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Which of these girls deserve to be vocalist in After School Tea Time?

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Friday, April 1, 2011

K-ON! Live Event ~Let’s Go!~ (2009.12.30 in Yokohama Arena)

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Opening

As some people are already aware, the K-ON live concert that took place at the end of last year at Yokohama Arena was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 30th. It was near the end of this live event that the surprise announcement for a second season was made. While that came as a pleasant surprise, the concert itself was what I dying to see at the time and here we are six months later. Most of Houkago Tea Time’s songs were performed to a karaoke backtrack with the seiyuu only pretending to play each of their characters’ instruments, but they did learn how to play a couple of songs themselves. The actual live music performances were saved until near the end of the concert, but things started off with a bang and an opening performance of “Cagayake! GIRLS” after a crowd countdown.
Yokohama Arena’s max capacity is 17,000 for those wondering, and by the looks of it, it’s a sold-out crowd they performed in front of. One side of the arena was sectioned off for the stage area, but I’d wager that there are at least 15,000 attendees at this concert. When things are put into that perspective, it’s pretty easy to see why K-ON!! is airing on 28 different stations right now.

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 Cagayake! GIRLS

It seems like it’s all about the glow sticks at Japanese concerts and this one is no different. In fact, it’s like everyone bought one of each color, because once the character image songs got underway, most of the crowd switched to the one that matches the character’s seiyuu on stage. The songs at this concert were all preformed live, but as with most DVD/BD concert releases, I suspect that the audio was touched up afterward. Still, Toyosaki Aki (Yui) deserves a lot of credit in this concert, since she not only sang the majority of the songs, but was also the MC for it. I never doubted her talent, but I must say I have a new-found level of respect for her after watching this two and half hour live event. She’s only 23 years-old yet looked like a complete natural on stage the entire time. In terms of outfits, all the seiyuu had “HTT” jackets on for this opening theme performance, saving their actual full outfits underneath for the solo performances that followed the obligatory opening words to greet all the fans in attendance (not included here).
For those unfamiliar with the character image CDs that were released, each feature two character specific songs and their version of “Let’s Go!”. Only the first track was performed by each seiyuu, but each song was accompanied by pretty cool instrumental solos performed by the musicians actually playing the live music. Naturally, things start off with the star of the series, Yui.

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 Toyosaki Aki – Giita ni Kubittake
(Hirasawa Yui Character Image Song)


As per the above, Aki looked like a complete natural on the stage and this performance was a prime example of that. She was appeasing to the crowd the entire time and dancing around on stage in that mini-skirt like she was having the time of her life. It definitely helps add to the appeal when she’s fairly tall for a Japanese girl at 169cm and has legs to show off. I just loved her hand gestures and constant smile, with her mad air guitar looking really cute and Yui-like. She was also pretty easygoing with her exit line of “There’s a lot more on the way!” (Mada mada tsuzuku yo!) too. This was definitely one of my favorite character image song performances of the concert. I find myself constantly flipping to this song on my mp3 player now too.

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Hikasa Youko – Heart Goes Boom!!
(Akiyama Mio Character Image Song)

Out of all the character songs, Mio’s were naturally
some of my favorite ones, so watching Hikasa Youko perform one live was quite a treat. The crowd wasn’t really in sync with the glow sticks for Aki’s performance, but most of them whipped out the blue ones for Youko’s here. I’m not sure if they were told to match the seiyuu’s character color for each of their solo performances, but I get the feeling it’s just something the crowd figured out on their own after looking around. In any case, Youko’s outfit wasn’t very flashy or revealing, but the zettai ryouiki she highlighted with her black stockings more than made
 up for it. I thought she looked pretty cute, especially when she gave the crowd a bit of fan-service with Mio’s “moe moe kyun” at 3:28. One of the most endearing things about Youko is that she embodies a lot of Mio’s personality, such as her nervousness and overly emotional nature, which is seen later on.
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Satou Satomi – Girly Storm Shissou Stick
(Tainaka Ritsu Character Image Song)

Satou Satomi probably had the goofiest-looking outfit thanks to that extra frilly dress she had to wear. I was never much of a fan of this song, but I’m a sucker for live performances and Satomi made it very Ritsu-like, so that was fun to see. The somewhat deeper voice she uses for Ritsu isn’t her natural one, yet she sings the entire song in it. With character songs, I tend to take notice of seiyuu going to that extra length to try and sing them in character. It sort of fits the whole idea of a “character” song after all.

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Kotobuki Minako – Dear My Keys ~Kenban no Mahou~
(Kotobuki Tsumugi Character Image Song)

In terms of instrumental solos, the piano one was undoubtedly the most soothing one. I probably could have kept listening to that piece, but seeing Kotobuki Minako come out in that pink dress made me quickly focus on her instead. She is undoubtedly one of the prettiest in the group and amongst seiyuu all together. As the youngest cast member at only 18 years-old, Minako was surprisingly one of the least nervous out off the entire group. She is in the seiyuu group sphere with Aki though, so I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s where they both get their composure from. After hearing a lot more of her singing voice in sphere, I’ve been hoping we’d be treated to a K-ON song where Mugi sings, but I doubt the group will ever break out of having Yui and Mio as the vocalists. A shame to say the least as I love Minako’s voice, even when she’s trying to sound a bit like Mugi. Music Ray’n seems to agree too, as Minako’s going to see a solo debut later this year. Much like how Yui’s character song was about Giita, Mugi’s one is about her keyboard. Incidentally, she’s the only seiyuu with the same last name as her character — Kotobuki (…albeit with different kanji).

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Taketatsu Ayana – Jajauma Way To Go
(Nakano Azusa Character Image Song)
Of all the girls, Taketatsu Ayana came off the most nervous to me, simply because it looked like she was really concentrated on her dance movements and singing. She didn’t look like she was going with the flow that’s for sure, but I commend her for giving a good performance regardless. I figured she wouldn’t have any problems either, having played roles like Ako in kiss x sis, but I guess being perverted in a studio behind closed doors is very different from being outgoing on stage. That’s okay though, since it had a very Azusa-like nervousness to it. She can shake that tushy of hers all she wants too.





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