Otakon 2013: Concerts

kanno01_edit

narutaki_icon_4040┬áJust like everything else about Otakon’s 20th anniversary, they went all out with their musical guest selection. Home Made Kazoku and T.M.Revolution were perfect fan favorite choices that have graced the halls of Otakon before. Chiaki Ishikawa was a beautiful new voice to add to the line-up. And then, Otakon shocked everyone by announcing that Yoko Kanno would be performing a special beta version of her new concert series Piano Me.

With nearly five hours of concerts to see at Otakon, it promised to be a weekend of music heaven.

hisui_icon_4040 I tend to focus a bit of coverage on the blog to Japanese production guests from anime and manga mostly because they get ignored by more fans than I would like. Bloggers and podcasters tend to pay a good amount of attention to them but that is mostly because anyone that deep down the rabbit hole is the type of person who naturally would be interested in such details. (You could then complain about such talk mostly just being preaching to the choir but that is beyond the scope of this report.)

But there is one type of Japanese guest that is beloved by anyone from the most casual fan who watches nothing but a handful of popular shows to the most dedicated scholar who compile Sakuga MADs. Japanese musical guests have that appeal. Even more than even Japanese voice actors they can really bring in an audience. There is even a distinct group of anime convention goers that just comes out for the musical guests and only the musical guests.

Otakon usually does a great job in getting a wide variety of musical guests with everything from JAM Project and VAMPS to the The Yoshida Brothers and the Eminence Symphony Orchestra. So for the 20th anniversary they went and got some of their most popular musical acts and created one blockbuster lineup.

But without a doubt Yoko Kanno was the keynote act. If she were the only guest (musical or otherwise) at Otakon 2013 I think most people would think the lineup was very thin but acceptable. She is one of the few universally beloved names and a distinct crowd-pleaser that transcends boundaries. She is synonymous with anime composition and her discography covers a wide variety of shows and countless different genres. It is probably easier to find someone who has never heard of Naruto at the convention than someone who does not love at least one of the songs she has created. In a fandom that is usually divided she is a wonderful unifier.

But lets us not discount the other guests as well. This was a stellar and unforgettable collection of artists that should not have been missed (even though I did miss some of them.)

Continue reading

OK, Three, Two, One Let’s JAM Project

Due to a combination of factors I missed out on going to Otakon in 2008 and therefore I missed the JAM Project concert. I regretted not going because it really did feel like I missed one of my very few opportunities to see JAM Project┬álive. And JAM Project rocks pretty hard so it felt like a real loss especially considering how many positive reviews there were of the concert. But for Otakon’s 20th anniversary they decided to start pulling out all the stops even before 2013 by announcing the first Otakon Music Festival this year with three very special guests. The opening acts were Natsuko Aso and Faylan. I can’t say I really knew either singer apart from Faylan doing the opening to Canaan. But the headliner was obviously the band that would let me rectify my poor choice years ago.

Continue reading

NY Anime Festival & Comic Con 2010: Minori Chihara

hisuiconWhile there were several Japanese industry people at NYAF most of them were only present for the what they were presenting and never appeared in any formal panel where you could ask them questions about anything outside of what they were there to present. But voice actress and singer Minori Chihara not only had a panel but she also had a concert to promote her appearance in The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. I would assume almost everyone who went to see her was there because of her work as Yuki unless Sakutarou has a huge fan following I was unaware of. And a lot of fans were very thrilled to see her at the convention because of that.

Continue reading