kevo’s Japanese Idol Excursion, January 2020 (Part 2)

You can read part 1 here

Saturday, January 18 (MX Idol Festival Vol. 13)

After arriving back at our hostel at around 6 in the morning, we slept as much as we could and left for Daiba around noon. Lauren went off on her own idol adventure for the day, so Misha, Victor, and I got to Zepp DiverCity and met up with Ernest (@erniichan), my friend from college. This will be his first time seeing idols after I convinced him to come with a free ticket.

We arrived just in time for NEO JAPONISM, a group I really enjoy and was looking forward to experiencing live. The set was quite short, but they played my favorite song, “World End Starry Night”. Their edgy and energetic aesthetic translates very well in person. Throughout the set, the crowd around me was quite fun, mixing and doing the calls. Next was “JUMPINPO!!!!!” was a more bubbly and upbeat song that I enjoyed greatly. The set concluded with “Carry On”.

My friends left for chekis, but I stayed for the next group, Task Have Fun. I saw them last time when I was in Japan; during their set, the music cut out and they just kept going. That incident has left a significant impression on me. Fortunately, there were no audio issues this time. Task Have Fun are very good live; I find their music average, but their lively dances are very fun to watch. I left to buy some Task Have Fun merchandise and got in line for a cheki with Fuuka.

Unfortunately for me, Fuuka is by far the most popular member of the three, and her line was quite long. Fuuka’s line took me around 2 feet away from Miruka, who was working in NEO JAPONISM’s cheki line. By this time, NEO JAPONISM were almost done with their session and Miruka didn’t have anyone waiting for her, so she just stood around fidgeting and doing some dance moves. It was very cute — I was so close I could smell the fragrance she was wearing. Miruka is my favorite member of NEO JAPONISM, and I had hoped to score a signed cheki with her as well. I was hoped I would make it in time!

Despite having to take and sign a million 2-shot chekis, Fuuka was very nice and personable with me. I told her it was my first time seeing her and that I had come from America, and she seemed happy to see me. It was a very pleasant experience. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to meet Miruka. Oh well, I guess I have to do it next time I am in Japan.

After resting and getting some food, I made my way back to the stage for Devil Anthem, a lesser-known group with music that I find insanely good. “Fever” in person was almost a religious experience for me. I would be seeing them again Monday on a smaller stage, so I wasn’t worried about making it up front quite yet.

Soon after was the ludicrous lineup of Ange☆Reve, Tebasaki Sensation, Masshirona Canvas, chuLa, FES☆TIVE, Maneki Kecak, Magical Punchline, and ≠ME all in a row. I would see these groups again tomorrow, so I’ll go into detail later in this post.

Overall, I spent around 7 hours at MX Idol Festival — this was the “short” day because we were low on sleep. We returned to Akihabara and got some beers with Ernest’s friends. This may have been a bit much as Ernest’s first foray into idols; I don’t think he had quite the energy to enjoy himself that much. But I’m grateful that he at least gave it a shot and tried a new experience out.

Sunday, January 19 (MX Idol Festival Vol. 14)

After a good night’s rest, Lauren, Misha, and I were off at around 10:30 am for the second day (Nobue would catch up with us later). By pure coincidence, on the train to Daiba we bumped into one of the people we met at the anikura event on Friday night. We exchanged Twitters and took a really nice picture.

Today we’re planning to spend 10 hours at the festival (Zepp Tokyo this time) as there were many groups we wanted to see. We got there just in time for Cawaful Tornado, and we were fortunate enough to make it only a few rows from the front. “Hands” was my favorite song in the setlist, andnthey had cute colorful costumes. Asobi Dungeon was next, a group I’ve gotten really into recently. I was pretty disappointed that the crowd was pretty dead, even for “Hissatsu! Ninpou Asobi Senpu”. We think it was a combination of the front rows already being jammed with =LOVE fans and Asobi Dungeon not being that well known.

Lily of the Valley came next. They’re a newer group from Kansai with cute girls and upbeat, catchy music. After their performance, I bought a T-shirt and got a cheki with my favorite member, Natsume Saria. The nice staff member tried to tell me I could spend an extra 500 yen to get a signed cheki, but I was too stupid to figure it out. Nevertheless, I got a very nice picture.

Afterward, Lauren and I went to get some lunch and caffeine. Something fun happened when we returned to the venue. One entrance to Zepp Tokyo is down an alleyway, which wasn’t very busy. As we walked down the alley, a group of girls were walking toward us and waving. I instinctively assumed they were waving to people behind us and I didn’t want it to be nightmarishly awkward situation, but quickly realized they were indeed waving at us. As I waved back I realized the girls were Lily of the Valley! They had a camera on a stick, but after checking their YouTube channel, it looks like the footage of us got left on the cutting room floor.

We got to the stage in time for chuLa, a group I have been really high on recently. They have energy similar to FES☆TIVE, and a decent-sized segment of the crowd was really into them. They have a lot of mixes which are very fun to do. They don’t seem to be on Spotify just yet, but I definitely recommend people check them out. “Viva Japan” is my favorite song of theirs.

We chilled out for a bit longer and eventually Masshirona Canvas came on. They are Nobue’s favorite group but I also love them to death. The setlist was more or less expected: “Tatakaumon ni wa fuku kitaru” followed by “SHOUT” got everyone hyped up. I feel like the crowd was much more energetic today compared to yesterday, and this would be true for most of the groups to follow.

Ange☆Reve came on a little bit later. I saw Ange☆Reve was last year, and I wasn’t that impressed. But I enjoyed them this week. They have good stage presence and “Itoshi Love” is an absolute bop. It’s so much fun in person. The energy was a lot higher compared to yesterday since the venue was absolutely packed due to ≠ME being next.

≠ME was absolutely wild. “Kimi no Oto Dattannda” was so much fun, and then “Not Equal Me” is the best idol song in existence; I don’t make the rules. Almost in a flash, their 20 minute set was over.

=LOVE came on next for a 30-minute-long set. It was my first time seeing =LOVE, but I found them to be outstanding — I expected nothing less from a group managed by Sashihara Rino. “Want You! Want You!” was my favorite song in the playlist but in all seriousness they played just about every song of theirs that I knew. It was satisfying and fun. Even though I wasn’t close to the front, the entire venue was packed and jumping. There’s a catwalk thing above and to the right of the stage that other performers have access to where they can watch the event, and for ≠ME and =LOVE it was packed. It was very cool to see other idols watching and supporting their colleagues.

We rested a bit and prepared to get chekis with my favorite group: Niji no Conquistador! Their tokuten session was before their performance, so I wished my oshimen, Karin, good luck. We had to buy preorders of their three new singles for tickets, so suddenly all four of us were owners of many CD’s. 4000 yen per signed cheki is steep, but I am willing to pay it. Now that I think of it, this is the only tokuten session that Misha, Lauren, Nobue, and I all attended. Nijicon truly is the best.

Finally, the idol festival was drawing to a close. We went inside to see FES☆TIVE for the third day in a row, and it was their best performance all weekend. The classic “OIDEMASE” made its appearance, and it will never not be fun to do that left and right slide. “Shindareyanagi” and “Haratoke Appare Japanese” also made their expected appearances. When I saw “Haratoke Appare Japanese” for the first time on a stream of Tokyo Idol Festival I immediately fell in love with it, watched the music video a million times when it was released, and bought the physical single. The song just slams so hard. The last song to cap off the godly setlist was my favorite FES☆TIVE song, “Magical Parade”, which features the most hype ochisabi in existance.

Niji no Conquistador was next. Curiously, Akari, Moe, and Nemoto Nagi were missing today. Nagi is often quite busy and various other activities, but it was strange for Akari and Moe to not be there. Misha’s favorite member is Akarin, so I felt pretty bad for him. Regardless, Nijicon’s sharp choreography and dance moves were on full display. After jumping for about 3 minutes straight during “Zutto Summer de Koishiteru”, I realized just how much my legs were hurting. I had been here for about 8 hours now. I love this group, and getting to see them again this weekend was a dream come true. They finished with “Triangle Dreamer”, which even the most casual fan in attendance knew the calls for. Forming circles and mixing with strangers was so satisfying.

Finally, MX Idol Festival concluded with 26ji no Masquerade. I noticed that many people have left by now (probably a lot of people who were only into =LOVE) but there was still plenty of energy left in the venue. “Heart Sunglasses” is the most hype idol song in existence (again, I don’t make the rules these are facts). It was very fun and the hardest world chaos mix I would do all weekend. Nijimasu sing very well and are very impressive live. I love Aeri and it made me very happy to be able to see them all perform live.

And just like that, MX Idol Festival was over. I would say Sunday was definitely the superior day; there were better groups, better setlists, and better energy overall. By the end of it all, everything below my hip ached, but it was all worth it. I began to question how the hell I came into this insane hobby. Surely it would have been cheaper to just get into drugs instead. But I was happy. I was oh so very happy.

We were trying to get something yummy to eat, but on Sunday night it was kind of difficult to do. Starving, we returned to Akihabara and found a ramen joint that was open.

After some Strong Zero and chatting in the lobby of our hostel, it was time for some much needed rest. We have several more days in Japan! Stay tuned for more.