“Connected by a rainbow”
- Event: Anisong World Matsuri ~Japan Super Live~
- Date: Friday July 6th, 2018
- Location: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles
Intro: Music for old and new fans
Friday of Anime Expo had everyone excited about the numerous events taking place, including the 2nd day of Anisong World Matsuri. As part of the Super Japan Live, 4 accomplished musicians in the world of anime would share the stage. May’n gets her name from wanting to “sing music that will become the ‘main’ theme for all”. Sangetsu Girl Sayuri is a self-described 2.5-dimensional singer/songwriter that transcends the 2D and 3D planes. Aimer is a testament to human will as she once lost her voice but regained it through practice and determination. Yuki Kajiura’s elegant, beautiful clothing matches her powerful, orchestral pieces.
Despite the multiple levels and huge space that can seat 7,100 people, the Microsoft Theater stood as a refreshingly cool oasis in the 90+ degree weather. Many people were in cosplay unrelated to the concert but with the incredibly long lines and oppressive heat, most people didn’t want to take the extra time to change. The crowd was chattering excitedly about what songs they hoped to hear and pondered what sort of things they’d see inside. There were a lot of older fans who had even seen May’n back in 2010 and were looking forward to seeing her after so long. FATE series fans were looking forward to a lineup consisting of so many people who had contributed songs to the long-running series.
Performance: It was a FATEful night
The show was supposed to start at 7 pm, but after a brief delay, May’n ran out yelling ‘ARE YOU READY TO ROCK??’ with 4 back up dancers behind her. The three large video screens on stage showed her close up, absolutely beaming. She mostly stayed in place while her dancers did a complicated routine, but May’n’s powerful voice commanded attention. Unlike the popular cutesy child-like voices of many female Japanese pop singers, May’n’s voice packs power and a wild quality that makes for an amazing live show. With an impressive start, May’n started running around the stage, dancing excitedly for her second song. Her control over her voice even while running and jumping was very impressive. After the song ended, she took a moment to talk to the audience and tell them how happy she was to be back at Anime Expo. She yelled “GET HIGH, GUYS!” before going right into her next song. This time it was a slower-paced, dramatic song and the crowd turned their penlights to blue. With her dancers back on stage, she continued to wow the crowd with her incredible vocals. She ended her set with Last Goodbye, proclaiming her love for the audience.
Up next was Sangetsu Girl Sayuri, whose stoic demeanor made the gentleness of her voice quite the surprise for those unfamiliar. Her bangs shrouded one eye and her big clothing and guitar obscured most of her form. Though higher and less wild than May’n, her voice rang clear throughout the theater. During most of her set, the middle screen showed starry animations with her lyrics dramatically appearing and disappearing. Her third song picked up the pace and as she strummed her guitar fiercely, the see of penlights turned red. She took a few breaks to talk to the audience in Japanese about her music but had a somewhat distant feel, as if she were not quite of our world. For her last song, she explained she’d be playing her debut song, Mikazuki. As the crowd seemed to readily understand her she gave them these parting words. “I’m glad you understand Japanese. I want to meet you again so please, live well!” Mikazuki, meaning Crescent Moon, was a wonderful mix of beautiful slow parts with dramatic fast parts. The middle screen showed shining crescent moons on the sides of her illuminate lyrics. She bowed low to the audience before walking off stage.
Up next was Aimer with a somewhat mysterious air. The camera was always slightly blurry when focused on her. When the music started, everyone anticipated the lights would become brighter. Instead, Aimer remained back-lit, her form hard to make out. A keyboardist played to the left of her. Her powerful, husky voice serenaded the audience. The middle screen was of her obscured form but as the next song started, clips from the Fate/Stay Night started playing. The crowd cheered loudly for the familiar song. She took a small break between songs to address the audience in English, earning her even more cheers. For several songs, the audience turned their penlights to white and waved them in a circle, a display that was unique to Aimer’s set. For her last song, “Last Stardust”, Aimer truly captivated the crowd. Fans of Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works rejoiced at the familiarity but everyone was blown away as Aimer would hold these high notes with an incredible vibrato that seemed beyond human means. Every time she would hold such a note, the crowd would burst into cheers and applause. It was a very powerful finish.
For the final act of the night, Yuuki Kajiura took to the stage with her band and 3 singers. As the genius composer who originally put together Kalafina, her music continues to transport the listener to far-away worlds of mystery and magic. For her first two songs, she played tracks used in the Fate/Zero soundtrack. With the stage rather dark, Yuuki sat at her piano playing while green laser lights illuminated the area. When finished with the first two songs, she addressed the audience in English and talked a bit about her music and introduced her 3 vocalists. She had almost a motherly quality to her, a sort of happiness just to talk to the audience and a kind smile. She then played Longing from the Sword Art Online OST, and a flute was added to the mix. Her next song had a more foreboding feel, and the flute gave off a melancholy sound, and the middle video screen showed a beautiful, red animation of what looked like a star being born. Yuuki then took a moment to introduce her band members and explained how important they are to her and how happy she is to make music with them. You could really feel how music seemed to give her happiness and meaning and made each song special to listen to. Her last song was another SAO piece, and a dark purple image of a black hole took up the middle screen.
Outro: Anime connects us all
As a special surprise, Yuuki’s last song was not truly her last, as Aimer took to the stage again for a special collaboration. The cameras would switch from Yuuki and Aimer, though Aimer remained blurred. As they played Hana no Uta, the crowd eagerly waved their light wands to the beat. Yuuki’s sweeping motions as her fingers trailed along the piano combined with the quiet intensity of Aimer’s arm-motions as she stood in place created a sense of traveling while remaining in place.
After their final song, Aimer called May’n and Sayuri to the stage. May’n bounced in, full of energy as always while Sayuri trailed behind. As everyone gave their goodbyes, they all wanted to convey how important anime was in getting them to where they are. Despite her tough, almost scary persona on stage, Sayuri appeared a little nervous as she said that anime connects us all, and she was happy to be connected with everyone. May’n cheerfully asked the audience to keep living so they could meet again at another Anime Expo. Aimer remarked that she was so happy to have collaborated with Yuuki and the whole event was very special. Yuuki ended the night with that same warm smile, thanking everyone for being a part of the night’s performance and added “We want to see you soon. Thank you!”