October 14, 2014

IM@S 9th ANNIVERSARY WE ARE M@STERPIECE - Tokyo, Day 2

I wrote this faster than I originally expected to, so here's day 2 report a bit early.

Day 2

For Day 2, I changed positions from 2nd floor and upgraded to arena B block on the right side. It was nice to get a view of the floor from the balcony the first day, which let me survey the entire audience and stage easily, but now it was time to get into arena mode and focus purely on the stage.

01. READY!! - All Members

READY!! is the kind of song I do on autopilot these days, because I know every part and every call. Not worrying about stuff like calls lets me focus on all the singers, their faces, their outfits, and so on.

For opening MCs, while Eririn managed to safely complete her intro, Harami botched her Takane line and had to redo it. She looked so embarrassed, but it's always cute seeing Nyarami mess ups.

02. Ramuneiro Seishun - Nu, Mingosu, Harami, Kugyu

I was wondering if they would switch up the group songs, but it seems it was same as day 1. Not that I'm complaining since I love Ramuneiro. I had lights prepped ahead of time with the planned 4 colors in case.

03. Taiyo no Jealousy - Eriko

Wow, First solo song and it's already a change. I liked Watashi ha idol, but this is quite nostalgic too. In fact it's one of the oldest Haruka songs out there. Just watch this video from 2004 and think about how far Eririn has come since those noob days.

04. Vault That Borderline!

When Eririn announced the second song, this was HUGE for two reasons. 1. Vault that Borderline! 2. SHE CHANGED TWO SONGS!!! Given that there's only 3 solo songs, this signaled that there was a serious possibility that today's setlist would look drastically different from day 1. This doubled our excitement and suddenly all the possibilities started running through my head.

During Vault that Borderline, Eririn took a page from Asapon's book and divided the crowd up into sections, making each one yell the song's namesake "Vault that Borderline" separately. She even made the "industry guest" section do the chant.

Similar to how staff surprised me yesterday with their enthusiasm, industry guests went full power to engage and almost everyone in that section was waving red lights and yelling. BTW Pyonkichi was in the crowd today.

05. I Want

HOLY SHIT. 3 SONGS CHANGED. Moreover, I Want! is an awesome song and one that I was hoping we'd get. I expected "Otome taishi" but since I already heard that at SSA, I'm quite happy that she expanded the range to include even this. Today's tone was definitely more rockish than idol-like for Haruka. It seems like they're trying to combine day 1 and day 2 set lists to give something like a full spectrum for each character that gives you a good idea what that idol is all about, and that means showing all different types of their songs.

06. Honey Heartbeat - Asapon

Asapon also starting off with a different song confirmed to me that we were about to get a total new live experience complementing all the stuff we had yesterday rather than repeating it. And Honey Heartbeat itself was a fantastic choice. Aside from Start Star and Do-Dai, HH is pretty much the one other major song that I wanted from Asapon. I started enjoying this song ever since Linda AI-Cue guested on Aisute to talk about it a while back, and it quickly grew on me. Yeessssss Asapon rap. On ZA BEACH~

07. Reimei Starline

The first repeated solo so far - so I guess there are still a few anchors. I don't mind though, since this is an enjoyable song. Asapon brought out her penlight and made the audience do a wave again.

The MC after the song got a bit unique today though. Following her customary water-bottle kanpai with the audience, she said she wanted to do a special gag for Tokyo. As this arena was one of the Olympics gymnasiums, she came up with a last-minute idea to recreate the famous Tokyo 2020 Olympics announcement. She had rushed to get a replica completed only yesterday. When she flipped the sign and said deadpan "TOKYO" the whole arena cheered.

"Ahhh Thank goodness the sign got finished in time."

08. Jemmy

Great Master Artist 2 track. It's one that I used to put on regular rotation on my playlist. The break in the middle was really nice as Asapon doublehanded the mic and tried to sing it really seriously, so we all did slow waving with our penlights.

09. Meisou Mind - Hiromi

One of the songs I'm glad was NOT replaced, because it's just awesome, and it's RARE. How many people can say they've heard Meisou Mind twice?

In a key moment during her MC, Hirorin picked up the prop sign that was left behind by Asapon and also did her own "Welcome to my tea party, in TOKYO" announcement. That ended up setting a trend where Asapon's TOKYO sign got reused by most of the other idols who performed after.

10. Jitensha

Super glad to get this one. As someone who got into IM@S in large part due to the anime, Jitensha is obviously my favorite Makoto song. Earlier this February, when Hirorin finally returned to the IM@S family from maternity leave, this was the song she sang to get us introduced to Makoto again - the feelings were incredible when as she yelled "tadaima" to the crowd.

The great feelings associated with that moment were strong even now, so that I still wanted to yell "Okaeri" even though she's been back for several months. The audience yelled "SUKI DAYO" and "KIRAI DAYO" parts timed with the song. I'll never yell "KIRAI DAYO" though. Don't yell things you you don't really mean!

11. Cheering Letter

Aside from being a song I definitely wanted to hear a lot, Cheering Letter is just SUCH a good way to close out her set. It basically embodies all Makoto's hopes and worries and dreams as she writes a letter to her future self. It really shows the softer side of Makoto and nicely complements the girly Omoide no Hajimari from the previous day.

12. Nandomo ieruyo - Azumin

One of the cutest Yukiho songs, and very popular with the audience. The camera felt especially dangerous today as it kept zooming in on Azumin's legs, since she's the only one who wears kneesocks as part of her OFA outfit. This song also has "AZUMIN" calls in between her lines in the A and B melo parts.

Afterward in MC, Azumin thanked everyone for the calls. "I wanted to try this, so please forgive my selfishness, but can you all yell AZUMIN again." Crowd obliged and yelled AZUMIN.

Next, Azumin showed her appreciation for Yukiho, which she called one of her most important roles. Without her she wouldn't be standing here today, so her second request was that we would also yell "Yukiho." The crowd yelled for Yukiho even louder than Azumin.

Finally, Azumin closed off her with own version of Tokyo, but she tried to make it a unique "sexy" version so she sat down on the steps and put the sign above her knees and spoke to everyone.

"Where's the number one hottest place on Earth?"

Audience: "TOKYO!!"

Azumin: "Wrong. It's 'TOKYO, where Azumin is' right?"

Audience: "FUUUUUUUU~ AZUMISAMAAAA!"

Azutoi!

13. Kosmos, Cosmos

Kosmos Cosmos went much like the first day, although it's nice to see it from an alternate angle in the arena now.

14. First Step

This is just an amazing song. I used to think I was immune to Azumin's charms, but thanks in part to watching First Step in Fuyufes, I was won over on her live performing abilities (Solo MOONY at 8th also played a big part). Especially after her MC dedicated to Yukiho, this felt like a super appropriate song since it's essentially Azumin's love letter to her character.

Similar to ALRIGHT* on day 1, this is another song that Azumin has such strong feelings for she has cried while singing it in previous lives, but today she was all smiles and confidence. Ironically, seeing the very growth and courage that the song describes in Azumin herself only makes the feelings even more heavy for the audience.

As she was singing and smiling from the top of the stairs, you could hear people in the audience sniffling from the intensity. It's enough to wrench tears even from the hardiest toughman.

After Azumin, the team assembled again for first half MC.

Lightening up the atmosphere, Hirorin talked about her puffy hairstyle and recalled that she had even bigger hair in Osaka. "I was actually paying homage to someone with that hair, how many people know who I'm talking about?" Not many people in the audience responded, prompting Hirorin to remark that this audience is giving "real responses" instead of humoring her by pretending to know.

Hey at least I have an excuse for not getting Japanese cultural references.

"Well, who are you referencing with your hair today?" "I dunno. A poodle?"

15. Day of the future - Nu, Eriko
16. 9:02pm - Harami, Pon
17. Tick Tock - Mingosu, Kugyu
18. LivE - Azumin, Hiromi

For cover corner, it was the same units and songs as day 1. I was hoping they would switch up which songs got covered by the teams, so Miki/Azusa/Yayoi/Ritsuko might get more song variety, but thinking back I guess it makes sense to repeat what they know rather than have everyone relearn new songs and dances for other characters that they normally wouldn't do. Everyone is probably already strained remembering their own huge changes the solo setlist.

19. Only My Note - All Members

Another solid only my note performance. From my location on the right today, it was hard to look at Nu all the way on the left side so I refocused on Harami. I should pat myself on the back for such a good idea, because Harami's got The Moves.

After the group song, President Takagi's image showed up to announce the secret guest. We knew Jurikichi wasn't going to be there since her speech yesterday talked about it being her real last performance of the tour, so our minds could only go to one person.

As soon as he said "our next guest is a TOP IDOL" the whole arena pretty much screamed. People started cracking UOs in preparation before the name was even revealed.

20. Acceleration - Minorin

Holy shit, this arena turned Kiramekirari level orange, and fast. Minorin showed up wearing an exact replica of Leon's live outfit, complete with wavy skirt and butterfly hairpin. As she spun around stage, I could recognize she was mirroring some of the difficult dances from OFA, including the extended arm move and gyrating hip shake seen in Burst Appeals.

Well the whole song is pretty much one long burst appeal. She lead the crowd into a frenzy of yelling and cheering that really made her seem like the super idol last-boss that her game character represented. The energy level was quite ridiculous, with plenty of people seen mass fanning UOs and rebaking in the middle of the song.

When the dust cleared, all the members came back to the stage to welcome Minorin and give her a huge group hug. Eririn acted as primary liaison, explaining to her: "At IDOLM@STER, fundamentally we use different colors, but for certain exciting songs we'll use ultra orange. Or anything to do with Mayachan. But it seems like we've gained another item to our UO list. That was amazing!"

In a miscalculation, Eririn made her sweat-stealing intentions known too early. "After such a performance, you must be sweating. Let me wipe it for you."
Minori: "I'm not really a person who sweats that much."

LMAO the look on Sensei's face. In the end Minorin did let someone wipe her sweat, but it wasn't Eririn. Sensing her creepy ulterior motives, Mingosu (or was it Azumin?) snatched away the towel from Eriko and did all the wiping in her place.

Minorin introduced her own character, showing off her outfit and pointing out with some pride how closely she matched her look in OFA. "Everyone played the game right?" The audience responds by cheering.

765 idols remarked that Leon in game was a strong character "yet such a kind person. Too nice!" Indeed, Leon is portrayed as super-competitive but also very positively compared to much more antagonistic rivals of past games like Jupiter. Then they asked Minorin if she had a favorite character.

"Ah if I had to say, I guess it would have to be...Producer."

Audience: YEEEAAAH!!!

That's Minorin for you. Top idol.

21. Machiuke Prince

Immediately after Acceleration? My UO pile is growing kind of fast today. Singing along "GO! GO! GO! GO!" is pretty fun.

My UO pile after these two songs.

22. Rebellion

Nubellion again. Good! The more I see this live the better. Yesterday I witnessed it from the 2nd floor, and today I watched much closer from the arena. Seeing Nu do that twisting wobble kick OMG. I had a slight fuckup with my red switching today though which caused me to be a half-second late - Arc Daisenko casing is much thicker than what I'm used to, so my usual opening method of snapping it in-pocket against my leg with one hand failed on the first try.

23. Shiawase no Recipe

What could be better than Overmaster? Now I know the answer to that question. LADLE NU!! AFSDFKJLDKFSHDF!!!! You know, usually I prefer cool Hibiki to cute Hibiki, but this song is just so deadly it could overturn that whole point of view.

First, there's the incredibly cute vocals from Nunu, going Shiawase no (pause) Re-shi-piiiii♪ and winking. Add on top of that a silver ladle which she holds and uses to draw a big heart every time she says that line! Add on top of that a sparkle & bloom effect and heart SFX overlaying all of this in the overhead video. THEN add even further on top of that, a part in the song where she takes the ladle, goes up to the drum stand, and starts playing the drums and wind chimes with it. AND THEN, as if that's still not enough, add one more part where the dance step in the song is literally: SHE STIRS AN IMAGINARY POT AND TASTES IT AND SMILES IN SELF SATISFACTION.

Overkill. This song is God Tier. It's the greatest thing I've seen in my life. No hyperbole, bro.

For MC, Nu kept playing with the ladle and made us all draw a heart with our hands while singing the Shiawase no Recipe line. Then she targeted the band members. She settled on the drummer, half-embarrassing him with the audience yelling KAWAII, but his reward was getting to keep Nu's ladle (DAMN YOU DRUMMER!!!)

Before moving on, the audience yelled to let her know she wasn't going to get away without doing a "TOKYO" skit. Nu obliged by singing "Shiawase no...♪ (monotone) TOKYO."

24. Hatsukoi ~Isshou Kataomoi no Sakura~

O-oh. Nu ballads. The greatest of them is Avalon, but this song is within spitting range. As is the case with Nu ballads, I immediately realized this might be the only time we'll ever hear this song. She amazingly sings them so well and then NEVER repeats them again. At least that's been the case so far. The accompanying video shows a letter that's being slowly written out line by line with the lyrics of the song.

Combined with yesterday's set list, it feels like we've seen the full range of Hibiki's songs showing all aspects of her character, from cool to cute, in rock and pop and ballad and in between. Stitch the five performances together and you basically have a demo reel to showcase how much talent Nunu keeps hidden away.

25. Kimi ha melody - Kugyu

I hadn't noticed it on Day 1, but in the middle of this song the strings section was waving Iori penlights since they weren't on instrument duty.

I actually can't remember if Kugyu did anything for TOKYO or not, because it got completely overshadowed by her doing IORI lines where she just angrily yelled at the crowd.

"What's with you people, swinging your pink rods. You HENTAI! DO-HENTAI, HENTAI TAREN."

Audience: YAAYYYYYYYYY

"Cheering for that, Are you all STUPID?"

Audience: YAAYYYYYYYYYYYY x 2!

Even better than getting called a hentai by Iori is seeing the complete gap between Kugyu the person and Iori the character. After each line, Kugyu just buried her face in the cutest way, acting like she's so ashamed of saying those lines. Come on, Kugyu, we know you secretly enjoy it.

26. Sentimental Venus

SV has one of the catchiest hooks, and sounds like it was almost specifically made for Kugyu's voice. If there was one song to use Ultra Pink for, it was this - the most amped up Iori song that I can think of. I actually saw this performed at SSA too, but only as a unit with Iori + ML girls. It has a much more different and personal feel when Kugimiya is soloing it.

27. my song

Wow, have some mood whiplash! But since I was just on the topic of SSA, this is actually the same order of songs that they did then too. No matter how many times I hear it, each time it seems to get a little better. As far as Iori songs go, this is basically Kugyu's ultimate weapon: at least two Iori Producers I know have it to blame for their conversion.

28. Princess Snow White - Harami

After being almost murdered by "sexy" Takane via KisS on Day 1, it's only appropriate to switch gears to "Cute" Takane. Her competence on two extreme scales is actually one of the most appealing things about her character, and Harami can play either end equally well.

For today's MC, Harami brought up her now-famous "Minna to Issho" painting, a Pollockian depiction of IM@S lives in her mind's eye, and remarked how it's basically being brought to life this very moment. It doesn't seem like she told staff she was gonna talk about it, because she was trying to describe it verbally then got visibly surprised when they magicked up a photo of it on screen.

It's treated like a comedy bit now, and everyone's always making fun of it like it's a terrible painting, but when I see it, I'm like "DAFUQ?? This is a GREAT painting." Trust me, put this up at a charity art auction and it'll easily get into the thousands.

Also, Harami's Tokyo: (in Osaka accent) "TOKYO, ya de?" *head tilt* AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!

29. Kazahana

The essential Takane image song if there ever was one. It's been seen at many lives, but this time she's making fine use of that live band.

30. Futatsu no Tsuki

Another welcome repeat from Day 1. Can't wait to get this song on CD. Since I've come back to the US, I've been leaving S4U on just for this song.

31. Fate of the World - Mingosu

Blue Symphony was a pretty active song, but this was just absolutely crazy. Once again, Mingosu went NUTS. She ran all over the stage in leaps and bounds. For me this song basically brings memories of Miki wrecking shit in the Nemurihime movie, but Mingosu can match that chaotic scene in real life. It is SUPER FUN to do. For this song, I think almost half the arena went UO, but they also kept the blue penlights up so it was a very cool dual color song. Visually, orange and blue go pretty well together.

For MC, I wondered if Mingosu was going to make us sit again but it seems like she was ready to do Aoi Tori as a normal song today. But before that, the audience demanded "TOKYO!" She refused. I have no idea what happened, but somehow this ended up leading to another mass chant asking her to abuse us. She couldn't hear what was being yelled, so she channeled Yukarin's power and told everyone to "SHUT UP!" and pointed to one person.

"YOU! Tell me what everyone is yelling!"

"Kick us!"

"Kick!?"

I don't get it either. Somebody explain to me. But who cares, she did it! Getting kicked by Mingosu, FWOOOOOOO!!!!

32. Aoi Tori (M@STER VERSION)

Full band Aoi Tori. No sitting. Without Nemurihime messing with my feels today, this song had its full effect. It's quite strong, but I was not prepared for what came next.

33. Yakusoku

Ok. This fucking song. THIS FUCKING SONG AAAAAAAH. I've heard it plenty of times before, but NEVER like this. SSA day 2 came close. It did. It followed the same formula, with Mingosu singing alone and then all the members joining in. Mingosu may or may not have teared up back then. But THIS was just something that has never happened before in the history of anything. She cried, the audience cried, everybody did - it was basically lifted straight out of the anime scene in Episode 20.

In the second half, you could already see Imai lose her composure a bit and her voice was shaking. By this time, the arena was sniffling. Then the whole cast suddenly appears and she just loses it completely. Not tearful singing, but total breakdown. The rest of the group covered for her and sang several bars while she stood there trying to recover, making several attempts to almost get a few words out, but failing and just losing herself again

At the end, Mingosu just dropped the microphone to her side and started singing without it, swaying side to side and singing with the biggest smile I've ever seen. You couldn't hear her, but it didn't matter because she was supported by all of her precious teammates who've stuck with her through all these years. The rest of the song was finished with everyone standing beside her and singing together. It was just an incredible sight, and the tears infected everyone in the arena. I don't think I'll ever see anything like this again.

It wasn't even possible to really do closing MC after this. Mingosu apologized to everyone for making the mood like this but she just couldn't help it.

So, during ending MC, Nunu started tearing up - something which I've also never seen. Kugyu pretty much lost it in her speech too. "Even though I always talk to you like this, I'm always receiving your support." Asapon! Asapon started choking up in her MC, but when the crowd yelled to her, she instantly recovered and put on a fake smile for her fans. But as soon as the spotlight left her and went to somebody else for their turn to speak, she also lost it and was sobbing in the background.

It's easier to list who didn't cry. Uh basically Harami and Azumin were in the teary but not crying state. Hirorin apologized for not crying "Sorry for breaking the trend but I can't let you see me in tears. Because I look really ugly if I do."

34. M@STERPIECE - Everyone

The last song was just...even though I already wrote about this song yesterday, I feel like I have to again because the mood created by Mingosu just changed the arena completely. I didn't even bother with a UO today because I just wanted to do open claps so that the sound of Ps could reverberate throughout the arena and let everyone know we were there. It seems like staff planned this too, because they started showing lyrics on screen which caused the whole arena to sing along. It was a decidedly different atmosphere compared to day one.

Encore featured the 3 married wives and lewd King again, doing mostly the same thing although it was really cool that they taped separate videos for both days instead of repeating footage. Obviously they couldn't know what had just happened since they were their cheerful selves, but it did help restore the mood a bit to prepare everyone for the last two songs.

35. Nijiiro Miracle

Today, I decided to do full 13 penlights for this song. Following Nijiiro, Eririn said "thank you for showing me your rainbow colors."

At the end Minorin came back to help perform the last song together with the rest of 765.

36. THE IDOLM@STER

For the last song of the day I went all out, still holding all my penlights and also burning every UO I had left. I could barely hold them straight and my hands were in pain, but the discomfort was secondary to just yelling with all my strength.

Everyone said goodbye one more time, and Minorin thanked the Producers for showing her something amazing. Finally Mingosu and Eririn did a long speech about how they've had so many memories from this series. Even though it's 9th live, they first met their characters over 12 years ago, from their birth on paper and raised them to this state. Eririn's last few words were in fact her introduction. "I'm Nakamura Eriko, my hobby and special skill is IM@S."

Each idol exited the stage in the same manner as Day 1, with Mingosu and Eririn capping off with their customary no-microphone thank you. After, a video of Takagi and BaneP appeared to announce the next February Winter event and lead everyone in a final arena-wide clap.

Closing Thoughts:

The truth is I almost didn't go to 9th live. I had been focused on saving up for 10th, but thanks to luck and other Ps encouragement and luck in winning tickets, I ended up going anyway. But now I can say with full confidence if I had missed it, I would be crying right now from regret. Instead I cried for different reasons. The greatest set list in recent memory, the strong feelings from all the singers, and the equally strong feelings shared with other Ps I've met on this trip made this almost-skipped trip turn out to be among the greatest events I've ever attended in my life.

Posted by Paranda at October 14, 2014 2:25 AM

Comments

don't know if you have watched it or not, but Eriko and Mingosu talk about that Yakusoku "incident" on yukum@s kurum@s last year [sm25234989 about min 4]
THE FEEEEEELS
and I still have to wait another 4 months to watch the DVD

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