As some of you might know I’m currently in Japan as of this writing. The funny blog post title is more a clue for you to figure out what the hell do I mean by it, and for me to distinguish this series of travelogues from the other ones I will write, which hopefully will be for IM@S 10th.
The trip for this “game” includes, hopefully, a NPB exhibition game too, so pardon the baseball motif. Their proper season doesn’t begin until in 2 weeks I think, but the various teams are already doing their spring training games and what not. The one I am planning to go to is the Samurai versus Euro game. Snooze, right?
Also, I want to write a few notes about the lives I attended.
This might get kind of long.
For starters, Myu in a maid outfit rocking out a rhythm guitar cover of Don’t Be Lazy was already highlight of the weekend, and I couldn’t even see half of her costume because I was in the back. Her performance is meager and perhaps even inadequate, but that went well with the hole-in-wall-in-Harajuku feel. Like an underground idol live, maybe? Except there were about 500 people in this hole-in-wall and surely that is not going to be the case at a real UGI live. Needless to say I didn’t get a chance to watch the other ones WUGs solo it out on Nico but Myu’s is already well beyond my expectations. She put on glasses to “henshin” into UNDER17 vocalist Momo-i in order to cover Tenbatsu Angel Rabie, and squeed out when she practiced with Sakura Saori at Milk Lariat 7 in December (and covered True My Heart).
Did I mention Takagi Miyu’s Momoi singing was spot on? She’s got the full high pitch undulation thing that sometimes Momoi does when she takes it to a lower gear. Oh, she also covered a fair amount of anison, but more just to cement Myu’s position as the WUG with the best otaku tastes.
On Sunday I went to PsLive 02, which is Pony Canyon’s way of selling more DVDs and marketing stuff while making a buck on pork buns. At Yokohama Arena, I skipped the usuals like rental binocs or Kentucky Fried Chicken and instead bought the event collaboration food items. I managed to eat one of everything, and Yurika Endo’s roasted onigiri probably was the best. Ayachi’s butaman comes in second, if only because you can’t really screw up a butaman by putting bits of apples in it. Why apple? It’s a thing she does. Perhaps better asked why nikuman but you already know that, right? Mimorin had the honor to design the most expensive and filling dish, which is some kind of pork sauce over rice (she likes stuff like that) with an egg. Conceptually it was great but the executing was quite lacking. Uchida Maaya just gave us grilled and buttered corn on a cob, which is hard to go wrong in execution but not particularly interesting (even if pretty delicious). There was a fruity soft drink that celebrated the Ps Live event song, and I still don’t know the name of that song they sang that day. Just that it’s on DAM now.
There’s a lot more I can talk about for Ps Live 02. For starters, if T-shirt sales meant anything, Kill Me Baby and Yuruyuri ought to be making massive bank. Except these two shows don’t. Well YRYR is getting season 3 now as a part of the Ps Live celebration, which they announced on the stream the night before the live. This was my first in-person encounter with the Gorakubu, and I don’t think I escaped in one piece. I already saw some of their lives on Blu-ray and those were pretty impressive. Well, maybe not impressive as it is more up my alley. The four girls has gotten that idol thing down pact, there’s a lot of good chemistry and the songs are really fun. And unlike, say, Milky Holmes, Yuru Yuri won’t destroy your brain cells for equal amounts of tanoshii. It’s not a value judgment but just a barrier-to-entry thing.
And in the flesh the Gorakubu are not only experienced (especially compared to the other anime units strutting out only for the first or second time) but their songs are just tons of fun. Yet these girls have to live and die by the publisher, since the unit is kind of a hanger-on to a proper manga-turned-mixed-media. Life is so unfair.
The other parts noteworthy of Ps Live is the various jokes they played on each other during the talk segments; Mimorin’s set contained not only some brand new songs played first time in an event, but also Glory, by far my most favorite of hers; I actually know all the YRYR songs? I think?; Moyochi’s “encore” t-shirt wau, and how Baum docked her points for being azutoi; Hanamori Yumiri (Hanabe?) is the next kyonuu loli moe voice right?; Rieshon; Etotama OP has nice calls (which I actually was able to watch the Niconama for); Rolling Girls had great steps and concepts, the leather jackets are tops; MatsuEri going moo; Idol Chronicle routine was very expertly done; Yukinco playing it up on the Sakura Trick collab; team KMB; Ayappe being “kiyoi” and otherwise very adorable; Denki Girls for existing (Natsuneeeee); the realization that I dropped a lot of these Pony Canyon shows over the years; Natsunee asked if Yokoari loved erohon (daisuki), Tsuda asked if Yokoari loved eroge (daisuki), Aizawa asked if Yokoari loved BL (bimyo), and Ayachi asked if Yokoari loved oppai (yay). Yeah.
At the event, it feels like we were in some kind of a program where organizers is trying to see which IP is popular. A few of the series promoted at Ps Live 02 hasn’t even aired yet or are pretty obscure, like Etotama and Miranai Diva. I mean, when I was killing time outside the venue before they start letting people in, I saw fans of Miranai Diva. I mean, woah such hipsters. That show probably has zero penetration outside of Asia, despite it’s the most Rieshon of all things she’s in? With YRYR announcing S3 after years of hardcore fan support (via mostly from their events) I don’t know what will make it and what will not anymore. Certainly not by any metric of the quality of the work in a way measurable by most of us who consume anime the “normal” way. In a way seeing Ps Live is like putting it all together, except what I end up with is like, American Idol with blu-rays instead of text messages of who to vote. Will Kill Me Baby be the next one up?
Food-wise, I hit up a hipster ramen join in Harajuku after WUG solo. Shio ramen turned out quality, it’s got all the popular flavors like smoky fish, and char-grilled pork hits the spot. Drastically different was Jiro ramen that I had on the first game of the double-header. I also found out an Ikinari Steak opened near where my hotel was and tried that out. Pretty good. Lastly, like what Haramii said to the Anime North folks last year, Cup Noodles in Japan is so much better than ones in the states. Akiba station now has a store that sells craft beers! Where’s my bottle opener… If everything wasn’t so expensive I can probably do all this for a while.
OK, maybe this isn’t so long yet. I hope there’ll be time for a part two, but don’t be surprised I disappear for another week.