley (23-35)

Before I get into each one, for the medley the entire team (CG/ML/765Pro All Stars) are in play. From what I can tell afterwards, the performers are divided into three groups. One group hid around the main stage. Another group hid around the catwalk. The last group operated out of the center stage. The songs they performed for the medley are just the game-size cuts of the songs, which are longer than the Yokohama Arena versions of some of these songs. Each piece is actually performed by a set of idols, and there’s some switching around as you can see by the performer list. The music didn’t stop the entire time when the medley is going.

This is the best IM@S medley ever, by the way. Only to be surpassed by day 2’s, although not that I would know at the time.

23. Kiramekirari (Mayachon, Kugyuu, Yamazaki Haruka, Matsuzaki Rei)

I wasn’t sure what is more exciting: the fact that we’re witnessing a Kiramekirari with Mayachon, that Kugyuu is involved in Kiramekirari, or that this is four-player medley version. It probably saved some people the extra UO for mid-song refueling because it’s the game-size version. I was just LOLzing the whole time. The calls are oh so fun with this one too.

24. LO♥VE♥LY♥ (Chiaking, Yuiton, Yoshimura Haruka)

As if I didn’t LOL enough, this version of LOVELY is so hilarious with Yuiton and Yoshimura Haruka trying to match Chiaking. I mean, I was literally laughing out loud when they popped up. This is the most hilarious version of the song yet, and all thanks to the ML/CG girls. The song took place on center stage and the girls faced forward, so I can’t tell how awkward it must’ve been trying to pull all those signature upper-body moves off.

BONUS: Post-concert tweet

25. Watashi wa Idol ♥ (Eriko, Azumin, Juri, Machico)

I don’t feel either way about this song besides that I love the forehead beam move, which they did. Machico fits right in with the 765Pro girls. This song took place on main stage.

26. Agent Yoru o Yuku (Hirorin, Asapon, Aoki Ruriko)

Not a huge fan of this song (shame on this Makoto P) but it’s a lot of fun to sing with the crowd. Doubly so when the three of them performed it on the catwalk, so I got front and center, up-close view of all three of them. Asapon sure was shining! I suppose this is another “want to hear” song checked off!

Thanks to years of listening to the Nico medley I can actually follow along with the calls on this one.

27. arcadia (Mingosu, Akki, Sora Amamiya)

Every Chihaya P broke out on this one. It’s also a good vocal mix between the three of them. On main stage. A really awesome song in the live setting.

28. Alice or Guilty (Nunu, Chiaking, Aimi, Fukuhara Ayaka)

Everyone went “OOOH” as green lights came on. Great “cool” song by team “cool” of Day One. It’s kind of funny how Day Two topped this, but we’ll talk about it then… The four girls performed in the same general setup as Blue Symphony, with one girl handling one corner of the center stage. Nunu is for sure a lock for this song, which is more than I can say about King and Aimi because they are on the far end. No complaints about Fukuhara Ayaka besides that she definitely looks a little out of it, can’t blame her at this point LOL.

29. “HELLO!!” (Harami, Natsukawa Shiina, Hasshi)

The token 876 song was used in the movie, so it wasn’t a surprise to hear it here. Little did we know… The team did their thing from the main stage.

After HELLO, the words begin to show up on the screens, Azumin and Akki told us to sing along.

30. GO MY WAY!! (Azumin, Akki, Mocho, Tadokoro Azusa)

Mocho! The girls walked around for this, but ended up mostly on the main stage I think. The calls for this song was frantic but fun. People sang along down in the pits.

I was too frantically moving about to really bask in the moment, but I can now imagine how this is like a few years ago… Next!

31. Machiuke Prince (Kugyuu, Hirorin, Fujii Yukiyo)

This is THE SONG I wanted to hear and a significant reason why I wanted to see this show, why I flew across the globe. I don’t know how many people bought Shiny TV DLCs and attended this concert, but man, Kugyuu and Hirorin on Prince is like, jackpot. They even performed it on the catwalk which means I get front and center view of the three of them.

Unfortunately it’s still the game-cut size, but I’ll take what I can. They’ve got the lyrics on the screen but the calls for this songs are as English-friendly as it gets “YEAH! FUWA FUWA FUWA FUWA” I think I ended up doing the monkey half of the time on this song during day one. Anyway, I had a blast and burned a UO on this. Prince has to be the best idol-style piece 765Pro’s got in recent memory.

The bridge stanza went: Hirorin, Kugyuu, and Fujii sang Haruka’s “usotsuki.” It was delicious seiyuu work w. Actually, I’m pretty sure I kind of “lost it” during this song on day one, so most of my recollection is mashed up between days one and two here. By “lost it” I mean I think I was just high or something, so my senses kind of got both hyper and dulled at the same time? Anyway, there’s only so much you can internalize in a minute and a half! I was definitely way more prepared for day two (to the extent of actually looking forward to it during the medley).

32. i (Mingosu, Asapon, Kido Ibuki, Hara Sayuri)

For the first 30 seconds of this song I was recovering from Prince. It’s a good choice to tone things down a little for the medley, because going straight into Ippai Ippai from Prince would cause some serious damage. The group performed on the main stage, which also makes me feel like I can slack off a little, being behind the performance.

But, hey, that’s Ibuki Kido! I waved at her pretty hard because she’s actually working the corner nearest me. I think.

33. Ippai Ippai (Mayachan, Harami)

This was deadly. In fact the impression for this song was so strong that it stayed with me pretty much throughout Day One as the most impressive performance. And it isn’t even because Haramii or Mayochon did a great job (they did). Ippai Ippai is already the most call-friendly and call-intensive IM@S song, but now they’ve added glasses to the two of my top tier 765Pro all stars (visually speaking)? It would be a different story if it was Azumin or Mingosu, but man, Mayochon with glasses is something else. Haramii with glasses while biting underlip is simply deadly. That said, there were other options that could be just as potent. Eriko comes to mind. Or a ML. But I’m glad they did it this way. If the 765Pro medley made this Blu-ray a must-buy, this is the act that makes Day One’s medley a winner.

Oh, right, and there was Ippai Ippai. The song is a great song for calls and everyone gets super into it. Whipping out our Ritsuko penlights, Ippai’in and Zettai’in away the night. Too bad it’s the game size version!

One more factor: Mayochon and Haramii performed this on the ends of the main stage, which means I was like 15-20 meters from Haramii’s glasses. LOL. Too bad I can barely make out Mayachan without the projection screen.

34. Vault That Borderline! (Nunu, Eriko, Miku Itou)

It doesn’t take much to recall that Miku Itou is a StylipS. She is literally small and cute. On stage though she’s just as big as everyone. Nu and Eriko were positively shining along side. It’s a song that requires some on-stage presence to pull off, so the three of them are a fit. They appeared on main stage center.

Nunu singing this song…also kind of crosses over? She’s a Funky Note character! Not that I was complaining, it added a level of power to the song that balanced out the high-pitched little girls.

35. Sora (Juri…and everyone)

You wouldn’t know this is the last song of the medley because Juri just stands on center stage as if she owns it. Being the one song she performs all the time, she’s gotten quite good at it, I think.

The special thing about the medley version is that during the second verse, everyone else got on stage and once the chorus kicks in, the lights came on and everyone sang along. It’s beautiful. Of course and then you know it’s the end…the end of probably the best part of the show on Day One.

After Sora, the idols bow and exits the stage. Shacho comes on the screen and gives us the intermission talk. Trailer videos then come on.

Intermission 

If you’ve been keeping tabs, you know we’re more than half-way through the content of the show. The intermission ran about 10 minutes and they showed a bunch of teasers about the upcoming ML/CG live events. Of course, everyone did calls for the songs for the old trailers too. I parked my butt in my seat and rested my feet.

I didn’t jump much at all during the show (no space) but standing in tight quarters while waving your arms all this time is a strain.

36. Onegai! Cinderella (Fukuhara Ayaka, Matsuzaki Rei, Yoshimura Haruka, Hasshi, Aoki Ruriko, Hara Sayuri)

I don’t recall exactly how, but I think a bunch of people got up on stage (like a bunch of ML people) and they had some basic MC that leads into…Onegai! Cinderella. They performed this on the main stage. People generally got their UOs on for this one but also a variety of other colors like the other team songs.

Well, you’ve seen the video? It’s like that but with just six people. The calls are fun but trickier than expected.

37. Orange Sapphire (Hara Sayuri, Yoshimura Haruka)

More CG! Just what I want…wait. Orange Sapphire is actually a really neat song that would befit UOs. I just didn’t want to blow it without knowing what happens later on in the show. PASSION!

If Haruka and Sayuri are saving CG, they’re doing it right, here.

38. Nation Blue (Aoki Ruriko and Fukuhara Ayaka)

I didn’t really know (and still don’t) Aoki Ruriko from anything. (I even watched Gen’ei Taiyou FWIW.) I do at least know and seen pictures of Fukuhara Ayaka. So it’s nice to finally get to see her in a pretty nice set, or at least not at her back during the medley. I like all the “Blue” songs, they sounded nice live. It’s right around here I’m beginning to “coast” from built-up fatigue of the day so I don’t have a lot to say about them.

39. Twilight Sky (Aoki Ruriko)

The song is okay. It’s kind of rocking but the delivery is too idol pop to power it fully. A nice piece. I can see it grow on me if I tried… Sigh.

40. S(mile) ING! (Hasshi)

It’s a light and cute pop song. Honestly? It kind of just came and went. I don’t remember a lot of it besides that it’s HASSHIIIII. I think it’s the calls…they’re all not dissimilar with each other. So after a while it blends.

41. Never say never (Fukuhara Ayaka)

This is Rin’s song…and it’s one of the very few CG songs I know ahead of time. I guess because I don’t play CG or otherwise look up CG stuff I don’t have a clue how Fukuhara’s voice integrates into the character, or even how Rin sounds like in a speaking sort of way. I mean you understand it because her character archetype is pretty obvious, and after all she is quite popular out of the CG bunch.

For calls and such, this feels like a proper anison seiyuu image track. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, LOL. I guess it’s nicer live than I imagined.

42. MUSIC♪ (Mingosu, Fukuhara Ayaka, Koroazu)

Hey, it’s the mandatory Mingosu service song. But it’s a little bit of a surprise that MUSIC would be the one. It’s all too fitting in retrospect.

Team Blue CG/ML/765 comes on pretty well in this rendition. The song is already pretty good to begin with and I can safely say nobody on this team butchers it. Even if she’s still pretty new, Tadakoro Azusa is a known quality to me thanks to the twitter seiwota guys and various tumblrs. Also, Fino. Funny thing is, even if she appeared on stage a few times already by this point, I didn’t get a good look at her until this, as the performers were at the middle of the main stage. Same with Mingosu, because she’s kind of front and center for most of the other songs, and instead she’s on my near side of the stage here. And if she walked near me, I probably couldn’t pick her face out of the dozen that were also near me during one of their parade-bys.

43. After School Party Time (Mingosu, Fujii Yukiyo)

This is one of the few songs that stuck from my studying, because the chorus is catchy and the English delivery is pretty good. Mingosu only sang the first part of this song and she disappeared? I couldn’t quite tell but I think she just went downstairs. Must be after the rapping part. I do like how the style of the song breaks calls down so you can freestyle half of it.

Pretty good performance by Fujii.

44. Happy Darling (Natsukawa Shiina)

This is another pretty remarkable song when I was studying. It’s just denpa enough and just pop enough for my tastes, and it’s got that same hook in the chorus After School Party Time had, actually. The calls are fun, and Natsukawa did a good enough job. Thinking back, both this and the song before are two pieces that made Day One special in its own way. Given my very, very low levels of character associations with these ML girls they didn’t pull on me as much as the people on Day Two, I suppose, but now I look forward to seeing it on Blu-ray!

What’s Natsukawa’s nickname anyway? I heard it a bunch of times but it never stuck (I mean, at the stage greeting people were yelling it a bunch of times).

45. Toumei no Prologue (Itou Miku)

さすが StylipS.

I mean, small and cute, this one. Do they have a mold that they pop these people out from or what. More seriously though, she gave off a different aura, that stage presence, while performing than when I saw her at the theater greeting. She’s got what it takes to make a dent in the industry and I’ll definitely mark this new Lantis recruit for follow-up.

46. Sentimental Venus (Kugyuu, Mocho, Kido Ibuki, Itou Miku, Aimi)

It’s times like this I’m both glad and sad about not being into LTP. This Pink song is definitely god-tier if you are into 2.5Ds in general. I mean, it’s freaking Kugyuu and team cute seiyuu of class of 2013 right here doing a collab. The song itself is okay, perhaps even remarkable, but this make up is god-tier. Here is where the SSA arena seat roulette luck giveth and taketh, because my seat was definitely not ideal, even if they performed it starting from the main stage. Well, I can’t complain, I got a good look at everyone even if it’s kind of a sideways view of the actual performance.

Still can’t quite get over how this is exactly god-tier cute seiyuu music performance is like–all show and little oomph. I mean that in the most polite and respectable way, and it’s fun to see Aimi in a cute song for once.

At the end of this song there’s this symbolic … stage thing where the four girls do a “send off” from the main stage and Kugyuu alone walks into the spotlight on the main stage. Cute and cool and all thematically 繋 and what not, but it’s also a moment where I can take a break LOL. Remember even outside the medley, the performances have at most a 5- to 10-second gap.

47. my song (Kugyuu)

Buckets of Kugyuubyou tears. She did it on the center stage so I couldn’t really get a good look. She seems definitely less timid and a lot more animated than earlier shows on BD. Granted I haven’t watched 8th at that point…

I’ll let the other English-blogging Ps speak on My Song for day 1. For me day 2 version was simply better because of the seating.

48. Tick Tock (Mayachan)

A giant clock pendulum appears.

Let me take this opportunity to talk about the screen setup at the SSA. This is the arena 2 configuration, which means one end of SSA is the main stage and behind the stage is the setup area/merch sales area. The main screen behind the main stage usually shows the background graphics, or the camera feed. There’s a camera feed up high above the main stage area to the corners. There are two more screens up by the opposite corners up top. There’s also the main screen setup, which shows 3 screens of camera feeds to the nosebleed sections, left, right and forward.

The main screen only shows the background graphics for songs that have them, or for performances that has a sensible backdrop. Which is not always sensible sometimes… But for this it was nice, a giant grandfatherly clock.

Anyway, Mayachan busting out this Smoky Thrill c/w track is a surprise to say the least, although if history is any indication they’ve been prone to do random c/w tracks since Anim@s. I certainly didn’t know the song beyond a vague familiarity. Well it’s new enough that I had to be familiar with (as an anim@s P). It’s also kind of interesting to hear this solo. And it’s a slow song for Mayachan. All of these are unusual elements in my opinion, but it’s very nice nonetheless. I would say Nigo knocked it out of the park other than that the other solo ballads are also great. Like the next three.

It’s just that this one looked the neatest because of the backdrop, and the sea of oranges.

49. Koihana (Harami)

Fitting for Haramii to use her latest LTP song here. From volume 10, it post-dates my benkyou files orz. The date on the youtube video below tells you when it’s released… Not a big deal I suppose, beause for ballads it’s all easy: match color, upward movement.

It’s a beautiful song and Haramii’s performance sure has leveled up. Definitely knocked it out of there. Maybe because this is a lot less involved than Kazahana or something? This is the Takane you all know, folks. It’s a great way to listen to this song for the first time LOL.

Also, is Koihana even the right romanization LOL I guess Project IM@S thinks so.

50. Kimi ga Erabu Michi (Juri)

IMO this is god-tier ballad in IM@S-ness, and IM@S is full of ballads. Also another example of where Juri did much better on day two than day one. It’s also one of the songs I wanted to hear during the live, expected to hear it, and got it in the heart of “ballad row” because they group all these songs together for some reason. A really lovely piece that also fits Juri to a tee.

51. Yakusoku (Mingosu)

Anim@s Ps, ready your hanky?

Gosh, Mingosu almost lost it on both days if my eyes weren’t tricking me. I almost lost it on day one, too. But this is not even close to how badly losing it means for Day Two. I mean, just read on LOL.

That said, I think this is as good as Mingosu gets as god-tier. Your mileage will vary but as someone who’s never gotten on that bandwagon and have no inclination of doing so, I really thought she did a good job here.

52.Thank You! (Million Stars)

This is actually the first real ML song, and ironically it was “the thing” that I first really know ML with, back last year when the first LTP CD was on sale. I was in Japan the Saturday they had that first LTP event no less. Guess I knew I was going to a better IM@S live 10 months later. But yes, it’s a nice song to hear from the Million Stars, it being “their” song. And it sounds kind of close to the CD version. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of feels for the girls individually, just the music in general (again!).

They were mostly on center stage and walked back to the main stage to exit towards the end of the song. I think they got off towards the end of the catwalk, or the middle, depending on where they were positioned.

Towards the last part of the song, the 765Pro girls are all standing on stage in the dark. If you had the right 200 (or higher) level seats, you can see the singer position themselves for each song, because there are basically no breaks in between them. And it can be kind of amusing. They aren’t even hiding that with this one. Given my proximity to the main stage that was kind of a distraction w.

53. M@STERPIECE (765Pro All Stars…plus CG/ML)

Honestly how can I explain this without spoiling the movie? So let me just say that this song is great, and everyone did the dance during the chorus. This is so overwhelming because everyone was on stage, so I’ll savor it more once it goes on BD. I suppose I had a better view of it on day two, but there’s like 35+ people on stage OTL. I figured out you have to burn a UO for this, or two, because how else can you form a V with an odd number of penlights?

People flubbed on the calls on this anyway, but I think the main one to catch on are the two Fwuu’s after the PEACE.

Yeah, the 765Pro girls sang, and they were mostly in the center stage as they walked up to it from the back, while waving at us. SPOILER SPOILER the SPOILER.

54. IDOL POWER RAINBOW (Everybody)

This was the “encore” song even though we didn’t have an encore. There are at least one underaged voice actor in both days’ lives, so they basically pull the plug maybe quarter to ten. People under 18 can’t work past 10pm! This is a commonplace law even in the US, so yeah.

The CG and ML idols are stationed by the stage and catwalk, the 765Pro girls at the center stage, at the start. Then they basically go in a circle until they return to place.

This song is pretty okay. Fewer people know it because it’s only available on iTunes only. It’s not a very fast song and it has simple hooks, but I can see it expand into something more dangerous.

Concert Wrap-up, Day One

After IPR people toured the stage and waved hard. The CGs then cull away from the mass of performers waving and regrouped at the main stage to do their curtain call. Then the MLs. The 765pro girls took their sweet time, but they too walked off the main stage at the end.

Immediately after this Shacho siloette popped up and says no encore, basically, and we did the clap. Then the 10x clap. I hi-10’d a P, talked to that Miki P next to me briefly, and went home.

I was filled with the feeling that I can’t wait to do this all over again… And see Haramii in glasses LOL.

In reality what we did is have unofficial offkai with the “059Pro” Ps at a diner right off of Saitama Shintoshin station. Since some of us stayed at Omiya (in retrospect that’s probably not the best call unless you are goods obsessed or all together, and even then you better have a bicycle or something!) we split up into an Omiya table and a Tokyo table, where Tokyo table seated first. I guess this is where the “Japan kinda shuts down after 10pm” thing kind of sucks. You gotta book a izakaya if you have a large group (which means you need to know your headcount ahead of time) and only for a couple hours (until last train). 24-hour places can’t accommodate groups greater than 4 well. Hung out with @paranda_update’s JP friends! Not gonna drop everyone’s twitter handles here but we had a quick debrief and talked about Non Non Biyori.

If I had to do it again, all the people I hang with should stay in the same approximate area. This way you can at least train back to your station, crash a 24-hr food or karaoke place if the option is there, and walk home.

DAY TWO

Since I only went to SSA for the show and barely got there with time to spare, let’s just get into it. I’ll go into details as I talk about the songs. I name carded the people next to me this time, before it began. Yay?

The changes between days one and two…I already highlighted some key things in my mind, but there are many. I will try to recall as many as I can, at least the major ones.

And it starts off like this. Instead of the Shacho video telling you to not be a meiwaku, we have a Puchim@s tie-in, where P-head shows us what not to do. I think I cracked when P-head actually did the camera head transformation. If you enjoy Puchim@s, this is a must-see. I guess it’s nice that they animated a 2-minute segment that sums up as a Puchim@s S2 advertisement. Why did they only show it on day two is anybody’s guess.

The show begins! Again!

01. THE IDOLM@STER (Everyone)

Nothing really to add here, besides that I’m really enjoying my 200 level seats. It’s 12th row from the front and 3 seats left of dead center. My knee is basically eye level with the performer, so I can’t really ask for much more. By the way, this is the ticket I won with the first lottery (BEST & GRE@TEST volume 2). Just taking the opportunity to wave at people at the front of center stage (which is dominated by 765Pro girls, yay) and checking out the various displays. Given how crowded it was, I can’t really see who was on the catwalk during the song.

02 READY!! (765Pro All Stars)

Knowing Ready & Change are coming back to back I contemplated busting out a UO or so, but knew I probably save it for more important songs. Turned out to be a wise choice. I had 9 to burn through for this show (only used 5 the day before because I was being very conservative) and given how hard it is to buy UOs during that weekend maybe that was for the best for all these reasons.

Well, everyone’s L@DY and the calls are so natural now. Voting this song for animusic tourney everrry tourney.

03. CHANGE!!! (Eriko, Chiaking, Mayachan, Azumin)

I think this is the same group that did it on Day One. Just enjoying the OP song I like more from Anim@S, and seeing the patches of UOs as other Ps agree (as well on day 1, actually). I said it before but wielding 6 lights is way easier than 13, so was switching it to the right colors. I guess if I had more prep I could have set up my lights on the bandolier for easier access for this specific song. All of this gave me more time to enjoy the show.

ONE TWO THREE!!!!

04. Lime-iro Seishun (Kugyuu, Hirorin, Akki, Juri)

Giving people who didn’t have their Kugyuu and Hirorin quota from  yesterday their fill. At this point the performers are way far away because they’re on the sides of the main stage, but whatever, no jelly here because I was there yesterday~

05. Rebellion (Nu)

Same deal as Day One, but she’s on center stage so I got a real good look. Helps that I kind of know the song now LOL.

06. Mythmaker (Chiaking)

That shaking! I approve. Classy yet…kind of not at the same time.

07. Visionary (Asapon)

Actually can see how the backup dancers work for this song. I love this seat but also kind of miss the proximity to the stage. Barely can make out Asapon’s face from the main stage.

08. Otome yo Taishi wo Dake!! (Eriko)

Flags are more impressive when you can see it in formation. Also helps she walks up to the center stage during the bridge. This song is always a lot of fun, isn’t it.

09. The world is all one!! (Eriko, Yamazaki Haruka, Hashii)

Same deal as Day One, where Eriko explains the theme of connectedness. Eriko, Hashii and Yamazaki Haruka does the hand-in-hand move! Yay I can see stuff.

10. PRETTY DREAMER (Yamazaki Haruka, Yuiton)

So here the differences are showing. Natsukawa’s absence didn’t make this song less ML-y but second time around the song and call just don’t get in the way as much, it comes naturally so I can enjoy … just two out of three.

11. Tokimeki no Onpu ni Natte (Mocho)

MOCHOOOOOO. Definitely called that at the end. I guess at singing and dancing, she’s not that special compared to the others, but it’s heartfelt.

12. Original Koe ni Natte (Kido Ibuki)

Ibuki-chaaaaaan. Definitely called that too. A light and fuwafuwa piece of music. The backdrop screen really works well here, and I’m positioned to enjoy it for once.

On stage, Kido definitely looks like a newbie seiyuu compared to her better-trained cohorts. But what can I say? This song is rather fitting! She has this pretty hard-boiled expression which contrasts a bit with her body language. I think it adds to the overall moe factor.

13. Blue Symphony (Machico, Koroazu)

The two-player version of the song is still pretty good, but it’s clearly lacking a bit compared to the four-player version. They also performed it on the main stage this time, which is nice if you … were in arena seats. I guess you can’t win every time.

14. MEGARE (Akki, Machiko, Hara Sayuri)

It’s a lot more fun when you can properly see the dance to this, and being my first time seeing this it’s kind of neat, versus watching it on BD all this time before. It’s also easy to shine when Akki has done this for a while compared to the other two. It’s kind of a tricky thing, because while this song was done on the main stage, it’s way too far to see clearly by eye from where I sat on day 2, so I relied on the screen a lot while paying attention to my peripheral vision at the same time. On day one, I can barely see Aki (and I think Machiko was on my side?) so it wasn’t the ideal case either.

Something to look forward to on BD, again.

15. Orange Sapphire (Hara Sayuri, Yoshimura Haruka, Miyake Marie, Yamamoto Nozomi)

I enjoyed this song from day one, and was trying to remember all the calls. Nope, it doesn’t work just like that. I did realize half of the people performing this song wasn’t here the day before, so I tried to pay attention to them. Nope, doesn’t work either; too busying screaming PASSION and they did the four corner things at center stage, which means I barely see two of them.

Still a fun song though. I hope y’all going to the CG live in April go all out on this one.

16. Anzu no Uta (Igarashi Hiromi)

I’ve always got the idea that some voices behind the CG girls are actually pretty good at this live stage stuff. Igarashi is one of such. Why? Now that I’m putting this into words I’m not sure what gave me that first impression. This Hokkaido native however does pull off one hella Mayday call. I have to say Anzu no Uta turned out to be one of my top songs of the night. Part of it is because the song is just great to do calls with, but also her performance is just a lot of fun all throughout. If you know the song, it’s got a lot of speaking parts, and it came out really well in the live.

17. Onedari Shall We~? (Takamori Natsumi)

It’s a nice song to go after Anzu no Uta, let’s just say that much. It’s super cute with all the cat motion. It’s performed at the main stage so I miss out on close-up actions, but Takamori worked the two sides to good effects during the bridge. I certainly remember how the dance go more so than the song, LOL. I think the backup dancers all had cat ears?

18. Marchen Debut! (Miyake Marie)

USAMIIIIII. So it goes from NEET to Cat to UFO. Okay. This is another song that sounded really good and is on my benkyo list, so I can follow along, but not so much the calls. This song is crank full of sugar that I didn’t think it was hard to follow along either, and it’s a lot of fun to wave around to the music. Ichi Ni Nana LOL.

The dance and motion are pretty okay, but somehow I must’ve blanked out during this song or something because I don’t remember much from this one.

19. ALRIGHT* (Azumin)

OKAY! A 765Pro song to restore order, because this crazy-butt CG music was only fun for so long. Little did we know this version of ALRIGHT* is so powerful because Azumin teared up for a good chunk of the second stanza. In fact, she was on the edge of it in the first stanza. Needless to say everyone called out her name during that giant gap. I sure did because her half-tearing, half-happy face is so compelling!

I really loved this rendition, despite the gap. It’s really heartfelt.

20. Jitensha (Hirorin)

I was totally ready for this, because ALRIGHT* was the cue. So I burned four UOs for this. Regret it zero bits. Screamed like no tomorrow. Hirorin did the same calls on day one here, with the tadaima bit. This time I was actually farther than I was on day one but I got to see her front the whole time, LOL.

Ahh. Felt so good.

21. edeN (Akki)

Just like the day before, perhaps even more awesome because I have a front view LOL. She did a lot of it on the main stage, so I guess it’s a bit of a trade off due to distance. BD please!

Man, I forgot how cool the full version is.

22. Jibun REST@RT (Mingosu, Harami, Shimoda, Nu)

I think I was eyeing lasers at Harami and Mingosu the whole time, because they’re in front of the center stage. Really got a good look at both of them here. But hell, this song is awesome and still one of my top piece. Only more awesome if full group encore situation, but this is well worth the 2 UOs.

After this, we get to air kanpai everyone as Harami lead the toast while Nu leads the MC. Yes, we know she drinks a lot of water. Did you know Harami drinks a lot of water? Her skin shows.

Day Two Medley

Surprise, surprise… The thing with the medley is that I know what’s on the menu, so I can quickly prepare for each next song because I can anticipate them now. That helped a lot.

23. Kiramekirari (Mayachan, Kugyuu, Haruka Yamazaki, Rei Matsuzaki)

Immediately going into high tension UO mode, right?

24.  LO♥VE♥LY♥ (Chiaking, Yuiton, Haruka Yoshimura)

This one is not as hilariously “mismatched” as day one’s but it’s still pretty fun. I actually was able to spot Yuiton here but why would I not look at Chiaking the whole time LOL. Yeah, even if it’s the same people.

Also, because I got a good view of this on day two I get why these three are doing this song. They are probably the cutest CG/ML girls! Yuiton looked great in this getup.

25. Watashi wa Idol♥ (Eriko, Azumin, Juri, Machico)

Oldie but a goodie. Works well with these four. Actually this is the kind of song I want to hear an all-CG or all-ML cover for. Totally watched for everyone’s deko beams w.

26. Angent Yoru o Yuku (Hirorin, Asapon, Aoki Ruriko)

I was a little surprised to see Aoki Ruriko again but then I guess she’s here both days? I’m not good enough with everyone’s faces to check for them during The Idolm@ster. Anyways, this one everyone sang along basically, so it was a lot of fun. I also noticed that they do a little dance for this one on center stage that you can only see from the front, even if the rest of the time they’re facing to the left or right.

27. arcadia (Mingosu, Akki, Kurosawa Tomoyo)

Everybody JOJO nau?

Like day one, the three of them powered through the song. I would think the song works great with just Mingosu and Akki, the youngling (Kurosawa is born 4/10/1996, which makes her still 17 years old, or a few months older than Natsukawa Shiina) felt like she was just tagging along for the ride, but she definitely has the moves.

28. Alice or Guilty (Nu, Chiaking, Fukuhara Ayaka, Miyake Marie)

I think I prefer day one’s config more, but Nunu definitely was channeling her Mingosu Jojo pose powers here, more so than day one. The vocal content is a little less squeaky too, but nonetheless it just contrasts with Jupiter’s version too much that I still chuckle at it.

I went full green tard on this anyway, because this is just such a treat and I was prepared. LITTLE DID I KNOW!

29. HELLO!! (Tomatsu Haruka)

OMG OMGOMGOMGOMGOMOGMOGMOGOGMOG.

When the light came on from the main stage I was not quite sure what the hell was going on, other than that we have a new person. And would else could it have been? Haruka Tomatsu has a very recognizable profile because her body proportions are really weird. She walked up with the backup dancers across the cat walk and then I was like, OMG it’s the REAL DEAL. As if the recognizable face on the jumbotron hasn’t confirmed it, anyway. In day one the three girls just did Hello from the main stage but I think Harukas did something slightly different and ended back in the rear stage. I just know I didn’t get a good look at her at this point, because she’s all the way back.

But yeah, HARUKAZZ representing! I think we all busted out UOs where we were.

30. GO MY WAY!! (Azumin, Akki, Harami, Mocho, Hasshi, Koroazu, Takamori Natsumi)

As per day one they started doing song lyrics on the projection screens, so we sang along. I think I was still half in shock from Tomato’s sudden appearance. The call pace for GO MY WAY is pretty steady and relatively fast, so that kept me going. Also I was obviously looking forward the other song I’m going to UO…

31. Machiuke Prince (Kugyuu, Hirorin, Yamamoto Nozomi)

Fujii Yukiyo was cute (audio and visual) but Yamamoto is someone I’m at least a little familiar with, so this combo was pretty cool. Of course, because this is done on the catwalk I looked at Hirorin’s side the entire time, except when they do the 3-way shift move from the front. Didn’t stop the CHU-WAs! Actually because the main screen is right in my line of sight, this was kind of enjoyable in that I can just look at the screen the whole time (with lyrics). And this song has more English words than Japanese.

Nozofusu did the “Usotsuki” line, as expected.

As a side note, I just watched Patema Inverted the other week, which features Fujii as the lead female.

32. i (Mingosu, Asapon, Kido Ibuki, Hara Sayuri)

This song works pretty well singing along, and the team on the main stage did a pretty routine.

Honestly I’m not sure I recovered from Prince and Harukas at this point. But I had enough wits about to look for that song with the glasses…

33. Ippai Ippai (Mayachan, Harami)

Just like day one. Just as delicious. Got a much better look at Mayachan this time but they are basically at the farthest points of the arena from me so it was a tough watch on the main screen. Mayachan is deadly with glasses.

DAISUKI!

34. Vault That Borderline! (Azumin, Eriko, Igarashi Hiromi)

When I was watching this the second time, I went “wait, isn’t Nu technically a Visionary character”? I guess they broke rank there in 8th, but I didn’t know. This song in the medley form is all too familiar to me, and I think these are the three right people to do it. Eriko stood out for me too, she really “grabs” onto her songs, I think.

35. Sora (Juri, Everybody)

Kind of the secret to this version of Sora is that it’s got Tomatoes in it! But well, you know, the end of the medley version of Sora is just la-la-la kind of a thing so it works well for everyone to join in, and at the same time it’s nothing special. It’s great because you can take a deep breath when Juri comes on while everything blacks out, for that one minute or change until the chorus. And it gives you a moment to appreciate how beautiful everything is.

It’s also beautiful still how everyone shares one of Kotori’s song in this way. LITTLE DID I KNOW what they did later.

Anyway, this song signals the end of the medley and the start of intermissions. Except we got a moment with Eriko and…someone else talking to Tomato right up front. Which is great. Tomato! Then it’s Shacho on screen and time for intermission.

Intermission

As you might have read, they debuted the Side-M trailer here. Everyone cheered for Touma when he came on the screen. I think all true Ps will produce him no problem.

Other than that, it’s the usual stuff. I think they debuted one of the CG master collections there too, not that I was keeping track of things then.

I sat down the whole time. Drank. Got ready. Unwrapped my last and only unused UO, which is the Gami-P stick.

36. Thank You! (Million Stars)

It’s what I expected for the start of the second half based on day one, and it went as expected. No study needed because it’s the one ML song I actually liked from the start. In some ways it’s a connection to my last trip to Japan because they did this song live for the first time when I was there, but I didn’t go to the live as it conflicted with the other Maihama Amphitheater show I attended, LOL.

Anyway, there are fewer ML girls on day 2 than day 1, so the stage is slightly thinner, for better or worse. Not that I had the same view on day one so I couldn’t really tell.

After the song the ML girls did a brief MC about the connection stuff. OK. But then they go right into Onegai Cinderella…?

37. Onegai! Cinderella (Cinderella Girls)

Mou Ikkai!

This song is definitely way more impressive. During the weeks following the live I realized a few things. Like this might be the “biggest” Cinderella Girls ensemble for this song (and a few others maybe) to date. I guess they’ll smash that record when comes April’s first live, but it’s something to cherish.

I mean, this song was pretty awesome, UO worthy, on day two. It’s not to say 6 or whatever many people on Day One wasn’t good but there’s like twice as many, and some really great people doing it on day two. I really liked this version.

It’s also kind of odd how these CG girls just pop up and do these songs and disappear LOL. Because…this song wasn’t suppose to happen yet. Something was afoot, but I didn’t pay it any mind at the time.

38. Romantic Now (Kurosawa Tomoyo)

I’m half tempted to say, like Anzu no Uta, this song is way, way, way better live with a crowd than on record. And the calls are pretty fun. The song is catchy. It just has that same sweet and cute vocal thing like 80% of the other songs in the set list. Well, I wasn’t expecting anything else so that was pretty enjoyable. I guess half the fun was how the calls went.

Tomoyo-chan is a lot better than I expected, definitely the real deal for a 17yo.

39. DOKIDOKI Rhythm (Yamamoto Nozomi)

On my study list, so I learned the song somewhat. But this is the kind of character song that sounds kind of more fun on CD, so the calls have to make up for it.

I think I prefer Mika over Rika, I don’t know. The performance is spot on, that said. I like what she can do, but just not so much this song.

40. Atashi Ponkutsu Android (Hasshi, Matsuzaki Rei, Igarashi Hiromi, Takamori Natsumi)

Okay, this version of Ponkutsu Android is tops. It’s one thing to have all these cute seiyuu music dressed up as arena-style acts, but it’s really hard to do it with the solos unless you got the stage presence. And the song has to help out too.

Atashi Ponkutsu Android is already one of those songs that are cute and can get people riled up, which is uncommon to begin with. Now you put these four to do it? It’s actually surprisingly fun, both in terms of the dance and the singing. The calls are also pretty enjoyable. Definitely better than day one’s.

41. Nation Blue (Aoki Ruriko, Fukuhara Ayaka, Kurosawa Tomoyo)

It might sound like I’m down on CG and ML, and I probably am, but that’s because I haven’t bought into that. And this song is a good example why. I think it’s a great song actually, but none of these three are like Mingosu or Nunu in this department. It’s not for lack of talent either, because I rather like what Tomoyo-chan can do and Aoki Ruriko has what it takes. And not to mention Fukuhara. Maybe it’s just a matter of age and experience? Maybe they need to spend more time with Chiakaing? I don’t know.

Anyways venting aside, I really like Nation Blue, and everything went well, although day one’s version is slightly more preferable actually. With more singers this song harmonizes well.

42. MUSIC♪ (Imai, Koroazu, Fukuhara Ayaka)

Another “connection” MC and as if Nation Blue didn’t cue you in that we’re in the “blue” part of the show, now you know. The thought did come to me that it would be nice if they get all the performers/songs of the same colors out together, LOL.

My notion about this song is basically destroyed after listening to the IDOL OF M@STER WORLD!!2014 album. But it’s safe to say Mingosu’s version is not the worse version, and it’s even better live seeing her waving her long straight black hair around like her fellow 5pb lablemates. It’s like once in a minute she would move in a way that actually makes her look good to me, which is a nice gift. It’s something different for a change, because some of these CG/ML kids look good all the time. I mean, it’s kind of amusing that she pairs up with Koroazu and Fukuhara, which makes Mingosu kind of a midpoint in terms of style?

43. Precious Grain (Koroazu)

Okay song for cute girl trying to do a lot, which is kind of like Shizuka’s thing? Koroazu is really cute. I don’t know, but that’s really the one thing that comes to mind when she does this stuff.

And hopefully that’s not all.

44. Suteki na Kiseki (Yamazaki Haruka)

This is the one song in the show that as it got going, I stood there and went “Okay, I definitely do not know this song.” Which is too bad, not so much that it slipped my study plan, but Yamazaki Haruka does a great job with it. So all I can do is kind of half-follow the calls and pay attention to the music while trying to catch all her moves which is way too much to process. Oh well.

45. Happy☆Lucky☆Jet Machine (Yuiton)

Having seen Yuiton at the theater greeting, and then meeting the one NaoP at A-button the week before, makes her stick out in my mind for some reason. In her stage getup, though, she’s totally idol quality. I like how these Osaka girls (Harami, and this one) have a great sense of acting naturally.

Unfortunately this song is just a typical cute, girly, moderately-fast genki sort of deal. The calls are fun enough, the song is notable for being catchy. But it’s safe to say I’m way more engaged with the motions and the ability to look at Yuiton dance around than the music.

46. Koi no Lesson Shokyuuhen (Machico)

This song is from Team Nekocan. I didn’t know this until after the live, but while studying this song would stick out because it just sounds a little different, and that would explain it. The calls for this song is so cute, though. Too sweet for me, perhaps, but it’s notable how this song sticks for a different reasons than others.

Machico’s sweetness come across very well, but at this point I’m all OD’d on sweets and don’t really recall how she did on stage.

47. Sentimental Venus (Kugyuu, Mocho, Ibuki)

OMG THIS TEAM.

When they showed up I was like….waiiiitttt. The guys on my left went MOCHOOOO and I was like, oh snap, and Ibuki. Some old guys down below did the Kugyugugugugugu thing. LOL.

This is also a nice upbeat song for Kugyuu, who is really laid back for some reason. I hope senpai notices all the Ps looking at her.

Definitely the cutest team on stage.

Best part of the song is the walk-off, though, like how day one did it.

48. my song (Kugyuu)

Great song by a great voice actress. But she is pretty laid back. It begins the home stretch so the top batter here gets all her jobs done just by being who she is.

49. Tick Tock (Mayachon)

I think she turned it up a notch compared to day one. For someone like Nigo’s size and style, it’s very endearing. Too bad the output didn’t really change. I do feel it though, especially now that giant pendulum swings over her head and outstretched arms.

50. Koihana (Harami)

Second time around, this new-ish image song grows on me even more. Harami is definitely less jittery this time around and it was a feast of the eyes.

51. Kimi ga Erabu Michi (Juri)

Great, great, excellent the second time around. Just a hair better than the first time, but Juri really hit this one out of the park.

52. Yakusoku (Mingosu, 765Pro)

Unlike day one, the surprise here is that when the last part of the song came on, 765Pro came up and sang it. It’s not quite “mob Nu” kind of a thing, but more like a “milking your anim@s feel” kind of thing.

It’s too special, in retrospect. It’s not as impressive in person as it sounds because realization didn’t quite kick in until a bit later. Waving at everyone on the main stage was a great thing. Singing lalala, lalalalala etc.

53. M@STERPIECE (765Pro, Everyone)

So the realization is that they moved Thank You out of the way so they can do the last bit of Yakusoku! And go straight into M@STERPIECE. And I turned loose my last UO so I can do a PEACE sign with Yayoi’s iLight and the Gami-P light.

It was a really, really emotional moment for me because not only how this song is the real emotional climax of the concert, it summarily evokes all my emotions from the movie, from the whole trip, and what not. It also helps that I can now see everyone perform in front of me, LOL.

People took it easy with the calls. There are two places you clap during the chorus, few did. People generally did the overhead claps, which works. It’s a relatively slow song that makes parading sort of the thing you do on stage, and the crowd just clap along.

The CG/ML girls (and Tomatsu) come on stage to do the dance, and wave to the crowd from the main stage and the bridge. I kind of wanted to make a 地・味・だ・NE! joke.

54. IDOL POWER RAINBOW (Everyone)

Busts out the lights, it’s gonna be the end! So I pulled out a bunch and waved at those that I could as everyone makes their rounds. After the song, the 765Pro girls took their time while CG and ML guys headed in with their curtain calls earlier. Harukas got a solo call.

The End Part 1: The Offkai

This is my first Japanese-style offkai, and it worked as I expected. Probably because I read about things like this?

At the concert, I was spending most of my time with the same group of US-bound Ps, but at the offkai I end up meeting some folks also oversea, from SG, HK, TW, China, Korea, and lots of Japanese Ps too!

The only real issue here is that the offkai was in Omiya, and all of us Akiba-area Ps had to skipdaddle before it’s too late, lest we want to spend the night in Omiya. Given that a lot of us had to flee the country in less than 24 hours at that point it’s a wash as which choice was better, either to party till the end or to go home and salvage what was left of the night in slumber. A train run and split taxi later we were at a Coco curry reminiscing what we missed and what we experienced. It was great, both the first offkai and the second.

At the offkai, we had cake for Chihaya. I probably should post those photos! And all those P cards that I should friend on Twitter or the like. Oh wait I probably should write this post first.

The End Part 2: The Conclusion

Well, what a hell of a concert. There’s this debt, this accumulation of experiences that Ps who has not done this live thing needs to catch up to, when it’s this big of a jump into the abyss.

I feel conflicted about the ML/CG aspect of the new IM@S stuff. In a way I like the new characters and the new seiyuu-idols. In a way I don’t like how it’s executed, because it’s markedly different, and perhaps a little more mercenary and yet logical, than the original. I think it’s just a matter of time I become a real fan of the likes of Mocho and Yuiton. I just wish the music has more variety, that the voice acting has more variety.

Since I returned from the trip I started playing Million Live. It’s a dumb game; don’t play it. But it’s fun to be a part of the game and check it out every so often. Like IM@S Channel, the game serves also as a news and info portal, giving you not just what’s going on, samples of LTP tracks; but in addition it also provides information about characters, who they are, and maybe why you would want to produce one of them. It gives context.

And ultimately that’s the thing. Like the movie, this concert is only really that good if you got the context. This includes the info from the previous lives. That debt. Watching it on Blu-ray helps, but it’s a bit putting the carriage in front of the horse. Now that I’ve been to one of these I can better appreciate the prior lives that much more? And it isn’t even that I don’t know what it’s like. M@STER OF IDOL WORLD is not my first otaku live event; it’s just unique enough and special enough that it brings a new level of context into the mix.

I cannot wait for the BD of this to come out. Because this is surely not my last word on this subject, and I would like another opportunity to not just relive the experience but fill in all the blanks in my memory and blanks in the perception (due to seat location, proximity, etc).

Further reading:

http://moca-news.net/article/20140310/201403101836a/01/ it’s just day one… but Moca has the best photo coverage.

http://blog.059pro.us/ for a lot more linking to coverages

http://yaplog.jp/heavenly_cafe/archive/1236 MEGANE MEGANE


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