Hi, nice to meet you readers of Denpa no Sekai! I'm Mandi, sometimes also going by the noobish sounding name of "mandichan". I was asked by Mr. Denpa to write about Momoi's live at AnimeNorth 2008 (Toronto, Canada) since he was unable to attend. I'm going to focus this report on the concert, but that still requires a little build up. Personally, I've traveled to see Momoi twice before this: first at Anime Expo in California, and then again in Honolulu, Hawaii. Each time I met up with the fans from Japan and other parts of the world and worked together to try and make the live a big success! With this experience, I think everyone was a little more prepared to take on AnimeNorth.
Those of us in America prepared the glowsticks and since I was close enough to drive, I paid up front and had them shipped to me and everyone paid me back. I was a little worried what customs would think of me bringing 1200 glowsticks over the border... but they almost all fit in the trunk and there was no problem! After arriving in Toronto, everyone worked together to put little Momoi stickers onto each one, though everyone had gotten so efficient at this by now they finished while I was in the shower! And as always, the Japanese fans made plenty of call books, professional looking and very informative as usual! They also made a website explaining the moves detailed in the call books. Even including great 3D animations showing how it's done! These guys (and gals) really go all out for Momoi, it's very touching to see everyone come together for her. By the way, I would recommend the site to anyone interested in attending idol or seiyuu concerts to learn about the otaku method of cheering!
There was one more step to preparation this time which was a first - we gave a workshop detailing how the cheers are done! I say "we", but really I was just a support member, Coverman and Catsspat were the leaders in the demonstrations. This was a last minute decision, so it wasn't in the program guide. But we hung up flyers and got plenty of endorsement from Momoi herself, so we had a good amount of people show up. Though maybe the sound of everyone's enthusiastic cheering had the most draw of all! The staff of AnimeNorth was very nice for allowing us to do it on such a short notice and even letting us do it in the live hall where the concert would be held. So, before the concert itself, we had gotten permission from the staff to have an area in front and to distribute all the glowsticks and call books. Most people were happy to get free glowsticks, and we were happy to give them! Almost anyone who refused one changed their attitude instantly when told "It's free!" Turns out we had lots of extras, so plenty of people had 2 or 3. Finally the glowstick chaos dies down a bit, everyone gets into place and... music start!
1 - Party!
Momoi busts onto the stage right away with a high energy song! She wore her Yume no Baton sailor fuku outfit. She once said that she thought it was her most recognized outfit by overseas fans, so that's probably why she also wore it for her lives in both California and Honolulu. Everyone cheered very enthusiastically, and I was really excited to see all the crowd behind us getting into it also, which just feeds into Momoi's energy and then comes back out into the audience again. Momoi gave a little self introduction. It's tradition that when Momoi introduces herself, the audience yells back "MOMO-I". However we also had a little plan to release some streamers when we yelled. But, the timing messed up... and no one did it. D'ohh!!
2 - GURA GURA
Next came the very cute and classic song GURA GURA with a focus on retro video games. Too bad Momoi didn't wear her power glove this time!
3 - Tondol Baby
Picking up the pace even more. Tondol comes from the word for "jumping", so this song is full of jumps! Also, lots of spins so you can see the audience behind you going just as crazy. It was a lot of fun to get some glimpses of the room behind me lit up with glowsticks.
4 - Ai no Medicine
OP Theme of Nurse Witch Komugi-chan. FEVER FEVER! Hearing this song is always nostalgic, fun, and more than anything... cute! This time, I was able to pull off the chant (detailed on the call site) without a problem!
5 - Mail Me
Slowing things down just a bit with Momoi's first CD single song. I don't remember her singing it at any of the other lives I've been to, so it was great to hear. Also important to note; it was the original single version, and not 2.0 version from the more recent Haruko Update album. I think a lot of people know the movie Suicide Circle so they are familiar with this song. Personally, I'm a little afraid to watch the movie and associate the song with something gory! But anyway, it was great to hear this classic song live.
6 - Shooting Star
During the opening ceremonies of the convention, they played an intro AMV movie which used some clips from this, which Momoi noted before performing. I wonder if that inspired her to choose it?
7 - Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie
Classic UNDER17 song. When UNDER17 broke up, I was really sad when I thought I could never hear this song live. I was wrong, because Momoi continues to sing it, and she has sang it at all the lives I've been to! But, just like all the other ones I've been to, she just replaced the "beep" censor with "koroshicha ikenai" instead of a funny ad lib like she usually did on the DVDs I've seen, I guess due to the language barrier she just keeps it simple.
8 - Hide and seek
Before starting, Momoi explained the calling of "mou ii kai?" "mada da yo-" but at first some were a little confused and saying "mada da yo" instead of Momoi saying it. But, once the song got going it got fixed up!
9 - Popotan
Before this live, I had been wondering why Momoi never has sang any Popotan songs at the overseas lives, when she has sang many other anime/game songs like Komugi, Tenbatsu, Kujibiki... I guess she just needed a little inspiration to sing it again after so long, which in this case came from a young fan. Momoi was a guest at a special brunch where you could drink tea and eat snacks with the guests, but you needed to buy tickets to get in, so it was not very crowded and had a relaxed atmosphere. Amidst this scene, some chaos began when a little girl skipped in... dressed as Mii from Popotan! It was really surprising. She was excited to meet Momoi and they took lots of pictures together. Then she asked for Momoi's autograph - on a pair of custom printed Popotan panties!!! Momoi laughed and said in Japan no one ever asked her to sign panties before. Of course she signed them happily and everyone laughed and took lots of photos. So Momoi said because of this, after 4 (or 5?) years she would sing this song again. Personally I was a little surprised she went with the game OP instead of the anime, but either one is great.
10 - Naito de naito
Straight into another high tension game song. As usual, Momoi is showing no signs of fatigue, and much to my surprise and happiness the crowd seems as revved up as ever, hard to tell if they were feeling as exhausted as I was! In this song Momoi yells out "Nii!" which I thought was very weird. Usually she would yell out "hey!" or "fuu!", right? And the song is called "Night de knight"... it's gotta be THAT right? Monty Python? I was so sure of it, but during the Q&A it was confirmed to be just a complete coincidence! How weird is that?
11 - Ima, anata ga suki
Anyway, after so many fast and upbeat songs, Momoi let everyone take a little break by singing her newest ballad. Everyone sat down, but many still continued to wave their glowsticks slowly to the beat. Really, I think I like this song best live.
12 - 21 seiki
Thanks to the Avex translator, Momoi gave a great introduction to this song explaining her thoughts behind it. She always admired the 21st century, thinking it would be peaceful and full of advanced technology like in a futuristic anime. But even though there's still a lot of problems, it's a wonderful time and we should be proud to live in this century and be the best we can be. It was great that she had a translator with her to help express the thoughts behind her songs unlike previous lives. I hope they'll keep up that support in future overseas lives.
13 - WONDER MOMO-i
Thank goodness we had a little break with slow songs before this! For Wonder Momoi, everyone's gotta pull out all the stops and go wild! It's always impressive hearing Momoi manage the voice changes live while still being so energetic. For this song, everyone usually breaks out the ultra orange glow sticks. Unfortunately, I spent way too long on my regular glowsticks and didn't have any ultra orange prepared. Thankfully Catsspat, who was next to me, let me borrow a yellow at least.
14 - Romantic summer
Momoi introduced the OP theme song to Seto no Hanayome and did a little voice of San-chan before beginning. She sang the original version and not the new album version, of course either is good. Next Momoi announced "This is my last song!" and the crowd gave the usual response "Ehhh? We just got here!". Momoi laughed and explained this tradition to the audience then said it's not really the last song.
15 - Thunder shot!
The translator had a little trouble explaining her intro to this song, which was written for tamiya's mini 4wd cars. I was very glad to finally hear this hot blooded song live! It's one of my favorites on her latest album. Some report that they heard her say "sora no canada made" in place of the usual lyric "sora no kanata made", but I missed it!
16 - Saigo no Rock
Maybe a bit less hot blooded and a bit more ROCK, a great song as we are sadly nearing the end of the concert. Like many of Momoi's songs, it's just made to be heard live! Jump! Jump! Now for the "real" final song...
17 - LOVE.EXE
Yeah! One of the best songs for crowd interaction, and of course a fan favorite (isn't every song a fan favorite?) Everyone did their best to demonstrate the hand motions of E X E which the audience seemed to catch onto quickly. Of course hearing this song now just makes me remember getting up on stage with Momoi in Hawaii, which makes it all the more wonderful. After the song finished, Momoi waved and left the stage. The call for encore was the Japanese traditional "an- co- ru-", I guess it is a little easier on English speakers than the custom Momoi call "Mita-i mita-i, mou ichido haruko mita-i!" Everyone called out wonderfully until Momoi hopped back out onto the stage wearing her new world tour t-shirt.
18 - Yume no baton
Of course, the perfect song to end Momoi's live! Hearing this song live is so moving, especially as the last song. The final lines were "No matter how many seasons pass, no matter how far apart, I won't forget you. If you dream, we can meet again. Thank you!" Just perfect!
Momoi thanked everyone many times and even after leaving, she popped back out on the stage for more words of thanks, including shushing the audience and yelling it out without a microphone. Of course, in the end, we should be the ones thanking Momoi for such a great performance. Overall the live was a great success, right afterwards Momoi went straight to signing autographs. Talking to people who saw the live, it seems like both those who knew her before and those who didn't were touched by the performance. And of course, for me, no matter how many times I can see Momoi's live, once it's done I just start thinking about the next performance. It's really an addiction that I recommend to all readers of this blog, try it at least once in your life!