Let’s do this.
— ミリオンライブ！ランティス公式ツイッター (@imas_lantis) April 17, 2016
The Million Live third anniversary tour ends with a 2-night show in Makuhari Messe Event Hall. The exhibit complex in Chiba is about an hour by train from Akihabara and that actually proved to be a problem on day two, when hurricane-level winds slowed Tokyo regional trains to a crawl. The main train line servicing the event is the Keiyo line that takes you along the coast from Tokyo station to a few notable spots along western Chiba, namely Disneyland at Maihama and Makuhari Messe. That line actually closed for several hours during the day, stranding eventers to find alternate routes. And it wasn’t even just Ps at Makuhari, but also some Nogi fans (handshake event) and streams of Doberman fans (concert). The Sobu line was a very common alternative but even the Sobu had some big delays in the early day, and from the Makuhari-Hongou stop you could take a bus to Kaihin-Makuhari station.
My problem personally with all this train outage was my Haneda flight out of town, at half past midnight, and if the trains didn’t resume running I would not even have a way to haul butt from Makuhari when the show ends, at about 9:30pm. The normal duration of that trip is a bit over an hour, so things are actually less dire than what I had imagined earlier in the day while literally flying in the coastal winds around the event hall. Like, I was walking to and from the Aeon in Makuhari and the channel had waves taller than the channel walls. Kids at the mall were having a ball screaming at >50mph gusts. It only rained a little, which was the main saving grace. Well, turned out trains resumed service at 7:30pm and I was able to hobble onto a local train (no rapid trains still) out back to Tokyo just fine.
I didn’t head to Makuhari on day one because I decided to play it conservative with all the ticket auctioning or what have you. I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not, because while it gave me a chance to try out live viewing a ~4.5hr live show, day 1 of Makuhari was by far the most impressive concert the Million Stars has put together in their entire history. To understand it you have to know Airu.
This song came out right around the beginning of the year, a week before ML 3rd Nagoya. We were already lamenting that we could not have had the song then (as it seems to be customary for the intermission/pre-show music to play songs that won’t be a part of the live). This nano.RIPE piece is performed by Machico/Tsubasa, and in the manga that song marks a highlight where Mizuki, Julia and Tsubasa perform said song in a live. The volume of the manga that covers those chapters also had Aisle on CD as a part of the limited edition release.
During the live, they chained it into Airu from Praline. It marks the climax and caps off one of the most ridiculously emotional and hyped shows from ML. The way Aimin and AbeRika went at the mics, the way Aimin leveled up during Praline’s guitar solo, the high-5, and all the little things made it one of those true-to-life moments as characters leapt off of the pages of the manga.
Like the other stops, ML3rd Makuhari is broken into blocks of songs they do back to back, with gaps for MC or intermission. It starts off with Dreaming and MC, and continues as IM@S-DB would detail for day 1 and day 2. The medley this time repeated, similar to Osaka, and it happens right before the intermission. Machiuke Prince and Fate of the World do no less justice to Marionette (not the sleeping one!). It’s all very hype. I mean, it’s got Smoky Thrill FFS. So rather walking the set list let me just note what remains standing after a day of flying around going home.
Live Viewing: I went to the Toho theater in Nipponbashi. It took place on the biggest screen they had I think, and besides the sold-out house people in general were acting as if they were at the live. Some stuff was hard to tell at first, such as the way the carts were this time compared to previous times. Like, it went into the second floor? That’s nuts.
The sound is better at the theater than in the person. Seeing Machico’s heso on a huge screen makes me want to do more of things like this–book a movie theater and screen some lives. It’s like a 5-meter tall heso area. And of course the option is there to sit the whole time since the stadium seating was good and I had a front row seat, which makes standing really awkward anyway.
In the first half of day 1, the most notable song had to be Noriko’s image song. Hamasaki Nana would do her image song with a very neat team of backup dancers that re-enacted pro-wrestling. The lyricist even asked us to do No- Ri- Ko- calls during the bridge and it worked out so well. That had to be a major highlight.
Saito Yuka, who some of us lovingly call “Mrs. Trunks,” got her first major ML debut as well, and seeing Subaru’s songs in person was a very touching note. A bit like seeing Yunkon for me I guess.
In the Name Of was powered up so much more this time than when we experienced it in Million Party 02. Aberika was so good at it I’d give her MVP even if she only played second fiddle during Airu. Mizuki’s voice actress has that subdued demeanor but when she turns her facial expressions on it is all daggers. It’s like she was able to capture everything about Mizuki except for her looks and physique, in the way she emoted.
Growing Storm was the “everyone’s here let’s do it” sort of a song for day 1, so that was a powered-up performance with all five girls. As a note, unlike day 1, day 2 had the “leaders” of the tour do songs that belonged to others, and it was oddly something you probably won’t ever see again.
Nansu’s mic acted up during day 1 of Smoky Thrill, so her voice didn’t come out for half of the song or more. Makuhari’s curse of Kugyuu group songs continues!
The carts this time went around the second level. It would go from the end towards the front and back to the rear exit in a pair. This means 3F people got great views, and 2F people were close. I had Arena C tix on day 2 so it was a mild consolation, but nonetheless I was able to get into waving distance with Mocho, Ueshama, and Miina.
There was a part where Mocho and Pyon blew kisses into the camera from the cart and the embarrassing reactions were gold. This was day 1’s Smiling Crescent. On day 2 the same song repeated with Mocho and Stef. When the spotlight hit the back of the hall people started to giggle because, well, Mocho Otaku.
My favorite part of the medley was Machiuke Prince. Suwa got the USOTSUKI line and she blew it up on day two, to great cheers. Aimin was firing her lasers hard during that too.
Happy Darling on day 2 was really memorable because the calls were so integral to the song. Really good cheering practice. This was largely absent in the prior lives that I attended with Happyda. Thanks yakkai Ps.
Both Rikanee and Miina leveled up their solos, but Dear was especially better. It adds a dimension that’s missing from day one, which was all the slower songs. It was good to see Ehon from Tenchan in person, despite not having the cool book visuals this time around.
Koro and Kokochan’s Fate of the World was something to behold, but Koro and Miina’s version was just high power singing battle that was simply so out of this IDOLM@STER world. So good these girls. Actually a similar thing happened during Alive Factor too, where Machico filled in for Mingos. Or Marionette day 2 between Machico and Komachan. As an aside this the stuff I love about seiyuu live concerts, because there’s definitely a vocal focus (even if when it comes to the average seiyuu singing, it typically is a crapshoot), and these new generation seiyuu idols all are quite good at it.
While I can’t say first-hand, but the difference between ML 2nd and ML 3rd, especially for the repeat performers, is about letting it go and homing the arts. It’s particularly more difficult to detect the differences between Koroazu, Machico and Pyonkichi, since they’ve been at this for the longest, but it still shows in subtle ways. Like when Machico has to harmonize with the others in Airu, or when Koro practices her most constrained version of Catch My Dream. Or simply a kiss on the cheek.
Ahh it’s that idol thing, where you feel a certain way seeing the performers you have cheered on mature and develop into better idols. It’s the anime style, fantasy-to-reality stuff. And it’s not just Airu, but hearing and witnessing the first time performances of songs I’ve been looping for years. I think this is what I mean when I say “emotionally invested.”
It’s worth a footnote about financial investment. I spent a lot of money attending 3 stops (and 1 LV), money probably could have better spent on lottery on CDs. I did not approach ML3rd tour fully in, and I ended up paying a high price for that. Is this how the average, say, Nogizaka46 fans, work? Sigh.
With ML 4th announced and knowing they will release all 7 shows on Blu-ray in full starting this fall, I think it’s time to think about 2017.
PS. I took a bunch of photos on flowers, as there were a lot of them. Maybe I’ll post them sometime on HPT.moe. Sneak peek: