The final stop of the 6th Live Tour for THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE was in good ol’ Saitama Super Arena, in September. Unlike Million 3rd, this whole tour dragged on from April into late September. It crossed from Spring to Summer and ended on the second day of Autumn. That is a really long stretch.
I was only able to go to the Fukuoka stop in June prior to SSA. But that made a big difference. I guess it’s fair to assume even if people did not go to all the stops, many have live viewed at least some of them, if not all. It’s a big commitment to go to SSA for the live, in terms both of obtaining the tickets through one of the lotteries or by other means, and the effort of doing so. Producers across the country attended the biggest stop of them all, even if many traveled less as I did. It is still quite the effort to travel from the edges of Japan. I remember seeing tweets of the guy from Okinawa, trying to bribe tickets with local delicacies.
My crusty, jaded mentality aside, I thought 6th SSA was a lot of fun. Like what I tweeted for day 2, it left me with this sweet aftertaste as Tokugawa Matsuri in the form of Suwa Ayaka came up from the elevated stage and ended this illumination festival.
Day one and day two both followed the format where each subunit came out and do a part of their Angel/Princess/Fairy stop sets, with the collab/guest songs thrown in there and mixed with covers. During the 3 non-Kanto stops, each unit had more time to themselves, and the last 1/3 of the live each day was dedicated to covers and solos. So for SSA, they cut basically almost all the solos. For new content, we got the TB songs and some new covers.
Overall I thought this was fine, purely in terms of going to a live and looking for the songs we like. But this format does not flow very well, since we know what is coming, and the units have to do their key songs. Like, you knew EScape had to do LOST because of the way the song fits their group concept. Or that baller mix of Art Needs Heart Beats has to go with Jelly Pop Beans. It was more a toss up for, say, Charlotte Charlotte and D/Zeal and their covers (which both were new for SSA). But it also felt like day one’s groups were kind of a bore as a result.
In some sense, the overall limp malaise-y feel I get from SSA has to do with the way the approached the tour. It felt less like a live tour, and more like just 4 different shows, for some reason, that had to take place inorganically and in far reaches of Japan, so they had to get the tokyoites to move out by holding back the 4th one until the end. During 3rd it was almost the opposite–you didn’t get to go to the remote one because it was hard to get in those smaller venues; the small venues also made the lives a bit more intimate and different than the big shows Millions do. Tokyo types who want to camp out for the Makuhari stop are free to do so, that one felt fine because you knew it was its own thing, and not a summary like 6th SSA. Maybe that’s why it took me months to finish this recap, lol.
In terms of practical things on the ground, I was able to squeeze in a Kayafesh event on Saturday. That’s basically a really bad costpa sake festival with seiyuu content. I liked it because I can be a lush at times and it’s my first sake fest in Japan. Plus, you can’t go wrong drinking with seiyuu. I also stayed one extra day to enjoy Takagi Miyu’s birthday event, as things turned out to be. It was nice to stay that extra day and hang out with some local friends. Rest of the time, it was business as usual.
As of the latest update, the splash screen for Theater Days changed over to a new quintet, so maybe this post is apropos. For this flower project, we utilized the same shop we did for 5th’s flower stand, and it was a bit more on the cuff with Miri helping out big time. Funding-wise, we basically broke even like last time, but we needed a bit more of a push since the suggested donation is lower this time around, and everything cost more. No pin badges… Again, I cannot thank y’all enough.
It’s a weird feeling, thinking about the live again. In a way the hype was way less than 5th, but the live itself was way better than 5th. I liked how the tap dancers, at least, came back for a nice encore performance from Sendai. It does make me want to look forward to both that and the SSA version, which is a slightly bigger presentation. There are other touches that was nice for 6th. The streams of small videos promoting the live, the goods, and now the blurays, is appreciated but not too sure if it added much. Well, they did a good job promoting that costume book at least?
I mean, they could just say it smells good and I’m sure it will sell oodles.
I’ll bullet point the highlights, given it’s been some time since the live.
- Finally, my team Hanabi. And their wonderful outfits. The dressed-down ones are still okay but they do contrast with Yuiton’s near-game version.
- Born On Dream is fun, like a slower and more festive Matsuri solo LOL
- Fruity Love is bit of a cheat. We welcomed Chaki back from her hiatus.
- Big Bang Volleyball sets the tone for how the TB songs will be. It was a fast backstage outfit change for Reina–one of 6 times she will change. But I have mixed feelings on how they threw them just in the set without much fanfare, even if they were inserted into the set list at the right times.
- Rurukyan and Cleasky are a bit of a snooze sorry, but pleasant appetizers I guess.
- The hype only begins with the Jelly Pop Beans. I’m glad Art Needs Heart Beats got played just like Fukuoka. Still a clutch song.
- Twinkle Rhythm was hilarious, more so than cool anyways. It’s not a stretch to say they sort of set the tone for D/Zeal in this live. Without the acoustic covers D/Zeal felt much more normal and unremarkable, but the bigger venue does play well to the two D/Zeal songs.
- Souzou wa Hajimari no Kaze o Tsurete is needed because this live didn’t have that hype song in that hype moment…which is unusual but nonetheless appreciated (especially with this comp).
- My body wasn’t ready for Thank You. Kiramekirari was probably the most hype song on day 1, LOL.
- Day 2 is by default more up my alley, at least in this iteration. Bias in video game journalism, as they say.
- I like all the groups on day two. Even Star Elements has songs that gets me excited and I wish the BDs would come out already.
- OK, maybe not Get LOL song. but Piko Piko Aliens is tons o fun.
- There isn’t a real climax on day 2 either, but I like how we got Festa Illumination to kind of wrap up. It worked really well for me, if you didn’t know.
- I wished they did White Vows first and Last Actress…last or something. It is a certified banger and probably the best song in Million this past 12 months.
- After Fukuoka I just ;_; at LOST now. Possibly the best reboot of an old IM@S song in Million (although Merry gives LOST a run for its money…and it also involves Shiho LOL). I didn’t dig EScape during the event but as expected this group is right up my alley and grew on me big time.
- Grac&e Noctern is as expected. A tad shorter but still good theater.
- I actually was too whiplashed during Charlotte*Charlotte to take all of it in, but it was great. I love the two songs in a live format, very EDM vibe-y and cool. Too bad my seat sucks so I couldn’t see all the neat details in the dance and on stage.
- Star Elements was a bit the same honestly, I am just not as invested in them.
- Festa Illumination was great. Wonderful way to wrap up the live and kind of save it, IMO. The joke too, with all the light outfits turned on.
In conclusion? It’s a good wrap of the tour, but a bit shallow just as is. This tour really is a full product and it kinda sucks having to miss some of it, or only be able to go to SSA and Fukuoka. With that in mind, I’m glad 7th is announced and is just one weekend. At the same time, even with Theater Days going from 2 to 3 years old, we are already plateauing and getting tiresome. There better be some pivoting coming, and I think there’s room for it.