Sunday, October 12, 2014

On The iDOLM@STER 9th Anniversary in Tokyo

Keyword: TOKYO


May be some movie spoilers, read at your own risk

iDOLM@STER has at last concluded its 9th anniversary live tour with their final showing held in Tokyo. A team of overseas Producers, along with myself, decided this year to participate in im@s' Tokyo live over the 10/4 and 10/5 weekend, and it absolutely did not disappoint. It was the first time I had been to Japan and it was an unforgettable experience. Without any further ado, here's my report on my 6 days in Japan.

Ok in actuality it was 4 days in Japan and 2 days of travel. I arrived at Narita International Airport on Thursday 10/2 at around 3pm. When I arrived a Japanese P who attended Anime North 2014 as well and also a good friend of mine, greeted me and helped me find the right train to get out of Narita. Basically as soon as I landed in Japan Ps were already helping me out!

After parting with him, I set off to Shibuya to meet up the rest of the overseas Producers who had already made it to Japan. The Japanese rail system was quite overwhelming and frightening to use in at first, especially at crowded stations like the Tokyo station where if you're not careful you could be trampled by salarymen and schoolgirls. But somehow I made it to Shibuya safely in the end.

That night we had shabu-shabu for dinner, which is similar to sukiyaki. We also ordered the unlimited drinks works nomihodai to go with it. The food was good but the atmosphere was only made better by the unusual amount of anison being played in that restaurant. Now a standard tradition, we kanpai'd our drinks with ultra orange chemical lights in our beers, a habit we gaijins picked up from the Japanese Harami fans in Canada.

Day 0: Buppan Sales

The following morning we woke up at a few past 3am in order to make it on the first train to Sendagaya. On "day 0" of idolm@ster lives there is usually a sales of goods held at the venue grounds. T-shirts, coats, towels, figures, penlights, there's really an enormous amount of things to buy so long as your wallet can handle it. Often times there is a bonus or special item being sold that is exclusive to that live as well. If you're ever in a buppan (goods) sales line, I recommend at least buying the penlights (if you don't already have a set), t-shirt, and a towel (which will become your best friend inside the live).

The first train left around 4am and we made it to Sendagaya at about 5am to line up at the Tokyo Metro Gym for goods. On the train we noticed a few other Producers so we knew we were going the right way. Once we got out of Sendagaya station we were greeted by more Ps who have already been waiting since even earlier than us. They waved their glowsticks to us and we greeted them back with "ohayogozaimasu" and we found our place at the end of the line behind roughly 100 or so people, not too bad.

And thus began the waiting game. Sales would start at 3pm and we were there at 5am so basically we had 10 hours to wait. I won't disagree if you call us crazy.

Once the sun began to rise, more and more Producers began to show up and the line steadily grew larger and larger. At about 10am was when it got the worst though. The clouds disappeared and the sun began to cook up Producers for lunch. Thankfully the lining rules weren't very strict and we were able to move around so we spent our time wandering and making frequent trips to the local conbinis for snacks. I've become addicted to conbini sandwiches as a result.

Past noon Ps were pretty beat and some even napped in the blazing sun but eventually it was time for sales to open. There were about 20 registers open so sales actually went by fairly smoothly and despite our position we were able to get to the front of a register almost immediately. I kind of laughed at the Produnnu (female Producer) next to me who literally bought about 40 items, so much that her purchase amount was almost larger than she. As for myself, I bought myself a penlight set, live pamphlet, towel, and mini shikishi set.

By the bike racks you could find a lot of ita-bikes. I didn't check out the parking lots but you could find itasha as well. Flower stands were also set up that day (Makoto became pink!)

AOE burn damage

After buppan sales we headed to Shinjuku Wald9 to watch the im@s movie in theaters. It just so happens that they decided to have a second showing of the movie while I was in Japan so I'm very fortunate to be able to see it in theaters. I actually was so burnt out from lining for goods that day that I probably wasn't in the right mood to enjoy the movie to the fullest however. But rest assured I watched the movie a second time upon returning home and cried buckets as should be, but my review of it will come on a later post!

Day 1: Secret Guest Jurikichi!!

And so day 1 of the live began with my good friend and I setting off back to Tokyo from his place in Kanagawa. I was staying with him at his home which is a good hour or so depending on train schedules but it was nice to see what Japan was like outside of Tokyo in the more rural areas.

That afternoon we stopped in Akiba first to meet up with the other gaijins for lunch and pre-live preparation. In other words, glowsticks.

I myself bought 50 UOs ($40) and shared a pack of 25 UR (red) and 25 UB (blue) with a friend. Reds are of course for Eriko/Haruka but also Hibiki's Rebellion (more on that later) while I wanted blues for Mingosu since well, I love Mingosu.

Geared up and ready for war, we set forth to Sendagaya only a few stops from Akiba. Our group of 15 or so gaijins accumulated by the venue grounds and by chance we ran into some old friends. We met some Japanese Ps from Anime North 2013 as well as others from Anime North 2014 and it became a funny mixture of Ps we haven't seen in a while. But it's amazing how it felt as if I had only just seen these people only weeks ago.

Producers, Producers everywhere

Once it was time to head inside I found my seat and went on standby. They were playing Ritsuko songs in the background as I got inside so a lot of Ps were waving their green lights around. On day 1 I had an arena seat in C block which was the 3rd from the front so it was toward the back. It wasn't a bad seat but since I'm short (and have bad eyesight) it was a bit troublesome but I got used to it and it didn't make the live any worse. I exchanged Producer cards with the Ps surrounding me and before I knew it it was time for the curtains to raise. 

Like most im@s lives, it starts off with the image of President Takagi welcoming and introducing you to the venue. AkabaneP also appears and explains what is prohibited such as picture taking, recording, and certain types of calls. Once that was finished, it was time to rock.

01:READY!! (Everyone)

Once the BGM for READY!! started we quickly set into motions with our penlights. Despite this being my first actual live the muscle memory from having watched lives so many times did the rest for me. When the girls appeared on stage I cheered and shouted with everyone else. READY!! was the very first song I learned calls for and has become one of the most important and the most performed im@s song to date so it of course bears a lot of emotional attachment. The scene of the entire stadium doing calls together and the sea of cyalume lights waving in unison is simply incredible and there's nothing else quite like it.

After READY!! they had their first MC and it was amazing for me to finally see these girls in person after 3 years. Though the funny thing is that since I've seen them so many times before in videos, streams, and radio shows now that it didn't really feel like it was the first time I saw them live at all. Their personalities were all too familiar and I found myself laughing and enjoying the talk as if this was just another event. And I finally got to hear Asapon's famous "niichan!" (gentlemen cheer), "neechan!" (ladies cheer, gentlemen go "ooohhh!").

02:Ramune Iro Seishun (Imai, Kugimiya, Hara, Asakura)

This is an insert song used in the im@s movie and it's become one of my favorite songs of all time thanks to this live. The lights used in it are a mix of blue and pink colors meant to imitate that of a Ramune drink bottle. Something like this.

Pardon my elite artistic capabilities

03:START!! (Nakamura)

Kyaa! Starting off was none other than START!! by Eriko as Haruka. This is one of my favorite songs originating back in Master Artist 2 series. What I always look out for during this song is the 4-leaf clover lights some Ps bring for this song when Haruka herself sings "yotsuba no clover". Here's an example from 6th live

I don't think anyone brought that kind of 4-leaf clover but some Ps stuck 4 UG together in a + shape to imitate it and the camera even zoomed in on them during the song!

04:Watashi ha Idol? (Nakamura)

This is a song I certainly wasn't expecting but like all old songs it brought back a lot of memories.

05:Kirameki Shinkoukei (Nakamura)

Haruka's song from Live Theater Performance series. It's a really fun song with a unique call pattern and is just very energetic to hear live.

06:Otona no Hajimari (Shimoda)


This song is amazing. Before she started singing Asapon made us practice GO! GO! LETS GO! ADARUTO AHAN! It's seriously one of the most fun im@s songs live and Asapon performed it brilliantly.

07:Reimei Starline (Shimoda)

One of my longtime favorite Futami songs. It's a very fun and quite hilarious song that captures the  spirit of the twins very well. The animation video they use in this song during the live is really funny too, you see a cartoon rocket ship fly into space and stuff. During the break in the song Asapon had us do a wave starting from the front right section that went around to the back right, back left, and finally back to the front left. I always forget that Asapon does this during this song live so I never look out for it, but near the end Asapon pulls out an Amimami penlight out of nowhere as a "magic wand" and waves it around during the song. It's super cute to see.

08:You OU My Shin! (Shimoda)

Futami super rock. Before she started singing Asapon made us pull out our towels and she grabbed one for herself. During the chorus we all spun it like they do at rock concerts and as far as I know this is the first time that's ever been done for an im@s live. I really wish I was in the stands to see what it looked like from up there!

09:Meisou Mind (Hirata)

Ok this is the first song I teared up to. Not what you'd really expect to cry to but it was too nostalgic for me and reminded me of when I first produced Makoto in im@s 2. Also Hirorin was simply STUNNING and FABULOUS.

10:tear (Hirata)

This one got a big cheer for once the BGM started. It's actually not one of my favorite Makoto songs but nevertheless it was great to see Hirorin do it live again.

11:Omoide no Hajimari (Hirata)

Man I forgot about this song so the feels hit me hard. It's one of those songs I used to listen to a lot but don't ever do anymore. ;_;

12:ALRIGHT* (Asakura)

AZUUUUUMIIIIIIIN. I love this song, but now even more. You know it's going to be this song when Azumin does her "yaaaaaaaaaaay!" copying Yukiho from episode 3. This song just hits you in all the feels points and it's like you really see Yukiho up on the stage giving it her all. I also love shouting the AZUMIN call during the song.

13:Kosmos, Cosmos (Asakura)

I lived to see Kosmos, Cosmos live. What else can I say. ;__;

14:Ano Hi no Namida (Asakura)

When this song started playing I went "fa!?" because it's Yukiho's new song in OFA. With Azumin singing it I became really hopeful that more of the girls (Chihaya) would be singing full versions of their songs and giving us early previews ww


At this point they had an MC with the full cast again. Due to poor memory I can't remember much what went on sorry! But cover duets began here.

15:Day of the future (Nakamura, Numakura)

Miki cover by Haruka and Hibiki! It was super cool and I still remember this song from 6th well so the calls weren't new to me. Oh man Eriko and Nu were super cool and sexy during this song

16:9:02 (Shimoda, Hara)

Another old school and classy song, Azusa cover by Twins and Takane. This is actually one of the first im@s songs I knew back in 2007 so it was certainly nostalgic hearing it live from these two.

17:Chikutaku (Imai, Kugimiya)

THE FEELS. As soon as the song started Ps began breaking UOs left and right. In combination with the blue and pink normal lights for Chihaya and Iori the spectacle was absolutely beautiful no matter where you were seated. Yeah I teared up but so did everyone else.

18:livE (Hirata, Asakura)

Makoto and Yukiho doing a Ritsuko song! Also very fun and I remember Kami's live livE (hahaha ok they used this joke too) from 4th anniversary quite well too so it was amazing to see all these years later.

19:ONLY MY NOTE (Everyone)

I actually really love this song and if Tonari ni wasn't so useful in OFA it'd be my most played song. The calls are pretty straightforward so it's a pretty great all-star cast song.

20:Sachi (Secret guest: Takita Juri)

!? !? !? !? !?!??!?

Yeah I flipped out when Juri was announced as the secret guest and then I started crying and sobbing and if I had room I'd have curled up into a ball. One of my biggest disappointments coming into 9th was that I wouldn't be seeing Juri, or so I thought. I was so unbelievably happy I went through the whole song without wiping my tears until the very end (which was hard since hot tears really sting your eyes and it gets hard to see). Juri looked fantastic and she sang wonderfully. My favorite song in im@s is Sora but after this performance Sachi has jumped way up to one of my favorite Kotori and im@s songs of all time. Ahh... I love these ladies.

21:Machiuke Prince (Nakamura, Hirata, Shimoda, Numakura)

This, song, is, SICK, live. You have no idea how exciting it is until you're in that pit shouting LETS GO DANCE DANCE DANCE CHU. The calls are very hype and the song is so energetic that everyone gets incredibly fired up. The dance and song is very sexy and groovy and every time the camera would zoom in on one of the girls blowing a kiss or doing something cute everyone would cheer YEEEAAAHHHHHH.

Eririn's "usotsuki..."

22:Rebellion (Numakura)

The legendary Nubellion. This actually isn't one of my favorite Hibiki songs but I love it live, and so does everyone else. It's now famous for the red switch in the middle of the song. I know Love Live's Snow Halation has a white to orange switch but I don't believe im@s had a song like that until Rebellion. I was actually really surprised because everyone switched to red perfectly on cue despite this being a fairly recent thing. I had my UR prepped in my left hand thinking I was cool and once Nu said "aka" bam, the stadium flashed into red before me. In Nu's MC she was saying how she's like a magic witch that commands the lights to change colors.

 In less than 1 second, this becomes this.

23:Overmaster (Numakura)

What can you say, everyone loves Overmaster and it never ceases to be a hype song that fires you up. Nu is probably the most experienced Overmasterer so it was great to finally experience live.

24:shiny smile (Numakura)

This is one of those fan favorite songs that goes way back now and I'm really happy they chose it. I love the "yeah!" calls in this song that actually originate from the Live For You! rhythm game but are still used today.

25:Kimi ha Melody (Kugimiya)

Watashi Idol, shiny smile, Kimime, man 9th bringing back the oldies. All I can really say is this showing gave me Kugyuu disease aka Gyuubyou.

26:playback, Weekday (Kugimiya)

Iori's LTP song, it was super cute. Actually I love a lot of these LTP songs because they have rhythms fit for call patterns.

27:Futari no Kioku (Kugimiya)

Ah man I almost can't believe I got to hear this live. Right in the feels. Everyone would shout KUGYUUUUUU whenever the songs finished or when she did something cute (which is always).

28:KisS (Hara)

Oh god Harami please kick me on the floor. I'm more used to hearing Nu do this song so it was a treat hearing it solo from Harami. We would love to see the old Project Fairy trio do it live one day! Please kiss me!

29:Futatsu no Tsuki (Hara)

Again I went "fa!?" because this is one of my favorite new OFA solo songs. As I put it, this song is a Takane Reality Marble and the video graphic they used on the video monitor was very cool. The full version is AWESOME I definitely cannot wait for the release.

30:Koibana (Hara)

Flower Girl, Kazahana, Koibana, Takane flower songs are really beautiful. I don't listen to Koibana often but I may have to after this.

31:Blue Symphony (Imai)

Oh man I flipped the chair in front of me with the guy still sitting in it when Mingosu came out to sing this (ok I didn't but). I cracked 3 UBs because this is one of my favorite songs from LTP and for Mingosu to actually do it SOLO was unbelievable to me

32: Nemurihime (Imai)

AAAHHHHHH. Following Sora, Nemurihime is my second favorite im@s song and my dream was to hear this song live and it was BEAUTIFUL. During the MC before this Mingosu made everyone sit down and I'm honestly really glad she did because that way I could actually see her and it was remarkable. I burned an image into my brain that day.

Sorry it's kind of creepy! But during the final chorus they shone a very bright and harsh white light that lit up the whole stadium and the image of Mingosu in the center of it was burnt into my mind. It was honestly the most beautiful performance of Nemurihime I've ever seen.

33:Aoi Tori TV ver. (Imai)

At this point I felt that I was pushing my luck. I can't believe I got to hear Aoi Tori live on top of Nemurihime. The very first Chihaya song and a song I remember well from the old im@s 1 days. It's a song that represents Chihaya herself perfectly and to hear it after 9 years since debut was truly, truly incredible.

34:M@STERPIECE (Everyone)

It's M@STERPIECE. It's THE M@STERPIECE. This song unites people like no other im@s songs in im@s history. Throughout the whole song you are essentially clapping the whole way through besides when doing the peace sign during master"peace". People break out UOs but still clap during the whole song. This has become one of the most important songs for im@s and seeing it live after the movie hits hard in the feels like no other.


35:Nijiiro Miracle (Everyone+Juri)

I haven't heard this song as much compared to M@sterpiece but after this live it's become one of my absolute favorites. For the MC Juri came back out and joined in. I cracked 2 UOs along with wolverining penlights to make a rainbow. It's the perfect encore song being the ED theme to the movie. You know the live is almost over so you're sad and yet you are also happy at the same time. It's a song that captures that emotion very well.

36:The iDOLM@STER (Everyone+Juri)

The song that started it all. This is the start of the journey, and it doesn't end here. The perfect song to end a live with, a song we are all familiar with. The beginning of legends.

Post-live offkai

And the night wasn't even over yet. We met up at Pasela in Akihabara for karaoke and dinner with the gaijinPs and a group of our Japanese Producer friends. In all there were about 30-35 of us so it became pretty lively, especially once the alcohol kicked in. At the front stage we had the digest Blu-ray from 8th live playing and whoever wanted to go up close to do calls/wotagei would do so. A couple of the high level wotas got really hype during Cinderella Girls songs and it was very fun to see.

When Mingosu went to sing Yakusoku on the BD it was quite hilarious now when I look back on it. I went up to the front and (of course) teared up quite hard. When I did a bunch of the Ps came up to me (AND HUGGED ME) to sing together and it was moving although extremely embarrassing!

(that hand is literally on my shoulder ////)

About 3 hours into the off-kai most of the Japanese Ps had to call it a night but many of the gaijins stayed behind for all night karaoke. All night karaoke after a live, with a live the following afternoon? Yeah we're nuts. But riding on momentum I actually felt ok most of the day. As for what happened during karaoke... let's skip that. のヮの;

Day 2: We Are M@STERPIECE!!

After sleeping in a Denny's in the morning for a few hours, it was time to head back to Sendagaya to queue for the second day. That morning the typhoon finally hit Tokyo so it was absolutely pouring everywhere you went. It of course reminded me a lot of the typhoon live in episode 13 of the anime so the rain didn't bother me at all, other than getting a lot of my stuff wet. At the live grounds we found the Ps giving out call books after a bit of hunting for them. They were on the opposite end of the live grounds standing completely in the rain just to give out the call books for free, amazing.

For the sake of effort I'll skip my thoughts on repeat songs from Day 1

01:READY!! (Everyone)

02:Ramune Iro Seishun (Imai, Kugimiya, Hara, Asakura)

03:Taiyou no Jealousy (Nakamura)

Ahhhhh, I fell in love with this song after Eririn's performance at 8th despite this being Haruka's oldest song. If you compare her performances of this song now with her old ones from 4th and even earlier you can plainly see how much Eriko has improved in singing and dancing as well as crowd control. Definitely has become one of my favorite songs to see performed live.

04:Vault The Borderline (Nakamura)

Probably my favorite of the three Shiny Festa theme songs. This song can only be done with a live band for when the singer will get the audience to do the "VAULT THE BORDERLINE" chant. She had the left and right sides cheer individually before we all did it in the end together.

05:i want (Nakamura)


I mean what else can I say. If there weren't Japanese people blocking me I would have been licking that floor like the dirty pig I am.

06:Honey Heartbeat (Shimoda)

This is another one of those songs that reminds me of im@s 2 a lot and I think Asapon is really the one who pulls it off the best. The energy of the song just shouts having fun.

07:Reimei Starline (Shimoda)

08:Jemmy (Shimoda)

This was a big surprise and I thought they forgot about this song to be honest. It hasn't been performed since 6th so I was really happy to hear it. Asapon pretty much covered all the twin songs this weekend, it's ridiculous.

09:Meisou Mind (Hirata)

10:Jitensha (Hirata)


There was a huge cheer from the crowd once the BGM started playing. Hirorin was amaaaaaziiiiiing, it really felt like Makoto was singing to us and memories of episode 17 came rushing back to me. The clapping during the intro and SUKI DAYO during the chorus were really moving. At the end we gave one giant SUKI DAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

11:Cheering Letter (Hirata)

The ED theme for episode 17 and one of my favorite Makoto songs. It reminded me of when I was close to being a MakotoP. I still love Makoto greatly!

12:Nandomo Ieruyo (Asakura)

AZUMIN! The calls for this song are very fun. Azumin was Azutoi as always and above all, she became her "Azumisama" character during her MC. Azumin's legs were also very eroi, everyone died.

13:Kosmos,Cosmos (Asakura)

14:First Step (Asakura)

Aaaaand this is when the floodgates opened on day 2. This song means so much to Yukiho and Azumin. It was written by Azumin for Yukiho in im@s 2 and to me represents Yukiho's change from im@s 1 to im@s 2 when Azumin became her voice actress. It's Yukiho coming to be accepted by her fans and her Producer despite having a new start. It's a beautiful song that Azumin sang even more beautifully. I probably cried the hardest here out of other moment over the two days. The P to my left and the Produnnu to my right were both devastated and you could hear people sniffing and see them wiping their eyes between the rows. Azumin is the best.

15:Day of the future (Nakamura, Numakura)

16:9:02pm (Shimoda, Hara)

17:Chikutaku (Imai, Kugimiya)

18:livE (Hirata, Asakura)

19:ONLY MY NOTE (Everyone)

20:Acceleration (Chihara)

This. Was. The. Hypest. Thing. Ever.

You have no idea how loud we were once the BGM started and Minorin appeared. Everyone cracked UOs in a split second it was like a supernova exploded igniting the entire stadium in orange light and we roared like lions during that intro. HAI! HAI! HAI! HAI!

Minorin is no stranger to im@s Ps and everyone was shouting MINORIIIIIIIIN. SHE WAS SO CUTE and she did her dance so well that she looked just like Leon. Minorin is really a true top idol and it clearly shows in her skill. What really impressed me was how she sounds exactly like she does in her songs. When she finished her song, the other girls came up to tackle hug her during the MC. Minorin is kind of like Kugyuu and  Harami where her speaking voice is a lot cuter than what you may imagine from her characters. It was very fun having new blood as a guest for an im@s live and yet she's someone that everyone pretty much knows so she was very well accepted by the fans. (I ALSO NOTICED SHE CALLED ERIKO ERI-CHAN, FEW HAVE THE PRIVILEGE OF DOING SO).

21:Machiuke Prince (Nakamura, Hirata, Shimoda, Numakura)

22:Rebellion (Numakura)

23:Shiawase no Recipe (Numakura)

I don't know why but this is one of the few Puchimasu songs I actually listen to. It's damn cute and might just be my new favorite Hibiki song. During the song, Nu grabbed a ladle to dance with and she would draw hearts in the air and the graphics guy would create the heart on the monitor. Something like this.

During the MC she gave the ladle to the drummer whom did the heart motion as well and the graphic also appeared ww

24:Hatsukoi ~Isshou Kataomoi no Sakura~ (Numakura)

This song took everyone by surprise. This is the first time any of the Hatsukoi songs were ever sung at an im@s live (as far as I know). It's amazing how Nu can change from a cute song to a much more serious song. Nu's singing, in combination with the lighting and beautiful video graphic on the monitor made it a very emotional song. You could feel the pain of a girl going or who went through unrequitted love.

25:Kimi ha Melody (Kugimiya)

26:Sentimental Venus (Kugimiya)

Another really fun LTP song to hear live, with Kugyuu solo to boot. It was very very cute and with Kugyuu solo sounds quite different from the Million Live version. I really have to listen to this again once the BD is out.

27:my song (Kugimiya)

At this point I kind of knew what was going on. First Step, Hatsukoi, and now my song, im@s loves to do this thing for lives where they put all the feels songs at the end of second days. my song is another big one. I didn't cry but this has always been a long time favorite of mine and to hear it live is a gift I can't appreciate enough.

28:Princess Snow White (Hara)

This song is one of Takane's few cute songs and it's hilarious to see because Harami does the cute song idol performance actually really well. Princess is the best word to describe Harami, remember her tiara during Flower Girl at 4th live? Harami is our ojousama.

29:Kazahana (Hara)

Kazahana is basically the song that defines Takane to me. I mean there a lot that capture Takane's image well but Kazahana is the song that just shouts Takane the most to me. I'm very thankful to finally be able to see it live and Harami performed it majestically.

30:Futatsu no Tsuki (Hara)

31:Fate of the World (Imai)

This was another really hype song, for good reason too. Despite being a group song with Miki and Haruka, Mingosu sang it solo and I feel she's the one most fitting to do so if you have to pick one of the three. Everyone loved the Nemurihime part during the movie and it's a very cool (and chuuni) song similar to arcadia so you get to see Mingosu strike her cool Jojo poses.

32:Aoi Tori M@STER ver. (Imai)

This was the ultimate treat, hearing BOTH versions of Aoi Tori this weekend. This being the original M@STER version which I prefer, it was very memorable to me. It felt like Chihaya herself was standing on that stage.

33:Yakusoku (Imai + Allstars)

And so it happened. This was the moment that the entire weekend was for. Yakusoku, the song that embraces Chihaya's step forward in life, to sing as an idol, for herself, instead of for her little brother like she had been up to that point. Performance-wise Mingosu sang in a very different way from how she usually does, slowing down during certain lines. It felt very personal, like reading a letter addressed to one person and yet it was a song sung for everyone.

And then that moment. During the middle portion of the song (wooaaahhh~ part) the lights dimmed and there was only a single spotlight on Mingosu herself so that she was the only thing you could see. Then during that final "DUN DUN DUN" the lights turned on and EVERYONE was beside her and singing together. I'm tearing up right now merely remembering it, it was the most amazing moment of my life that I have ever witnessed and I will never forget it. I couldn't help but gasp and by that point everyone in the stadium was crying. But it didn't end there. Like the anime, they extended the chorus one additional time, one final ARUKOOOUUU from Chihaya but this time by herself. However as Mingosu was singing she ended up getting so emotional and cried so hard she couldn't sing, she literally put her hand to cover her eyes. But immediately the other girls began singing for her, to support her, just like the anime. And finally Mingosu began singing again. During the lalala finale, everyone including the audience sang together, waving their glowsticks together, crying together.

One of the things that struck me was that when the other girls appeared, I didn't see and hear the seiyuus. I saw the idols of im@s, and their voices, they sounded like the young girls of 765pro. I don't believe in ghosts and spooky things but right then and there I felt the spirits, the essence of the 765pro idols were all on that stage, together with Chihaya to help sing. I don't know if miracles exist, but if they do then that moment must have been what they look like.

34:M@STERPIECE (Everyone)

For the final MCs it became very emotional. Mingosu apologized for creating that atmosphere but no one minded and many of the girls teared up and wiped each others tears with handkerchiefs. Aside from Mingosu, Kugyuu got very emotional and cried quite a bit herself. It can be easy to forget sometimes but Kugyuu too has been there with im@s since the beginning and needless to say loves im@s tremendously. Nu and Asapon were quite emotional themselves while Hirorin said "no I'm not gonna cry". She's so cool! Eriko and Mingosu talked about how it's been more than 10 years since they've met their im@s characters and how uncertain everything was back then and how no one could have predicted how big it would become now.


For the encore on both days, they played a video with Mayako, Chiaking, Akky, and Kami to help us do the encore. On the second day they talked a bit their cover songs that were sung as well. Mayachan was sooooo cute with her new short hair. Chiaking was being, well, Chiaking as usual. Akky also quit dying her hair, something that hasn't been seen since Xbox im@s era. Kami's hair is now really long and she doesn't look so much like Ritsuko anymore!? It was wonderful seeing them though even like this and even though they weren't physically present, it felt like the whole cast was here. On their cue we did the final encore together.

35:Nijiro Miracle (Everyone)

36: The iDOLM@STER (Everyone+Chihara)

After the final song, it was finally over. 2 days of 36 songs, 72 in total. The second day lasted 5 and a half hours due to extended talk MCs. For Eringosu fans like me, it was very emotional to see the two of them talk about their old days and how far they have come. Plus they hugged and held hands a lot. I teared up seeing them leave the stage together. Once the idols were all gone, President Takagi appeared on the screen to give thanks and AkabaneP sent us off with a unified clap as per usual. Once the lights turned on and it was time to leave, we ended the live the way Producers do. A clapping chant ending with "IM@S SAIKOU!" Before I left I gave high touches to the Producers around me and thanked them for sharing the experience with me.

And that was my live experience. The rest of my trip mostly involved exploring Akihabara, eating, and drinking with Producers. On the next day we went to Kotobukiya that (quickly) set up a TOKYO sign which was a reoccurring joke throughout day 2 in which a lot of the cast ended up posing with a sign. They're essentially parodying a famous image with a guy holding the TOKYO sign when Tokyo was announced for the 2020 Olympics, the venue is the same.

Collection of P cards pinned at Kotobukiya (good luck finding mine)

I guess the last notable thing I did was make the unfortunate choice of going to a maid cafe. Don't get the wrong idea, I had a great time at the maid cafe and so did the people I went with but that's probably the bad part because now we'll have to go to a maid cafe every time we go to Japan. I chose to go to this maid cafe in particular because the masochist in me wanted to get slapped from the maid. It was pretty epic. One of my friends pretty much flew, it was quite the spectacle! But since I don't really want to end this post talking about maid cafes, here are the last few things I really have to say in closure.

The day before I flew to Japan I went through a moment uncertainty and doubt within my heart. I basically got cold feet. I questioned if what I was doing really the right thing to do. I knew going to Japan would be a big change in my life and I wouldn't be returning the same, and furthermore I was afraid of what kind of lifestyle it may lead me in.

It's like that moment in Fate/Zero where Kiritsugu breaks down in front of Iri and asks her if she would run away together with him from it all so they can live together as a family. And those feelings of love for his family is what made it hard for him to be a top killer and magus in the Holy Grail War. Apologies for the (extremely) chuuni analogy but like Kiritsugu, I had a lot of stress building up that made it hard for me to be a P going to Japan at the moment. But that day a lot of people on twitter sent me words of encouragement which helped me a lot. And after listening to a few im@s songs that night, I was able to clear up mind and chose to move forward regardless of the outcome. Or rather, I became eager to see that outcome. And when I look at it now I have no regrets. To those who messaged me on twitter that day, thank you.

As for my journey thus far... it's been quite the ride. Starting from someone who knew the bare minimum about idolm@ster and idols, and now becoming that annoying guy chanting too loud whenever an im@s song comes on at the anime convention. I've been an im@s fan for 3 years and while it doesn't seem like a long time many things have happened and a lot of things have changed since I became a Producer. We had no junior idols back then and now there are so many whom also deserve a great amount of love and respect just like the seniors.

Finally being able to see the idols I've come to love more than anything else after 3 years has been an enlightening experience. And it doesn't end here. I don't know where im@s will lead me 10 years from now but im@s has taught me to continue moving forward across the unknown. Sometimes it's painful and sometimes it's stressful but with a bit of help from your friends you can make dreams come true. And I sincerely believe that for many of my dreams have already come true. Remember my first post back in 2013? I'll take the quote directly.

"One of the worst things I've come to experience of being a hardcore idolm@ster fan in America is that it is actually very lonely. It was the first time for me to be able talk about things that I can't really talk about and relate with anyone else."

That loneliness, that feeling of being unable to relate to anyone else, I knew it very well. But I no longer feel that way. I'm blessed with friends whom share the same hobby that I do. An odd and unlikely group of foreigners from all over the world who love im@s. We may get on each others nerves from time to time and we might disagree on things every so often but in the end these people have done more for me than I can ever do for them in return. Anime North 2014 would not have been the same without them. 9th Anniversary would have definitely been impossible without them. And I know they'll likely continue to help me out from now on. That isn't an excuse for me to continue to rely on them! But simply put I know I can trust them and am thankful for that. (kyaa embarrassing!!)

If you are one of those who might feel like I used to and are reading this, know that your voice isn't unheard. If you truly love im@s, keep pursuing it. Reach out to Ps, and Ps will reach their hands to you. For overseas fans we have it tough, but it's not impossible. In fact these live performances are even more special to us since we cannot attend as often. So keep supporting im@s, keep producing and loving your idols, they need you more than you need them. And make sure I see you next year at 10th Anniversary.


(Amazingly as I'm finishing writing this with my randomized im@s playlist playing, the final song playing is "The iDOLM@STER M@STER VERSION".)

Oh and be sure to check out a report from a fellow Producer and comrade who also joined me this week (he also has much better memory and descriptive ability than I so please read!):


ホントにホントにお世話になりました。この前の一週間はすごく楽しかった。最初に緊張しましたけど、皆さんのお陰で無事に最高のライブを参加されました。本当にありがとうございます。10thアニバーサリーもよろしくお願いします!The world is all one!!!


  1. Evc_09 here; thanks for the post and honest disclosure of some of the difficulties of being an overseas P! I empathize with your early plight (here in Canada) and will continue on being a P despite the setbacks and difficulties of reality.

    1. Absolutely, and no thanks necessary! I look forward to seeing you around future events!

  2. Hey Exciel, I was wondering if you knew how to register on e-plus. I'm having a bit of trouble with half width and full width letters and number. Also, when e-plus delivers, is it possible to have the tickets sent to the proxy mail address?