Before the concert kicked off, I had a chance to look around at the crowd. Yes, there was a lot of cosplay. Yes, it was a fairly international crowd. Yes, almost everyone brought glow sticks. With that in mind, though, none of that is what struck me. I’ve been to many, many, many live music performances. This was perhaps the first I’ve seen where it looked like the crowd was psyching itself up to perform.
Angela and Konomi Suzuki kicked things off with Zankoku na Tenshi no These (Cruel Angel’s Thesis). It’s a little-known track from a niche show, Neon Genesis Evangelion. Despite that, the crowd roared and sang along with gusto. (Take note of the outfits. We’ll come back to this later)
Angela then left the stage, leaving Konomi Suzuki to take the spotlight. Suzuki started us off with This Game from No Game No Life. It felt good to hear a song I was so familiar with and could sing along to. She followed up with Blow Out, the opening theme from Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor. I was unfamiliar with it, so that’s one more anime to add to my ever-growing queue. Suzuki completed her set with Redo, the intro from Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World. Throughout all three songs, the crowd was singing and dancing (and glowsticking) right along with her. It was a great start to the show. She left the stage to a wave of applause.
Mashiro Ayano was up next, leading off with Vanilla Sky from Gunslinger Stratos. The crowd was positively bouncing along with her. Next up was NEWLOOK, the ending theme from Re:CREATORS. During the bridge, she exhorted the crowd to sing along and they happily obliged. After the song finished Ayano took a minute to thank the crowd for their support. She closed her set with ideal white from Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. As with Konomi Suzuki, Ayano was cheered off the stage.
Batting third in the lineup was GARNiDELiA. They were a major change of pace from the two pop stars that preceded them. GARNiDELiA is composed of singer MARiA and producer/composer/keyboardist toku. If you’re curious about the band, I highly recommend checking out this interview they gave in 2014.
GARNiDELiA opened up with one of my favorite songs from the past few years, ambiguous from Kill la Kill. That brought back flashbacks from the convention, when a bunch of guys from Muscle Beach showed up at Anime Expo cosplaying as Ryūko in kamui Senketsu. Yes, it looked exactly like you think it looked. Ryūko lost her way, but I digress. The crowd went nuts for GARNiDELiA. They followed up with Grilletto from The Irregular at Magic High School. I love that video. They continued with SPEED STAR from The Irregular at Magic High School movie. Next up was Yakusoku-Promise code- from Qualidea Code.
GARNiDELiA weren’t done after that though, as Mashiro Ayano joined them on stage to sing Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann’s Sorairo Days. That was a particularly nice touch, and the crowd loved it. You could hear thousands of voices singing along. MARiA and Ayano had great chemistry.
There was a brief break before ALI PROJECT took the stage. She rolled through Boukoku Kakusei Catharsis from .hack//ROOTS, Yuukyou Seishunka from Code Geass, Seishoujo Ryouiki from Rozen Maiden: Träumend, and Rara Eve Shinseiki from The Girl Who Leapt Through Space. Honestly, the music was a blur to me, as I was transfixed by the outfits she and her backup dancers wore. One always expects sartorial splendor from ALI PROJECT, but the best was yet to come.
There was another brief interlude before Minori Chihara kicked off her set with Paradise Lost (the theme song from Ga-Rei: Zero). She followed that up with another opening theme, TERMINATED from Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere. Sticking with both the theme song and location themes, she continued with Kyoukai no Kanata from Beyond the Boundary.
She invited ALI PROJECT to join her for Celestial Diva (Chaos Rings II). That was a nice touch. Chihara followed the duet up with Hare Hare Yukai from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. She closed an impressive set with Freedom Dreamer.
There are some concert moments you never forget. I will always remember the first time I saw Rush perform Nobody’s Hero. Ditto for watching Machiya pull a Hendrix and play The Star Spangled Banner on his guitar at AX. Watching Angela take the stage was another such moment. Normally, KATSU’s lion tamer outfit would attract some raised eyebrows. However, that was nothing compared to the reactions to atsuko’s lion dress. It’s, without question, the single most amazing outfit I’ve ever seen in person. Frankly, I was wondering if atsuko was going to position the microphone in front of the lion’s mouth and let it take a turn. The crown was also a nice touch. King of beasts, indeed.
Angela opened Ajin: Demi-Human’s intro, Boku Wa Boku De Atte. They followed up with another opening theme song, Asu e no Brilliant Road (Stellvia of the Universe). The crowd went nuts for their next song, Sidonia. That was a lot of fun. Next up was KINGS from K. Fafner in the Azure’s theme song Shangri-La provided a nice bit of closure to the set.
All of the artists came back to the stage to thank the audience. The feeling was mutual as it had been a great show.
(When did ALI PROJECT change into that dress?)
For those of you in the DC area this weekend, I’d recommend checking out Anisong World Matsuri at Otakon.
Please note, an Otakon badge is required.
Editor’s Note: The press people for the Anisong World Matsuri provided us with over fifty images from the event. Rather than just let them sit forgotten, we’ve provided them for you below.