Animelo Summer Live 2010, Finally

Ever since Animelo summer lives switched to the 2-day format, it takes some kind of planned approach to even watch the home video release. All is well, it takes a lot of effort to attend these things, so we homebodies are just getting a small taste!

Over 10 hours of anison artists parading themselves up and down Saitama Super Arena is probably noteworthy, I think, regardless of DVD or BD or Nico stream or actually being there or whatever. So here goes.

First off, this is the first time ever that if you pay the bucks to buy the release, you get all the footage. I don’t get why it took like 5 years for this to happen, because it seems kind of retarded. Yeah, maybe sometimes it just can’t be helped, but it’s money for the taking! Anyways, it’s a great thing, and I hope they can continue this next year.

Overall, I think day 1 is just better than day 2 in terms of average quality of acts, but it feels like day 2 acts probably have the larger fan populations. Since this is anison, I don’t think quality is something I’m going to be too concerned about anyways. And did I just insult everyone just now? Even if it’s not what I intended? Oh well.

As for special duets, I think 2010 is definitely on the weak side, although there were two good ones on day two: Get Wild and Unchain World. Day one was severely lacking, plus when Kurinoko stood in for the opening JamPro song on day one, it feels like we shouldn’t count that. I thought Aki Misato’s performance last year was the one to top, when it comes to JamPro collabs.

I’m going to approach this in a non-chronological order. You can get a better breakdown from elsewhere already, and you can always watch it yourself now that it’s well-distributed…

Minami Kuribayashi – I think lately she’s on a hot streak, but this took place right before that broke out. Pro. Regardless of your opinion on her bust size, she always dresses well. It’s a pretty good constant to have for day one. I think she’ll be fun to watch this summer in Anisama 2011.

Yuuka Nanri – Speaking of well-dressed, she was by far the best dressed singer on day one, if not both days. She’s a complete package: the look, the style, the voice, the type of music, plus seiyuu chops. She was slotted in a good spot during day one, when people are still fresh enough and not overly dazzled by all the acts yet, but warmed-up enough to welcome a pretty tight act. It’s perfect.

Jam Project – Their small set was also a tight act. Group karaoke was a good way to naturally “evolve” from their usual 10-minute-SKILL calls. I suppose “evolution” is a theme they thought up after all, so they follow it? I think the choice is good, too. Gong is awesome when taken slowly. Great way to end day 1.

Yukari Tamura – She’s one of those acts that I can’t take seriously, but when inserted into this omnibus format I think her stuff really shine. That cuteness stood out and I think the crowd calling wasn’t impacted by the fact that not all people are into her stuff. Otagei by and large is easy to follow along, right? Right? And I guess the same thousands of people who packs out her shows were obviously in force on day 2.

And, man, You & Me. LOL. Is that white strip on Motsu’s shirt a racing stripe?

Halko Momoi – Another day-2 act, she also stood out in terms of being weird, or cute, depends on how you look at it. I think there’s definitely some cross-pollination and marketing between her and Yukarin, but it’s the same schtik I guess. She played classics, which is probably suitable for this oft-repeated Animelo attendee. I think it’s good she preceded the weirdest visual act….

Ali Project – I think Arika takes the weirdest title again. It’s both classic and  new. I liked the song choices, and the motif is pretty awesome, much less weird than Ishikawa’s on Day 1, which also had samurai folks with swords, I guess. Historic …aristocrat?  just works better with those okama-types. But being the weirdest visual act I think her role in Anisama has always been the same, probably much like her fans. In other words, when you dress up as some kind of fusion geisha type and then wave at people with your katana, while singing something from Katanagatari, it might work.

Fripside – I think these guys may rank number two for weird, mainly for the magician acts. Yeah, throwing ears at the crowd. Yoshino Nanjou is cute in that outfit. Also makes me wonder if Qwaser will have an attach to Fripside… It would work. All in all it was an odd way to begin Day One.

Chiaki Ishikawa – Another improvement from previous year, her dress makes her looks 10 years younger. It’s like she took cues from Chihhi from last year. But her stuff is all about the composition and vocals, and no amounts of fabric can change that. Solid choices  for an otherwise uneventful year for her. Day 1.

Chihiro Yonekura – Also day 1. She looks much more like her age this year, and she sings the stuff you think of when her name gets mentioned anywhere. But the thing is, you know she can sing, and it’s just a matter of her singing something new, in order to have something new to sing? It’s just something she isn’t doing for whatever reason.

Which makes a lot of sense that she gets paired with Naomi Tamura. As much as seeing Naomi Tamura at Otakon was, I guess. The song is epic anison from the 90s, the only thing better would be a 3-way duet with Atsuko or medley into MKR OP3.

Lia – She’s pretty good contrast to Chihhi in that she’s also being mom-ish now, and her excellent English enunciation is like an UO in a dark room of Engrishness of Day One. But unlike Chihhi, she has new songs! And she sings old ones too. I definitely enjoy Lia a lot partly because recently I’ve been looping some of her older CDs, but she’s just another one of those singers that makes day one stand out more than day two IMO.

Perfect con guest, but probably nesting for the near future.

Elisa – Another day one guest, she is more a gag now than anything. Ok, she is also beautiful and sings pretty okay. So the humor thing is just another charm point to an otherwise competent but uninspiring artist. I wonder how they’ll do those Kaminomi songs this year, if they even do them.

Faylan – I think she single-handedly redeemed the first disc on day two. Last year she was pretty shakey, but showed a lot of promise. This year? She’s spot on and she has a pretty winsome smile. Probably the third most winsome on day two, which is no easy feat.

Nana Mizuki – The difference between the reigning Queen of Anison and her cohorts on Day 2 is less than one may imagine. But the overall impression is pretty awesome and very different, it’s like once everyone turns on their UOs, I get teleported back through time and space to some baseball stadium… But in essence, her act is not a huge leap forward compared to even Ayane’s.

The duet with Makkun is pretty awesome, as one would expect. Makkun’s outfit looks like something out of a K-ON music video, lol. Also, stick play is tricky! Minorin needs to learn a couple moves from them!

As far as duets go, Makkun is probably one of the best duet combo you could have since she’s insta-spot on for harmonization. You can tell this was not the case for Minorin x May’n’s on day two for Sousei no Aquarion, and despite the massive nostalgia value of Northern Lights, it was two good vocalists belting out karaoke; there’s not a lot of skills being played between them.

Minori Chihara – Porcelain-skinned Goddess is still white and smooth. At least she knows to pick the one song I actually like on day 2!

Motsu – Not a real act, but the encore is 100% better with him than without. I like how they play on this on day 2 with the lift intro and all.

Crush Tears – Yu’s best singing is during the encore. That says something. Well, apologies to Elisa, because this is a real gag, right? This is a cute addition to day two, but I think everyone was disappointed that Kobayashi wore pants. At least there was screaming.

Lisa & Marina – They’re suppose to be gags, but they’re both solid hitters in day one’s lineup. I think Lisa just sold a lot of CD that day. Too bad her first solo CD came out right at the same time as the BD/DVD for Anisama! Marina was slightly not what I was expecting, being the first time I saw her perform for reals, but she did good. Kind of like the bassist and guitarist that were with them. I really need to watch that live tour video…

The 3-way collab on Aoi Tada’s piece was great, because they probably all are better than she is?

May’n – So young and so pro! Second most winning smile. I think they gave her more face time this year, and she did a good job holding up the show for day two. Universal Bunny was somehow more interesting this time than the one time I saw it live. Interestingly she didn’t mention her US live when the MC turned international, where as Yukarin used that to talk about her Japan Expo live. Citizenship be damned.

KOTOKO – No longer so young but still pro, and it feels a bit out of place. But man, Kotoko slays. Kind of like hearing FJ last year. Totally a full-room-of-UO kind of performance. Except it’s kind of a cold showing. I don’t know why. Also, she wasn’t in on the encore for some reason, probably had to run!

Masaaki Endou – I was expecting him to go all out more and do something outrageous, but I guess this works for day 2. I think the Jam Pro solo stuff is more filler material, but I guess he and Makkun did have some activity outside the group.

Masami Okui – Well, you know how I feel about her. Which is to say, she is always awesome despite rapidly aging out of this segment, and maybe she should have a real act with the Anisama band, since that’s kind of how it works. Also noted how they even have the rights to show the Koihime Mousou clips during her song, lol.

Ayane – I was impressed, she reminded me of that generic, high-energy Elements Garden type sort of act. It’s nice. The duet was a lot of fun, but nothing really memorable for me, a non-fan of sorts. Good job with the dance choreography. It may feel jaded, but I rather liked her act. In a way it reminds me of Yui Sakakibara’s thing from last year.

Milky Holmes – Fun group, but probably better live than on video. They’re the deers-in-headlights group for day two.

SPHERE – These girls are the deers-in-headlights group for day one. I’m not sure how they feel, but I was happy that they got 3 songs. NowSka is always a pleasant experience. Too bad behind the scenes cut out all their stuff :( On the other hand, Milky Holmes puts these girls to utter shame in terms of their dancing abilities.

Milktub – Nice hat, I like the songs from 2011 more than 2010, so looking forward to that. An unremarkable day two guest, but one on the rise.

The duet, as I mentioned before, was a great choice and matches YUFFY very well. Milktub was just hitting it straight though.

Psychic Lover – Wow, that Shinkenger song is pretty awesome. Too bad I feel sorry for him on video, sweating and exhausted after that! Day 2 jammers gonna jam, I guess.

Angela – I always liked them, and I probably could chart how I feel about them over the years and it would come out like a sine wave. That said, 2010 was a good year for their songs, and it helped that I trucked through the anime attached to them. Aoi Haru is awesome, and it’s actually not as hard to sing as you’d imagine. But doing it at anisama? Priceless. I enjoyed Alternative too, with the weird outfit Atsuko’s got on.

Naozomi Takahashi – I was doing the dishes. It’s not bad though. Good day one choice, because I think the cool dudes were largely on day 2.

Kanako Itou – She still looks freaky, but somehow she looks freaky even among a cast of weirdly-decked-out performers. Thankfully she’s pretty good at singing. Certainly upping the weird quotient for day one. Or is it upping the number of female performers that hunches over and swayed a lot? I think that’s what’s freaky about her more than her outfit or hair. She gets really intense-looking and it’s like o.O

nomico & Masayoshi Minoshima – Bad Apple is bad ass, I think the whole “NND meme” thing is in play. But it sure is interesting to see some internet person sing the thing in the flesh. She’s not bad at it either. Another little perk to make day 1 over day 2… Plus, nomico’s line during the encore was cute.

GOMBAND – Definitely the worst act for day one. Or may be they are the second set of deers-in-headlight for the day? Musically they’re okay I guess, but they feel too much like someone popped out of some cohesive marketing scheme to make a bunch of journeymen do silly stuff.

Granrodeo – Rose-hip Bullet is pretty catchy, but I want my Psychic Lover plz. These guys are not bad, just not my thing. I guess it had to do for day one.

Some final thoughts.

I think Anisama lives are hitting a turning point. The 3 spin-off events–Shanghai and the two Girls Night shows–are clearly where they want to go next in terms of moving things onward and growing the fan base. I think it’s the right direction, but I don’t know if it will be able to overcome some of the obvious logistical and financial difficulties to hoist this ever-larger festival onward to an even larger future. From what I can tell the GN and oversea shows are pretty successful, so at least to the larger market in East Asia and around the Pacific Rim, there’s hope for more cool stuff like this.

But there are other ways for Animelo evolve. It was always a premium stage for new and smaller acts. I think it’s doing that even better this year, among the likes of Faylan, LiSA, and even May’n and others. That’s good. What I want to see even more is the meme-farming that has been happening every year, where somehow, one of Nico’s largest act show up one time a year. I think we can expand that. We can also expand the line-up to have more fresh blood. I think that % is the lowest this year versus prior years.

Also, it needs more seiyuu ensembles. I thought the Zetsubo Sensei act was one of the best things to roll around Animelo since forever, and more of them would be welcomed.

Totally looking forward to Anisama 2011!

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