June 27, 2011

Spring Party notes

Earlier this spring, I went to a sphere concert. I wrote some notes about it but it never materialized into a real "live report." Eventually the motivation went away so I'll just dump the snippets and close the book on that.

  • The jump timing for a lot of songs don't make any sense. Basically don't expect to go with the flow on calls. Need to know them beforehand
  • Ayahi is really popular with girls. I saw some female sphere fans in full Ayahi jumpsuits that were pretty neat
  • Aki gives off big sister vibes even though she's smaller than me. Also she doesn't really tower over others as much as I thought
  • Didn't hear anyone use Tomacchan nickname. Fans called her Harukasu instead. I guess the name from the photobook?
  • Tomatsu's color being orange means she gets the benefit of a ton of people pulling out UO
  • Minako did the most in terms of crowd leadership (calls, waving signals, clapping, etc). Also the whole stage turned purple.
  • Really long intro where 4 members read a sappy script about spring time.
  • At the end of concert, they held a fundraiser for earthquake victims. When you left, you passed by a donation box so if you went to go put in coins you get to slowly walk past like 3 feet away from them. When you passed each one, they bowed to you and you could talk to them for a few seconds. During bowing session, other sphere girls would turn their heads to look at you directly, but Haruka did shifty eyes instead lol
  • Sphere fans pretty organized. Guy next to me had a big case of glowsticks divided into 4 compartments for each member.
  • After costume change, Aki in her green miniskirt + green boots gliding around the stage on supports totally looked like feminine Peter Pan
  • There's an interesting mechanic where a secondary stage would actually split into 4 parts while the girls were on it. Each stage would move through the concert halls down one of the aisles and recombine in the middle and back of the stage. Very clever to give everyone a chance to see them up close considering the randomized seats. Sadly it was underused - they only went down the aisle this 3 times, which means every section lost out on 1 member
  • The concert title was "Spring Party is Here" and so seating blocks were arranged as YTRAPS with Y all the way at the front row and S in the last row. Backwards it spells S. Party. Unfortunately, I got screwed with "S" but it's good experience to know for future Sphere concerts if they randomize the seats. You can sort of guess the arrangements based on the title and pick a letter in the middle to be safe. Or gamble on the end letters. On the up side, I was in the aisle so the members came right by me when they went around the hall.

Posted by Paranda at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2011

New LoveLoveLovable corner appreciation!

Sorry, this is yet another post on LoveLoveLovable, the wonderful radio show hosted by its irresistible personality Sakura Saori!

If you're not familiar with LoveLoveLovable, you can go check out the latest episode right now, read my old intro on the show linked above, or simply listen to this if you're short on time.

Due to a formerly irregular schedule and various hiatuses, it has been a long journey since the first broadcast back in 2007, but last week the show finally passed the 100 episode milestone. Congratulations!!

To mark the occasion, for the 101th episode, Saori has announced a refresh for the show. In addition to brand new catchphrases (TBD by twitter entries, winner will receive an autographed shikishi) and background music, there will be new LoveLoveLovable corners intended to refresh the content and draw in new kinds of listener mail. Many of these came from the special brainstorming session she had with MayoP on the 2nd radio CD release.

LoveLove Alaburu (??)
(WTF is alaburu? Even Saori doesn't know!) In this corner, readers send in things they want to passionately say out loud, and Saori will yell it out in their place. It seems you can vent, or exclaim things. This seems like an alternate version of "Anata ni Yell!" but we'll see how it works out in practice. You know...there are a few couples who listen to LoveLoveLovable radio together. I wonder if any of them has the guts to use Saori to drop a "X, marry me!" line? I'll mail them a wedding gift from the USA if it happens. Eternal respect, yo!

Kamisama-like ni Otasuke-tai
The title of this corner is a play on the avenew project song "Angel-like ni LOVE-ritai". When you call the God Help Squad, Saori will magically appear in your window and grant you a wish! </fantasy>

Actually the truth is this appears to be a reverse-advice corner where Saori will pose a problem, and then listeners can send in their advice on how they deal with it. This week's problem is how she should calm a growling stomach in the studio. Uh...eat something more than a single grapefruit for breakfast? You're already skinny! Now if anyone needs to go on the grapefruit diet, it's me.

Ima nansai?
Oooohhh, finally a game corner! It seems like you are supposed to send in some personal experiences, and then based on the maturity of it, Saori will try to deduce your mental age and whether your are childish or an adult. This has potential to be fun, and I'm very interested in what Saori thinks is adult-like, when she herself speaks the way that she does. But Saori-oneesama is just too nice, I think all the guesses will be reasonably couched in safe praise or "oh it's good to be young." I doubt we'll see a Yukarin-style put down, but then again Saori is a Yukari fan...

Chiwakura Chronicle
For the unacquainted, Chiwakura-san a.k.a. (・ω・*ξ▽ is the radio show's 3 year old mascot character, loosely based on a Chihuahua. She likes snacks, rapping, going surfing, and collecting lingerie. Although Saori designed her, many aspects of Chiwakura-san are suggested by listeners, so she has plenty of weird traits (her hair curls are filled with sweets and function as emergency food rations). Similar to the "Minna no Chiwakura-san" corner, this new corner allows for more building of Chiwakura-san's character, but in the context of a story. For the corner, Saori starts off with a basic premise, then lets the readers decide what happens next. Every week, someone can contribute a little bit and add to the tale. The current story is about Chiwakura-san's very recent third birthday. BTW if you turn Chiwakura's birthday month and day upside down, you get Saori's birthday.

Tearful Story
Saori's upcoming album "Tearful" focuses on the intensity of various emotions she felt in the past few years. That provided an inspiration for this new corner. However, Tearful Story isn't "tearful" as in sad. This corner invites sharing of emotional tales that make you get emotional, whether it's happy or sad. The details aren't entirely clear though. Saori talked about this corner in episode 100 but it doesn't seem to have made it to the final list in the blog post. We'll see in the near future whether this is still a real corner or not.

Existing corners such as Futsuota (the primary corner) and Kikasete memory ave;new are also still around as staple opener/closers, but some other corners like "Oshiete My Sweet", "Nandemo Lovable 3", and "Challenger Saori" are no longer among the available choices in the radio dropdown. It does make sense, since these topics have already been answered many times. There are only so many different sweets you can eat, and so many different top 3 lists you can make. But, I am a bit sad about Challenger Saori going away simply because it was the most infrequent and still had so many possibilities. Still, with all these new corners to rejuvenate the show there's much to look forward to. And no matter how the format of the show changes, there's one thing I know will never change. Beerchat.

From Episode 99:

After a very long segment about Twin Angel cafe's cocktail drinks
SS: "Hey I talked a lot about alcohol. Sorry to everyone underage who can't drink!"

Listener 2: "What are your top 3 sparkling liquors?"
SS: "Ah hope you don't mind me continuing to talk about alcohol. I wonder if it's really alright."
SS: "Ok, really sorry that I'm talking so much about drinking!"

Listener 3: "It's summer time and that means more beer! What are your favorite foods that go with beer?"
SS: -_-;; "Hey you know recently I'm not drinking THAT much."

To make it better, the show is now also on a weekly schedule to broadcast every Wednesday so you'll always have something to listen to. It's also a testament to just how much Saori spends working. She's someone who starts every day with "Good morning, I'll work hard today!" - even on the weekends. Which brings me to another thing I observed...

We know in the niche-entertainment industry, the pay is quite low and the life isn't exactly glamorous if you're not at the top, but from reading various seiyuu blogs you kind of get an sense (or illusion) of a fairly casual life. Every other post is about hanging out at somebody's house, afureco party, eating at restaurants, shopping, pulling all-nighters at bars, etc.

Then you see Saori's schedule and it's like "Damn." Saori seems to do two things in her life: work, and drink. But I'm not too surprised - Saori's schedule is just incredibly busy. Like all the other singers, she has singing, composing, songwriting, and event responsibilities. And despite her status as an 8 year veteran, she still has regular lessons with her voice coach. But beyond that, Saori also blogs the most frequently out of all the ave;new singers (with quite long content) and hosts her own solo radio show. Without guests to bounce off for natural conversation, she has to write nearly an hour of prepared material and responses for each show.

One hour of material is no small task, as I have now learned thanks to twitter. It takes at least 10 - 12 hours to write, record and edit, and often she can't hit her own deadline. Typically, she will accept letters all the way up to 1 day before the scheduled broadcast day. Then on the morning of the broadcast date, she'll actually begin recording. She'll tweet something like "Ok, time to go tape the show" and then we'll get complete silence. It isn't until 11:30 PM that she'll tweet a quick "Sorry I'm late, it's almost done!" message and by 1 AM we'll see a completed episode up on her blog. And after all THAT, she may then spend another hour replying to all of her twitter messages before finally throwing up the white flag and sleeping.

Furthermore, Saori is also basically ave;new's full time graphic designer. ave;new's album covers, jackets, ad prints, and websites are her creations, and in each you can see hints of Saori's ornate design sense, which involves heavy use of color and images. At a larger company, all of this is enough work to be the job of at least 2 or 3 people. It's the kind of work ethic I can really respect, but I hope she stays healthy.

At least we've seen recently that Saori does occasional karaoke parties with fellow ave;new visual producer Sato Mayo, one-time ave;pro guest singer Kikouden Misa a.k.a. HQN ("hakkyun" is that sound she makes in the song), and singer Toromi. Saori getting all buddy-buddy with toromi is kinda interesting. I wonder if we'll see a collabo any time soon?

Posted by Paranda at 4:32 PM | Comments (0)

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