I can’t even begin to express how excited I was for this concert. I mean, it’s the first time to witness the new members in action! But with all that is happening in Northern Japan and array of events being cancelled or postpone, I was just relieved that this concert was carried out as plan. Before the concert started, 3 donation boxes for the relief fund was setup and behind the boxes stood Mizuki, Sayumi and Riho. Most people went up to Sayumi’s donation box, some went to Mizuki’s donation box while barely anyone went to Riho’s donation box. This makes me wonder if Riho really is as popular as everyone says.
The concert took place in Otsu, Shiga prefecture which is Aika’s hometown. I didn’t realize this till someone requested everyone to chant “Aika” while we waited for the encore. Suddenly it all made sense why there was many Aika signs and purple glow sticks around. Sayumi reported on her blog that Aika was so moved to be home that she was in tears. When Aika first made her debut on Hello! Morning, she was out spoken and jumped in front of the camera at any chance she could get. But today during the encore, Aika was shy and quiet. As everyone was walking off the stage after the encore, Ai had to push Aika back to the centre of the stage as if telling her to enjoy the moment of having a concert in her hometown. It’s kind of refreshing to see this humble and shy side of Aika.
The set list for the 4/9 afternoon concert was as followed:
1) Maji Desu ka Ska!
2) Fantasy ga Haijmaru
3) THE Manpower!!!
MC – All
- Addresses the recent event in Northern Japan.
4) Onna Gokoro to Nanto Yara (Ai, Risa, Sayumi, Reina, Aika)
5) Ichi Kara Juu Made Aishite Hoshii (Ai, Risa, Sayumi, Reina, Aika, “Backdancers” 9th generation)
6) I’m Lucky Girl
MC – Risa, Aika, 9th generation
- Senpai Quiz corner, question from Reina.
7) Suki na Senpai (9th Generation)
8) Resonant Blue (Ai, Risa, Sayumi, Reina, Aika)
9) Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game
MC – Michishige, Tanaka
10) Sungoi My Birthday (Aika, Mizuki, Kanon)
11) Namida ga Tomaranai Koukago (Sayumi)
12) Rainbow Pink (Sayumi, Erina)
13) Moonlight night ~Tsukiyo no Ban da yo~ (Ai, Risa, Riho)
14) Ai no Honoo (Reina)
MC – Ai, Kanon
- Q/A directed towards Kanon.
15) Motto Aishite Hoshii no
- Naichau Kamo
- Shouganai Yume Oibito
- Onna Ni Sachi Are
MC – All
17) Love Machine
19) Renai Revolution 21
MC – All
MC – All
21) Dekkai Uchuu Ni Ai Ga Aru
MC – All
Shortly after the lights were dimmed, the 5 older members entered the stage first and was position at the centre. Moments later the Kyuki members entered from the two sides of the stage. That’s basically what most of the concert was like, with the old versus new members, and the old members being feature more often than the new ones. This is suppose to be a welcoming concert right? Then why does it feel like the newer generation are just decorations on a tree most of the time? I understand that it’s only been a few months since they joined and it’s impossible to expect so much from them in such a short time. I’m just saying that the management should have done a better job at featuring the new girls more. If they had enough time to give Sayumi and Reina each a solo and that MC time, they definitely had time to let the audience learn more about the new members!
Putting the rant aside, let’s look at the 4 new members more closely. Overall their dancing were great, it really looked like a group was dancing rather than “5 experience dancers and 4 newbie”. Vocal wise, it should be a given that they are nowhere near as strong as any of the older members. But I’m sure that with more training and time, they can belt out the songs with a stronger vocal.
Since Mizuki had some performance experience from her days as an Egg, I had higher expectation of her out of all the Kyuki. Well, it just so happen that fate wanted to test her too because towards the end of Maji Desu ka Ska!, her belt fell to her ankles making her fall down on her bum. It wasn’t as simple as getting back up again, cause the belt was still in a loop so she had to remove it from her feet and toss it to the side of the stage. It was impressive to see her act so quickly without hesitation and to be able to jump back to the dance routine like a real pro. But it’s a shame that I didn’t really get to see her personality during the concert.
With all the constant report on how Kanon keeps on struggling with the dances compare to the other Kyuki, I’m happy to say that Kanon had worked hard and was dancing like a pro with the other girls. I’m glad that she was selected for the Q&A MC segment with Ai, but a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see more of her genki personality on stage.
Each of the Kyuki was put in a smaller group with older members for more camera and stage time. Mizuki and Kanon performed Sungoi My Birthday with Aika. The cutesy song fits Kanon and Aika, not so sure it fits Mizuki though. Erina was pair with Sayumi to perform Rainbow Pink; the song choice and pairing amuses me so so much. First off, Erina is probably the weakest singer of the Kyu Ki members and this is base on how she performed her solo lines in Maji Desu ka Ska! at the start of the concert. So for her to be pair with Sayumi (who we can all agree, is not the best singer either) and to perform Rainbow Pink, it’s almost as if Tsunku is acknowledging that her vocal strength is similar to Koharu and Sayumi. And while this girl seems to be the most quiet and shy out of the new members, she certainly shined like a star during the Senpai Quiz session. You should have seen her, among Aika and the other Kyuki, Erina was the only one who tried to get Risa to pick her by jumping up and down like a small girl demanding a mother’s attention among her siblings.
As the final group mix up, Riho was paired with Ai and Risa to perform Moonlight night ~Tsukiyo no Ban da yo~. This was a wonderful song selection for all 3 of them! Vocal wise, Riho’s was more soft and emotionless compare to Ai and Risa. But the best part of this performance was the dance off they had in the middle of the song. Ai can dance, no doubt about that. Risa may not be the best dancer but the way she moves her body with so much power makes the routine looks so good. As for Riho, we all saw what she is capable of in the audition video and she was moving just as well as the other two. It was definitely a real treat seeing all 3 of them show off their dance moves like that.
I was pleasantly surprised and a little worry when they started performing Suki na Senpai. I love the Gokki and absolutely adore this song. So while I was thrill that the new members were performing, I also wondered if they can live up to my expectation for this song. While their performance was nothing like seeing a Gokki performance, the girls did well and gave it their all. It’s also interesting to note how the lines were distributed: Erina got Asami’s lines, Kanon got Makoto’s lines, Mizuki got Risa’s lines, and Riho got Ai’s lines. It’ll be interesting to see if the way these lines were distributed to foreshadow the girls’ future. And once again, I’ll like to point out the Erina’s vocal strength being indirectly compare to older generations.
I was thrilled to see old songs like LOVE Machine and Renai Revolution 21 being performed. It’s true that these songs have been perform many times but this was my first time seeing it done live and now it’s a good as a time to have the Kyuki learn the dance to these popular songs. I was also excited to see songs like Shouganai Yume Oibito and Namidacchi being performed. But at the same time, it felt weird seeing the new line-up perform these songs as my mind kept connecting them with the old line-up. Especially for Namidacchi, because this was the last song the 3 recent graduates performed as Morning Musume members.
Overall, this concert was very fun. One of the best part of seeing these lives is that they can turn songs that I’m not very fond of into ones that end up on a repeated playlist. I’m disappointed in the lack of creativity for the costumes, and not to mention the number of costumes each girl has. Excluding the Maji Desu ka Ska! costume, they only had 4½ costume each (the costume with orange vest and tutu is worn on top of black shorts there are shown for a few performances). But like I said, one of the reasons for attending this concert was to meet the Kyuki and they’ve shown that they have what it takes to become great Morning Musume members. It may take some time for their real personality shine through, but I’m looking forward to the day when that happens!