Day 2 (October 7)
Since we didn’t get to get up for buppan, we slept in a little bit before heading over to Kishiwada for Day 2.
During the afternoon session, I was with Punster (@Punsster). Some of you might be familiar with his YouTube channel where he subs Minami-related content. I am really glad to have sat next to Punster, because he is responsible for so much of the subbed WUG content I consume. I can understand Japanese given some time, but it’s definitely easier thanks to him. Punster is also just a really chill guy in general. He got a bunch of pictures with various individual Japanese WUGners as well, so I guess they like him on both sides of the ocean.
This is the session where I had the best seats the whole weekend — row 12!
I was dead center aligned with position zero. The section I sat in is right around eye-level for the performers, so every time WUG turned to the crowd, I was making eye contact. Every time Mayu pointed out to the crowd, she was pointing straight at me.
To the right of Punster, as he would tell me later, was someone who was absolutely wild for WUG. He was hopping and cheering like crazy during all the upbeat songs, and absolutely crying his eyes out during songs like “Shizukunokanmuri”.
Inspired by this God amongst men, Punster dialed up his energy. Feeding off Punster, and also the fact that WUG appeared to be looking directly at me, I also went absolutely berserk during this session.
I stand at around 180cm, which I guess is kind of tall for Japan. But for the next few hours, I felt like I was 10 feet tall, towering above everyone else in my section. I found energy I never knew I had. Every time I jumped, I felt like I could dunk a basketball. I felt every ounce of energy from the crowd, yet at the same time I felt like I was all alone with WUG.
Me, Punster, and WUGod were right in the middle of WUG’s field of view, stuck in an increasingly vicious feedback loop. This time, I payed more attention to the intermissions, because God knows my body needed it.
A thing about WUG I’ve noticed is that during lives, WUG have never acted in character — even in earlier tours that were more connected with the anime. I am actually surprised they still say “島田真夢 役、吉岡茉祐です” (playing Shimada Mayu, I’m Yoshioka Mayu) during introductions because their characters literally never come into play.
After the comedy skit, all the girls except Mayu went offstage to change. Mayu stayed and had us all sit down and she talked to us for a bit. It felt so genuine; she lowered her voice and politely addressed us like we were guests she hasn’t met in a while. Mayu asked if anyone in the crowd were at the Osaka stop of WUG 1st Live. Only a few members of the crowd (including the guy to Punster’s left, of course) responded. The skit was something WUG wrote themselves and was a continuation of the performance in 1st Live. At the time, it was to fill up time because they didn’t have enough songs.
WUG has more than enough songs now, but I find the decision to revisit a concept from their first tour very cool. Despite how much WUG has grown, and how far this group has come, and how much everything has changed — WUG still seeks to remember their roots, and stay connected to their past.
I have nothing against the Wake Up, Girls! anime and its characters, but I feel like having the members of WUG just be themselves gives the audience that much more of a connection to them. The MC’s feel organic; they are obviously rehearsed but not scripted. So after the nice heart to heart from Mayu, we were back to the singing.
The surprise this session was “Onaji Yume wo Miteru”, the song from the second anime season performed by Mayu and Shiho. When the song started, I felt Punster on the right fidget. Instead of getting Ootsubo Yuka for a song, Yoppi joined in. Then, I felt Punster totally freak out as the rest of the girls joined in one by one. We got a full WUG version of “Onaji Yume wo Miteru” live.
The second major intermission is a reading that occurs right before “Polaris”. In the afternoon it’s a recollection of how the song was thought up in a bit of a narrative story form. In evening sessions it was distributing lines to each of the members.
The setlist was mostly the same as Day 1. As usual, “7 Girls War” bought the whole house down. I broke 4 UO’s during “Seventeen Crisis” and I would have broken more if I had remembered to buy some.
One of the most fun songs that I didn’t mention too much in my Day 1 write up is “Heartline”, which is a newer and less well known song. I remember when I watched the 4th Live Blu-Ray with friends it took us a bit to figure out what the song was.
“Heartline”, as it turns out, is fucking awesome live. The dancing is really great and calls are unbelievably fun. There’s fu-fuus, named PPPH, and even dueling member calls during Yoppi and Mayu’s solo. All you people going to the later stages of WUG Final Tour better rock this out if they perform it!
And finally, just as quickly as it started, the session was over.
I have been travelling to attend conventions and events for eight years now. It is an often expensive venture, especially when going to Japan. From my location in America, a trip with the bare minimums runs around $1500 (and I definitely did not do the bare minimums this time). As crazy as flying half a world to see a few girls sing and dance sounds, experiences like what I had on the afternoon of October 7th makes everything worth it.
The afternoon session of Day 2 is the best concert experience I’ve had in my life.
At night, I was with Insti (@Instigare), another person I was expecting to absolutely tiger out with. Insti got to sit in the lower level for the first time all weekend but unfortunately it was literally in the back corner of the last row of the lower level. Sorry for winning shitty seats, Insti!
My voice was long gone at this point but it didn’t matter. When WUG needs me to yell their names, I’m ripping my vocal cords to yell their names. When WUG needs me to do calls, I’m coughing up blood to do calls.
I was jumping high enough to smash my light stick against the ceiling (being in the back, the second level is positioned over us), so I figured I would do most of this session stickless and just do arm and hand motions.
We did the gachikoi koujou during “7 Girls War”, which marks the first time I’ve done it live. Thankfully, Nanamin now knows that I have “something to say”.
Insti coordinated with our entire row to lock shoulders and rock back and forth during the end of “Polaris”. That part is usually just a few people with their friends and not wanting to awkwardly touch people you don’t know. This time around, our entire row got into it and it turned out really fun.
Afterward, we were all pretty pooped and I could hardly speak. When we got back, we all collapsed and slowly took turns taking showers. Here is the state of the WUG Penthouse after seeing WUG four times in two days.
For the third night in a row, we went out to an izakaya, this time at a seafood place.
I drank a few beers and we all headed out to karaoke, because why the fuck not? It was here when I realized I really lost my voice. I think I also fell asleep for a bit as everyone else sang. I did end up singing the final song, “Tachiagare” with someone, and because it was WUG-related I managed to force my throat to do things it really shouldn’t. Fun times.
When I pulled the trigger on the trip and booked flights many months ago, I figured that watching WUG four times in one weekend would get me sick of them, and help me come to terms with their impending disbandment. Watching WUG four times in one weekend did not get me sick of them. A day later (Monday), I rode a bus 2 hours to Tokushima and baked in the sun for another hour just to see one member of WUG talk about an app (more on that in the next post). By Tuesday I realized I wanted to see WUG again.
WUG Final Tour will end in February at the Sendai Sun Plaza. Capacity? Around 2,500. I managed to win Day 1 tickets but this made Day 2 (final) tickets nearly impossible. Financial considerations aside, I don’t know if I would be able to handle being in Sendai and not being able to go to WUG’s final performance.
This weekend I was able to see this wonderfully talented group of girls I love with really awesome people whom I am glad to call friends. WUG put on a creative and dazzling performance that exceeded all my expectations. Quite simply put, WUG Final Tour Part II was everything I hoped it would be and more.
And with that said, I think I am satisfied with this being my final experience seeing WUG live. I would rather have this sweet, ephemeral experience be my lasting memory of WUG in person than heartbreak in Sendai. For everyone going to the tour dates to come, I hope you have an experience as fulfilling as mine.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone I met this weekend for a wonderful time! It was a pleasure meeting Negligence (@ecnegilgeN), Punster, Nobue (@VVVSnow), Vestro, Insti, ck, ramen (@soreyoriramen), Maeda, garbej (@garbej12), kei (@kei7aUMi), MEM (@MEMgrizzlies7), and a few Japanese WUGners as well. The WUG Discord is such an amazing resource and forum to discuss our passion for this wonderful group
and enabling my irresponsible love for WUG.
Up next, I will have some writeups about the rest of my trip in Japan. MEM, Vestro, Maeda, and I took a week long trek up from Osaka to Tokyo. Stay tuned!