AniSong World Matsuri has Yousei Teikoku Performance at Otakon

Otakon-logo
Last year, Anime Expo started the concept of the AniSong World Matsuri, where many anime artists would be given the chance to perform in concerts around the world. Last year’s Anime Expo featured the likes of Eir Aoi, the Love Live girl band Aqours, Luna Haruna, JAM Project, and Lia. With that, the concept has expanded this year with performances at Anime Expo (once more), Shanghai, and Otakon.

Yousei Teikoku_Band_ArtistPhoto

It is at Otakon that Yousei Teikoku will be added as a performer, along with the likes of JAM Project, FLOW, and T.M.Revolution. The band started up in 1997 with Yui Itsuki on vocals and from there, they have gone on to perform music that puts together a unique blend of heavy metal, classical, and techno to go with their gothic lolita stylings.

On the anime front, Yousei Teikoku has done the vocal themes for anime like Katanagatari, Kurokami, and Future Diary‘s “Kuusou Mesologie”. More recently, their works include Big Order‘s opening theme “DISORDER” and “Kyuusei Argyros” for Tokyo ESP and they’ll have a new single coming out on May 31st.

Although Yousei Teikoku has more recently begun performing overseas, this will be their first visit to Otakon. But not the US though since they’ve shown up in Texas, Boston, and Vegas in the past.

Anisong Matsuri at Anime Expo 2016 Features Concerts by Sphere, JAM Project, and T.M. Revolution

Anison Matsuri Anime Expo
A couple weeks ago, we announced that the J-pop artist MICHI would be at Anime Expo. Based on the YouTube videos featuring her vocals, I concluded that she was competent, but not the kind of singer that would draw crowds to Anime Expo.

All of that changed when Anime Expo announced that they’d be hosting the Anisong World Matsuri in conjunction with the convention. And boy did they get some big names to commit into showing up.

The collection of singers feels a lot like a who’s who of Anison. You’ve got acts like JAM Project who’ve seemingly been around forever. New fans know them for their One Punch Man opening theme, but these guys go all the way back to 2000 when they debuted with “Kaze ni Nare” for Éx-Driver. Their better-known body of work includes Scrapped Princess’s, Gravion, and Mazinkaiser opening themes.

But that’s not all. There’s Sphere, whose singers might as well be the K-ON girls (with the addition of Haruka Tomatsu and Ayahi Takagaki thrown in for good measure), FLOW, whose work on Code Geass is pretty damned legendary, and T.M. Revolution whose work really needs no introduction since he’s collaborated with Nana Mizuki on Valvrave’s opening theme but whose work on stuff like Gundam SEED’s “Invoke” is far better known (and far better sounding). There’s more artists that you can peek at above, but that’s a pretty formidable lineup to say the least.

Unlike many of the other conventions, this one’s practically in my backyard. If you check on Daisuki’s website, tickets are still not yet available for purchase. But for an event of this caliber, I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out. So watch this space for updates and hope you’ll look forward to my concert reports like the ones I do pretty much every year!

Persona Artists Lotus Juice and Shihoko Hirata Perform at Otakon’s Pre-Con Festival

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The convention guest list continues to add on Japanese singers to their roles and this time, it’s Otakon that’s putting out their announcements. This year, rapper Lotus Juice and singer Shihoko Hirata will be making their appearances at the Otakon pre-convention festival, the Otakon Matsuri. Lotus Juice and Shihoko Hirata will be performing at the street festival on August 11 that takes place before the convention actually begins.

lotus juice rapperWhether you fall into the category of Persona fan or, like me, simply enjoy hearing from artists who’ve collaborated with composer Taku Iwasaki, this is a treat! Although my first exposure to Lotus Juice came with the battle theme from Persona 3, which he did with Shoji Meguro, my favorite performance of his was when he collaborated with Taku Iwasaki, rapping in Katanagatari‘s almighty “Bahasa Palus”, a piece that shines in its pure, unadulterated epicness! Videos of those works below if you haven’t heard him:

I doubt he’ll be able to perform “Bahasa Palus” at Otakon though. The Persona stuff is probably fair game.

Shihoko HirataAs for Shihoko Hirata, I’m not familiar with her works on the whole. The only time I’ve her vocals have been when they’ve featured prominently on Persona 4‘s game introduction and the anime’s opening theme. Compared to Lotus Juice, I don’t have strong opinions of her work in that I think her voice is suitable when it comes to matching Persona 4‘s overall atmosphere. She’s not someone who’s capable of blowing me away though. Serviceable and well… at least it’s not squealy J-pop. Examples of her work below:

As is the case with East Coast conventions, I won’t be able to make it, so it’ll be interesting to hear second-hand reports.

ZAQ Comes to AnimeNEXT 2016

ZAQ Singer
I’ve got a soft spot for solid singers, I’ve got an even softer spot for solid singers who can actually compose music. That’s kind of why I enjoy ZAQ as an artist. When she got a chance to perform her first single, “Sparkling Daydream” for Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!, she went out of her way to compose the song and write the lyrics. Mad props! Since then, she’s gone on to do other works like “Alteration” from Sasami-san@Ganbaranai, and, lately, performing Wareru “Doukoku” for Concrete Revolutio ~ Superhuman Phantasmagoria and penning a song for Luna Haruna titled “Ripple Effect” for High School Fleet. Needless to say, ZAQ is pretty talented.

With all that anime work she’s gotten lately, it was a matter of time before she’d be making appearances at anime conventions. And so, in June, ZAQ will be making an appearance at AnimeNEXT in Atlantic City, New Jersey as the convention’s first musical guest. On top of that, it’ll be her first North American appearance, giving her an opportunity to show US anime fans what she’s capable of on the performance, but hopefully the compositional aspects of anime pop music as well.

Unfortunately, East Coast conventions are still a thing I haven’t been able to make time for. But I’d be interested to hear what comes out of her concert and panel. Especially because I don’t really know a lot about her beyond the fact that she’s gotten a lot of anime work as of late, which means she’s gotta be doing something right. Or maybe that’s just with Kyoto Animation?

J-pop Singer MICHI the First Anime Expo Music Guest

Michi J-pop
As the summer anime convention season gets under way, it’s inevitable that many J-pop singers for those anime OP/EDs will get a chance to strut their stuff around the world. For Anime Expo, the first artist they’ve announced for the 2016 Expo is MICHI, a relatively new anison artist who got her career started on the theme song to Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers-.

Her debut single, titled “Cry for the Truth” showcases her vocals, which are huskier than what I’m used to hearing from many other artists who tend to squeal with glee. MICHI’s performance, in this instance, is actually measured, if just a bit safe and boring. It’s not enough to make me want to look at her subsequent works, but there might just be something there.

In case you want to take a peek at her performance chops, here’s a short version of “Cry for the Truth” from Rokka:

As I sorta hinted at above, she’s not limited to just her performance for Rokka -Braves of the Six Flowers- theme song. Subsequent works include the theme song “Checkmate!?”, used in Dagashi Kashi’s opening. That’s followed by her next single, “Realistic!” which will be the ending theme to the upcoming series, Kuromukuro.

MICHI’s appearance at Anime Expo will be her first appearance in North America. Other fun facts include her being the first Anison artist to come out of Okinawa. It makes me wonder whether there’s not a whole lot of music talent scouting done in that region, else it’d be hard to imagine why anyone would take notice of that fact.

Anyway, it’d be nice if anyone who enjoys her works can comment. I don’t care about her too much either way and her appearance at Anime Expo isn’t the kind of appearance that can pull in crowds and get people excited like a FictionJunction. I’m interested in seeing what other artists start coming out of the woodworks to headline an Anime Convention Concert for this summer though.

Anime Music Events at Anime Boston

Anime Boston
Sakura-Con isn’t the only anime convention to be happening this weekend. Up in Boston, at the Hynes Convention Center and the Sheraton Boston Hotel, Anime Boston will be opening its doors to anime fans in the Northeast!

This year, Anime Boston has quite the lineup, but for fans of anime music, the main highlight this year is the power-pop artist, LiSA, who has made quite a name for herself.

LiSA

LiSA first started in the anime scene as a singer on Jun Maeda’s anime Angel Beats. In that anime, she was assigned the singing role for a character, Yui, who became the lead singer of the fictional band Girls Dead Monster. In that capacity, she sang the insert song, “Thousand Enemies”, which showcased her vocal strengths.

From there, she would go on to perform many songs for popular anime, including “Oath Sign” for Fate/Zero and the ever-popular “Crossing Field” for Sword Art Online.

LiSA’s appearance at Anime Boston will include a concert which will take place in the Hynes auditorium on Friday evening. The concert seating is set to begin at 7:30pm with the actual concert starting at 8:00pm and ending at 9:30pm.

For those who haven’t caught her performance live, LiSA is a formidable singer, with vocals that work very well with her power pop style of singing and an ability to engage the audience by getting them involved in her music. It helps that she has plenty of energy to work with.

This won’t be her first time doing a concert in the US since she previously sang at Anime Expo. Those qualities that make her such a great performer were on full display there. If you want to get a (somewhat blurry) view of LiSA in action, check out some of this footage from her concert at Anime Expo:

Finally, those who are interested can meet LiSA on Saturday at the Constitution Ballroom around 12:30. She’ll be signing autographs later on at the Autograph 1 area at 2pm.

Music Events at Sakura-Con

Sakura Con
Sakura-Con, the annual anime convention held at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington will take place this weekend, April 3 to April 5. For those of you who are looking forward to the convention activities and would like to explore the musical options available to you this year, here’s what you can look forward to:

GARNiDELiA

Of the groups out in concert for this year’s Sakura-Con, we have GARNiDELiA, a duo made up of music composer toku and singer MARiA formed in 2010. While the two have had extensive experience with anime songs, they’re probably best known for their debut single, ambiguous, which was used as the opening theme to Kill la Kill. More recently, they’ve done work on Mekakucity Actors, followed by the opening theme to the irregular at magic high school, and then their third single, “BLAZING”, used in Gundam Reconguista in G.

Both toku and MARiA have been pretty excited to make their appearance at Sakura-Con, based on the video they released fairly recently, especially since it’ll be their first time in the United States:

Kanako Ito

But perhaps the singer Kanako Ito will be an even hotter persona to check out, especially since some of her singing works have garnered high praise. She first appeared on my radar when she sang the opening theme to Chaos;Head, which wasn’t a great show, but the opening was pretty decent. Her best work, at least one that her fans will enjoy most, is probably the opening theme to the Steins;Gate anime, titled “Hacking to the Gate”, which featured her harsh-sounding vocals.

Both Kanako Ito and GARNiDELiA will be performing in concert at Sakura-Con. Those at the convention can catch them on Saturday in the evening on the Main Stage. The concert is set to start at 6:30pm. Either way, hope you look forward to hearing them live!

Anime Band Flow Makes In Concert at AnimeNEXT

flow Anime Band
Aside from JAM Project, FLOW is probably the only other male J-pop band that’s done so many songs for so many different anime. And for fans looking to catch them in a live concert, you’ll be able to find them hanging around Somerset, New Jersey between June 12 through the 14 at the AnimeNEXT convention held at the Garden State Exhibit Center.

FLOW, the group made up of members including vocalist Keigo Hayashi, guitarist and vocalist Koushi Asakawa, guitarist Takeshi Asakawa, drummer Hiroshi Iwasaki, and bassist Yasutarou Gotou have all been around since 2000 and they’ve done some pretty notable anime works over the years, starting with “Go!!”, the 4th opening theme for Naruto, but really struck it big with “Days” from Eureka Seven and the famous “Colors”, the opening theme for Code Geass which has their signature “Jibun wo” lyric.

Their current activities right now consist of the single “Ai Ai Ai ni Utarete Bye Bye Bye”, which was used in Samurai Flamenco, and “7 -seven-“, which saw them collaborate with Granrodeo to perform the ending theme to the The Seven Deadly Sins anime. Other than that, they’ve been touring around anime conventions around the world to promote their music and meet their fans which, judging from the songs of theirs that came up during the Animusic Tourney, shows that they have quite the large fanbase.

More information about the concert and other going-ons at AnimeNEXT can be found on the website. Those who have looked back upon anime like Eureka Seven, Code Geass, and Naruto should derive much enjoyment from their performance.

SCANDAL Band Concert at Anime Central

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The Anime Central anime convention has announced that the all-girl J-pop band SCANDAL will be performing in concert. Right now, the schedule is such that SCANDAL will be performing at the Rosemont Theatre in Rosemont, Illinois on Friday May 15, right in time for the celebration.

As far as longevity goes, SCANDAL certainly has a good amount of that. A group made up of bandmates Haruna Ono on vocals, Mami Sasazaki as the lead guitarist, Tomomi Ogawa as the bassist, and Rina Suzuki on drums/keyboard, SCANDAL has been around since 2006, forming when they met at the Caless school which teaches dance and vocals. Their anime works have gotten a good amount of recognition, including the theme songs “Shōjo S” and “Harukaze” for Bleach and “Shunkan Sentimental” for Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. You can also find their works on the Star Driver anime with the ending theme song “Pride”. That said, I can’t really claim to have paid much attention to their works, but from my understanding, they’ve been able to build up their fanbase.

Either way, their concert at Anime Central marks their only stop in the USA on the SCANDAL World Tour (which comes with the title of “Hello World!”). Before that, they have had a performance at the California convention AM2 and been a part of the Japan Nite US Tour which came to 7 US cities. If you’re looking to catch them in concert, just go and head on over to register for an Anime Central ticket. And that’s it! You’ll also have the opportunity to get premium seats with a better vantage point as well, but none of that information has been posted yet. If you’re looking to see them perform on other concert venues, you’ll find that they will arrive in Mexico, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Rock Band FLOW to Perform at Anime Fest in Dallas

FLOW BandFLOW, a 5-man J-rock band have been around since 1998. This group, made up of the two brothers KEIGO and KOHSHI on vocals, guitarist TAKE, bassist GOT’S, and the drummer IWASAKI, has done many works for anime such as the opening themes to shows like Naruto, Eureka Seven: Psalm of Planets, Code Geass, and Samurai Flamenco. If these are anime songs that have really rocked your world, you will want to check out the performance that FLOW will be putting on at Anime Fest, an anime convention in Dallas, TX. So if any of you are going to be in Dallas between August 15th – 18th in 2014, that’s a concert you can look forward to.

For those of you who might not recognize their name up front or might not be familiar with their works, here is a sampling of what they’ve done previously. They’re probably got their way into the anime fan’s consciousness back when they released the song “Go!!!” which was used as the opening theme to the Naruto anime. Take a look:

From there, they went to do a couple songs for the Eureka Seven franchise. “Days” was one of those songs that got really popular when the anime was airing and FLOW went on to do another opening theme titled “Bravelue” for Eureka Seven AO. Here’s their work “Days”:

But out of all the songs they’ve written for anime, perhaps none of them is more iconic than Code Geass’s “Colors”. There’s something about that iconic JIBUNN WOOO opening lyric that really resonates with people and made the whole Code Geass experience that much more memorable. Definitely a song that most people are likely to be familiar with. After all, that energy is really infectious and one that stands tall in terms of what people are likely to remember from the show:

So with all the songs they’ve done, past and present, their concert appearance at Anime Fest should prove to be an entertaining one.

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