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12 Diamonds Shining Overcoming Their Hurdles! “Sakura Gakuin-Sai☆2017” Concert Report

七転八倒しながら輝く12個のダイヤモンド!:「さくら学院祭☆2017」ライブレポート
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12 Diamonds Shining Overcoming Their Hurdles! “Sakura Gakuin-Sai☆2017” Concert Report

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“Sakura Gakuin-Sai☆2017” was held at Kanagawa Arts Theater (KAAT) on November 18th and 19th.

Sakura Gakuin-Sai is one of Sakura Gakuin’s three major annual events, held every fall. This event is the first solo hall concert since the group’s transfer ceremony back in this May and it is also a chance to show their growth. It is a very important event for their fans known as Fukei (Meaning “guardians or parents and older brothers” in Japanese).

KAAT is a familiar venue for Fukei, because December 2014’s “Sakura Gakuin ☆Celebration in December” and December 2015’s “Sakura Gakuin 5th Anniversary LIVE ~for you~” were held at the same venue.

In this report I’d like to mainly focus on the first day of this 2 day event.


The stage set was arranged with flowerbeds and benches in school setting, giving like a school atmosphere that was perfect fit for Sakura Gakuin’s show.

As the performance began, a bell for the first period of the day was chimed. A homeroom teacher, Mr. Mori Hayashi, known as Mori-sensei appeared at the center of the stage. Nervousness rippled throughout the venue under Mori-sensei’s stern gaze.

As he took roll, “Let’s start a roll call,” the first song, “Mezase! Superlady -2017 ver-” started. The girls cheerfully took the stage from both sides of the stage and behind Mori-sensei. As if saying, “This year’s school festival has finally begun!” the applause from Fukei became noticeably louder.

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“Mezase! Superlady -2017 ver-” is Sakura Gakuin’s member introduction song, and every year its lyrics are updated. This song is unique to Sakura Gakuin, which senior students graduate at the end of the Japanese academic year and transfer students join at the beginning of the following academic year.

So how did this years’ lyrics turn out to be? While clapping with an anticipation, the lead-off batter on the lyrics was a 3rd year junior high school student and a student council president, Aiko Yamaide, taking the stage. I was moved watching her growth. Her name appeared on very last of the song in her initial year in the group, but now she became oldest member of the group and played a big role of the song.

Miku Tanaka, a 5th grade elementary transfer student, had a habit of saying whatever comes to her mind, and another 5th grade elementary transfer student, Miki Yagi, had many skills and most of skills were the same as senior students, among other details well noted in the lyrics.

This song showcases each individual personalities that only Mori-sensei, who has spent a lot of time with the girls, can write.

They followed this up with their “Kashikoku Nareru Series”, performing “Hana*Hana” and “Animal Rhythm”. The “Kashikoku Nareru Series” is, just like its name implies, these songs make you smarter just by listening to them. As of now, they’ve released 8 songs as part of the series. “Hana*Hana” features flower names, their characteristics, and language of flowers. Ecosystem of various species are explained with choreography and lyrics of “Animal Rhythm” you can have an enjoyable learning experience with your ears and eyes.

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After performing those three songs, they began to act out a skit depicting a scene from one of their school festival practices.

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In this skit, 3rd year high school students, Yamaide and Megumi Okada had been upset at one other these past few days. Centering on Momoko Okazaki, another 3rd year junior high school student the girls’ and Mori-sensei’s strenuous efforts to fix Yamaide and Okada’s friendship was focused on the story.

The girls tried to mediate between the two with their unique skills and personalities but ended up only making it worse. However, at last, Okazaki got between the two, and confessed that she was envious of their friendship and trust that they used to share. She told them that she was glad she was the same age as the both of them, and that they should’nt keep continuing to grow apart like this.

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Hearing Okazaki, who entered after them and often kept her distance, spoke out her mind, Yamaide and Okada make-up. However, Yamaide and Okada revealed that the rift between them was just a ruse to reveal Okazaki’s true feelings.

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Following the skit, “FRIENDS” begins. It’s a song about casualness of everyday school life and friendship. Just like a phrase on the song, “we are best-friends and rivals,” at the end of the skit Yamaide told Okada and Okazaki that she really wanted the three of them to be “rivals and friends”, meaning the skit itself was a performance expressing the outlook behind the song “FRIENDS.”

I could tell strong bond shared between the three girls from the skit and the following song and the girls recieved round of applause as soon as the song came to an end.

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After the break, song “Pumpkin Parade” was performed. This is the group’s Halloween theme song that they perform during fall. Yagi was in charge of the Pumpkin Man that appeared during the song’s interlude. Borrowing a shoulder from her seniors, she flew above the stage, creating a fantastic spectacle.

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After “Makeru na! Seishun Hizakozou”, a video taking a look back of the group’s journey of year 2017 began to play. The video included footage of Tanaka and Yagi’s first meeting with other members, their first recording, live concerts and events, the transfer ceremony, and even the Gakuin-Sai rehearsals. They’re still only halfway through of the 2017 school year, but already it feels nostalgic, having passed in the blink of an eye.

As the video wrapped up, Yamaide walked to a grand piano on the stage. She wants to be a singer-songwriter someday, and this year she’s performed solo in various events. She played two songs with the piano, showcasing what she had learned from the experience.

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“Taisetsu na Kimi e,” was her first song that she wrote, dedicating for her friend who may not get along with all of the time, but cherishes deeply nonetheless. Her new song, “Futari Kotoba”, was written about language. It was an upbeat number that energizes the listener.

Her mature, transparent voice was welcomed with a warm round of applause.


After Yamaide’s amazing piano performance, it was time for a special feature titled “Sakura Academy Award for Best Actress?!” testing on their ability of improvisation acting skill.

On the first day, 3rd year junior high students Yamaide and Okazaki, 2nd year junior high student Maaya Asou, 1st year junior high students Momoe Mori and Soyoka Yoshida, and 5th grade elementary school student Yagi took up the challenge.

The girls’ crush was reading a novel on the bench. In order to make the boy like them back, they had to ad-lib and deliver a touching one-liner. Okada (3rd year of junior high school) and Yuzumi Shintani(2nd year of junior high school) played the boy part. Participants chose one of them as their partner and started acting.

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Starting with Asou, followed in turn by Yagi, Yoshida, Mori, Yamaide, and Okazaki, each of the girls showed off their acting skills. The winner was chosen by the audience applause. Asou charmed onlookers with her line, “Sempai! Endings in fairy tales are always pre-determined, but not the love we share. Let’s make our love a happy one!” and received the biggest applause.

Instead of a victory lap, on victory act of the skit, Asou told the boy, “Don’t keep your nose stuck inside of a book all day; I want you to give me more attention! Please make our love more amazing than any book out there.”

The group kicked off another half of the concert with “Otomegokoro” and “Kirameki no Kakera.” Then they performed their new song, “My Road.” The lyrics of “FRIENDS,” “Otomegokoro,” and “Kirameki no Kakera” were all written by cAnON., who has done numerous Sakura Gakuin hits. MIKIKO, who has choreographed all of the group’s songs since Sakura Gakuin first formed, has worked with the girls for the song again.

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Learning through mistakes and regrets, and letting those things polish your own shine like a diamond as its theme. It’s lyrics represent 2017’s Sakura Gakuin quite well. Seeing just how much they will improve their performances is something to watch at the graduation ceremony.


After the show’s encore, Yoshida and Tsumugi Aritomo of Koubaibu hosted the special feature. Adding their very own gags in, they introduced concert good in a humorous way. Then they performed Koubaibu’s new song, “Akindo☆Soul”.

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Yoshida is from Osaka prefecture (known as a city of comedy), although Aritomo is not from Osaka, she showed her love of Yoshimoto New Comedy Troupe and sense of humor, That make their song “Akindo” (Osaka merchant) a perfect match for them. During the song’s interlude they repeated the phrase “Maido! Maido! Shoubai Hanjou!” and got everyone followed their lead. This song made the whole audience came together as one.

With “Marshmallow-iro no Kimi to” and “message”, the first day of the festival came to an end.

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Once again this year’s festival has concluded, their first and last one as a 12-member group.

This was the last Gakuin-Sai for 3rd year junior high students Yamaide, Okada, and Okazaki, but as usual they gave outstanding performances and they looked fulfilled from beginning to end.

The 2nd year junior high students of the group, Asou, Marin Hidaka, and Shintani, showed us all their desire to support the 3rd year girls and their readiness to become leaders next year.

1st year junior high students Kano Fujihira, Yoshida, Aritomo, and Mori boosted their singing and dancing skills, with their personas.

Elementary 5th graders Tanaka and Yagi still didn’t have much singing and dancing experience yet, they gave the impression that they would follow their seniors’ footsteps.

Now the countdown to Sakura Gakuin’s graduation ceremony has slowly begun. I’d like to keep supporting them at every events that have left in this school year.


Sakura Gakuin-Sai☆2017 Day 1
November 18, 2017(Saturday)
Set List

01 Mezase! Superlady -2017 ver-
02 Hana*Hana
03 Animal Rhythm
Skit
04 FRIENDS
05 Pumpkin Parade
06 Makeru na! Seishun Hizakozou
Sakura Academy Award for Best Actress?!
07 Taisetsu na Kimi e/Aiko Ymaide
08 Futari Kotoba/Aiko Ymaide
09 Otomegokoro
10 Kirameki no Kakera
11 My Road

E1 Akindo☆Soul/Koubaibu
E2 Marshmallow-iro no Kimi to
E3 message

Sakura Gakuin-Sai☆2017 Day 2
November 19, 2017(Sunday)
Set List

01 Mezase! Superlady -2017 ver-
02 Makeru na! Seishun Hizakozou
03 Chime
Skit
04 FRIENDS
05 Pumpkin Parade
06 Hana*Hana
“Sakura Academy Award for Best Actress?!”
07 Taisetsu na Kimi e/Aiko Ymaide
08 Futari Kotoba/Aiko Ymaide
09 School Days
10 Kirameki no Kakera
11 My Road

E1 Akindo☆Soul/Koubaibu
E2 Kimi ni Todoke
E3 Yume ni Mukatte


Related Links

Sakura Gakuin Official site:http://www.sakuragakuin.jp/
Sakura Gakuin Official Twitter:https://twitter.com/sakura_shokuin

Translated by Jamie Koide

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Related Artists : Sakura Gakuin
Author
takyu
takyu

Loves Sakura Gakuin and BABYMETAL. She is also fan of anime, manga, seiyu, tokusatsu, and trains.

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