Anisong World Matsuri Kawaii Live : An Overview
Do you ever watch idol concerts online and you see that one guy in the crowd who is jumping like a million feet in the air during every chant and you kind of laugh and wonder how someone could be so extra? This weekend I learned, that guy is me.
So on Friday, I was lucky enough to attend the Anisong World Matsuri at Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California. At this two hour concert, four groups performed for approximately half hour sets. Below I'm going to discuss each group in further detail, but let me go over the overall feelings first.
It was so much fun. I honestly don't know if I've had so much FUN at a concert before. Granted, this was my first concert surrounded by kingblades (I'm just as surprised as you are), but this concert really was just a blast. Usually concerts for me are an emotional roller coaster of me crying for most of the time (I really get emotionally invested in my music okay). And aside from one or two moments, I really didn't cry. I was just so smiley the entire time. My feet were killing me from standing and jumping by the end of it, and I was so dead tired that I really stopped functioning as a human being BUT it was so worth it.
I sat in orchestra and was still pretty close. But I liked being a bit farther away to really take in the whole crowd in with the concert. Everyone was SO INTO IT. I was a bit worried going in that there wouldn't be as much support for Walküre and whatnot, but boy was I mistaken. Everyone knew the fan chants for every. single. group. And if they didn't, everyone caught on real quick. It was amazing. I could tell the girls really were surprised and appreciated it, too. I'm sure it's terrifying to perform in a new country for the first time. I loved this concert through and through. There were a few things that left me side eyeing a little bit, but don't let that deter you from thinking that I didn't enjoy every moment.
Shout out to the guy near me who had several large bags of UOs (Ultra Orange glow sticks) and was using them by the fist full and went HARD for every group. You made Kayla and I's concert experience even greater. I aspire to wota as hard as you one day.
Let's get into the group break downs!
First up, much to my surprise, was Cinderella Girls. And I mean that, I really did not expect them to go first and it really overwhelmed me. This was my first tear shed. I quickly was able to shake off the tears, though. If you know anything about me, you know that Cinderella Girls has taken over my life and is very, very special to me. Seeing even a handful of the members made me feel so warm and fuzzy inside! Since the sets were so short, there were no solo songs (sadly) but I thought the set was really great. They did Yes! Party Time!, which may have been the highlight of my concert honestly. It's already one of my favorite songs in the Starlight Stage game, but live was even more fun! I used my own UO during this song~ And I did get teary during Onegai Cinderella, because it is a song that I love so, so much.
Now, I want to say this as gently as I can. Their singing was great, they all were very emotive and good performers but I had a few issues with the overall performance. The dancing left a lot to be desired. This is not at all at fault of the girls. The CG dances are...simple. And then made even simpler for lives. I really understand why. Out of all the groups, the voice actresses for CG are the most diverse in that they do A LOT outside of CG. They're mostly voice actresses, as opposed to performers or idols. As opposed to Walküre or Wake up! Girls who are idol groups who also voice act. If that makes sense? So I understand why the dances are kept simple. It was this on top of the fact that their entire set was very scripted and they made no attempt to translate their little 'skits' they did between the songs to communicate with the audience, and they were the only group not to do so. And it kind of...bothered me. I know a lot of the audience probably could understand to an extent. But I think it's a safe bet to say that the majority couldn't. It just felt less personal to me. I kind of wanted to shake their management.
But again, the girls themselves did a great job. Very happy and honored I could see one of my favorite voice actresses in real life! (Tomoyo Kurosawa)
Okay. I've watched the WUG anime a while ago. I honestly remember....almost...none of it. I did really enjoy it but it just like didn't retain in my mind. And I realized I have been approaching WUG all wrong. I've watched a few of their music videos, but never took the time to get invested because I was distracted by the anime side of it. I was dumb. They are so amazing. I have got to get to know them more because their stage presence was beyond incredible. Everything was on point. Their singing literally took my breath away at a few points. Their dancing was totally perfect and their attempts at English were completely endearing. They genuinely looked like they lived to perform and put their all into every moment of their performances. Mad respect. I am now a huge fan of WUG.
Easily the most aesthetically pleasing part of the concert. Everyone shining in red and purple. I could feel the entire room pulsating! Thankfully, thanks to Kayla, I had a good Walküre primer before entering into this concert. So I knew a few of the songs and ughhhhhhh Walküre songs are so goooood. Every single one made me want to run and jump and just left me so energized. I still have Freyja's character son stuck in my head...
When you remember that JUNNA is only 16, which they had to publicly announce that she can't work after 10pm due to Japan laws which is why she didn't come out at the end still laughing, and Minori is only 19 and then you listen to their voices. And you kind of wonder what you've been doing with your entire life. Probably the most vocally talented girls on the stage that night.
Last but certainly not least, was Aqours from Love Live! Sunshine!! Goodness, these girls are just so lovable. Like, I already knew this but seeing them in person really just solidifies it even more. Their set was expected, though I'm a bad fan and have only listened to the Kimi No Kokoro wa Kagayaiteru Ka? and Aquarium like twice in my life... so! I didn't get to follow as closely. However! It made up for it with Aozora Jumping Heart! and Mirai Ticket. I didn't expect it at all but I full on sobbed during the Chika solo in Mirai Ticket. I won't really going into the specifics as to why (it's very special for personal reasons), but I had to clutch Kayla and see through blurry tears lol. Seeing the Shukashu leapfrog bit in real life was pretty awesome too. ~ Great dancing and singing as always~
MY ONLY COMPLAINT is they didn't do their call and responses! I couldn't shout kan, kan, mikan to the high heavens and that's upsetting.
And then the concert was (sadly) over.
I am so, so thankful that I got to share this experience with so many new and old friends and I will cherish it forever! Idol concerts are a truly special experience. It's such a group activity, something where the whole crowd comes together to show support for something they so passionately love. I have never felt such passion surrounding me. It makes me even more excited to attend more idol concerts in the future (Juice=Juice, I'm lookin at you. Announce those U.S. dates already, man).
Love. All. Idols. ♥
Love & Stars,
(all photos are from the Anisong World Matsuri twitter)