Friday, June 24, 2016

Symphogear Live 2016 - Official Report

This is a translation of the content that recently went up on the official site. It includes excerpts of the cast comments from the end of the concert as well as a general overview of the things that happened during the performances. It's a good read, I hope you enjoy and please purchase the BD/DVD when it comes out.

The “Symphogear Live 2016” event will finally be available on Blu-ray and DVD on August 24th!

Planned as a major event for the “Symphogear” TV series, the live concert spanned across two days on February 27th and 28th at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo. It was a very special event that saw the announcement of seasons 4 and 5, and now we're publishing a detailed report of what happened.

The concert comprised of the usual cast members, Aoi Yuki, Nana Mizuki, Ayahi Takagaki, Yoko Hikasa, Yoshino Nanjo, Ai Kayano and Yuka Iguchi. Joining them this time was Inori Minase who provided the voice of Carol in the 3rd season, Symphogear GX.

The performance began with GX's opening theme, “Exterminate” by Nana Mizuki. The fast-paced tune caused a storm of action from the audience, who cheered and sang along to the chorus. Before things could cool down, Yoko Hikasa took the stage and together the two performed the Tsubasa and Maria duet, “Heavenly Stars Galaxy Cross” with much enthusiasm. The excitement in the air reached a peak as the two recited the song's famous line, “Stardust.” The crowd went wild as their performance mimicked the concert scene from the anime almost exactly.

One special characteristic of this concert was the order of the songs, as they went from a solo song, to a duet song, then back to a solo song. For example, Yoshino Nanjo performed “Sense of Distance” by herself before Ai Kayano took the stage so the two could perform Kirika and Shirabe's signature duets: “Just Loving X-Edge” and “Edge Works of Goddess ZABABA.” Those were followed by Ai Kayano's solo song, “Farewell Letter.” Together on the stage, when Yoshino and Ai were close to each other they would grab each others hands, and when they were apart they would gaze at each other. They showed everyone they were in harmony, just like Shirabe and Kirika would be. Their matching outfits were also designed by Yoshino herself.

Yuka Iguchi's solo performances included the gentle and upbeat “Sunshine Memoria,” where she sang as if she was talking to Hibiki, with a tender voice that enveloped the audience. Iguchi took a moment to speak her mind and said she wishes for Miku to stay as Hibiki's sunshine and not become a gear user again. However, for her second performance she asked to borrow the fan's strength to sing that passionate love song as a gear user once again, “Warped Mirror Shenshou Jing.” The crowd met her request with an incredibly spirited cheer of joy.

Next Yoko Hikasa made another appearance on the stage, this time clad in white. She performed “Silver Arm Airget-lamh” and “Pure White Innocence.” The audience matched their pen lights with Maria's color, turning the stands into a sea of white. During her chat time she talked about how Maria can never be straightforward with Tsubasa about how much she likes her, and how that overlaps with her own experience regarding her fondness for Nana Mizuki. This drew a big laugh from the crowd.

The next performer to take the stage was Ayahi, singing GX's ending theme “Rebirth-day.” The crowd got pumped up as she went into her next song, “Trust Heart” as she swept across the stage, showing everyone an intense performance that seemed to mimic Chris's fighting style as she ran back and forth across the stage. With the crowd already in high spirits, she drew an even bigger cheer from them as she performed the hit song from season 1, “What Only Hands Held Tight Can Create.” It's not an exaggeration to say that her performance successfully captured all the aspects of Chris, from her powerful presence, to her adorable charm.

From there the crowd was met with a surprise at the appearance of Nana Mizuki. Ayahi shouted to her, “I've been waiting, senpai!” to which Nana responded “Let's run wild together for once!” That set the stage for the senpai/kohai performance of Tsubasa and Chris's first ever duet, “Bayonet Charge.” They treated the audience to an intense and heated performance as they coordinated together on stage.

“Have at you then!” Nana shouted one of Tsubasa's signature lines to start her solo performance of “Beyond the Blade.” Right from the outset she ran back and forth across the stage to the music, as if she were Tsubasa herself cutting down Noise on the left and right. On the other hand, things calmed down during “To The Sky...” where Nana presented us Tsubasa as she comes face to face with her feelings over Kanade. Her voice, full of emotion, rang out clearly across the stage as a cluster of feathers danced in the air and gently floated out of sight. Among the crowd there were clearly those who burst into tears, some holding up two pen lights, one orange and one blue, to symbolize the conjoined wings of Zwei Wing.

And finally, appearing for the first time, Inori Minase hit the stage. With a commanding intensity that captured the crowd's attention, she sang “Slaughtering Harp Dur da Bla.” She left an impact that demonstrated she wouldn't lose out to the more experienced members on the stage. During her chat time she told a story of her audition in season 1 and how she was given only a small supporting role. Going from that, to now singing upon the stage at the concert was an almost unbelievable experience to her. She wrapped up by performing the song that contains all of Carol's feelings for her father, “tomorrow.” Inori gave special attention to the emotion of the song by proclaiming, “I will sing as if you (the audience) were my Papa.”

To bring a satisfying end to the solo performances there was no one better than Aoi Yuki. Wearing an outfit that mimicked Hibiki's gear, she took to the stage singing “Little Miracle -grip it tight-” and “Break The Limit G-Beat” which is perhaps one of the most intense songs of the series and her performance inspired the crowd. The voice of the entire stadium rang out to the call & response nature of the song, and soon the phonic gain was at maximum. After a brief chat session, the crowd could once again hear the beat of Hibiki's intense song, “Unrivaled Spear Gungnir.” Through her performance Aoi brought Hibiki's energetic personality to life and unleashed her full power.

After that, Yuka took the stage once again to help perform Hibiki and Miku's first duet, “A rainbow from some day, the memory of flowers.” The two of them were harmonious as they sang with the cutest voices. This song was the ending theme of “Senki Zesshoushinai Symphogear” that was available on the GX Blu-ray and DVDs. This song being included at the concert certainly came as a pleasant surprise to a number of fans.

Next was the song that has traditionally brought the story to a close, “Babel of the Beginning,” which found all 6 of the gear users assembled on stage for the first time that day. The lyrics of the song pass from character to character, almost as if they were handing off a baton to each other, before they come together for a big harmonious finish. The performance truly communicated all of the dramatic feelings present in the “Symphogear” story, as it brought the concert to a close.

Before the encore there was a big surprise announcement. On day 1 of the concert it was revealed that a new chapter for the Symphogear series had been confirmed for production, and amazingly on day 2 it was revealed that it would take form in both a season 4 and 5. The crowd was caught by surprise and the stadium exploded with elated cheers.

For the encore, Aoi, Nana and Ayahi came together for “Radiant Force” and “First Love Song.” Followed by Yoko, Yoshino, and Ai coming together for “While Singing Our Thanks.” All of the songs came from famous scenes in the series and having them performed one right after the other was an unforgettable experience. The song performed last for the true finale was also used as the closing song for both seasons 2 and 3 and made for a fitting goodbye, “Rainbow-colored Flugel.” The beautiful harmony of the 6 singers came to a end and met with the warm applause of the crowd.

Below are excerpts from the closing speeches that each actor gave at the end of the concert.

Inori Minase: “As Carol I fought with the intention of bringing an end to all of the emotions that Hibiki tried to reach out to others with. But in the end I lost to her, or perhaps rather, I was able to find my true self… What brought me that feeling was none other than Hibiki's straightforward fist, and the palm of her open hand. For myself personally, I had a lot of fun being pulled along by that gentle hand of hers. As an actor, I also found different ways to summon up my courage thanks to Ms. Yuki. She really is “courage” [yuki in Japanese] itself (laughs). It was a lot of fun at all the recording sessions, and especially today being on stage at the Budokan. Even though I was an enemy character, I was able to connect with so many people during that time. So please continue to support Carol, Elfnein, Carol's Papa, and the Auto-scorer team from now on.”

Ai Kayano: “Yesterday I said that Kirika was a “joke character,” but to be honest “desu desu desu” is really easy to use in conversation. I have also developed a habit of using that LINE stamp quite frequently (laughs). I'm so happy to not only be able to play such a fun character, but also be able to perform at live events such as this one. It gave me my first experience participating in a concert-only anime event. Last time we had games and we saw the birth of the “Bushi Noise,” but this time there wasn't any of that but I hope with the announcement of season 4 and 5 that more opportunities to do fun things like that will happen in the future. Kirika was also unable to come on this season's “Symphogear Radio,” so the next time Yukachi hosts the radio show I definitely want to go be a guest!”

Yoshino Nanjo: “At the concert today I was very glad to see everyone get excited for us and enjoy themselves and now I think we can all go home with big smiles. However, when I was in the dressing room and watching on the monitors I saw everyone singing along and yelling out with such enthusiastic voices that it moved me emotionally. That “intensity” is something that I think is original to Symphogear and it's helped to create a comfortable atmosphere for me that makes me want to be able to stay here forever. These 2 days have just gone by so fast. I was thinking about how much I don't want it to end, but with the announcement of seasons 4 and 5 I know I can now make a promise to see you all again and that makes me so happy. I'm fairly certain that Shirabe will continue to get screen time and not die (laughs), so I will do my utmost to continue playing her.”

Yoko Hikasa: “I told everyone in the changing room, "don't panic!" and then Ayahi told me "you're panicking the most out of everyone” (laughs). If you remember, Maria was also panicking during her first appearance and once again I've been reminded that I play a role that feels more like I'm actually playing a part of myself. To be honest, leading up to this concert there was nothing but pressure for me. However, standing here now with all of the cast alongside me, and with all of you memorizing the lyrics and singing along, I've learned that I'm never alone. And I think that's really amazing. Thank you so much. I know you'll all be waiting patiently for seasons 4 and 5, and I will wait too and grow up a little bit along with Maria. Until we meet again, everyone!”

Yuka Iguchi: “In the changing room I was watching everyone in the audience sing on the monitors and I noticed that even more than yesterday, the monitors were shaking a lot! All of the fans just have an incredible amount of energy and I'm sure that the whole stadium itself was shaking. Everything started from the first episode of season 1 and now we've come as far as an announcement for seasons 4 and 5. I know for a fact that it's due to the support of all the fans and other supporters, as well as the staff who truly love the show. As Miku, I hope to continue to be able to be Hibiki's sunshine and will prepare myself to make sure she is greeted warmly when she returns from the battlefield. At least, I hope I'll have some screen time in seasons 4 and 5 (laughs). No, I must believe that I will! This is not the end, it makes me happy to think that the world of Symphogear will continue to expand from here on out.”

Ayahi Takagaki: “Just a few minutes ago, when we performed “Radiant Force,” I looked out at the crowd and I could see all of you singing along with us. That moment was very impactful, I thought “we truly are connected to each other through song.” In the very first recording session for season 1, Mr. Agematsu and Mr. Kaneko looked at us and said, “please help us make our dream come true.” If one person's dream becomes another person's dream too, then soon it becomes everyone's dream. I've seen that happen through “Symphogear.” All of you have carved out the character's existences and songs inside yourselves so deeply, that I can actually feel it's become a source of power in your everyday lives. I hope that once again through this power of “Symphogear” that I can have the opportunity to feel the warmth of our hands being held together.”

Nana Mizuki: “When the details of “Symphogear GX” were decided, I was told that the “X” signified that this would be the end of the series. I was very sad, but together with the other members of the cast, we came together like a team and wished as hard as we could, believing that a miracle would happen. Sure enough, one day Mr. Kaneko abruptly said “I feel like writing more now.” Of course I expected that it might happen, so I kept holding out hope and now here we are with an announcement of seasons 4 and 5. It's truly a joyous moment for those of us in the cast as well. Having the experience that our strong feelings helped bring about a miracle really feels like something straight out of “Symphogear” itself. Tsubasa has become a bit of an “exhibitionist character” so I'm not sure how extreme her stage outfits will get from now on and I'm worried I will not be able to recreate those at the next event (laughs), but I intend to train my heart and mind and give it my best!”

Aoi Yuki: “This concert, it really was just pure love. I can tell that it was made successful through the love of many different people. Whenever we hear your impressions of the show, we can feel the love you hold for it coming from each individual person. I honestly think that today, all of the fan's love brought about the power to exterminate all the Noise in the world. In the beginning there were 3 of us, then 6 of us, and now 8. I've been surrounded by nothing but amazing people. I will continue to believe in the justice that Hibiki does and love her, and along with the other members of “Symphogear” love all of you, and I will discipline myself for the future challenges and assure that this series will remain in my heart for a long, long time to come!”

Thanks to the coordinated efforts of 18,000 people over the span of 2 days, this concert was the biggest event ever planned for the series and will go down as a turning point in “Symphogear Live” history. From start to finish the event comprised of nothing but singing, which was a first, and was a significant step in providing a “compilation” of what the series has to offer. “Symphogear Live 2016” has been announced for a BD/DVD release on August 24th so now everyone can experience the amazing potential that the “Symphogear” series has, and enjoy it for themselves.  

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