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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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Bang Dream: MyGO!!!!! Anime

I just finished watching the mid-2023 TV anime (web anime?) Bang Dream: MyGO!!!!! and it is definitely a remarkable work. The weird part about my watching experience was that having tried and failed 2 episodes in, back when it was airing, then I watched the live-action band play in person, then I watched the first 7 episodes again, then I watched the same band play in person yet again, then I finally finished the series.

For starters, it’s definitely a series better binged. The non-linear narrative does the series a disservice until you make it to episode 3. MyGO’s strength, and to an extent all character-driven series like this, is character-based emotional investment. Without that, the dramatic “ball hiding” or “mystery” is just too surface level as a pull for me. Until I care, I’m not going to want to know, and this is why the back story retelling finally makes it possible. Yes, do the 3-episode test, but at least this many episodes.

Spoilers ahead.

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The IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE! Anime!

Here is another topic that I have a million takes and I have to time box to get this out. And I did it in only three hours. Anything is possible.

Kotoha chasing after Chupa with large knife (ML ep7)

In the overall context of 21st century Japanese media-mix content mills, we have to judge things on a sliding scale. By that I mean here is a media property (the Million Live anime, or Miriani henceforce) that is probably best described as a way to on-ramp new players into one sub-brand of the IDOLM@STER family. By players I mean there’s an ongoing (F2P) mobile game which is I think best described as a way to engage with content that is regularly updated. That in its own is a major context with its own baggage, many long-winded blog posts, et cetera. You can find some of them on this very blog, for links to a thin slice of these here.

Yes, gacha games fund all these extravagances. As a Umamusume player (and fan) there’s another blog post-to-be (or a draft to be discarded) about the interaction between Uma and IM@S content and fandom, because with Million Live I see the parallels right there. There is also the oft-unspoken backdrop of children’s entertainment and just how much Aikatsu I see from Miriani, and why there was a big exclamation on top of some folk’s heads (like mine) when they said it was “nichiasa” or “Sunday morning cartoons” when they first announced it.

It is a long journey from the smokey Japanese arcades of the 00s to Sunday Morning TV Tokyo 10am time slot in 2023, but that’s not what this post is about. That said, being a Sunday Morning Cartoon means more than just the time slot, but also that the show fits that time slot. This is to the detriment of many English-language internet viewers that you can find, like this reviewer. These are the (cloth in which you cut a ChihayaP from, but I digress) type of people you’ll most commonly see. To them idol anime is not just Love Live and IM@S, but things like Selection Project or (I shudder to think) Chance Triangle Session. Those are fine shows, but on this “sliding scale” those are all the way at the other end of the scale, the irrelevant otaku bait end of things. Where are all the Precure, Pripara, and Aikatsu people? Do the average proto-ChihayaP understand there’s more to IM@S than emo-emo vibes?

Which is to say, unfortunately you can, and should, still square Million Live with the original IDOLM@STER TV anime and the subsequent Movie, both which are celebrated and officially marketing material used to promote the Million Live anime before it started the theatrical run (what). And as someone who was able to enjoy that “golden era” e? tempore… I don’t think it is the best decision, but it still made all the sense in the world.

Which is just to say, a Million Live anime in the nichiasa form with its 3D anime style (lovingly crafted I might add) completes the rehabilitation of the property from Mami singing Agent Yoru o Yuku on NicoNico Douga to, uhm, Asterism singing dear… It may still be performed by someone U149, but it’s actually rehabilitated? All I am trying to say is, the more things change, the more it stays the same. It’s like the IDOLM@STER stuff, but in a different packaging, probably one that’s less suitable for the average adult anime viewers from the west.

Over the years since Million Live Theater Days has gotten from this weird “baton-passing” game where the 765PROAS team getting to chill off from their 10 years worth of hard work to the 37+2 kouhai members, it has gotten more, I think anyways, female-player friendly, more trendy, and more mainstream-sensible. Maybe that also alienated more players who liked the older stuff, and players who might find one of the other IM@S franchises more to their liking, but that carved out the niche for Million. I think this will come to the fore even more when Shiny Colors anime come out very soon… But comparing that with the U149 (as in the unit) anime which stuck closer to the original animas formula (because there are few enough of them) it’s pretty obvious Million Live anime is going somewhere else.

Unfortunately, this means unless you are already on the bandwagon for awhile, Miriani might be surprisingly not-your-taste. And that’s fine.

Again, to zoom out a bit, IDOLM@STER as a franchise is going to be 20 years old in about 2 more years, which by any reasonable measuring stick, is way too long for an otaku property given that it is active this entire time. Do you consider Gundam an otaku property? Or Macross? We are getting to those franchises’ level. Million Live is its marquee “glue” that connects 765Pro to, uh, Profit, I guess, so it really has to walk a high wire act that is the high road.

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Takes: THE IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE! 10thLIVE TOUR Act-3 R@ISE THE DREAM!!!

I probably left my AX2023 writeup in the trash somewhere, and between then and now was a very fun AWA2023, but let’s not let it get in the way. Million Live’s 10th tour part 3 in Fukuoka just commands my mind right now, so thus the needs to get it written down.

Yes, it’s Next Life O’Clock.

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IDOLM@STER MILLION LIVE Anime and the Meaning of Spoilers

The real qtpie in ep1

I have a lot to say about the Million Live TV anime, as you could imagine. I think the thoughts will not make it as blog entries unless there’s some way to get that angle and tackle just a part of this iceberg piece-wise. And yeah 90% of this opinion is underwater, and all of it is not-so-hot-takes. Maybe part of it is wet, I don’t know, but there ain’t any large boats to ram into.

The main thing I want to address that has more of an expiry-time nature to is the vastly asymmetric distribution of the media content. As you may know, the Million Live TV anime, all 12 episodes, was screened publicly in Japanese movie theaters about 8 weeks before episode 1 aired properly. Some countries also got screenings of the first 4 episodes, before episode 1 aired. Some fans could, and did, watch all of it before other fans watched even 1 of it, just due to regional availability. It has been a hot minute since an anime like this existed for a property that is contemporary, current, and I’m into. In fact since the dawn of speed subbing and simulcasting, it only really happens for theatrical works. But you know, Miyazaki Hayao’s latest film screened in Japan only about 2 months before it screened in the USA, so we’re working with about the same time lag I guess.

What’s bad is not just that now talking to fans in Japan means wading into spoiler territory, but they fundamentally see the series in a different light than those who haven’t seen the anime see the series. Granted, I am more like, I don’t know, waist deep, in spoilers myself as not only I’ve seen eps 1-4 already (I guess it’s a perk of going to Japan multiple times a year), I also am not particularly mindful of reading spoilers.

The worst, however, is that the main point behind screening ML anime in theaters is that they can make some additional revenue from selling theatrical merch tie-ins, aside from actual theatrical run revenue. It’s also market validation. It’s in-game tie-ins for the hardcore players and fans. I get it. I know why they want to do this. But as an oversea fan it sucks because there are entire swaths of my twitter that I can’t really access, LOL–not because I want to dodge spoilers, but because they talk about things I won’t get until I see the show.

Apple Watch?

Anyways, it’s time to put that aside for the next 11 or so weeks and figure out if I can travel to Fukuoka for Million Live 10th Tour Act-3 and still enjoy the show. I will have all the new songs (another thing forced on us while we are info-asymmetric, CD releases) by then, but if my math is right we will only be on episode 4 or 5 at the time. I’ll need to find a local theater showing the rest, like how they’re doing it at Toyosu, showing all 12 episodes right now. (Did I mention the tie-in with ML anime at Toyosu all this time? Another way to part money from the locals I guess.) Isn’t it nice to watch an episodic series and decided you had enough of waiting and just binge the rest in a theater? I digress.

The new units and units songs seems pretty swell as the second batch of them are now previewed on Youtube. I can’t wait to see the rest of this. First batch at this link.

No straps with binocs, a nub mistake

PS. As someone who occasionally have a pair of binocs at concerts, I know how this feels.

PPS. Just some related thoughts on concerts. We all know that formally, ML anime actually was delayed. It probably meant that we are a year late or so, that the end of the series translate into the start of 10th tour. Putting aside that 9th was in January and 10th Act-1 was in April, this would be a natural lead-in. At this point, the ML anime Blu-rays are too late (Volume 1 comes out Jan. 10) for the lottery for Act-4 in late February. I guess they can always put something special in there (I fully am expecting it) but I guess we’ll see.