There’s only so much that can be said about the Vocaloid concerts, it’s something you have to experience. There’s also only so much you can show without having a gigantic camera with you, which isn’t allowed.
I’m happy to report that the concerts were great. I’m a casual Vocaloid fan (unlike Trej), and I enjoyed myself immensely. I don’t go to many gigs at all, “normal” or otherwise, but the audience vibe is amazing. There’s a sort of heartwarming camaraderie that you feel, it’s a shared experience as well as a very personal one. At the end of the concert, after the house-lights come up, everyone stands around for a bit facing each other towards the centre of the arena and applauding, with shouts of “Otsukaresama deshita!” - Good work, everyone.
I’d like to make a small negative diversion: I’ve figured out what shits me about wotagei. It’s not the dancing, it’s not the ridiculous amounts of energy that’s put into it, and it’s not that you’re in my face. It’s that you’re telling me how to have fun, so I’m giving you the finger. It does look great when you have the whole crowd swaying in time with their green cyalume (glowsticks), but I won’t stand for you telling me there’s a correct way to shake that stick at all times.
At first I thought it was the wild dancing and distractingly-bright cyalume - you’re not the performer here, the performer is on stage, have some self-awareness! But it feels very “un-Japanese”. Understand that I say that as a foreigner, but I really felt that the spirit of it here was disruptive and against the unity and harmony that the Japanese are big on. I hear that wotagei is more of a Thing at certain idol and seiyuu events - in that case, please do it where it’s appropriate.
I went totally naked for the first night, no electronics at all. After feeling very much like I was missing out, I took a phone and camera on the second night, so have some photos. The X100 did a very respectable job, but it’s way out of its comfort zone for this sort of work. It attracts very little attention though, and you can shoot while waving your cyalume. It’s telling, though, that there are few good photos of the concert even in the mass media - it’s hard to get good photo of Miku on the transparent screen.
Caption: A little video to warm the crowd up before we get going.
Caption: I think this is Lamaze-P, he was on stage playing harmonica like a boss for one of his songs.
So yeah, it was great. Anticipating getting hot and sweaty inside I’d dressed very lightly, but hadn’t counted on the lengthy wait beforehand, and the venue doesn’t have any bloody enclosed areas. A takoyaki stall across the road provided much-needed relief from the cold, 500yen for six takoyaki with lots of green onion :D
Caption: Somewhat acceptable exposure for Miku, but it lacks punch.
Cold aside, it wasn’t raining, so there were cosplayers out in force. We took a run through the merch booths which were well-managed - a pleasant experience after the utter clusterfuck that is their ticket lottery system. I didn’t really want anything from the official merch collection, but I did pick up a livetune “glitch” t-shirt to wear on the second night. That new Luka figure designed by Tony was on display, too. She looks fantastic, that’s a preorder right there.
We did get accosted by the media, twice in fact: first by a Reuters video-journo team and then by a radio newsman after the concert. We think they were playing spot-the-gaijin outside the venue.
The Reuters material has since surfaced online, it feels kinda surreal, though Trej managed to steal the newsworthy quotes. The cameraman from the Reuters team that we met is credited for the writeup, though their video clip uses other footage. Curiously, the BBC article did use Reuters’ footage, though the writeup is bizarrely terse.
Dengeki has a few more photos:
After the concert finishes on Friday evening I’m in a rush to get to Tokyo station. I brought my camera bag and a change of clothes along to the concert, for I’m catching the shinkansen out to Komoro, a little city in Nagano. All aboard!