“Connected by a rainbow”
- Event: LOVELIVE! SUNSHINE!! Aqours World Love Live! in LA ~Beyond the Pacific~
- Date: Wednesday July 4th, 2018
- Location: Microsoft Theater, Los Angeles
Intro: Anisong Start!
As part of a fantastic 3-day event, Anisong World Matsuri’s first show of the weekend was the Aquors live! The cast of “LOVELIVE! SUNSHINE!!” started off Anime Expo as part of the pre-show fun, and the lines were huge! Despite the incredible heat, there were a large number of attendees in cosplay and those dressed head to toe in memorabilia of their favorite “LOVELIVE!” members. Despite not being the original LOVELIVE! girls, Aqours has garnered fans all over the world. The nine voice actresses not only sing and dance like their characters, but talk to the audience and each other in character as well for part of their performance.
People of all ages and nationalities lined up in front of the Microsoft Theater, lines wrapping around the outside. Despite doors opening at 4:30 pm, people walking up still had to wait about 10 minutes before entering the huge venue and being greeted by a welcoming blast of cool air. For such a huge theater with 7,100 seats and upper and lower levels, their ability to keep the place so cold in such blistering heat is astounding. The lobby is huge which made it easy for people to grab a drink or find their way to their seats even with the flood of people. Some attendees continued to brave the heat in order to get merchandise which was located outside the venue to right up until the show started. Towels and penlights in hand, everyone made their way to their assigned seats as 6 pm drew near, heralding the start of the show.
Performance: A mix of anime and 3-D idols!
When the girls started their first two songs with no intro, just jumping right into it; they showed such incredible energy and likeness to their respective characters it was like Aqours had come to life. Everyone’s smiles were so engaging that the audience found themselves mesmerized. It was an incredibly powerful start, and while their second song involved less smiling and a more serious demeanor, the level of intensity never wavered. It was incredible to think that these people were voice actors and not professional idols.
After their first two songs, they took a moment to stand in a line and introduce themselves to the excited fans. The audience was incredibly in sync, erupting in applause and cheering and instantly quieting down to hear the next thing being said. The Aqours girls seemed surprised but delighted that even overseas, so many people knew the calls and the characters’ catchphrases. Each voice actress introduced herself by character and name, though they spent longer interacting with the audience in ways that were unique to their characters.
When the girls went back to singing, the audience cheered and thrust their penlights in time with the beat. The two video screens on the right and left showed closeups of the performance which was nice for those sitting farther away, but made it difficult to see the diverse formations of the full group. The middle screen either had some decorative animation such as music notes or suns or random shapes over the video or would show clips from “LOVELIVE! SUNSHINE!!” The voice actresses’ ability to split off into groups with their own choreography devoid of the members singing to immediately getting in sync with each other for shared lyrics and dancing was incredible.
Aqours had a special surprise in the form of a short animated segment where chibi versions of Aqours’ heads talked to the audience about sneaking into the dressing room and catching some of the members unaware! Yohane and Ruby were reporters meaning to get some behind the scenes action but ended up in a savannah! With the other members appearing as wild animals, it was quite the unexpected twist.
Unexpectedly, the three sub units in Aqours made their appearances as well with new costumes! First to return to the stage was CYaRon consisting of Anju Inami who plays Chika, Ai Furihata who plays Ruby, and Shuka Saito who voices You. Their cute and energetic songs got everyone right back into concert-mode after the funny short they had seen. They taught the audience calls to one of their songs and had everyone shout “I love CYaRon!” before their last song. Up next was the regal Azalea with members Nanaka Suwa who plays Kanan, Arisa Komiya who plays Dia, and Kanako Takatsuki who plays Hanamaru. Their beautiful movements and costumes were entrancing. They took a moment to get the audience to say ‘guru guru guru!’ (turn turn turn) they could give a pretty twirl to show off the outfits they were so proud of. Following after them was the final unit Guilty Kiss of Aina Suzuki as Mari, Aiko Kobayashi as Yohane, and Rikako Aida as Riko. The edgiest of the trios, Guilty Kiss also had extravagant outfits with a gothic style and provided a bit of a departure from the rather cutesy songs from before.
After Guilty Kiss retreated back stage, another short animation like the one before it started playing. This time when the fitting room door was opened, a bare, cold room with a poor family (consisting of Aqours members) came into view. While they lamented about the harsh cold of Osaka, repo men (still other members) came in to take everything away. One cannot anticipate the horrors that lie in the Aqours dressing room…
As the second short ended, the gang was back together for their final two songs. The last song of the night, Sunshine PikaPika Ondo, might have been a calmer song compared to their earlier set, but Anju (Chika) playing a taiko drum while the other girls sang around her waving their fans in their special haoris, everyone found themselves swept up in festival spirit. Once the song was over, the members took a moment to thank everyone for being so fired up and cheering along so much. They went down the line to give their heartfelt thanks and tell the audience what it meant to them to perform this night.
Outro: Connected by a Rainbow
The voice actresses for Aqours clearly take their jobs seriously, putting in huge amounts of energy in their songs and emulating their characters. They know what their fans are looking for and are more than happy to provide. One of the things that made this show so special was just how much they interacted with the audience. Even though English was harder for some than others, everyone tried to speak a little so that everyone could understand them. Anju accidently said ‘2020’ instead of ‘2018’ and she seemed embarrassed but with everyone cheering her on and supporting her, she continued despite probably feeling a little nervous. Each member took their time with their introductions, demanding much of the audience in terms of cheers and responses but being incredibly excited each time the audience would fulfil their role.
Another cute moment was when Guilty Kiss showed off the ‘kawaii points’ of their outfits. Each girl pointed out her favorite part which ended up being a bow either on their shoes, their back, or their chest. The proud looks on their faces as they showed off their kawaii points was adorable.
One of the most special moments for both the audience and for Aqours was during their second to last song, “Yuuki wa Doko ni, Kimi no Mune ni”. Sporting their t-shirts and dancing away, they continued to wow everyone with their performance. By the end of the song, everyone with penlights and raised them up and created a beautiful rainbow from front to back. Some of the girls teared up or even cried a little, and the astounded look on Anju’s face moved everyone in the theater. It was a magical moment that showed everyone’s determination and camaraderie.