Animelo Summer Live 2011 – Part 3 – Second Concert, Sunday 28 August 2011

In my previous posts I covered getting to Japan for Animelo Summer Live 2011 – Rainbow and the first of the two concerts on Saturday 27 August 2011.

Sunday was a bit more relaxed. The hotel was 20 minutes walk from Ueno station and closer to the hotel were the main museums and galleries in Tokyo.

Tokyo National Museum

I visited the Tokyo National Museum then took a limited express train from Ueno to Saitama-Shintoshin and this time purchased a towel, some food and bottled water outside the arena. Again, I met the person from KNT and we were seated in slightly different seats in the same guest box as the previous night’s concert. The audience was no less enthusiastic than they were the previous day.

There is a summary clip on Youtube that has song excerpts and photos of the artists, mainly taken at the second concert here, but to go into my thoughts, let’s hop on down after the jump!

The second day’s concert started with a duet starring Yui Horie and Nana Mizuki, who fired up a medley of Hikari from Inukami and Cosmic Love from Rosario + Vampire. Both songs were extremely catchy and a good choice to start things off.

I’d seen some concert-goers wearing Minami Kuribayashi t-shirts and was looking forward to her set. First, she sang Rumbling Hearts from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. After talking to the audience we heard Toki sude ni Hajimari wo Kizamu from Katanagatari and Straight Jet from Infinite Stratos. There were a few calls of “Chotto” from Minami-san between songs to get sips of water before she finished with the perennial favorite, Tsubasa wa Pleasure Line from Chrono Crusade, this time, in a duet with Maon Kurosaki accompanied by the strings. Although the choice of songs was good, the audience wasn’t quite with Minami-san, but thankfully, Maon-san made the set finish on a strong note.

Maon Kurosaki continued with Magic∞World and finished with Memories Last, both from A Certain Magical Index II. Although this was Maon’s first Animelo, she had already impressed me with the songs I had found on Youtube, including “Magic∞World” from a television special called Lisan Live! and I thought this performance was even better. It helped that the audience’s positive feedback to Maon-san made the performances distinct and not a repeat of other performances.

Next was Mamoru Miyano with Orpheus from Uta no Prince-sama: Maji Love 1000% (note that the linked clip has a different, female vocalist) and Body Rock. The orange light-sticks appeared during this set and stayed around for the sporty and fun RO-KYU-BU! with Shoot! and Party Love ~Okkiku Naritai~. This was followed by a rainbow of colored sticks to hail Milky Holmes’ arrival, where they sang Seikai wa Hitotsu! Janai!! and Ameagari no Mirai. There was a fun energy to both RO-KYU-BU! and Milky Holmes that was infectious with the audience.

Steins;Gate was next – Kanako Ito sang Hacking to the gate with guitarist Shikura Chiyomaru followed by Phantasm (Yui Sakakibara) with Tokitsukasadoru Juuni no Meiyaku. I love Kanako-san’s distinct vocal style and energy and wished we could have heard more of her. If she didn’t sing in Japanese, one could imagine her music being used in a soundtrack for something set in Central or South America. Yui-san, for her part, had some of the angst in her voice like a singer from the USA, UK or Ireland.

Kishow Taniyama of GRANRODEO and Mamoru Miyano then performed the Durarara!! opening theme, Uragiri no Yuuyake which stood apart from the others by being a good grungy, shouty, rock song.

Yui Horie was next, with Immoralist from Dragon Crisis, PRESENTER from Dog Days and Yahho!! from Kanamemo. Yui-san was a stronger performer than I remembered from previous concert videos – she was and still is an understated and articulate professional.

Chiaki Ishikawa then sang the very beautiful Mou Nanimo Kowakunai, Kowaku wa Nai from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Fukanzen Nenshou from Kanisama Dolls. The way these songs were sung were melodically powerful enough to be able to stand on their own without accompaniment – her vocals were very strong, well-pitched and clear with great emotion, or as my notes stated: good!

JAM Project provided part two of their trademark multi-voice powerhouse rock (still fresh and full of energy) with the 2011 releases NOAH and Vanguard, and audience favourite Rescue Fire. I’ve grown to enjoy their music from previous concert videos, but having new songs in their set helped avoid the feeling of having heard it all before.

After a 20 minute interval, the anime that involved a girl wrapped up in a futon, Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko was up with Erio wo Kamatte Chan, or rather her character voice actress, Asuka Ōgame appearing likewise to perform Os-Alien and Kotatsu Kara Nagameru Sekai Chizu. If you haven’t heard them, they are jarring yet appealing in the way they accompany the series.

Heavier still, GRANRODEO came back with Supernova, Outsider from Cutie Honey: The Live and Go For It from IGPX. Their previous Animelo sets hadn’t grabbed me, but Supernova had a great sense of focus that made the other songs more accessible.

Kalafina was a late addition to the concert program but their performance was extremely polished with Magia from Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Sprinter from Kara no Kyōkai ~ Mujun Rasen. Their performance was very strong, and lived up to the standard of their Red Moon tour Blu-ray disc, but with the advantage of a far more enthusiastic Animelo audience. I can’t wait to get the Blu-ray of the concert for the performance of “Magia” alone.

I had earlier heard the voice of Motsu from M.O.V.E in pre-recorded announcements at the arena, then he appeared with fripSide keyboard player Satoshi Yaginuma and Maon Kurosaki as ALTIMA with I’ll believe from Shakugan no Shana III. It was great to have Motsu as a secret guest and the combination of performers worked well – their energy levels were about the same and it was quite distinct from Motsu’s 2010 collaboration with Yukari Tamura, “You & Me”.

As my tour guide told me, a poll had been held on Twitter for the act that concert-goers most wanted to see that wasn’t yet booked. T.M.Revolution won that poll and obliged with a very polished Flags from Sengoku Basara Chronicle Hero, SWORD SUMMIT from Sengoku Basara II, and Ignited from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. The clips I found don’t do justice to how clear the songs sounded at Animelo.

As with the previous night, when you combine JAM Project members with other performers you get something even better. In this case they incorporated Nana Mizuki and Masaaki Endoh for a stirring rendition of Eternal Blaze from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s, then Nana-chan as the solo vocalist with Unbreakable from UnchainBlades ReXX, Junetsu Paradox from Blood-C and Scarlet Knight from Dog Days.

Then it was time for the theme song Rainbow (the clip has subtitles in Japanese and English) with all the artists except Kalafina and with it, a lot of “goodbyes” and “See you next year for Anisama 2011” on the screen.

After this concert we went backstage again and this time I met Chiaki Ishikawa. Like Minori Chihara the previous night, Chiaki-san was one of the most pleasant people one could meet. If I spoke Japanese and everyone had plenty of time I would have liked to have thanked as many of the other artists as possible for their performances. Outside Saitama-Shintoshin station I thanked the person from KNT for all her help and we shook hands and I took the train back to the hotel, again purchasing noodles for a late dinner.

It had been a great couple of concerts for me, even though I had nowhere near the level experience of the songs and artists that most of the concert-goers had. The spirit of collaboration extended way beyond the songs sung, including the excellent organisation of the event, and how these concerts were treated as the main event of the year by an overwhelming majority of the participants.

National Museum of Nature and Science

On Monday I checked out of the hotel, visited the National Museum of Nature and Science, picked up my back-pack and took a regular train from Nippori to Narita Terminal 2, flying back overnight and changing in Sydney to a Singapore-bound flight that stopped in Adelaide (make sure you are familiar with the transfer arrangements in Sydney if you travel this way).

Since getting back home I haven’t lost the excitement of the trip and seeing and meeting some of the people behind a large slice of the music of anime, even though more than two months have passed. (The collection of Youtube clips referenced in these reviews were put together to help remember the concerts while waiting for the blu-ray releases). In conversations with others since then, many were surprised that I didn’t find Tokyo crowded (possibly due to being there in late summer), and were surprised that it wasn’t as expensive as they’d believed it would be.

In summary, a life-changing trip, great people, places, music and hospitality. I’d definitely recommend doing this at least once just to experience the awesomeness of it all!

Arthur

Hi, my name is Arthur Marsh from Adelaide, South Australia. I've enjoyed the music of anime since the days of Marine Boy, Gigantor and Kimba on black-and-white television, and more recently rediscovered the music of anime through the works of Studio Ghibli.

7 thoughts on “Animelo Summer Live 2011 – Part 3 – Second Concert, Sunday 28 August 2011

  • November 16, 2011 at 4:49 am
    Permalink

    I vividly recall the experience of some of the audiences just not really being very supportive of the artists. Well, I am one of those, but if it makes it any better, I am that way with all artists. XD It’s just that I don’t like it when they target certain artists.

    Actually, I’m not surprised that Horie Yui gave one of her better performances; Immoralist is one of her best songs. Same for Ishikawa actually, her selection is the best I’ve seen in years. Uragiri no Yuuyake makes me excited too, though I would much rather see it performed by Theatre Brook, who gave it the whole raw feel, as opposed to Miyano who probably tried to turn it into some sorta smooth ballad, and Kishow who would well… make it a bit more suggestive and violent than its meant to be? (I do like Granrodeo’s stuff, but I can’t see him handling this well.)

    OP artist selection does raise some eyebrows though. I have nothing against Mizuki Nana, cause she’s quite the explosive performer, but Horie Yui’s voice hardly mixes well with anyone’s. She tried a duet with Chihara Minori before, and it drew tears. My personal favourite opening ever is still Cruel Angel Thesis by Angela and Ishikawa. Theirs could easily beat the original. (Costume selection needs work but it couldn’t be more painful to watch than the one by Mizuki Nana and Okui Masami in 2007. That was costume mismatch to the max)

    Phew, ok, ranted my share. Now I can’t wait for the Blu-ray release.

    Reply
  • November 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm
    Permalink

    @Jen, thanks for commenting. I agree that Yamashita Atsuko and Chiaki Ishikawa made for a great vocal combination in opening day 1 of the 2009 concert. Maybe too few anime singers learn vocal blending skills like western-style classical singers do?

    Songs I’d love to hear at a future Animelo Summer Live would include “Higurashi no Naku Koro ni” originally sung by Eiko Shimamiya and “Hajimari no kaze” from Saiunkoku Monogatari originally sung by Ayaka Hirahara. When searching for songs on Youtube by artists appearing at Animelo Summer Live 2011, in addition to some of the songs actually performed I found “Future Gazer” by fripSide, “Symphonic Dream” and “Sparky☆Start” by Yui Horie from Nurarihyon no mago, “Fly away” by Sayaki Sasaki, and “Tomoshibi” by Faylan from Senjou no Valkyria 3, amongst others.

    If it could be performed live, I’d love to see and hear JAM Project do their version of “Motteke Sailor Fuku”.

    I still have heaps of random thoughts about the concerts and the music of anime and am happy to comment further if anyone has any questions, observations or ideas.

    For anyone who is interested, there is a clip from the July 2011 SMASH concert in Sydney, Mari Yoshida and Eminence performing “Afternoon Rain” by Kenji Ito, search Youtube for “Mari Yoshida” and “Eminence”.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2011 at 6:15 am
    Permalink

    @Arthur
    Yea, those two are among the rare ones who can. Or maybe its just part and parcel of being in that generation of singers. Cause as far as I know, Okui Masami and Yonekura Chihiro are really good at it too.

    I would love to see the first two you mentioned, but they’re very unlikely. Shimamiya’s currently down with cancer I think… >.< And Hirahara has just that one song for an anime, and she is slightly more famous than the majority of the singers at Animelo ie. more expensive to hire. Still, if she goes one year and sings that, and maybe one of the Ghibli songs she covered before, I’m going to be over the moon. I just worry that from now on, the performers would just go downhill. I mean, look at recent years. We hardly have much promising new entrants to the scene. Somehow I associate this year with people like Yuuki Aira, AiRi, nano.RIPE and all that. They’re gonna have to pay me to watch them, not the other way round… And we don’t have any of those kick ass seiyuu collaborations like we used to, stuff like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. (The Working!! group come close though) But with the way things are going, I better go attend the concert soon while people like Ishikawa are still in it.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2011 at 9:49 am
    Permalink

    @Jen (and everyone else (-:) definitely get to the first Animelo Summer Live that you can, you never know who might be there that might not be there again. ELISA put her career on hold due to health issues not long after this year’s concerts.

    As to new(er) and promising artists, Maon Kurosaki was very strong both in the clips I found and her mini-album Goshiki Uta: Immortal Lovers – how many other singers get 2 collaborations on their first Animelo?

    The other thing I wondered about before attending this year’s concerts was if despite the impressive advertised line up, whether the energy and polish would match previous years’ concerts, especially given the pre-announced power restrictions on the venue due to the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

    Although I didn’t like the theme song this year, the surprise guests had the “wow” factor, the songs worked well in the order they were performed, and almost all of the artists were giving their best effort.

    Reply
  • December 3, 2011 at 1:13 am
    Permalink

    Phew… Finally found the time to sit down and type a comment for this post. ^^

    Anyway, I reckon Day 2 should be more of a blast due to the line-up but hur…strange, I wonder why Kuribayashi didn’t get that much of a reception? She seemed pretty popular with the audience in the previous years considering her experience. I guess folks these days click more with the newer singers? Regardless, good to see that T.M.Revolution got the welcome he deserved. I’d consider him to be one of the real treats as a special guest owing to his history and presence in the Anison industry. ALTIMA was another pleasant surprise because units made up of names like them are not very common nowadays (depending on the individual artists and style of music you like, I guess).

    If I had attended the live for this year, I would have biasedly pegged Mizuki Nana, Itou Kanako, Kalafina and Ishikawa Chiaki in the announced line-up to be my firm favorites, especially the latter two. Talents with vocal abilities like Kalafina and Ishikawa are becoming rarer nowadays, with so many artists gravitating towards the more modern pop style of singing and music. And I don’t even want to get started on the “artists” who don’t seem to have a sizable ounce of singing talent in them (e.g. *cough* idol groups *cough*). While we’re on the subject, nice that you got to meet Ishikawa backstage! If you have the chance of suggesting a guest for any of your local conventions, she definitely should be considered, and to sound mean on my part, over the more generic Anison artists. It truly is a bit of a shame she’s not more exposed to the international audience as others like May’n is because I honestly believe someone like her should be made known if only for her singing caliber, especially when she’s performing live.

    Oh yes, I recall Jen or another commenter asking whether seats are randomly allocated for Animelo. To answer, yes, seats are usually randomly allocated via lottery but this only applies if you buy the tickets locally in Japan through the machines in convenience stores, through the phone or through certain online ticket websites (although with some store machines, you can keep on punching in your requests until you get a seat that looks more favorable to you before confirming your purchase). If you’d like the option to choose your seat to a certain extent (for example, a specific block/region in the concert hall), then your best bet is auctions although the prices are expectedly more expensive due to bidding. By the way, I strongly advise oversea attendees against buying/requesting relatives or friends in Japan to buy tickets through the phone for big concerts like Animelo. From my (frustrating) personal experience, the phones are always engaged and by the time you get through, tickets are usually sold out, most likely to scalpers who buy them in bulk. Another advice is try your best to avoid buying “on the day” tickets if you can. A few of my friends got those in a previous Animelo and they mentioned they had their view of the stage mostly obstructed because they were dumped in the immediate side of the stage (they could only see the artists if the performances were done in the extended middle platform). If you don’t mind this, you can get the tickets cheaper than the standard sales price. I suppose for the most hassle-free option, you can always request your travel agent to secure tickets for you like Arthur did. Your chances of getting good seats at more reasonable prices are higher and what’s more, it may come with additional perks that many regular concert goers don’t get to experience. :)

    Reply
  • December 3, 2011 at 7:13 am
    Permalink

    @Keiri, great to hear from you. I guess that Minami Kuribayashi wasn’t quite in the right state to get the audience excited. Her clip of Fantastic Arrow shows that she is capable of more than what we hear of her in anime songs. Maybe someone could put together an anime that uses music tending more towards jazz and we could see both Minami-san and Maon Kurosaki showing off their strengths in that area?

    It’s a pity that Chiaki Ishikawa doesn’t have much released in the way of performance videos besides Animelo Summer Live 2008, 2009 and 2010, and Own Write. The clip for Uninstall is wonderful. Her CD’s both on her own and as See-Saw are also on my wishlist. I already suggested her for next year’s OzAsia festival in Adelaide and may write to the festival (real paper letter!) soon as a reminder.

    Thanks too for the long explanation on Animelo ticket sales. My travel agent and their associates in Japan certainly exceeded my expectations in that regard.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2011 at 10:38 am
    Permalink

    @Jen was just revisiting these articles as a few more thoughts flew by. I never realised how big GACKT was in Japan until I read his Wikipedia entry earlier today, and he certainly made a good impression at Animelo Summer Live in 2008, so big acts appearing at Animelo are not out of the question.

    I’ve recently obtained a copy of Chiaki Ishikawa’s Own Write. I should write a review of it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: