Producer Meeting 2017

I flew last weekend to attend the IDOLM@STER Producer Meeting event. It ran for two days and you can see the official page here for the exacts. This time the main draw is the full cast, even if at first the event seemed to be a part-life, part-talk sort of a deal. Leading up to it for over half a year was the release of IDOLM@STER Platinum Stars, as it was the first lottery round. Since we had plenty of time to prepare we did a flower stand again, and there’s more details about that I’ll post on HPT site sometime later here.

Because this is a talk-and-sing sort of an event I won’t be able to give you a lot of the details on the talk part, since I don’t do Japanese. I can’t even walk the setlist, as you’d expect, so I’ll just keep it pretty brief and add the travelogue stuff too.

I landed in HND on one of ANA’s new JFK-HND routes that I now am taking advantage of. Dropping me into Tokyo by 9pm is early enough that I can easily buy my SIM or what not, since the Bic Camera in HND doesn’t close until 10. The late arrival was to save a PTO but also lets me leverage jetlag to wake up for buppan easier. Somehow I had the idea of getting a tarp and that actually kind of worked as we sat around in buppan.

I also did a set of presents very last minute, kind of in the moment idea struck me while I was at JFK terminal 7. This means after I landed I went shopping for stationary so I can write a few notes. I can already spot it in Haramii’s post, yay. I don’t think Hirorin does it, and I’m not sure if Azumin or Asapon do either.

Buppan was uneventful. I’ve never been to Tokyo Metro Gym so it’s new to me. At night you can see Tokyo Tower from the buppan lineup area, lit up like a needle.

While we “first trained” we arrived technically in the third train. Not that it matters, by the time the line started to move at 10am we were maybe at the halfway point of the full line. By the time I left buppan, nothing has sold out yet even.

During the 5 or so hours we were in line we did the usual socialize with other producers. The Japanese Ps are a lot more shy than the few oversea (well, more than just a few) producers that came in groups. Thai, SG, and KR are all in full power. China and TW has fewer than expected due to Chinese New Year, but I did run into a few (and had to play courier).

Not much else happened on the same day, besides I went to Lisani at Nippon Budokan for day 1 of 3. It was my first show at Budokan proper and it was a nice venue, especially I like how it sounded. I had 3rd level seats but you can see pretty well even from the back. The night only featured Lisa and Kalafina, but it is as good because I like them both, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Kalafina live. It was a great show especially because of the various Fate Stay Night covers, LOL.

Saturday morning was definitely a “omg let me recover” day, but I got some shopping in while at it. Soon enough I headed over to the venue (it’s at the Sendagaya JR station, so I traveled via the Chuo-Sobu mainly between there and Akiba) and took pictures of stuff. Some of our group went to Walkure day 1 (and a couple would go to day 2 as well) so it was mostly meeting up with people from Japan or other parts of Asia at the venue. I got a call book and it was nice to see calls to all the new songs, namely for Amaterasu and Happy. Kakumei de Show had calls but I felt that one was easy to follow. Turns out it wasn’t as easy as, say, Machiuke Prince but still pretty easy.

Soon enough we went in. My seat day one was on the right side, 3rd level, about 7 rows up, and about half way back. It was far but it gave a full view of the place. In retrospect I should’ve brought binocs to spy on the kankeisha area, since I was right across from it.

For a more detail read of what happened on day 1, you can check Mycs’s writeup. I’ll focus on my impressions and observations.

The show started with the usual announcement from Kotori and Shacho. Then the girls entered singing Cherry. (See here on the voting.) They wore the training camp outfits, with white sneakers and various legwear? Azumin and Chiaking spotted thighhighs with their shorts. Cherry is a very feels-y song and it’s not a surprise some of us already lost it by then. It’s evident too in the intro MC that some of the cast also were getting too feely.

That quickly gave way to the intro of BaneP to MC the first talk corner, which various statistics collected for the live are displayed and people chatted over that. All the stats are also in the pamphlet for P-Meet, except the 11th to 20th place for songs. We started with a lot of percentages of how old the Ps are, how many years they’ve been Ps, how many lives they’ve been to, etc. I’m not sure what people were expected to say? I guess 17% of the survey participants were female is a big step up from the past (albeit not by much). Anyway, then we got some top 10 lists of favorite songs in different situations, such as when you feel down, when you want to get pumped, etc. While all of this data is present in the Pmeet pamphlet, for the live they also showed the top 20 and we got some interesting comments (and bullying?) when the casts were asked to demo different things. Like when we did calls to Pon de Beach (for the favorite calls song list), Nu even did a bit of the dance. I almost cried at the Ippai Ippai calls.

And I think this is why Day 1 is tops for me. All these things meant for a time when everyone got together? It’s almost like I feel they’re wasting a great opportunity to do a full live with everyone, but maybe they’ll have something planned?

It didn’t click immediately–a lot of stuff didn’t click immediately–but I feel they were going out of their way a little to provide some long-needed IM@S service. It’s partly also because we won’t have a full live, so they did this. The girls who were put on the spot tried their best to do a line or two but not everyone was able to.

A few notes about BaneP. It’s been a rare occurrence to have him appear at an 765Pro All Stars event, and it’s the first time since the Kingblade Era. We didn’t settle on a color on day one until the end of the show, where the other cast members just dubbed him red. At first people used more orange than red, at least by my estimates. Also, he wasn’t even that good at MC, but did have some good zingers.

The second corner is a drama where audience can do a real time selection of choices by waving a glowstick. If more people waved than not, it would select the right-side option. Otherwise it will select the left-side option. This is oddly fun, but I think I would have had more fun if day 1’s script was more different than day 2’s script. Also this is arguably the most IM@S kind of thing.

As expected there were actually quite a bit of adlibbing at various points. At times it felt like a punishment game when the Ps select some embarrassing option, and one of the more, uh, amusing cast members would flip it on the people in play. Times like this I’m glad Asapon plays two characters, for twice the bullying power? LOL.

I’ll leave the netas out but there were some pretty good ones. JUSTICE.

Picking the choices was a bit of an art too. Sometimes you want to pick the “right” choice but people soon realize you want to pick the “wrong” choice because it will be more fun to see the bullying. At least, day 2 was a lot more so “wrong.” Well, there are no wrong choices in this game, which is also why it’s kind of fun.

The drama event also revealed the surprise guest. I guess it’s now standard to expect surprise guests at IM@S events? I’ve not attended many full-blown IM@S lives but I’ve witnessed 8 surprise guests at 6 different lives already, not counting MC-types like BaneP. This is pretty nuts. Anyways, having Sanpei Yuko appear was a major shock. I think I would be even more shocked if I didn’t see her just 2 weeks prior at a US con.

At the end of the drama, we got a quick MC with 3pay and the team, and that leads into the VTR time. Like CG4th, they showed us about a 5-minute clip of special footage of IM@S characters dancing with the P-Meet outfit, rendered using PlaStar engine. The songs are largely from the available pool of PlaStar songs but there were a few that weren’t available (yet). As usual we did some light calls to it.

This gap of time is naturally so our ladies can change into their live outfits. The live corner actually starts out with Sanpei doing Dazzling World, and that is just crazy and rare–the only second time she’s performed this live. It might be the last, now that she’s going to be full-blown F-lags. Yuyu is amazing and please take care of her in SideM!

3Pay is cuter than I imagined, but that quickly ended and gave way to 765Pro All Stars, kicking off with the setlist you can read elsewhere. Just some highlights:

  • Actually I was a tad disappointed about Kakumei, because I think in the end Machiuke Prince is just more fun of a song in the moment. Kakumei de Show is more like, it has these funny and amusing parts but I don’t react to them in the same way. And the calls are just OK fun to do!
  • Miracle Night was my favorite song out of the batch and hearing it live is great, the vocals adds a lot of nuances to the show in this way. It’s like when Hirorin kicks into gear and it was just amazing, I was lost in it and forgot to UO that part.
  • Amaterasu is actually the most fun song out of them, call-wise. The clapping really fits.
  • Happy is a bit of a challenge still for me, I don’t know why, but the performance is nice.
  • All four group songs had butt-hauling bridges that the girls danced to, which I greatly appreciate–on Blu-Ray later, because my seats weren’t optimal for it. I hope there’ll be a Blu-ray??
  • After Happy we did the ending MC, called up Yuyu and BaneP. BaneP went last and departed after he was done, so Utamas can close things out. Kami really went hard!

Kotori and Shacho finished things with the usual single clap, and let’s fast forward to day 2.

(This guy was only at day one AFAIK tho.)

Mycs’s day2 writeup has more details so it’s a good ref. It also links to the netas. Setlist here.

The only notable note pre-day 2 for me was the ANION Platinum Star collab, which ends later this week. I was able to line up and get in with only about 45-minute wait during lunch. (The ANION collabs for lunch don’t take reservation, but dinner does.) The food is the same old, the drinks too, but it was fun. This is the weekend for Ritsuko Ps.

The time between that and the live was not very eventful but I got to see all the oversea and famous producers again. More Chinese folks showed up too, as CNY is now a short distance memory. The yakkai Japanese fans we know from Nagoya are also here in force. By the time I arrived at the venue the sun was at an angle that makes taking pictures of the flowers difficult, so it was a little hard doing that. It doesn’t belong here chronologically but after the live was over we gathered again in the plaza out front, and I got to see the flower stands being taken away. Goodbye, my babies…

But that one Yukiho one lights up, so it looks nice at night.

Oh, and we did these:

I made it into the seats for day two with more time to spare than day 1 after braving the restroom lines, but I didn’t get to check out the goods display–not sure if I want to buy that clear wall tapestry, as cool as it looks online. Anyways, both days I sat with a friend I met at Anime North in the past couple years, and it was his first time at an IM@S live, so I did a little to help him out. P-Meet being largely a talk event it was hard for me to follow along, but at least I know enough to not wave when it’s not my turn to wave lights and tried to explain things to him where it matters.

There was a degree to the choices people select in the drama part. I think people were a little more normal during the first day in terms of choices, but day 2 we went all in on the weird since the batsuge aspect was what made it fun. Asapon made a bit of effort to get the audience to goad other cast members into the adlibbing.

There was less song-and-call doing on day 2, but I think the dialog in the games was a bit more fun. Minorin popped out and we got the approprate Leon lines, and she did a really hard oujosama line that was quite impressive. I was glad I didn’t leave the extra UOs home since Minorin and Ultimate Eyes are still UO songs!

The ending MC to day 2 was the other major notable item. I won’t get too much into it here but it felt like everyone was really moved that they were together at last but it’s unclear where the future is like, so they put on a strong finish hoping for the best yet to come. I think the producers at the P-Meeting all feel the same way about it, and that we’ll get a solo event with our original ladies doing a full live soon. It was a bit amusing from my POV, because my seats on day 2 was all the way up front and to the side of the stage, on second level. You can really see the cast talking to each other and wiping their tears during the final MC. And BaneP looking awkwardly because it’s a different situation with him LOL.

There’s not a lot to take away or highlight on day 2 aside from those notes, besides maybe the Kouhaku Ouen Victory audio recording (they took our voices) and photos (and there’s no way I’m in it) for the CD release later in March. People for the most part got the colors right but you can still tell that some people are still KY or wasn’t there day 1, waving the wrong color in the wrong area. I think I yelled a ton though.

I was familiar with the calls for day two to really enjoy them more, especially Amaterasu. It’s a really chillax song and the claps add a lot to it. For Miracle Night, I failed to do the UO part during the breakdown on the second phase again, but it works so well in my head. Especially if you’re a MakotoP. I just enjoyed myself instead I guess. It’s also nice to see everyone haul butt on the dance portion during the bridge, this time from the side view.

It was a very emotional Utamas after that MC to close things out. Kami was literally trenched during Happy and continues to go hard at the end. In some ways all these little things make P Meeting, a god-tier event. But it’s not the god-tier event that was Ninth. I just hope that IDOLM@STER, a franchise that has suffered through its share of mistakes, continue to be flexible and learn and improve from those mistakes.

During the post-live VTR part we got the news on the upcoming events. It feels funny to see them announce LV news for the 765proML event, but I guess that is the future where this franchise is going. (Little did I know then since that Sunday I’ve been playing SRW x-Omega too, which is kind of fun given the absurdity of that game.) I had to admit I was let down for lack of 765pro live news for 2017 so far, but I’m already ticketed for TW and being into ML as much as I am, I’m in a good spot as is.

After the live was over we trekked around and had dinner, then nijikai at the uchiage! LOL. We drank until midnight and I bid farewell to everyone as my flight was early Monday. It was good.

Some references:

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