ANISON WORLD MATSURI ~JAPAN KAWAII LIVE~
ICONIC SCENE: “We love hamburger!” (Pic from the Anime Expo Facebook page.)
PERFORMANCE DATE: June 30, 2017
There was something of a sonic boom among western Macross Delta fans (yes, they exist) this last spring, when it was announced that Minori Suzuki and JUNNA (Freyja and singing-Mikumo) of Walküre would be performing at Anime Expo at the elaborately named “Anison World Matsuri ~Japan Kawaii Live~.” They’d be performing on the opening night (or “Day 0”), June 30, 2017, in an idol-themed concert along with IDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls, Wake Up Girls!, and Aquors (from “Love Live! Sunshine!!”). And I think that’s the most exclamation points I’ve ever used in a single sentence that WASN’T sarcastic…
Anyway, this was greeted with a lot of shock, despite the fact that, when you think about it, the majority of Macross singers have performed in the US at least once (and, in Fire Bomber’s case, actually recorded an album, “ACOUSTIC FIRE!!” here). In this case, of course, it wasn’t the entire Walküre group, but I think we were all pretty happy to take what we could get.
Since I got my ticket last-minute (i.e. on the day of the concert), I wasn’t going to be sitting near the front like some of my friends were. In fact, the only seats available were on the “mezzanine” (although it looked more like a “second balcony” to me), while everyone else was in the orchestra section. While it meant I was pretty far from the stage, it did give me a good view of the audience.
The show was nearly sold out, but not quite. I’d say the mezzanine was about half or two-thirds full, while the rest of the place was packed. The Microsoft Theater holds 7100 people, so I’d say that a little under seven thousand were there.
How many people were there specifically for Walküre is an open question. Just talking to random people, it seemed like Aqours and Wake Up Girls! were the biggest draws, followed by Walküre. That said, while the audience was appreciative of Cinderella Girls and Wake Up Girls!, they seemed to go especially wild for Walküre.
A lot of this, I’m sure, had to do with their performance. Now, all of the groups performed well (as far as I know… I left right after Walküre, thus missing Aqours), but the first two were… a little impersonal. The impression I got was that they were both doing pretty much the same set that they do in Japan, just shorter. They performed their hits, introduced themselves in Japanese, and did a couple of skits, also in Japanese. Walküre seemed set to do the same, coming out and singing a couple of songs, and then JUNNA said, between songs, “We love HAMBURGER!!” This led to a long conversation about where to get a good hamburger.
Well, Californians know what’s what, and so the crowd started shouting “In-n-Out! In-n-Out!” The thing is, Minori and JUNNA had apparently already tried In-n-Out, and loved it. I think this was lost on most of the crowd, who seemed to think they were recommending something new to the girls, rather than affirming that they’d already had the best.
(Incidentally, in case you’re curious, my favorite hamburger in L.A. is not In-n-Out, although it’s quite good (especially “Animal Style”) but the plainly-named “Pie ‘n’ Burger” in Pasadena. Excellent burger, and well worth the trip if you’re in Los Angeles.)
Anyway, more than the music, this bit of mike chatter totally won over the crowd, and Twitter was ablaze with people who had never heard of Walküre or Macross, but were now inspired to seek it out.
I said before that the concerts were really a communal focus point for Macross, solidifying the fans together in a way that just watching a show on TV could never do, even if you talk about it on social media afterwards. And I think that was proven here. It seemed like most of the crowd hadn’t previously known the show (although A LOT of the crowd had their glowsticks turned to red or purple and Minori was visibly moved when she tried to teach the crowd how to do the “Whoa-whoa-WhoaWhoaWhoa!” bit for “When My Rune Shines Bright” and it turned out that many people already knew it), but I’m sure there were many, MANY new fans made that night.
We’ll see what happens in the future. For right now, with a movie, a series, and another concert on the horizon, everything seems fine.
(If you want to hear more, including our friend Nicole’s amazing personal encounter with Minori, be sure to check out the podcast here at Decultureshock.)
Anyway, the Macross Rewatch has now once again come to an end. Thanks for reading! It will be revived again later, and I’ll have a different series rewatch coming up next year. First, though, will come some long-awaited translations.