(Cross posted from Pure Idol Heart!)
From June 20th through June 22nd, I had the distinct pleasure of attending Idol Matsuri, which was geared at being the United States’ first idol convention. I was interested in the event when it was first announced quite some time ago, but when the guests were announced I knew I had to attend. Aither, the first group, wasn’t one that I was very familiar with, but I have been a fan of RYUTist since covering them for Tokyo Idol Festival so they were a group I was really excited to meet. I was really intrigued by the idea of going to see both of these acts, though, because usually only large groups get to go do a foreign live. Since I love indie idols, this was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up.
First off, I spent the weekend hanging out with various idol fans, as well as other idol bloggers. I spent some good time with Steve from Selective Hearing as well as a large number of the bloggers from New School Kaidan, many of whom I had spoken to on twitter for a while. While I went to Idol Matsuri to meet with RYUTist, I was incredibly happy to meet other idol fans. I have honestly never really met any serious idol fans in person, so to be surrounded by other people who share my passion for idol music and culture for a weekend was incredibly fun. I’m so glad I met everyone there.
The convention itself was fairly small, which wasn’t unexpected. This convention is one in its first year, so I don’t think anyone knew quite what to expect from this. However, the group of us who were there were a really fun, passionate bunch. So what we lacked for in members I believe we made up in spirit. That said, I know that the organizers want to host Idol Matsuri again, so I have to emphasize just how much I recommend it. It was a wonderful, once in a lifetime experience and I want more people to have as much fun as I did!
There were several guests. Several Western idol acts came; Beri New Day, Ally & Sally, SHEawase and Beckii Cruel. I unfortunately missed Beckii and Beri’s concerts due to my flight schedule and I had to miss half of SHEawase’s set to get to a scheduled interview. However, these girls were really fun and added a lot to the experience. I interviewed Beckii (which will be hosted on Happy Disco soon!) and she was a real class act. I chose not to interview the other acts because I didn’t want to overexert myself (and, given how tired I am, this was a pretty wise choice!), but they were all fantastic to have around.
As for the Japanese guests… Wow. I interviewed and went to the concert of Momoi Halko. I didn’t know much about her before the convention, but she put on a great show and I asked her several questions about her long-lived idol career and about her career as a producer for acts like Afilia Saga and Kotone Mai. She was a really interesting person, and a fun one to watch in concert. I took it easy for her concert (saving my strength for RYUTist!) but her fans were SO passionate and she put on a great show.
Aither was a LOT of fun. I watched several of their videos in preparation for this event, but I had a great time with all of them. They were all really energetic, cute and bubbly. Since the convention was so small I actually ran into them in the hallway several times and they seemed to always be bubbly. During their concert there were some technical difficulties, and they took it all in stride. During an impromptu MC (due to these tech issues) they were really funny; Airi and Yuuka did a gag which was “Terminator & Titanic” which is basically exactly what it sounds like. They also all sang “Do You Want To Build a Snowman?” from Frozen which was kind of neat, because Team Syachihoko recently did that same thing in a video. I also stood next to another Misaki fan, and she focused a lot in on us, which I didn’t mind one bit!
During their photo and handshake events I gravitated towards Misaki; I liked all the members going in, but Misaki was a LOT of fun. We got a chance to chat a bit about idols, and how she likes Morning Musume ’14; I mentioned that I liked Ishida Ayumi, whereas she likes Michishige Sayumi and Kudou Haruka. I also told her that I like Team Syachihoko, which made her go to MomoClo and sing a bit of Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo. Sakura seemed really shy, but was sweet. She said I was cute, to which I replied that she was really cute, too, which she got a bit embarrassed at. Yuuka was a very idol-like person, and I had fun with her. She had American-themed nail art, which I marveled at with her. Airi was very sweet, too; I can’t really remember what I spoke to her about, but she was quite nice.
RYUTist was really great. One thing that a lot of fans noticed is that they aren’t really super idol-like, but in a good way. They felt really genuine, like they were showing how they really felt. I’m a fan of Tomochy, and so when I went to get my two-shot with all of them wearing my Tomochy towel her thanks felt very genuine. While it was hard knowing exactly what to say at the autograph and handshake sessions, they were super fun. I knew part of their concert introductions (“Konnichimuu” and “Haropyon”) and told them to Muutan and Tomochy respectively, which I think kind of surprised them a bit. I used basically all my Japanese knowledge talking to all of them, but I think I conveyed what I wanted to say. I told Wakkar that my favorite RYUTist song was “Arrivals and Departures” (which they performed first at the concert!) and she also seemed kind of surprised.
Their concert was frankly amazing. All the members are really skilled at both singing and dancing, and even though many of their songs aren’t really geared towards wotagei and fan calls, all the fans really enjoyed their concert. Their dancing was VERY sharp and precise, and their vocals were VERY strong for being done during that dancing. RYUTist is made of great performers, and that made their performance all the better. They performed a fantastic that contained some of my favorite songs; Arrivals and Departures, Beat Goes On, Colorful Milk, Natsu no Mahou/Fuyu no Mahou, Arashi wa Nichiyoubi and Raririreru. The concert was everything I hoped for and more. They actually put it up on Youtube really early, so you should watch it. It’s kind of embarrassing, but you’ll see me; I’m the girl wearing the pink towel and with the pink light stick up front. I also happened to run into them a whole lot.
Another fun thing was that around midday on Sunday, RYUTist filmed a video with a lot of the fans there. They recently did a cover of BiS’ song Nerve and filmed a dance video with us. I’m in that too. I’m not a very good dancer, but how could I pass up an opportunity to dance with idols? Again, that’ll be up on the RYUTist youtube soon.
For a first year event, Idol Matsuri went very well. I had a great time meeting idol groups (especially RYUTist) and I met a lot of great people! If there is another Idol Matsuri next year, I encourage everyone to go!