Animelo Summer Live 2019, more popularly known as “Anisama,” the largest anisong music festival in Japan, was held for three days last August 30 until September 1, 2019 at the Saitama Super Arena. 84,000 anisong fans attended the music festival, which celebrated its 15thanniversary this year. Every year, Anisama revolves around a theme, and this year’s theme was “story.” The 19 artists (57 individuals) shared their own Anisama stories as they performed a total of 52 songs across three days.
JAM Lab. attended Day 1, where 28,000 people gathered to witness performances from 20 artists namely, i☆Ris, Kaori Ishihara, Masayoshi Oishi, Konomi Suzuki, Sphere, fhána, Suzuko Mimori, ReoNa, Roselia, Miku Ito, Sayaka Sasaki, Mai Fuchigami, Rikako Aida, Megumi Nakajima, Animelo Summer Princess from Princess Connect! Re:Dive, Masayuki Suzuki, Kemono Friends, Kiyoshi Hikawa and surprise acts Ayaka Ohashi and Chihaya Kisaragi (THE iDOLM@STER).
The highly anticipated music festival opened with a specially recorded episode “La Petitmiradio,” the radio program of petit milady, a girl's duo by voice actresses, Aoi Yuki & Ayana Taketatsu. The video explained the dos and don’ts during the festival. After the video, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and U2’s “Vertigo” started playing, hyping up the crowd. The lights dim and the crowd screamed in excitement. The screen showed three books with the first book opening and doing a roll call of the performers for Day 1. The crowd cheered as their favorite acts were mentioned.
The first to perform were the characters from Kemono Friends, a media franchise which started as a mobile game which were later adapted into a manga and an anime television series. The first season ran in 2017 and second season in 2019. An upcoming mobile game, Kemono Friends 3is scheduled to be released on September 24, 2019.
Kemono Friends collaborated with girl groups i☆Ris and Sphere, dubbed i☆RiSphere, for their first song “Youkoso Japari Park e,”the opening theme song of the first season of Kemono Friends. The audience cheered and sang along as the Friends danced to the upbeat song. Masayoshi Oishi made a special appearance as a conductor and continued to perform with Kemono Friends for their second song, a medley of “Notteke! Japari Beat,”the opening theme song of Kemono Friends 2, and “Ke・mo・no・da・mo・no,” the main theme of the mobile game Kemono Friends 3. Voice actress Tomoko Kaneda also made a special appearance dressed as one of the Friends and danced behind the group as they performed.
Voice actress and singer Miku Ito appeared on stage at the center of the arena clad in a blue dress and performed “Shocking Blue,”the opening theme song of the anime Busou Shoujo Makyaverizumu (Armed Girl's Machiavellism). After the song, Ueno, the main character in the anime Ueno-san wa Bukiyou(How Clumsy you are, Miss Ueno) and voiced by Yu Serizawa, appeared on the screen and explained that she prepared everyone’s favorite Miku to collect the cheers of the audience which will be used as energy for “Shocking Yellow” a top-secret device she is currently working on. Miku then appeared again on stage, this time wearing a yellow costume and invited Junichi Sato of fhána to join her in performing “Hirameki Heartbeat,”the opening theme song of the anime Ueno-san wa Bukiyou. Scenes from the anime were also played on the screen as the two collaborated.
Kaori Ishihara, also a voice actress and singer, appeared next on an elevated platform with the main screen behind her and performed her single “Ray Rule” released in 2018. Her performance was a combination of powerful dance moves and synchronized light effects on the screen, a sight to behold. After the song, she introduced herself and said that it’s been a while since her last Anisama, but it was her first time to perform as a solo artist. “I was nervous,” she continued, “but I’m really happy because you all welcomed me so warmly.” She then performed “TEMPEST,”the opening theme song of the anime Maō-sama, Ritorai!(Demon Lord, Retry!), in which she played the role of Luna Elegant. Fire effects highlighted her strong performance in front of a sea of red lights from the audience.
Scenes from the anime GIRLS und PANZERplayed on screen as musician Sayaka Sasaki came out donning a black dress and gave a powerful performance of “Grand symphony,” the opening theme song of parts one to three of the six-part theatrical film Girls und Panzer das Finale. The audience chimed in and clapped along to the song. She introduced herself and confessed she was anxious about how the audience would receive her since it’s been eight years since her last appearance in Anisama. She shared that when her appearance was decided, the first to congratulate her was Maon Kurosaki, whom she first met in Anisama eight years ago and have been friends ever since. “She gave me confidence when she told me that my lyrics, my existence, my words will definitely satisfy the audience.” Sasaki then told the audience, “I will make you realize that even if you didn’t know me at first, you will surely remember that my live performance was very good!” to which the crowd cheered.
Sasaki continued on sharing her story, that she was on the verge of giving up any chances in performing again in Anisama but she received a lot of encouragement from the song HANDS by Masayoshi Oishi, the opening theme song ofUltraman R/B. “For me anisong is my existence and life, and Anisama is the driving force that makes life fruitful. I will sing with all my heart and I hope my performance will link to your own life stories, to some way.” She also said that her ultimate mission was to drag everyone to the Girls und Panzerfandom. She introduced her next song, a song close to her heart, which to the audience’s amusement turned out to be the “Ankou Odori”, an insert song in episodes 4 and 9 of the original anime series and episode 4 of the original video animation (OVA). She finished her solo performance strongly with “High-Flying Future!!”one of the songs in the Yugiki "Girls und Panzer" Vocal Mini Album.
Voice actress and singer Mai Fuchigami joined Sasaki on stage and together they sang, “Enter Enter MISSION!”the ending theme song of the TV anime Girls und Panzer, much to the delight of the audience. Fuchigami played the anime’s main protagonist Miho Nishizumi. Cute chibi characters of Girls und Panzerwere being shown on screen while the two performed. At the end of the song, they did the “Panzer ow!!!” (Panzer hurrah!) call with the audience. Sasaki passed the baton to Fuchigami while jokingly saying “I’m long past my youth” to which Fuchigami responded “Don’t say that! I’m also… never mind!” and the crowd laughed.
Mai Fuchigami performed “BLACK CAT,”one of the songs in her latest album “Journey & My music” released in January 2019. Highlights of her performance include a DJ and guitarist and dancers doing hula hoops on stage. Fuchigami herself was wearing cat ears and did a nyan nyan(Japanese version of meow meow) call and response with the audience.
Next to perform were the Animelo Summer Princesses from Princess Connect! Re:Dive, a mobile game, and was introduced by missing member Pecorine voiced by M.A.O. who said she couldn’t join because she ate too much. The words “Our new story continues…” appeared on the screen and the Princesses came out from the stage at the center of the arena wearing their character’s costumes and the crowd went wild. Animated scenes from the game were played on screen while the Princesses performed “Lost Princess,” the main theme song of Princess Connect! Re:Dive. After the song, the members of the Animelo Summer Princesses, a unit formed especially for Anisama, introduced themselves one by one: Shinobu voiced by Yuka Otsubo, Ayane voiced by Ayaka Ohashi, Nanaka voiced by Haruka Yoshimura, Kokkoro voiced by Miku Ito, Hiyori voiced by Nao Toyama, Kyouka voiced by Yui Ogura, Tsumugi voiced by Ibuki Kido, and Ayane voiced by Yuu Serizawa.
Next: Animelo Summer Live 2019 live report Part.2 will be published on 28 October, 2019!