Animelo Summer Live 2017

Today is September 12, as I write this, and I have finally fully physically recovered from my Anisama trip. And that is not counting some lingering bronchitis-type symptoms that could take up to 2 months to clear up. Sup, I am getting old, is what.

To be fair, going to Japan for 3-4 days and concert it up in the humidity and heat does take a lot out of you. I think the kids who run and mosh with their crazy jumps at the outdoor stage are something. This is not an activity that I can recommend middle-aged Americans who are not in their best physical shapes to do; namely, try not to go all out at idols and spent 6 hours going out some more at various anison and seiyuu singers. Not even counting the in-between time, which invariably means you’ll be walking around a bit, even if lounging back.

That said, Anisama is the Comiket of Japanese eventing, and it’s worse in terms of stamina in a way. My conviction grows stronger now on my second trip that this is both a festival and a trial. This time around the lineup is way more powerful than last year, and they pulled some items off my bucket list, such as You & Me duet between Motsu and Yukarin, and seeing the SOS-dan get back together. I don’t even think I had that latter act on my list because I did not expected it to be possible.

There were many crazy things at this year’s Anisama besides those, and not even counting the outdoor stage. I think they toned down the outdoor stage a bit this year, last year was pretty crazy so they tried to make it so it’s less intense. I did participate part of day 1’s outdoor stage, mainly for the Run Girls, Run stage and part of the karaoke portion before that. It was fun, but the place was possibly the hottest place in Saitama, as I was burning up in the crowd. Thankfully we retreated with some WUGners after the short, mini-stage event, and sat down inside a sushi restaurant to recover fluids.

Day 2 I slept in, so no outdoor stage. Day 3 I went to buppan, more or less successfully, but I ended up going to watch the Ilya movie at the movie theater across the station, and in the process missed most of the outdoor stage. I caught a glimpse of AOP while in line I guess.

Anyways, the okazu is delicious but entirely optional, should you choose to spend your youth doing something slightly less draining. I think doing the main course alone is a physically challenging ordeal that is not only well worth it, but adds to the experience. The drawback is just that you need to know your own pace and limits, and cut back where needed.

I guess I can walk the performer or set list. You can read it here (link probably will only live until next year’s site going up).

Day 1

I had godly seats. Third row, 6th from the catwalk on the left (A4). That made this day great but I wished I had this seat for day 2…

01 Hare Hare Yukai – OMG WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN… I then realize it’s FRIGGIN GOTOU YUKO OMG OMG GOTOUZASAMA. I was excited enough about the performers, the song is almost like an afterthought if I didn’t furicope to it more or less the whole time.

I was hyped.

02 Yokoso Japari Park e – They were dropping hints on this all weekend. I didn’t get hype about Kemono Friends, but it was nice to see it definitely left a mark at Anisama, quite visibly so. The preview clip they show before the concert is on YT. Seeing the seiyuu in person was nice but there were a ton of them. Highlights were hearing the ietaigas during the bridge, and Oshima singing that one line (a surprise collab by the way).

03, 04 ClariS – It was probably a bucket list item to see them perform Madoka OP, but this is the new ClariS, so I was not as excited. It was interesting to see that Clara definitely is different than the new girl just by the body language during the performance. Well, not much to say besides they are pretty okay live and I dig the songs.

05, 06 Pyxis – OH BOY. I like them, but not so much as musicians and more as idols and performers? I think FLAWLESS is really solid and I’d watch that again. Platina is a nice cover but it does little for me, LOL.

07 You & I – I dig Knights & Magic, and I dig Hasshi’s anison repertoire, so this was something I looked forward to this year. As usual Princess Ohashi is that HoriPro Bot I’ve learned to love because she is so cute!

08 Wagamama Mirror Heart – I didn’t watch Masamune-kun’s revenge beyond ep1 so I can’t into the song, even if it’s something I’ve heard now and then. Hasshi felt a lot more at home with this song.

09, 10 Machico – I sat with Garb all three days at Anisama, and as American(?) Machico TO he had some stake in this. Good thing I also love the two songs she did in this set, I mean who doesn’t love Konosuba…LOL. As usual she takes an aggressive outfit and wear it like Superman.

11, 12 TRUE – Both songs are really good, and I think she nailed them. I just don’t have anything for Butterfly Effector, but who doesn’t like Eupho?

13 DreamRiser – Combining Minami and True to tribute to Chochou is a little weird? Why don’t we just have Chochou at Anisama? It’s a great song though.

14 , 15 Minami – She did a long MC again, and her outfit this year is throttled back some. As usual her vocals are tops and I am watching Classroom of the Elite, so I came away with something. ZERO!! is a good song too, but I don’t hear it much to remember it well.

16 Kimi Janakya Dame Mitai – Oshima sings this one from way back. I didn’t watch Nozaki-kun so don’t remember this one, but my body does? The song comes on and I find myself knowing how the song goes? It’s a weird experience I guess. It’s catchy as hell and the call and response adds a layer to this song.

17 GO EXCEED!! – YES DIA NO ACE themes!! Every frigging time when TOM-H@CK performs I wanted this, and oddly enough I think this is just the second time I’ve heard one of these (Glory from Mimo was the first…). I enjoyed it a ton. Makes sense since Oshima did a solo, so Tom gets his turn. Even more so was when Pyxis showed up in Seido manager girls outfits and threw/batted signed balls at us. God-tier seat meant I even had shots at grabbing one. It’s weird, in that I never knew Pyxis in Seido outfits were something I was missing in my life until then.

18 Balalaika – OxT and Yukarin did a colab with this song. I don’t have the context. But my brain kind of melted at this. Was this a niconico meme thing? Was this just something from some anime I didn’t know about? I don’t know. Why OxT and Yukarin? Lots of questions and no answers. Fun, I guess.

19, 20, 21 Suzuki Konomi – Yeah she can close out the first half any time. This Game, Blow out, This game… well, that was a misdirection, which is something I experienced last year too for Koroazu… I think overall Konomin knows where she’s at and so does the rest of us. It’s nice to get the Chaos;Child OP, something I didn’t get before.

Before I forget, during intermission and before the show, they showed various ads on screen. What I found notable were the seiyuu radio programs doing clips, and these were specific for Anisama. A lot of the A&G ones for example. It was nice to see some familiar faces there! I guess most of them were also participating at Anisama…

22, 23 ROSELIA – I got a bit of head banging going but the music just doesn’t quite have enough lift? It’s like 90% gauge full before we get fever time, so to speak. The girls had forms of metal bands, but the music is kind of there? Not quite? It was good, and I would happily rep them, but they need to level up a bit. That’s not to say about the whole “woah Kudoharu is head banging to this” or “woah Endo is head banging to that” or “woah Megu you go girl” factors.

24, 25 Nishizawa Shiena – Lisa with a guitar? I am not very familiar with her, but I’ve seen her live last year and I didn’t quite get it besides that she has solid rock type music going for her. This year her sets are better than last, so I might look her up musically at least.

26 Sorairo Days – Shiena and Konomin WITH GUITARS wow this is guitar battle between top kek vocals. Seeing Konomin shred to Sorairo Days bridge was worth the price of admission alone. Possibly my favorite of the day.

27, 28 – Hayami Saori’s special acoustic version of Installation was really good, except I still don’t think much of the song. Yumehate no Made was a little bit more to my liking. Still think she’s wasting her skills and talents on this.

29 Himitsu no tobira kara ai ni kite – This song is great. I remember hearing it at my first Yukarin live lol. Trying to remember the calls was an effort but I was just having a blast. The Oukokumins were out in force that day and the arena gained new energy levels that was missing so far in the second half.

30 You & Me – OK, so for people unaware, this was an Anisama special that people were looking for. Needless to say it’s on my bucket list, but also for a number of others. The day leading up to Anisama day 1 Motsu has been tweeting and posting to IG about his biking trip to Kyoto, so people thought he wasn’t going to make it to SSA on Friday. Well, you know how it went. When the music came on people were like ??!! and they didn’t waste any time sending him out there. The rest was just hype. If anything Motsu was relying on the crowd too much during his parts, LOL.

31, 32, 33 – Aqours at AWM AX was hype in that half of the theater came alive, and while it was not the same for Anisama I also noticed a bump in energy about the same as Yukarin. Aosora Jumping Heart went as normal, but seeing HPT in the live was quite impressive. I liked that. For KoiAqua I was just trying to detect the tigers, and there were the loudest of the night.

34, 35, 36 – I’ve seen Minorin did Self Producer a few times now and it’s still my favorite Minorin song live. (And at karaoke.) Starting out with the Haruhi nod was a nice touch and I did not expected to hear that song… Paradise Lost is just an exercise at cramping upper arm muscles.

37-39 – At this point we should’ve known who would be tori, but having Flow go before Granrodeo was weird since I basically had to go all out during GO!! Thankfully they did a couple slower songs (yeah E7) and it was a good time.

40 – The song sounded familiar but I didn’t know it, so it didn’t help.

41-43 – I uh, gave Granrodeo the customary nods. Not my group, but they’re decent at the whole rock band thing. I guess I recovered a bit.

44 – Like last year, the MC happened right after Granrodeo’s set and each act walked out from the back stage to give a short quirp, and then we get the Anisama theme of the year. After that everyone walked along the stage to wave bye. Not much to add here for today, besides I need to ROSELIA better, and damn Pyxis, damn Motsu.

Oh, there are quite a bit of calls at the theme song part, and it was nice. Thanks ZAQ. During the bridge one member went to do band intros, so that job was Motsu’s for Friday.

One more touch to explain; this year’s Anisama artist list had “and more” for all three days right up to the end, and it suggests secret guests. Day 1 was SOS folks, and Motsu. Their photos and names gets added at the final roll call video after the show’s over, and also online on the website.

Day 2

Overall day 2 has my favorite artists, so I was pretty excited. I noticed on this trip jetlag didn’t do much for me. I landed in Narita late afternoon and after getting grubs with the locals I called it quit early, and it worked. But this means I need to get real sleep, so I had to sac much of Day 2 morning for some sweet R&R.

Coincidentally I spent a good handful of hours doing ticketing on this trip. I found a sim card that let me get a real phone number for verification and I also had 40+ codes to enter for Hotch Potch lottery, which was due the day after I get back from Anisama. I got help to ticket camp a couple tickets as well, which was…nice?

I got to SSA and pretty much had to go in after meeting up with folks. This year there was some additional body scanners going on and the lines to get in got kind of long on Friday. We made an effort to go in a bit early, and hung out in arena with other folks who had Arena seats. Mine was block B9, but I had an aisle so it was great in its own way.

01 – Angela and Fripside did the first of their collab. I didn’t actually like those songs much, but it was good to see it live. And, well, it’s Angela.

02, 03 Angela – They did the songs I expected, which is to say, I had a banana ready and waved it during Zenkai Summer. Ahooooo.

04, 05 King of Prism – I am a stranger to KinPri but I was kind of impressed honestly. Not sure what to make of them, besides DJ KOO actually made it a lot more entertaining. I guess EZ DO DANCE is a big thing?

06, 07 Luce Twinkle Wink – They are an upcoming seiyuu-y idol group, but they had some solid tie-in so I enjoyed Gamers ending! Not sold on them for sure.

08, 09, 10 Iris – Three IRIS songs! Were they on carts? Anyways speaking of idol groups that does nothing for me, they are pretty good and continues to put on a good show.

11 YOLO – I liked this, it was a nice surprise. Yuri On Ice was a great show this past year and I’m glad it got a nod at Anisama, and a pretty good one. Hatano I guess collabs here, and did well!

12 Hatano Wataru – Hatano feels like all the other male seiyuu solo acts to be honest, but I’m not very discerning here.

13, 14 Toyama Nao – Naobou did her Tsuki ga Kirei stuff and announced a solo live. I guess doing solo announcements is a Flying Dog thing? Everyone went ehh at first solo live at BUDOKAN what is this.

15, 16 Nakajima Megumi – Mamegu’s return to Anisama is quite a feat, and there was a segment on that silly CR live action show Agent Hazap about it. I thought Try Unite special version was indeed special, not something you’d hear easily. Seikan Hikou on the other hand…

17, 18 Mimori Suzuko – Dokidokitokidokitokimekisu is Mimo at full blast, and I have to say it’s quite charming and all that. She is a class act. Sakiwafuhana is kind of a wet blanket in comparison, but at least I saw that anime.

19, 20, 21 Sphere – Sphere at their best. It’s sad to think of their eventual hiatus but I guess Muray has to raise up the third gen. I still didn’t get my Now Loading Sky, even if that song is played to death at their shows for a while. High Powered is good, Moon Signal is hype, and a taste of Super Noisy Nova is apropos.

22, 23 – the OP/ED to Kirakira Precure ala Mode. It’s notable to me for Komagata Yuri. Beyblade Senpai did well, but you can see her nerves, LOL.

24 – Still Precure, but this is the main cast and it struck me only while it was going on. Wait, I thought, she’s in this? So I enjoyed another display of seiyuu entertainment this time, checking off more CVs that I now have seen for the first time. I guess I did more of that on Friday than Saturday, but it is what it is.

25, 26 Suzumura Kenichi – Suzuken is Suzuken. He’s good. I guess I don’t have much to say, but it was nice observing the various solo dude acts for day 2 and comparing them. There is a niche for each of them carved out.

27 – This collab was a surprise, and they picked a song that all of us can get behind, which is great.

28 Mimo x Mino – So after SOS-dan on day 1, we were expecting something along those lines for day 2. “K-ON” a few said. And we know that it was impossible to get the cast back together because Pikasha had a NGNL0 stage event at the same time. I guess this is close enough, when Minorin and Mimorin come on to do this duet/karaoke.

29, 30 Aoi Shouta – I always thought he was an interesting performer with a nice hook, even if not for me. His set was good, so that was my annual exposure to Aoi Shouta.

31, 32, 33 fhana – fhana’s set is a big reason why I enjoyed day 2. Let’s get into it a bit more. For starters they did the ending for Uchoten 2, and that was a given considering the timing. Similarly, so was Hello! My World!!, as I also enjoyed it from Knights & Magic. What was special was Aozora Rhapsody, where half of the music video got re-enacted by dancers on stage.

During the set, the members of the band gave a brief MC for Aozora Rhapsody and Hello! My World!! as to how the song came about or what it meant, which is good, because a lot of people didn’t know what Dragon Maid OP really means in fhana’s context, or what that music video meant. In addition, they left a chest during the big dance act for the next collab act.

34 – iRis and Sphere do ojamajo doremi and in carts. This was just pure fun.

35, 36 Hikawa Kiyoshi – Hikawa didn’t do any enka, but he did cover Cha-la Head-cha-la, which is actually one of the better covers of this song that I’ve seen. Unfortunately(?)t I just saw Flow did it with Kageyama 2 weeks prior, so it left a strange impression lol. Well, I guess I did get to see Kageyama do the song a few times now, so it’s got a very high bar in terms of how to be good at it in a live.

37-40 IDOLM@STER MILLION STARS – Million Live. Set list #37 was Dreaming, which is pretty much SOP. #40 is Brand New Theater, which is also pretty much SOP now, except we got to do more call practice? I think they’ve performed that song only 3 times publicly at this point? Not too important other than I have definitely grown to like BNT now, compared to hearing it back in March, thanks to Theater Days. In a way this performance also feels like a proper introduction of Million Live to the anisong public, considering this was the first time Million got a solo space in Anisama.

In between Dreaming and BNT is a bunch of songs in medley format. It all took place in the space of about 7-8 minutes. I didn’t go with my penlight belt this time, which is probably for the best but it made things different than how I am used to. I ended up using a KB, a KB Max orange, and 3 Matsuri lights as appropriate. Oh, and most of the UOs I had on me.

The highlight had to be the partial Praline into Airu schtik. Aimin wore poker cards earrings to rep Mizuki (also, it’s Anisama ~THE CARD~ this year). But seeing Airu in person is OMGWTFBBQ, even if it’s severely shortened.

The medley was an experience in whiplash for me. They picked some really good songs and as I get hype, a new song comes on and I have to switch gears–mentally, in terms of penlights, and in terms of observing what’s now going on. Basically every minute or so this happens. Dear was a killer in the middle but we furicope’d that. My seat on the right meant I barely got to rep Matsuri/Suwa because she manned the leftmost part of the stage. Shon manned the right most part, so I got a good view of her solo Up10sion. The two team songs were at the middle stage, so that was fun, especially hearing Shooting Star, which now has a bittersweet taste thanks to Theater Days.

Overall, Millions came, saw, conquered, and left. I was dead by the end of it basically.

41-44 Fripside – I think this might be my first time seeing Fripside as themselves. I saw both Nanjo and Sats separately so I don’t know, LOL. Angela reappeared to do their other collab, which was expected, but it’s always nice to get only my railgun. People were hype but not in the “Aqours” or “Yukarin” kind of way. I actually watched a couple episodes of Clockwork Planet so the song was nice to hear.

45 Day two more or less ended as usual, with one of the guys doing shoutouts during the bridge of Playing The World, the Anisama theme this year. I waved hard at the performers during their walk around the stage, et cetera.

We did uchiage actually right at SSA on Saturday, since we hung out with some Ps who came up from Nagoya, and they are staying in the vicinity. It was cheap, as we ate festival food and conbini food and called it a day mostly.

Day 3

I decided to go early and buppan for Trysail goods. It sells out, after all, but I ended up hanging out with KenP and we enabled each other into going to another live, so maybe it’s not the best? LOL. I took a break watching the Fate/kaleid liner movie, which was good. Once I got out of there I met up and paid and sold stuff, and headed in.

While having brunch and hanging out with Ken I got a glimpse of AoP on the outdoor stage. Good stuff.

We got into the arena with maybe 15 minutes left, after a fairly long line to get through security. Seated in mid C5. There was a yakkai couple next to me, which was luls; we kind of boxed each other early on for space. Fujos to the right, which was amusing when the right act came to stage.

01 Lisa x May’n – The show started with a bang because Lisa is really hype, and May’n is a secret guest. This basically confirms One In a Billion but we knew that. I’m actually more comfortable with crossing field than Chase the world, but I guess that’s expected.

02, 03 Sumipe – She’s a class act as well, and Inner Urge is her One Song I want to see live. Now I have.

05, 06 SideM – Suddenly, SideM. Time to flash SideM hand signs and pretend to be a P. Well, I actually know most of these songs, which is unexpected, and Drive a Live is a great song too. Dunus were representin’ with large UO bursts.

07, 08 Haruna Luna – Always lovely, and it’s nice to hear her Saekano songs because I dig those. Yasukichi did a voiceover lead in as Kato for her too, which got our hopes up.

09, 10 Minase Inori – Inorin comes on, bringing the other wing of firepower from King Record. This is my first time seeing her live, no thanks to her cancellation at Lisani TW in 2016. She’s pretty good, but I think she’s gotta level up more.

11, 12 Oku Hanako – An unusual but expectant sort of act at Anisama, as they always bring someone that doesn’t quite fit the hype anisong festival mode on stage each year. I broke a single UO for garnet, which she plays the keyboard for as well.

13, 14 Ogura Yui – I’m not sure how to put it, but out of the classic seiyuu idol types of this generation I might like Ogura Yui the most just out of pure respect of her talents and approach to her music. Seeing Honey Come live is quite a treat. I believe she carted as well, so I got a close look than if she were at stage.

15, 16 Kurosaki Maon – Ojou! She’s a good show, and they upped the production with a Drifter-esqe swordplay thing in the background.

17, 18 Milky Holmes – They’re really good, and fun, and this is like the 4th time I’ve seen them? LOL. Not my thing still.

19-20 ZAQ – One of my favorites from day 3, the talented musician pulls out her Trinity 7 movie song, which features excessive whistling directly into the mic. It’s a great touch. I also like Alternation, being one of her classics now?

21 Sparkling Daydream / ZAQ feat. Uchida Maaya & Uesaka Sumire – really needs no introduction, but it did, when the two CV voiced over before the song kicked in. It was hella hype, as the kids say. I like this possibly more than day 2’s collab for K-ON.

22, 23, 24 B-PROJECT – Some people got quite loud over this, like the fujos next to us. It’s a nice act and they are definitely a step ahead even of SideM, but the concept of B-PROJECT is different obviously.

25, 26, 27 WUG – 25 is One in a Billion, and Aniuta does not lie; it’s one of the non-Aqours or Kenomo Friends track to consistently rate in the top 5 since release, and it is good. Live it is even better. We also got Koi de Ai as well as BTB, but Anisama didn’t really turn white. I had to learn Koi de Ai calls on the go since these folks are higher level LOL.

28, 29 SCREEN MODE – Take it easy time. They’re solid.

30 SCREEN MODE x Milky Holmes – This was a lot of fun I guess.

31, 32 Uchida Maaya – Mayayan solo I got to see at Lisani and I was impressed by the Drive-Through Theater stuff, but the new songs are a bit better than her first album.

33, 34 Trysail – Well, they did Adrenaline, which is what I want. The other song is Original from Demichan, which is low tempo but I enjoyed for being a fan of Demichan? LOL. Solid performance. Also the thing to do is use 3 KB and make Triad Primus signs, except it’s Trysail signs.

35-38 Lisa – Last year I was impressed with Lisa tori at Anisama, but this time it had to be Nana, so she played it up. Four songs is a lot when they’re all hype. We weren’t sure about Rising Hope but it came, so this became useful. She didn’t hold back.

39-42 Mizuki Nana – It’s been a very long time since I saw her last perform, but the songs from Symphogear does nothing for me, so it’s just kind of eh. People were hoping for old stuff. It’s nice to see the Cherry Boyz again!

43 Things ended pretty expectantly. I can only yell Mocho so much. It’s the little things that made day 3 for me. The Uchidas (Yuuma and Maaya) were positioned strategically nearby so they had some fun during the encore song. It’s nice to get some SideM in. It’s always good to see ZAQ, especially like this (she wrote the theme song this year).

Afterwards, we headed out and headed home for uchiage in Akiba! Good times. We also took a lot of photos by the WUG season 2 billboard next to the Saitama Shintoshin JR station entrance.

Welp, that was a lot of stuff that I went over. I know I am missing some details, like which ones were cart songs, which special tricks happened, some special stuff like when we had to voice act a confession scene, and other stuff I can’t be bothered to reconfirm my fuzzy memory with real records. But that’s not important. Anisama is a lot of fun, it’s a huge festival that has local media coverage–we were in the morning news on NHK all three days basically, even if it’s just a small segment. I really recommend going, especially if the line up speaks to you on a specific year. And even if it doesn’t, it’s a good experience to do it at least once. It’s a good way to survey both the current and past of anisong and the intersection between anime culture, eventing culture, and popular culture.

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