IM@S 10th First Take


Rather than write a post 3 months later that’s like 10000 words I’ll just piggy back on the other producers’ hard work. For simplicity’s sake, you can get the set lists at the below links and I’ll try to only annotate.

Overall: It’s about past, the present future, and width and depth. It makes me wonder what it takes to fill a dome live for an anime/game, and IM@S 10th is a curt, neat answer to that question. Or rather, the answer begs the question in the first place. Are there enough fans out there that we can fill the same stadiums for Love Live or something else? Probably. But that’s not all that it takes to make a thing like this.

The point of IM@S 10th is to throw the biggest party in its 10-year history, to celebrate and to make dream into reality, and to connect the dots that it has been dropping since the beginning. It’s there to announce the future, as anniversary lives have done in the recent past, but also to connect the future of things to the present and the past.

M@STER OF IDOL WORLD, with translation, means this. When they announced those words some months back, that was the idea. Cinderella Girls and Million Live are engineered after the pivot, to take the franchise forward using its younger and more manageable members, with the large casts. In a sense this has always been a point of tension. How will the fanbase accept CG/ML? And by fanbase I mean the different existing factions, and not even necessarily all of them. There’s still people who are “producers” who don’t DLC, for example, who are basically a lost cause in a way (but can still be engaged), or those who were hardcore 765Pro from their humble beginnings. I think in that sense it is the one greatest challenge IM@S 10th seeks to address.

Transformation: But let’s not kid ourselves. The IM@S franchise today is very different than the one that you find in dark corners of smokey arcades 10 years ago. The player base, if anything, is entirely different. What might remain the most similar are the creators and staff, the voices and characters, that we see today. And even then those changed, if slightly, over the years. If you didn’t read my posts on IM@S at all, you might at least saw the word pivot earlier and that’s basically one of the key changes the franchise took on between first and second vision. IM@S 10th is an affirmation of these things: things change, but some things are still the very same. Like how GamiP &co took the stage.

New is Hot: During day 2, instead of the Puchimas trailer we got AkabaneP and TakeuchiP on stage, going over the rules. Not too far from where I was sitting was a cluster of dunus who died at the sight of the 17yo Producer-san. In the flesh, he seems every bit the chiseled ikeman teenager as you see on TV. And I think this is really the main engine that will take IM@S, as a franchise, to the next level. Not just TakeP, but all of the CG and ML performers. During the offkai I attended on day1 I was talking to some guys about day2 and how hella hype it would be seeing all the younger and prettier types on stage. We got that and more.

I don’t really need to describe how the MLchans and CGs are cute and boin and all that, do I?

Dream Medley: This blew my mind. The temperature in Seibu Dome was definitely hotter on day two, meteorologically, because it wasn’t raining anymore and the sun was out. But this medley made the stage the hottest thing there is. My brain was melting when Harami/Mocho/Ruru was on carts to Tokimeki some Escalators or whatever. What’s left evaporated when Mikku nyaned it away. It’s weird when moments like when Aimi/Ruuri air guitaring that actually restored some sanity to the situation, because it is fully expectant.

I was really dead after the medley, physically and mentally exhausted. Not sure how I survived besides liters of sports drinks and keeping myself on a slower pace.

Dreamy Setlist: The combinations on Day2 aside, the set lists for both days were basically “the greatest hit of all times.” I think you can still nitpick them, of course, but other than some of the songs I wish they didn’t repeat from 9th, I love it. All the classics Chiaking ones, the Ryuguu Komachi nods, even Overmaster… I don’t know. I love this setlist. Even when we look at day 2, they picked some very choice ML songs to go given how many options there are. CG, on the other hand, only have these songs so we got what we expected.

Gifts & Flowers: A quick bit. Most of the flowers at the Dome were on display at the edge of Lot C, which you can only get through via the merch line. There were about 400 meters worth of fan flowers, give or take. The industry flowers were set towards the entrance of the dome, near the gift dropoff. It took me a while to find the gift dropoff but it was in a tent and you had to specify who the gifts were for so the staffer can label and put it in the right place. I don’t know what worked best.

Photos and videos for them later. I didn’t really got to take much photos but I have a video of most of them.

Thanks, Bank of Moy: On day 2 the encore trailer dropped the next set of ML activities: a 7-show tour over 5 stops and a new set of CDs. Looks like the release will be based on the current seasonal caravan schedule of 8 idols per set. This also means the release is a little behind? I guess we’ll see. The animation PV will be included in the next team song single. There’s a running joke about Moy funding ML anime. We’re not quite there yet but by ML anime we really mean how much $ he spends on the various gashas and events in the game. Welp.


O-heso-sama: At one MC on day 2 a handful of performers were making talk about the uniforms. The 765 girls have 2 outfits, one based on the promo image and a black version that is also similarly themed. CG/ML’s outfits are also based on the promo image but as usual, ML outfits vary a lot more compared to the CG outfits from performer to performer. Somehow Machico’s outfit shows her midriff including her belly button. This was a point of focus. Mingos at one point lead the other girls (and the rest of the crowd) to give thanks.

Outfit change happened during intermission. On Day1, the performers started with the white ones and switched to black, and on day two they went with black and switched to white.

Nunu water: One of the highlights in day1, Nu performed Pon De Beach, using a headset. Probably a first in IM@S history aside, this was also the longest Pon De Beach because she ran around the center stage area during the bridge (which was looping between oh-ah-oh and dun-dun-dun-dun parts) picking up water cannons and shooting it at the crowd. It was her and her backup dancers, so about 7 guns going.

OG for both days: Some Ps gnashed teeth at the fact that we’re celebrating IM@S 10th with CG/ML, when they’ve been only around for a few years. Well, sure, which is why we have day1 that’s focused on the 765. It was fun to see people attend day1 only. The real OG moment was My Song day2, when the 10yo OG members performed it only and then there was the MC after… What’s that tearduct destruction term?

Autographed balls: On day1, some of the CG/ML-chans shot signed balls into the audience. They were loosely loaded so some of them had problems getting it done. On day2, it was BaneP and TakeP doing it on the side stages during one of the break times.

ML New Song: Dreaming! Is the 3rd group song for ML and they performed it live for the first time at the dome on Day2. It’s all a blur in my mind but it is also a departure from Thank You/Welcome. Guess we’ll hear more of it in the days to come.

I don’t even want to think about their upcoming tour that they just announced at the live. 7 shows 5 stops aaaaaaah.

You Ou My Shin: Too early for a towel song. I was sweating buckets both days I guess, more so on day 2 since it was much warmer inside there…

Distractions on carts: So, carts. For both days of 10th, some performers got on carts that wheeled on the aisle between B and A sections in the stands. Which means if your seat was a low B or high A you would be right next to them when they pass through your section. The carts came in from the bleacher areas on both sides of the stage and they would meet in the middle, or in Day1’s case they would start in the middle and go out to the side and exit by the bleacher areas on left and right sides. On Day2, they served as a 4th “stage” during the medley as well.

Here’s a shot of Mikku on a cart on day 2, looking from the upper stands down to the field.

During day1, the medley would be going and the 765 girls would do the songs. ML and CG would then go on the carts; CG on 1st base side and ML on 3rd base side. Since my seats were close to the field I had a long ways to see the girls on the carts. It was my only “close” encounter with Mocho all weekend. Being sloped down also means all I got was good looks at their legs and bloomers? A lot of them didn’t turn around much since they were cheering up the crowd up top in section B. Well, it could be worse I guess. What it made for was terrible distraction since I have to look up and look down at the field when the performers are near me.

At one point, the 765 girls would also be in carts, but they would only sing one song on one side, and the other side sings the next song. It’s a weird arrangement that I didn’t think work as well as it should have. But oh well. The carts did a good job getting the crowd into it though, depending on what they did on it. Some danced, others blew bubbles from bubble guns, some just cheered and waved and blew kisses.

Saihyou: It’s as baller as you think it is. I thought Makoto’s MA3 song was baller, but this is even more so, which was to my surprise in a way. Baller as in the presentation. Those drop displays in the center stage were pillars of roses when Hirorin did her thing, but it turned into…whatever is Saihyou when it was Saihyou.

The Seibu Wave: We did the wave a couple times in the day1 MC segment before the last block. I think they were secretly prepping us for Destiny’s super fast wave, which they did try and it worked to an extent. So during the wave part in Destiny each performer would pop up when it’s that part of the wave, so you either follow that cue or follow the wave cue. The problem is the dome is much wider up top than it is down below, so there will be some lag. Oh well.

Seat Bias: My seat both days were on the 3rd base side, around the stage on the 3rd base. This means I actually got to see mostly everyone on day 1 except ML up close, and about 2/3 of CG/ML since for a good chunk of the show, the performers stayed in the same general area. Lots of Kido, Moyochi, Ruuri, Meshiya, etc. Nansu, Yton, Stef went by me in carts at one point on day 2. Pon, Jurikichi, Haramii and Eriko went by me on day 2 as well. Well, the 765s got around at least.

I also have a poor view of the main stage and had to rely on peripheral vision on the jumbotron. I figured I can get that on the blu-ray later so I paid a lot more attention to the performer that were in front of me, when they’re there. This also means reading others’ reports would be interesting since we might not be even seeing the same things during some songs.

But you know what? My seats were pretty okay. I got to see everyone and more or less got to see most of the 765s close at some point. I’ll live. It’ll make the blu-ray even more fun to watch I guess.


PS. After auto-backup, Google decided to gift me with this. So I am sharing it with you?

PPS. Some other coverage–

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