Thank You and Good Luck! Asuka Graduates From Chu-Z During Tour Finale at TSUTAYA O-WEST!
Chu-Z celebrated the end of their Tokyo/Nagoya/Osaka spring tour and said farewell to graduating member Asuka with a performance that was breathtaking and heartbreaking during their one-man live at TSUTAYA O-WEST on March 24, 2016.
Chu-Z’s “little sister group” amorecarina Tokyo got things started with an energetic 3-song set.
Short video segments featuring each of the members showing how they were working hard towards their goal of performing at the legendary Nippon Budokan. KAEDE was shown jogging and trying to drink aojiru, a thick dark green health drink. Appearing on the stage accompanied by loud “DenDen” (her nickname) calls and the glow of green penlights, KAEDE triumphantly downed the massive mug of the drink that she had brought with her. KANA was shown practicing her dancing in a studio before making her way to the stage and putting on a display of her skills as the Chu-Pets waved red penlights and called out “Kanapyon” (her nickname).
Miku’s video had her wandering aimlessly and ending up in front of the Budokan. Telling a joke, there was a roar of laughter and glow of orange penlights in return. LUNA was shown playing her guitar and singing on a sidewalk but got discouraged when no one stopped to listen to her. Surrounded by purple penlights and “Ru-chan” (her nickname) calls, she was welcomed with a rousing ovation for her song. Leader and eldest member Maia was seated in front of a mirror trying to make herself look as young as possible but, ended up running off stage dramatically when she noticed that she had forgotten to take out her hair pins. Asuka thanked the Chu-Pets for coming to her final live, inciting a “A-chan” (her nickname) call joined by the waving of yellow penlights.
Asuka and Maia appeared on the stage first, singing their duet “Negai” before putting down their microphones and performing a fierce dance set to a marching band drum line as the other members joined in. Continuing with “Yume de Aimashou”, the 6 members of Chu-Z raised their voices together and reached toward the night sky, ending with their heads nestled on their hands as they went off to dreamland.
Waking back up, Miku started off “Kirakira Mirai☆” as the Chu-Pets pumped their fists along to the funky retro hip-hop rhythms. Kana danced lithely across the stage at the beginning of “Hana no Arch”, the fresh feelings of springtime coloring the venue with Chu-Z’s graceful performance. Asuka vowed to make her final live after 3 and a half years as a member of Chu-Z her best yet and the rest of the group introduced themselves in order.
The stage was enveloped in pink lights as the live continued with a medley starting with the heart-pounding R & B of “a.no.ne”, the Chu-Pets calling out the names of the members as they took their turns singing and wagging their fingers flirtatiously. Next was the Tsunku♂-produced cheerful disco tune “Tell me why Umarete Kita Imi Wo Shiritai”, leading right into the cute “Summer Dreamer”, KAEDE making the Chu-Pets swoon with a shy “chu”. Strumming their air guitars to “Fly High”, the medley came to an end with Chu-Pet favorite “Chu me now!!” as the members pointed and blew kisses into the audience.
The unit Bling Bling Princess (Maia, KAEDE, and LUNA) turned up the heat with “LUCKY☆STAR”, Luna and Maia’s upper register harmonies weaving in between KAEDE’s percussive raps and sultry vocals accompanied by the pulsating electronic rhythms. With the sounds stormy weather rattling the speakers, Sun-Chu♡ (Miku, KANA, and Asuka) took the stage with umbrellas held high. Asuka died temporarily, revived by the Chu-Pets calling her name and shining their yellow penlights. She joked that everyone in TSUTAYA O-WEST were now her fans because of it. On a more serious note, she announced that it was the final live for Sun-Chu♡ before the trio began “Onegai no Squall”, their umbrellas spinning as the Chu-Pets called out loudly for its final performance. Asuka started off the MIX for “Eternal Lover”, pumping her fist alongside KANA and Miku. Asuka thanked the Chu-Pets, adding that they would now go back to being normal girls, the three members leaving their microphones on the stage before walking off.
LUNA walked out with her guitar to perform “Asu he”, a song she had written the lyrics for when Asuka announced her graduation from Chu-Z on February 5, 2016. The Chu-Pets listened in breathless silence, LUNA’s voice cutting through the air as she sang about the farewells and new meetings that accompany springtime in Japan. KAEDE and the others returned to the stage to begin the second medley of the night, this one consisting of Chu-Z harder, wilder EDM material kicking off with “IROHA MUSIK” which has the entire venue jumping immediately. Miku executed a few sharp karate kicks during “Get your dream”, she and the other members shooting the Chu-Pets with their finger guns during “Breaking now”. Sexiness intensifying, Chu-Z strutted across the stage (“Bow Wow”), KANA flashing open her jacket and KAEDE removing her had to whip her long hair before launching into one of her rapid-fire raps (“One’s Life”). Proving they aren’t just about cute and sexy, Chu-Z unleashed their party rock anthem “Gimme a Chance!” to close things out with a flurry of pumping fists.
KAEDE assured the Chu-Pets that there were more “age-age” (アゲアゲ, fired-up) songs left as she and the others reached for their Bomber Sticks, signaling that it was time for their club anthem “BomBastic！”. As the music took over, the playfulness that comes with holding a large flashing piece of plastic showed itself, KANA whacking LUNA on the leg with hers. Next was the Shonan no Kaze-esque summer beach party song “#PANAiii”, towels waving through the air. KAEDE took out an instant camera and snuck a photo of Maia, receiving a mild smackdown as a result before a lucky Chu-Pet in the front was given the cheki. Followed by the hip-shaking “LOVE☆PARADE”, Asuka announced that the next song would be the last one that Chu-Z would sing as a 6-member group, “GIRLS ON THE RUN”.
After a few minutes of impassioned encore calls, Chu-Z returned, starting the encore with the cheerful “Favorite・Smile”, waving their hands side to side along with the Chu-Pets. While there were some happy announcements in the form of an upcoming 5-city tour and a one-man live at Akasaka BLITZ in July, Maia summed up the mood when saying, “from tomorrow we’ll be 5 members…” as Asuka looked off in the distance, blinking her eyes to try keep the tears back. Asuka announced that the next song really would be the last song, one from when Chu-Z was a 7-member group, “Choose My Life”. Yellow balloons cascaded down from the balcony as Chu-Z performed their precious song for the last time as a 6-member group. Asuka wiped away tears as she clutched one of the balloons and thanked everyone for supporting her for the past 3 and a half years. Even though she said that her parents told her they didn’t want to come from Hokkaido to see her last live, they were sitting right in the middle of the guest area, smiling proudly at their daughter.
After a second encore call with yellow penlights, Chu-Z returned one last time, performing “GIRLS ON THE RUN”, Asuka tearing up even more than she had during the filming of the MV back in 2014. Receiving a large bouquet and photo album, Asuka was wished a happy graduation and the Chu-Pets began to chant her nickname “A-chan”, catching her at a loss of what to do. In spite of this, the live ended and there was a fan meeting where she could properly say farewell to the Chu-Pets who had supported her so strongly.
Asuka will be working hard to follow her dreams of becoming an actress so we look forward to seeing what results from the new choices she will make in the future. While it will not be easy for Chu-Z (or any other group) to stand on the stage of the Nippon Budokan, they are working hard to make their dreams come true. Good Luck and Godspeed!
Photos by Nathan Gey
02 Yume de Aimashou
03 Kirakira Mirai☆
04 Hana no Arch
06 Tell me why Umarete Kita Imi Wo Shiritai
07 Summer Dreamer
08 Fly High
09 Chu me now!!
11 Onegai no Squall (Sun-Chu♡)
12 Eternal Lover (Sun-Chu♡)
13 Asu he (LUNA)
14 IROHA MUSIK
15 Get your dream
16 Breaking now
17 Bow Wow
18 One’s Life
19 Gimme a Chance！
23 GIRLS ON THE RUN
E2 Choose My Life
W1 GIRLS ON THE RUN
Cheeky Parade Changes Their Group Name to “Chicken Party”?!
Risa Satosaki Reveals Everything in the MV for “S!NG”!