My first full day in Japan has ended, and what a day it has been. I hadn’t been planning to update my blog until sometime after we left Japan, but with the craziness of today, I just had to type up my thoughts while they’re still fresh in my mind.
Today (well, now it’s Monday in Japan, but we’ll pretend it’s still day 1 since I have slept), on August 8, 2010, I attended my first (two) Hello! Project concerts in Japan. This adventure started last night when we got into Japan.
After finding our hotel, my brother johpan and I went to meet his friend for dinner (the one who got us tickets to the summer concert and Buono!’s Rock ‘n Buono! 3 in Osaka). We had originally asked her to get us tickets to the evening (aka final) show on August 8th. However, she was only able to get tickets to the afternoon showing, which ended up being pretty awesome.
After dinner and hanging out with johpan’s friends, we got back to the hotel and I checked onto to see what the setlists were for the afternoon and evening performances. If the evening setlist was good enough, I was planning on getting tickets for that show at a reseller in the morning.
Needless to say, the evening setlist (which I’ll get to later) was intriguing enough for me, so first thing in the morning, johpan and I stopped by Harajuku so I could get tickets to the evening show (which johpan did not attend with me). After that, we made a stop in Shibuya to try and find the Hello! Project store to see if I could get an Ai-chan or Risa shirt to wear to the concert… However, our search was fruitless as we couldn’t find the store (though now we know where to go and will be heading there tomorrow) and thus went to the Nakano Sun Plaza to wait for the concert to start.
The doors were opening at 14:00, and we got there at around 12:00. We hit up the goods line, and here are my purchases from today:
I love the design for the summer tour shirts. I was debating on getting a C-ute shirt as well because it was orange, but I started feeling guilty thinking of buying a C-ute shirt over a Berryz shirt (which was red), so I ended up not getting the orange shirt.
Now, fast forward to the afternoon concert.
The opening act was Ogawa Saki and Lilipri 30 minutes priorate to the show starting. They were cute and sounded good, but I haven’t followed what’s going on with Lilipri, so not too much to comment on for that.
About 5 minutes before 15:00, Yoshizawa Hitomi came out and introduced a few Hello! Project eggs. I don’t know the eggs very well, but I was happy to see Okai Chisato’s little sister introducing herself.
After that, we get into the first song:
All for One and One for All – Everyone + Eggs
This song is so awesome with good crowd participation. Everybody go! (GO!!). it was also a perfect start to the concert, what with my two girls starting it off with the opening line. If I’m recalling correctly, this is the first time they’ve performed this song since Elder Club graduated. So Aichan and Risa, as the longest serving H!P members, got the opening line together, and seeing them come out together at the start of this concert just made my heart swell so much.
The energy was good throughout the song and once we got into the opening VTR, I was pumped for an awesome concert.
However, just after the VTR, we didn’t get the usual MC by Makoto and whoever his guest MC is for the tour (this time it being Yossy). Instead, immediately after the VTR, big red kanji character show up on the video screen. I don’t know what it said, but in my screwy head, I read it as “HAY! HOLD UP! ANNOUNCEMENT TIME!”
The crowd goes :OOOOO. Then, one of the sliding doors open… And out walks Tsunku!! The crowd goes more :OOOOOO. It seems that this was the first time that Tsunku has been on stage at a Hello! Project concert in Japan (as a friend mentioned he was on stage with Morning Musume during Anime Expo in LA. I’m not sure about Japan Expo in Paris).
First, Tsunku tells the crowd that auditions will be held for Morning Musume’s 9th generation. I think everyone had been waiting for that announcement, so it wasn’t that huge of a surprise. He’s calling for girls 10-17 to come out and audition and that the information is on the H!P website.
Makoto, Yossy and Morning Musume then come out on stage to join Tsunku. As I saw them come out, I thought that they would simply be asking the girls their thoughts on getting new members added, since the last members to join were Junjun and Linlin back in 2007. Instead, Tsunku says the dreaded words… graduation announcement. I will not lie. My heart stopped for a moment and all I could think was “Don’t let it be Aichan or Risa. Please please please don’t let it be them!!”
I’m sure most everyone in the H!P fandom knows of this news by now, but graduating at the conclusion of Morning Musume’s fall tour will be 8th generation members Junjun and Linlin, and 6th generation member Kamei Eri. I didn’t understand the reasoning for why, but you can check out Hello!SayuNii for more information.
The crowd’s “Ehhh!!!!!”‘s got progressively louder as each girl was announced, with a particularly pronounced “EHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” at the mention of Eri’s graduation. At that point, johpan and I were wondering if this was the first announcement of this news, or if the morning show had been told. However, we later found out that the afternoon show was the first show to get the news.
Eri, Jun and Lin then addressed the audience. Eri was crying like it was a graduation. She could barely get her words out, she was so emotional. It was heartbreaking to watch, even though I couldn’t understand what she was saying. Jun was up next and while she cried as well (really, most of MM was crying on stage), she wasn’t as bad as Eri. And when Lin spoke, it broke my heart as I understood some of what she said through her tears: that she was homesick when she started in H!P as an egg, but with the fans support and being part of Momusu, she feels like being with the fans and with H!P and Momusu is another home for her.
After this announcement, Momusu left the stage and the show began (or rather continued). Up first after the announcement was S/milage. For some reason, I haven’t really followed them since their debut, though I really should. Really, I won’t have much to say about anything that went on with S/mieage or Mano Erina seeing as I don’t really follow them.
Dance de Bakoon! – C-ute
C-ute’s new single is pretty okay. I enjoyed the dance. Maimi and Airi were really getting into it. I haven’t watched the PV for it yet, but there’s this one section in the dance where they’re hip thrusting, and Airi was TOTALLY into it. She was more into the hip thrusts than Maimi, and that’s saying something. Airi looked about ready to dislocate her hip with the force of her thrusts. XD
Maji Bomber!! – Berryz Koubou
I don’t know where the heck I’ve been, but how have I not listened to Berryz Koubou’s latest single?! And how did I not realize that it had released?!?! Anyway, this is a fun song, and now I have another thing to pick up while I’m here.
Seishun Collection – Morning Musume
There’s a lot of hate around for Morning Musume’s latest single. However, I quite enjoy the song. However, the dance and PV and horribly boring, and there is very little opportunity for crowd participation in this song. Definitely not a great song for a concert.
We then get into the start of the shuffle songs:
Lucky Cha Cha Cha! – Shin Mini Moni
I loved MiniMoni post-Aichan addition. Lucky Cha Cha Cha! is such an awesome song – though it would have been interesting to see Shin Mini Moni sing Crazy About You with their little members. XD
Tanpopo – Tanpopo #
Can I tell you that when I saw this song on the afternoon setlist, I nearly died. I LOVE this song. When I say love, i mean L-O-V-E, Lovely Tanpopo! kind of love. I love the symphonic version best, but this a huge favourite of mine within the H!P catalogue. Eri did a good job with her opening solo part, but I really do wish that they gave the second solo part to Chisato rather than Yurina. Yurina wasn’t very strong and her voice cracked a bit. That is simply not allowed for a song as epic as Tanpopo. But otherwise, good stuff, and I was amazing to see that song live.
Manopiano & 18sai no Kisetsu – Mano Erina
Mano’s voice just does absolutely nothing for me. I’m not being mean. It’s just not one that I take pleasure in listening to the way I love to listen to Aichan or Risa or Miyabi… or Ayaya. And I still really don’t enjoy watching her play the piano because it just feels like she’s reading the sheet music in her head (she didn’t look up at all during the piano solo) rather than just letting it flow and playing the piano.
Yume Miru 15sai & Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii – S/mileage
They were good, but again, don’t have too much to say about the girls. Probably because I don’t have any emotional ties to this group yet, their parts for the concert are kind of a blur for me.
Arigatou! Otomodachi & Jiriri Kiteru- Berryz Koubou
Awww… Old school Berryz in the house. Arigatou! Otomodachi is such a cute song and it makes me picture little Berryz as they sing it. Jiriri Kiteru is such a classic Berryz song and it was awesome to see it live.
Amai Wana & Ooki na Ai de Motenashite – C-ute
I had to look it up, but Amai Wana is the b-side to EVERYDAY Zekkouchou!! (I don’t know C-ute b-sides very well – except Bishoujo Shinri, which is freaking’ awesome and Darling I LOVE YOU because Berryz also did that b-side). Nothing much to report on that, but overall well performed. Ooki na Ai de Motenashite is an awesome song for concert because I love the dance. XD Singing and dancing to the title part is just so much fun. It is also johpan’s favourite H!P song ever, so it was good that they played it during the afternoon show rather than the evening show.
Manatsu no Kousen & Namidacchi – Morning Musume
GAHHHHHH!!!! Manatsu no Kousen for me to see in concert!! <333 That was absolute love! That is one of my favourite old school MM songs, and it's a perfect song for a summer concert. Namidacchi is a great song from Momusu’s latest album with a nice mix of sweet/soothing alternating with energetic. The rap in the middle is also good for bring up the crowd’s energy.
The last set of songs were performed at all Fankora shows – the #1 voted song for each group.
Suki-chan – S/mileage & Sekai wa Summer Party – Mano Erina
Again… not too much to say here. S/mileage was cute, Mano was meh (for me).
Massara Blue Jeans – C-ute
AAHHHHH AWESOMENESS. The hip shakes/hip thrusts… So much fun to dance along with at concert. It’s such a high energy song, and it helped to bring up the energy for the following songs which were all also very high energy.
Special Generation – Berryz Koubou
People say they are tired of this song in H!P/Berryz Concert setlists, but it’s such a great high energy song! And personally, I’m glad it played because I feel like as a Berryz fan, it’s a good thing that I got to see this song live, since I won’t be able to attend a Berryz concert. Who knows when I’ll be back in Japan, and when I do come back, who knows if Berryz will still be around. (PS. Miya’s “Woah yeah”s were AWESOME)
Sexy Boy !Soyokaze ni Yorisotte – Morning Musume
The “Sexy ue ue” makes this song. It was so much fun! If you thought the energy was high with Massara Blue Jeans and Special Generation, Sexy Boy kicked it up another notch. I think it was partially because you don’t get the usual “OI! OI!” chants from the wota for this song. It’s just full out “Let’s dance along with Momusu” for this one. Good stuff.
And for the final song of the concert:
Genki Pika Pika – All
The solo/ duet lines stayed with the Momusu members who sing them on their album. It’s a good cute and happy song to end the concert with, leaving the crowd in high spirits (though not as high energy as the previous 3 songs).
And… now it’s super early in the morning. This took a little while to write up. XD This will now be a 2 parter for Day 1. I’ll continue with my review of the evening concert later (and the reactions of fans from that concert to the graduation announcement) as well as my overall thoughts of my first two H!P concerts in Japan (and I guess my obligatory response to the graduation announcement). So stay tuned! … Also, super wall of text. Thanks for sticking around and reading it all if you got to the bottom. XD