Aso Natsuko LIVE (my first live idol event!)

As I mentioned a while ago in my “State of the Wota Address” an idol I really really like, Aso Natsuko, decided to come to London, which is where I’m spending the current semester! So I immediately bought tickets to the convention, and embarked on my first idol live! It’s kind of hard to believe that even though I’m a really enthusiastic idol fan that I haven’t had the chance, but the past two days have more than made up for my lack.

The event was at a convention/thing called Hyper Japan; now I hesitate to call it a convention because it really doesn’t do panels or things. It’s basically a room with a lot of vendors (basically like a regular convention’s dealer’s room, but with more things, actual food and actual high profile companies).

Friday: I got there at about 3:30. Since I knew that the Nacchan live was at 7:30, I kept an eye on the stage and the seats there and wandered a bit. I ate takoyaki (my favorite food!) and went to the booth where they were selling Natsuko’s CDs and goods. I got some trading cards of hers. I was pleasantly surprised that they had a lot of AKB48 goods/photobooks as well! I was contemplating which one to get when I saw that the Watarirouka Hashiritai 7 spec book I’ve had my eye on was there. I had a small conversation with the guy who worked there about how I knew Nacchan, and he said she’d stopped by the shop after her rehearsal! He mentioned he didn’t know her before the convention, and seemed a bit surprised that I was legitimately into her before the con.

Her most recent album, Precious Tone, was there on sale for 35 pounds. I was thinking about it, but decided against it, because that’s kind of a lot. It’s a better deal than her most recent single, Lovely Girls’ Anthem, though! 25 pounds for a regular edition single!

I wandered around a bit and decided to sit down at the stage to watch a demonstration on wotagei…that ended up leaving me realizing I knew more about wotagei/wota culture than the people running it! It was kind of funny to see how they didn’t know what they were doing, but at the same time a bit sad. The one thing that puzzled me the most and keyed me in that the people running it didn’t really know what they were doing was that the final thing was done to K-On! music. Now, I love K-On!. For any of you who know it, I actually own a Tsumugi figure. It’s great. However, it’s not the choice I would have made…at all. I feel like it would have been better to choose a more standard wotagei choice, such as the quintessential wotagei song, Fujimoto Miki’s Romantic Ukare Mode. (Mikisama Mikisama oshio ki kibun nu!). Or do some of the AKB48 MIX, since AKB’s so popular.

I also found a travel brochure that had a map made by Mitsui Aika. No joke. She made a map of Shibuya that’s in a travel booklet.

I decided to stay and keep my seat (or gradually move closer to being front and center), which was a good idea, because multiple people came to the wotagei, decided to stay for the shamisen performance and stay for Nacchan’s performance. A couple were wota who seemed to come from Japan to see Nacchan; at first I was kind of excited, and wanted to talk to them about stuff (like, if they liked other idols, things like that). However, they were standoffish at best, definitely in their own world doing wotagei and whatnot.

Finally,when Nacchan performed, it was honestly better than I could have dreamed.

I liked her a lot in PVs, and her singing voice is particularly good (she sang completely live at this con and was completely amazing.) However, just the level of energy she had was mindblowing. She was energetic, really adorable (especially when speaking in English), and just overall better live than in any PV or any song. Just amazing stuff. Her singing was, as I said, all live and really good; about halfway through her voice started to give out, and I think that’s partially because she flew in earlier that day. But she was a trooper and kept up the good performance to the end!

Friday’s performance was a 50-60 minute live and chat, so the host asked her a couple of questions about things like how she can manage studying and being a singer/TV host. A lot of the questions were a bit boring, and the translator was definitely not the best (though, it was kind of funny when Nacchan understood one of the questions in English and basically went “I got this” and answered). I’m lucky that I understand some Japanese, and got her full meaning!

She sang a lot of her songs ,some I knew but others I didn’t know as well. But it was fun to shout at the songs I know, specifically Perfect Area Complete and Diamond Star.

At the end of the concert there was a small rock-paper-scissors contest with the audience and Nacchan to win some autographed mugs. I sadly didn’t win one, and was kind of jealous of the audience members who did; I also think that only the Japanese wota and I realized how lucky the fans were because they all got to shake her hand! Especially since that’s an event you normally have to buy things to get into!

But man, that event was so amazing. As I’ve mentioned on Happy Disco before, I think idols are really great in how they  can bring up your mood and just make you happier. And while that’s still the case, it’s just amazing how much that’s amplified by seeing idols you like IN PERSON. The whole concert had a ton of energy and was ridiculously fun.

And then I went and spent a lot of money and bought her album, Precious Tone. Which is the other major point of being an idol fan, which is that your money is totally vulnerable to them. But it worked out great because it came with a big poster, a poster I would have spent money on buying alone. So that was good!

Saturday, I woke up a bit late and hurried to get to the event. Luckily (??) there was a massive line to get in, so I didn’t miss anything. I walked around a bit moe, but then ended up waiting for the event. This one was a bit shorter, but actually had a lot of great songs, and no weirdly awkward talk moments.

Some of the songs played on Saturday (honestly, Friday’s live is a bit more of a blur): Lovely Girls’ Anthem, Programming for Non-Fiction, Eureka Baby, Diamond Star, Perfect Area Complete, and, at the host’s request, a spontaneous performance of one of my favorite songs by her, More More Lovers!! Saturday’s performance was just as energetic, even better vocals, and she was still amazing.

I knew that an hour after her live performance ended she was going to be doing a signing so I went and hung around that booth until I realized she was there (missed her coming in, was too busy looking at AKB48 stuff, whoops!) and that the line was already massive. I got in line and was anxiously trying to remember Japanese. I had a few things I really wanted to say…which I didn’t remember. When I got to the front of the line I was SO starstruck that I only managed to get out “the concert today was very fun” and to thank her profusely. She seemed really happy, though, and smiled while I got out what I wanted to say in Japanese. She thanked me multiple times as she signed my items (the Precious Tone album booklet and the poster), and asked me to come see her again, both in Japanese and in English (“See you next time! Come see me again!”) I know she says that to a lot of people, but when she said it to me it seemed so earnest that I kind of wonder if she noticed me in the concerts, since I was way up front for both of them. Even still, I hope I’ll get a chance to see Nacchan again!

Even though I had fun at the concert, the biggest surprise came in the autograph line, when a few people in front of me asked to get a picture with Nacchan. I was surprised that it was allowed, because I know that two-shots are actually fairly rare in Japan and then are usually two shot events. Once I saw this I whipped out my camera and asked the staff for a picture, too, and so….

All in all, best experience ever.

 

 

 

Momoiro Clover Z – Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyoukyoku Dainana Gakushou “Mugen no Ai” PV

With a title like that, it’s easy to need to shorten the name. I usually have shortened the title of the song to “Mugen no Ai” which translates to “Eternal Love” and it seems to be the shortened title that lots of MomoClo fans accept, at least on YouTube when I’ve searched for the name before.

However, this might only be referred to as “that really really really amazing PV of amazing” or something around those lines.

Momoiro Clover Z

Oh. My. God.

Outfits: The thing I love about these outfits is that they look really well made; when you think of the words “space pirates” it’s easy to think of something REALLY cheesy or childish. Something like, say, the Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutanjima PV. Now mind that was meant to look like that, but that’s just an easy comparison that can be made when you think of JPop meeting pirates. Or the outfits could look really cheap like this, which is just as bad in this case.

OK, maybe I just want a picture of Tobias Funke on my blog. Because of reasons.

However, the outfits here are really well crafted in that they look cool but you don’t feel second-hand embarrassment for MomoClo for wearing them. Another thing I appreciate is that the outfits are clearly crafted to suit each girl individually, as opposed to just being one cookie cutter outfit that was made five times. For example, Sasaki Ayaka’s outfit has a skirt trimmed with lace while others wear shorts. It’s details like this that make you think that MomoClo’s staff works really hard.

Dance: I’ve seen live performances of this song before, and while this dance is definitely not one of Momoiro Clover’s strongest in terms of choreography, IMO, the things they showed in the PV are really good. Moreover, even if it’s not their most difficult dance, all the girls completely ace the dance. It shows that even though I’d say dance is one of Momoiro Clover’s strongest points, that it’s definitely not the only thing that sets them apart as an idol group.

Song: Again, I’ve heard the song before this. But really, this might just be up there now as my favorite Momoiro Clover song. Which is actually saying a LOT, considering that I love this group more than most idol groups. This song is legitimately epic and catchy.

PV in general: Overall, the effects are great, it looks beautiful (it’s the first PV I really feel like I need to see on a big screen in HD), and it’s just incredibly well made. The thing I love most about this PV and really about Momoiro Clover in general is that they really go all out to do their best. They don’t just phone it in, make a so-so PV and call it a day because they have a fairly sizable fanbase at this point. Everything I see from Momoiro Clover is really high quality, which is why I’m proud to be their fan and support them. And I hope that you guys do, too!

State of the Wota Address

Hey all,

So. I’ve been bad. And haven’t posted. Basically, I’ve been really busy, having the time of my life in London! And while I haven’t forgotten about idols and I’m still crazy into them like always, updating Happy Disco comes after my goings on here in London.

So, here’s a quick update before I start posting more regularly again!

-In London, I found a store, Japan Centre, that sells Japanese magazines, though it mostly sells food/general goods. So now I have a giant poster on my wall of SKE48.

-I recently had my first major encounter discussing my wotadom with someone who’s Japanese/Indonesian; I’m staying with a host family, and another student is staying with us. She’s both Japanese and Indonesian, and while she lives in Indonesia she follows a lot of Japanese stuff. And, so, when she saw my SKE48 poster, it was kind of interesting, haha. She says she likes JKT48 because they’re Indonesian, but she was impressed by Momoiro Clover. Which made me so proud.

– I’m kind of back into Hello!Project now? S/Mileage is my jam. 2nd Gen S/Mileage in particular; Meimi, Akari, Rina and Kana are all fantastic girls. I might write about this soon.

-Biggest for me…. I’m seeing my first idol live soon! I was waiting for the tube one day and I saw a poster for a convention here. I didn’t think much of it, until I realized “…wait, is that Nacchan?” Yes, I’m seeing the lovely Aso Natsuko! I haven’t mentioned her much, but she does a lot of anime openings, most of them written by Hyadain, who’s my favorite idol music writer at the moment. And she’s going to be here! So I’m definitely going to be writing a blog about my experience, but I’m totally pumped to see a performance of Perfect Area Complete!!