“Biggest Anime Song Concert with: Yoko Ishida, Sayaka Sasaki, and ChouCho”
- Event: Anisong Edmonton
- Date: Saturday, June 4th, 2019
- Location: Edmonton Convention Centre
Intro: The Exciting Prelude
The first-ever “Anisong Edmonton” concert was held at the city’s annual anime convention, Animethon. Three famous artists from Japanese music publisher, Lantis, took the stage as they sang anime cover songs as well as their own music.
Sayaka Sasaki won the 2009 All-Japan Anisong Grand Prix singing contest and released her first single, “Seisai no Ripieno,” in January 2010. Since then, she’s sung theme songs for popular shows such as Nichijou, Card Fight Vanguard, and ID-0.
ChouCho had always been a fan of anime music, creating covers of popular anime songs since her high school days. She debuted in July 2011 with her single “Kawaru Mirai” which was used as the opening for the anime Heaven’s Memo Pad. She’s sung a number of theme songs for various anime and movies such as Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath under the Snow movie and HaruChika.
Yoko Ishida is a veteran Anisong artist who has sung anime theme songs for popular and long-running anime such as Ai Yori Aoshi, Ah! My Goddess and the ever-famous Sailormoon. Her song “Otome no Policy” has been covered numerous times by singers across the ages.
The conference took place in the same venue as the convention—at Edmonton Convention Centre, located at 9797 Jasper Ave, in Edmonton, Canada. The hall where the concert took place can hold roughly 350 people. The inside of the hall had colorful lights that illuminated the large Animethon 26 sign on stage. The back of the hall had vendors that sold snacks and drinks for the concert-goers, such as muffins, candy, and coffee. There was also a side table filled with glow sticks for the concert, special autograph paper, and the artists’ CDs for the autograph session after.
A number of the convention participants joined in line for the concert and everyone from young children to older adults were excited as they waited for the doors to open.
Bee-kun and Honey-chan ran up to the long, winding line, ready to charge into the hall and get their hands on one of the many colorful glow sticks. As they waited in line, they stared at the cosplayers around them and saw many of them chatting excitedly with each other about songs, their experiences with each singer’s music, and how they moved them or changed their lives. Some newer anime fans dug through their phones, prowling the internet for information and scrolling through page after page, hunting for familiar anime or songs. Yes, the fans’ enthusiasm could be felt in the air!
The Co-Chairs, Vlad Pohnert and Bryan Kennedy, were standing by the doors along with the Animethon mascot, Ryu. Ryu was a bit camera shy, but the Co-Chairs were kind enough to pose for a picture as they welcomed us in. As soon as that was done and he and Honey-chan got inside, he flew up to the very front of the stage, thankful that they splurged to get the coveted X-pass so they could get in first. Meanwhile, Honey-chan secured some seats in the front row with some friends she made in line before rushing to get her hands on all the albums she could afford. Thankfully, she got one of everything she wanted and safely stowed them away in her bag before pushing through the crowd forming to join Bee-kun with some glow sticks.
Performance: The Lively Chorus
Each singer brought their own style and flair onto the stage. Sayaka Sasaki started the concert off with a cute and preppy and all-too-familiar song, ZZZ... from Nichijou. She followed up with Ultraman Taiga’s theme song, Hitotsu Boshi, and started ramping up the tension with other popular anime songs like FEELXALIVE from Bakuon!! and ID-0 from the anime with the same name. The crowd went wild when she performed a surprise cover of Just Communication from Gundam Wing. She danced and moved to the upbeat music, going across the stage to greet and wave to fans from all corners of the hall.
Sayaka finished her section with a duet with ChouCho, singing Kibou no Kizuna from GIRLS und PANZER. ChouCho took the stage shortly after, her white dress flowed beautifully to the music. She continued the fast-beat music with Dream Riser from GIRLS und PANZER and followed through to Hyouka’s opening song, Yasashisa no Riyuu. The atmosphere took a softer tone as ChouCho seamlessly drifted into the soft Sora to Kimi no Message from Suisei no Gargantia.
The singers surprised the audience with another duet, with ChouCho and Yoko Ishida singing a cover of Snow Halation from Love Live!. Yoko’s black dress contrasted ChouCho’s white dress and both shone beautifully on stage. Yoko left the stage after, as ChouCho finished up the rest of her section with Usubeni no Tsuki and Starlog, both from the Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya series.
Yoko Ishida rocked the stage with her first and arguably most popular song, Otome no Policy from Sailormoon R. She continued with the Sailormoon hype and broke into song and dance with Ai no Senshi, urging the audience to sing along with her. Yoko then brought the audience back through time to the present with one of her latest songs, Shashinchou from Hinamatsuri. After, Sayaka came back on stage to do a final duet with Yoko, singing Connect from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
For the last two songs, Yoko spoke to the audience and told them that she had chosen these last two songs based on a question that she asked on Animethon’s facebook page. The fans had voted and Forever Here from Fairy Tail and Colorful Box from Shirabako were the most popular.
After the concert ended, the audience did not leave. Rather, they all chanted “encore!” over and over again in unison. Their eager energy brought all three singers back on stage to perform one last song to end the night. The three singers looked at each other and after a bit of banter, broke into song and dance to Yoko Ishida’s very own, Otome no Policy from Sailormoon R. All three singers danced together in unison and their voices harmonized beautifully to this classic song, ending the night with a wonderful atmosphere that brought all the anime fans together.
Bee-kun was seen drooling at the girls’ dancing figures while Honey-chan waved her glow stick with enthusiasm and sang along with the songs she was familiar with. Bee-kun turned to Honey-chan at every song, telling her which anime the song is from and when the anime aired. Honey-chan only nodded along, too excited by the singers and their stage presence to retort. When Otome no Policy came on, Honey-chan jumped up in excitement and sang along with Yoko, shouting out the lyrics that were ingrained into her body from days of watching Sailormoon when she was younger. Bee-kun danced along with some girls when Starlog came on as he made glances at the girls’ revealing cosplays.
When the last song ended, the two shouted with the rest of the audience, urging for an encore. Every fiber in their body wished for another song to end this spectacular night. When the three came back on stage, Bee-kun and Honey-chan shouted so loudly, they knew that tomorrow they weren’t going to be able to speak properly. When the first note of Otome no Policy played for the encore, Honey-chan almost fell over. She screamed even harder and sang along with the three while Bee-kun danced to the tune, both completely mesmerized by the music and atmosphere.
Outro: A Memorable Bridge
After the concert ended, the three singers sat on the stage as staff took a picture of them along with the whole audience. Fans jumped and screamed, waving their glow sticks in excitement. Only those nearest to the stage made it into the photo and the crowd was massive!
The concert truly brought anime fans of all ages and times together with music that dates back to the 1990s, like Otome no Policy, and music from as recent as 2018 with Shashinchou. Children were seen dancing on the floor and adults were seen jumping in excitement to the tune. The audience was incredibly supportive and cheered for the singers even when they spoke to them in Japanese.
Overall, it was a wonderful experience for Edmonton’s very first AniSong concert. The audience had a wonderful time and the singers appeared to enjoy the overall atmosphere and pumped up the whole hall with their strong vocals and active dancing.
Bee-kun and Honey-chan had a wonderful time, waving their glow sticks and bopping to the music. They could feel the true energetic charm of an Anisong singer as they heightened everyone’s excitement with each song. When it was time for the picture with the audience, Bee-kun tried to push his way to the front while Honey-chan held him back, hoping he wouldn’t get in the way of the other fans. The crowd was so enthusiastic to get into the picture, they almost got squished!