Category Archives: Seiyuu, Idol, Pop

Million Live 10th Tour Act-4 Recap

The feeling seeing Machico randomly confessing to Ueshama. The chill of the Tokyo Bay wind hitting your face as you’re teeing up GenP for a friend behind you doing English. The exhilaration of hearing Todakun telling us to “get down.” Nansu wiggling her butt because of the button tail on her outfit. Mocho and Koroazu crying. And countless other moments this past weekend. This is the “hyakuman power” that was sleeping under the sheets with a JUNGO face printed on it, and woke up for a weekend. This is Million Live.

The story of Million Live isn’t just that they are the sub-brand of IDOLM@STER that carries the torch of 765PRO ALLSTARS, but that it is a refreshing of the IDOLM@STER franchise with some of the top seiyuu performers of that generation. That generation is now 11+ years into its existence. Everyone has been through a lot. If I had time maybe I can dig into each one of them, including the two new ones that joined the team half way. Long story short, their success as individuals, or lack there of, speaks volumes to the “refresh rate” or how hard it is to make it as a seiyuu idol in this day and age.

The result of 10 years of hard work is this extremely emotional but also extremely fun, awesome, and fulfilling two-day concert. Unlike what happened during 4th Live, which is the accumulation of promises and wishes, Act-4 of 10th Tour is the result after fulfilling those things. Or at least partly.

  • We now have an anime
  • We have had more concerts where 765AS sang with the Million (Hotchpotch…and Hotchpotch 2 on the horizon)

I literally left 4th with big-time brain fog, but I left act4 with clarity of mind and purpose. So much have changed. Kokkochan’s chant to summon Hoshii Miki may have summoned something else, perhaps more delicious. Anyways, Act-4 was the true real Million Live anniversary decennial! Or rather, Acts 1-4 all together? But this was the one.

I have more thoughts than time to write them down cohesively, so this is more a recap than a review post… I think Kasshi did a great job with GenP on the second day so please watch that, and day1’s recap.

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THE IDOLM@STER Million Live! 9th Live Impressions, Thoughts

After the missing years of COVID, I was able to return and attend a Million Live solo show. Before 9th, I attended stops of 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 2 stops of 6th.

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Hitomi Suzuki, 26 Years Old, Way Too Early to Go

When I first read about Hitomi Suzuki in or around 2016, it was a line item under the concept of “NOW ON AIR,” a seiyuu idol unit produced by Lantis with agency Office PAC. It didn’t stick. The second time I read about Hitomi Suzuki, it was looking up which color Yuki Tanaka was in NOA when she was added to IDOLM@STER Shiny Colors as Asahi.

I’ve not really seen NOW ON AIR at all, as they were low profile, and other than two of their anime tie-ins I have barely heard them either. Still, that was enough for me to “get” what it was like once I connected the dots. In 2021, NOW ON AIR was put on indefinite hiatus.

Reading about Hitomi Suzuki recently, it was the news of her passing from cancer at the age 26. It seems she was part of Office PAC during her entire seiyuu career. At first I didn’t even realize she was formerly of NOW ON AIR. Then the realization came. Cheers to Crunchyroll calling it out in the headline.

It’s so weird how that little bit of context adds so much–because you can now imagine how a Hitomi Suzuki tanoshi’s life is like? Can you imagine the feelings the NOA cast and staff had to deal with the last 18 months? Your struggling seiyuu dreams crushed by COVID and the rest of your future robbed due to terminal illness? That just seems way too much.

Since NOA disbanded in 2021, Momoe, Misako and Mina have left the agency as well. Momoe seems to have completely retired from show biz. Misako and Mina found out about Suzuki’s passing through social media and it’s rough to see their now-freelance reactions on social. Here’s also a shout-out from Aira Yuuki who worked with the group in the past. The remaining members were still connected via their agency, and they work together in the agency’s vocal unit, “Coe-mony.”

What’s really tragic isn’t so much of all of the hang-wringing I’m now reading up on, but that “Coe-mony” has a live show on Jan 15 2023. Hitomi Suzuki is listed as a cast member still for that show. I’m assuming “Coe-mony” has a regular program and they talk about this throughout, and have some kind of plan to put everything in perspective given that Suzuki’s agency should be in the know throughout her health journey. But I’m just guessing.

To me, the most memorable thing was finding out that NOA participated in Machi Asobi one year and did the race within the city. Was it a half marathon or something? It was pretty amusing to see seiyuu idols go through it, which is why it stuck. I’m just hoping everyone affected by Hitomi Suzuki’s passing can find some solace in these pretty harmonies.

IDOLM@STER Streaming Picks

[LAST UPDATED 12/16/2022]

Now that each branch’s streaming plans are set, it’s time to make public my big IDOLM@STER streaming music rec post. I had to update it to change some selections from 765Pro and CG because Columbia decides to not stream a lot of the catalog or not in full. I also removed some from Shiny because Lantis aren’t streaming the back catalog yet for some reason. And since it’s not quite 12/28 yet some of these may be subject to change. I probably won’t be updating this further though, when new stuff get added eventually from the back catalog. Anyways, for the ones I removed between when this was first written and mid-December 2022, I will try to add some other picks, which wasn’t hard at all.

For the ones not included in the streaming

Shout out to @AngryDaenjangny for goading this P into writing this and it was a great idea. I hope this was all useful to you in the end, and even if not, I found the exercise helpful.

IDOLM@STER music runs the gamut. On one hand you have the most standard fair otaku property image songs. On the other hand, you have literally K-POP. The large IP spans several sub-brands and two record companies. It employs whole hosts of musicians and creators, not to mention 100s of cast members. There are the music games in which we associate IDOLM@STER with in 2022, but to me it’s also about the big concerts and performances where the cast perform all the songs. Everything comes together for those moments and this franchise orbits around that idea.

765 Pro All Stars: I’ll keep the new stuff and the tangent stuff (radios etc) out to keep this short. That said, Puchimas music is now also streaming so I’ll fill in the excluded picks (strikethrough) with them.

  • 自分REST@RT – one of my all time favorites and a hype song in the concert setting.
  • 自転車 – It’s a simple little song but super powerful in the concert setting. I mean who does not like to yell “suki da yo” at the idol you like?
  • è¿·èµ°Mind – A classic from the first Master Artist series back when Koji Nakagawa still wrote character music for this series. Nakagawa is now the music producer for 765Pro and the IDOLM@STER franchise overall.
  • tear – Yes I am a Makoto P, can you not tell? Secretly this was one of my biggest FOMO when Hiromi Hirata performed this at 9th tour Osaka stop, and back then I wasn’t able to go…
  • THE IDOLM@STER 初星-mix – a nice twist on a classic, the mix itself is getting on in years as well, from 2018, but I think it’s going to wear the years well. There is a long intro to the song that sets the mood well.
  • Kosmos, Cosmos – For YukihoPs over a certain age I think this song means a whole, whole lot, but personally it’s just a great hit from IDOLM@STER SP, in 2009.
  • Little Match Girl – My first full blown introduction to IDOLM@STER was around the animas/IDOLM@STER, and this one stuck the landing the hardest. It doesn’t hurt that so many years since, it’s still a massive banger both on recording and in live shows.
  • Colorful Days – This kind of idol songs is what 765Pro sounds to me, and I’m glad things hasn’t really changed all these years? I mean the music has evolved–most successful major artist pull this off, and maybe things are easier for a totally produced group like IDOLM@STER. Still, it’s good to go back to the OG vibes and hear the same sound.
  • エージェント夜を往 – Agent Yoru wo Yuku is the classic Nico medley content. NicoNicoDouga and IDOLM@STER go a long way back and that sure was late Aughts on the Japanese internet.
  • LOST – There’s something about a certain trilogy. I will just say that these are music from the past that still resonate with me. What is even more shocking to me is how it becomes doubly so when Million Live hijacks such things to make it work for that series.
  • DREAM – There’s something about a certain trilogy, but again this sound is what mainline IM@S sounded in the late 00s and early 2010s.
  • arcadia – I always liked this song over its subsequent variants (lol), but it does get a bit overplayed maybe. Perhaps in 2022 we can listen to this 2009 hit again?
  • 隣に・・・ – If you are familiar with Kaede Takagaki’s Koikaze, you might find Chiaki Takahashi (Azusa) putting on a big deal for Tonari ni… in the same way. This was always memorable to me because there used to be a thing called Eminence Symphony Orchestra, who produced a concert with IDOLM@STER, in Australia, and this was the big epic song for that show. At least, my FOMO of such a thing keeps it memorable…
  • Pon de Beach – This one is from M@STER Artist 3…and it’s 7 years old as of 2022. Time flies. The joke goes that during the Master of Idol World 2015 concert, Manami Numakura went on stage with her backup dancers for this song, all armed with super soakers, and sprayed the crowd. That split the world in two: those who were sprayed, and those who weren’t.
  • 全力アイドル – A 2010s throwback to maybe the late 80s? I’m not sure anymore. Iori sure is cute.
  • トリプルAngel – I was one who never took up the earlier whacky Ami/Mami songs, but Triple Angel is so good.
  • SMOKY THRILL – Aside from the actual jazz remixes, old school 765Pro music can be kinda hybrid like this. The controversial IM@S2 unit is my jam though, so here we are.
  • 99 Nights – Another Inotak contribution, for me this is about the bass and drum track. It’s an OFA DLC song, and OFA being a game I racked up the hours in, I don’t associate any singer with the song particularly.
  • チアリングレター – Songs like Cheering Letter are like amber with a mosquito from the past, it’s magic to a fantastic time for a boomer like me.
  • choco fondue – You want some Chihaya music that’s not serious or depressing? Here it is. It’s fun and catchy just like its source material.
  • Princess Snow White – Similar to above but more upbeat. If Takane was a magical girl, maybe this is it.
  • ねがいひとつ – Yukiho is a Christmas idol after all, and it continues in this series.
  • “HELLO!!” – The Dearly Stars tune makes it to streaming in full under the 765PRO GRE@TEST+BEST series, so I’m including the one song from that series here. It’s the series main theme and still stands the test of time.

Cinderella Girls – a good bet for total newbies into this series is to listen to the set lists from 10th tour. It’s all great. I’m not really into Deremas much these days but the bangers of Cinderella never stop. What is disappointing is that outside of the main songs from the Cinderella Girls TV anime, all the solo and game songs are the short/game versions. About 4% of the total Deremas discography are in full. Thankfully, a huge percentage of them are available as short versions, including almost all the Deremas songs from the game.

  • S(mile)ING! – Having lived through Cinderella Girls circa all that leads to the TV anime and years after, this song is just full of emotion for me.
  • 純情Midnight伝説 – When you want a “big band finish” there is none better than this from IDOLM@STER.
  • Fascinate – Idols often go well with metal. The two new cast members in the unit VelvetRose also come across oddly spot on for a metal song.
  • ガールズ・イン・ザ・フロンティア – Girls in the Frontier is a test: which proposition makes the most sense? (Isn’t it “on”?) It’s also a declaration that Starlight Stage and Cinderella Girls in general is here to fight for a space for itself in the post-idol-war era, in the mobile gaming space, and in the greater cultural context of anime, comics and gaming. Despite being the massive franchise that holds concerts in baseball stadiums nowadays, it was always about, well, people who are Cinderellas.
  • Love∞Destiny – Probably my favorite “early” era Deresute song. I am probably biased in that the M@STER version (which is the recorded version for CD release) has Mayu and Miho in it.
  • メッセージ – Really like the melody of this song. It’s also an old song with a unique flavor which succinctly is connect with a certain feel, a certain franchise in a particular space and time.
  • オルゴールの小箱 – Orgel no Kobako is like that slow ballad that we need more in 2022.
  • Palette – nope I’m not biased or anything.
  • Romantic Now – Not only I had a great memory with this song at MOIW 2015, it’s also just a totally fun song from a series that doesn’t take itself that seriously. Tomoyo Kurosawa plays the best kids yeah?
  • Twilight Sky – Lowkey one of the best Cinderella Girls solo songs, it’s also very emotional to see over the years in the live shows.
  • Trancing Pulse – It’s a unique sound that is an endangered species these days.
  • Hotel Moonside – “The Hotel” is the one first big Taku Inoue song that made this “subgenre” of Cinderella Girls songs popping, if a thing at all. Have to say while the follow-ups are great, nothing beats the OG.
  • Sayonara Andromeda – Probably the tail end of this great thing but also my favorite out of all of that.
  • Trust me – Yuyoyuppe brings a bit of hip-hop to an anniversary rock piece is always welcomed.
  • あらかねの器 – The “Chihaya power ballad” guy writes this song for Hajime and it sure is out there.
  • 毒茸伝説 – This is the other metal x idol deremas song that completes the spectrum.
  • è–„ç´… – It’s on this list because it’s a great song, and I fell in love with it because of this guy’s cover.
  • always – The Deremas ballad of choice in the COVID era.

Million Live – Nowadays, my main jam. This brand is known for being all over the place musically. 765Pro members also sometimes have songs under this brand, and that leads to some fun collaborations. I mean, there’s a song about Costco (not licensed). Everything goes in this series. For songs up to 2016 I have separately posted before, which overlaps with many below. At start, 490 songs are available with exception of a handful not yet available or omitted for unknown reasons. A few of the songs attached to the Gessan manga serialization are also available!

SideM – I don’t really know SideM. Going to be looking for other people’s recs once streaming is available. Like Million, most of the catalog is on streaming at full size.

Shiny Colors – Compared to other brands, there aren’t as many songs. Makes this job no less easy perhaps. It also doesn’t help that I’ve fallen off this bandwagon a little. About a quarter of the songs are on streaming, which is mostly the latest series of group songs and one of the character solo albums. They have already announced that more old songs will be released over time. I’ll just cross out the affected ones for now, because it’s the majority of these and there isn’t much I can make up for; I’ll also add something streaming in the cases where it applies.

  • OH MY GOD – Yep, it’s time for an all new era. Shinymas has the ability to flip the page on the entire music meta every so often by dropping a new group, and we still haven’t recovered from the first SHHiis reveal back in 2021.
  • Shinography – Hige Driver’s masterpiece contribution to the franchise makes it its best group song I think. Just as good is the c/w, Dye the sky.
  • 太陽キッス – Still one of the best all around songs from this series to me. It’s also a towel song, and a lot of fun.
  • Alstroemeria – Alstroemeria (the unit) also started with a nice punchy song from the get go to set up the image of the group. Since I love cheeky pop love songs, I enjoyed all their songs, but still this one stands out the most to me.
  • Wandering Dream Chaser – Let’s goooooo. Also Straylight unveil was just one of the overall most epic marketing thing the series has done and this song is front and center for that.
  • Destined Rival – Let’s go, but harderrrr. Tracing Defender is an equally worthy alternative if you want something streaming.
  • We can go now! – Hilarious fun song
  • トライアングル – There’s a meme about this song but let’s just enjoy the fun song about tomorrow’s weather for once.
  • Black Reverie – It isn’t l’Antica without the double bass drums, but I think this one has everything come together musically the best. Maybe try 浮動性イノセンス for something streaming?
  • 幻惑SILHOUETTE – This is one of the songs that made me really curious about the creators of Shiny Colors. Yeah let’s write a song based on Plato’s Cave? Okay… The other thing you can try is 愚者の独白 which has a nice chorus too!
  • SOS – Fuyuko is so good in the concerts!
  • 相合学舎 – School units are the strongest together
  • 神様は死んだ、って – Luca’s digital single dropped during Shiny Color’s Christmas concert in 2021 as a surprise encore. Killing god on his birthday became a legendary present from the game to all the producers out there, and it remains a banger a year later.
  • ラブ・ボナペティート – Love Bon Appétit is a natural next step with the image of the Alstroemeria unit, but it still gets Shiny Color’s retro-future vibe. Try Give me some more… for a taste.
  • Love Addiction – Also see above. Also hmm I wonder which unit I produce…
  • いつだって僕らは – As a unit that debuted during COVID, noctchill had a rough time. Itsudatte Bokura wa is the main unit song, and their first public performance of this song was a bit of that mixed-feel tear-jerker that really hits home the restless and depressing ennui of the early 2021s.
  • Fashionable – Imitation is flattery but it’s oddly appropriate in a song about being fashionable from a seiyuu-idol project catching today’s trends.

Others & Covers – crossed out if they’re not being streamed.

  • ハッピース – It’s a fun song from the Dearly Stars DS game unit.
  • VOY@GER – One of the latest entry at year 16, but it’s a new type of song for 765Pro. The all-unit version is great, but the individual units all have their take of the “rapping part” which results in all kinds of fun. The unit-based versions of the songs are available from each branch’s streaming library except Cinderella Girls (game size only) and 765PRO All Stars.
  • VACATION – Wild cover from way back. Not to be confused with this also-ancient thing.
  • 空 – Strictly speaking it’s a 765Pro song but that list got a bit long, so Kotori’s song is going here. There is also the recent spiritual sequel/prequel in 翼 from the Asayake wa Koganeiro manga which is oh so good also (but not yet streaming). The other Kotori songs on streaming are also great.
  • Dance Dance Dance – This is from the recent console game Starlit Seasons, which features not only all 765Pro idols, but select ones from Shiny Colors, Million Live and Cinderella Girls. Pairs well with Kaede. Inotak makes a return here.

The æ„›: Million Live 8th Live Impressions

I write this just as after Aimi announced that she will take a roughly 2-month break from work activity to treat a chronic health condition, so let me start this by wishing her a speedy and complete recovery. During the final MC segment on day two, Aimi jokingly gave us her æ„› as she is christened, so the rest of us (including those also on stage at the time) joked that she is now just 美 (her stage name is 愛美 as written in Japanese). She said we can return it on White Day (or something). But, now, I wonder what she was thinking when she said that! I guess there’s the archive stream I can review.

So despite the gasp of hope we had late last year, the Omicron variant shut down Japan’s borders yet again and inside the country cases has exploded to new heights just late last week. None of that means anything compared to the power of æ„›, as in Japan’s take on Valentine’s Day. Million Live has its big number live as a Valentine’s Day event, a first, which is really just a regular concert with a Valentine Day’s theme.

So, here are thoughts about Million Live 8th. You can still watch it until the end of the week here (paid stream).

Oh, new anime teaser dropped.

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