SUPER☆GiRLS Cross Over Into the Future: Major Debut 6th Anniversary Live Report
SUPER☆GiRLS celebrated the 6th anniversary of their major label debut with a pair of concerts at Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall on December 22, 2016.
The air in the fancy downtown Tokyo venue was buzzing as the fans in their brightly colored shirts proclaiming their allegiance to their favorite members waited eagerly for the start of the performance. Leader Ami Maeshima’s voice rang out suddenly to greet them from backstage shortly before she and the other members (excluding Mirei Tanaka, who had been on medical hiatus since the beginning of December) took the stage. Just like the afternoon performance which covered 2009 until 2013, SUPER☆GiRLS got things started with a “talk battle”, reminiscing about 2014 until 2016. Ruka Mizote recalled how first generation leader Saori Yasaka made her cry during the filming of the MV for “Sorairo no Kiseki” (Yasaka’s last single before graduating) when she said it was her dream to hear Ruka sing the song.
Asking the 3rd generation members what they were doing in 2014, Sakurako Kidoguchi replied that she had just joined iDOL Street and Shiori Nagao revealed that she had been a model for a magazine. When Yumeri Abe let it be known that she had also been a model, the rest of the members began pleading for help with being more fashionable.
Moving onto “Hanamichi!! Ambitious”, the first single under 2nd generation leader Rika Shimura, Ami shared that she was worried about the song starting with a pledge. Nana Asakawa, who made her debut as a 2nd generation member on that single, echoed Ami’s sentiments but noted that as soon as fans hear it, they start going crazy. “Ahhahha! ~Chouzetsu Bakushou Ondo~”, which Ami referred to as a “legendary single” (made possible via a crowdfunding project with Tokyo Girls’ Update), had everyone laughing about how former professional wrestler Heigo “Animal” Hamaguchi ended up on the cover of the CD/Blu-ray version.
2015 brought with it a reminder of Aya Goto’s graduation. Ruka expressed sadness at losing one of her “Kansai nakama” (Ruka is from Osaka and Aya is from Hyogo) and remembered Aya as a mood maker. That year Yumeri and Shiori joined iDOL Street via the Girls Street 2020 audition. Even though Ami also felt that “Icchatte♪ Yacchatte♪” was another “legendary single”, the members agreed that the title was a bit crazy. Risa Uchimura’s maturation had others comparing her to gravure model/actress Mitsu Dan.
Reliving the shock of Reira Arai and Rino Katsuta’s graduation announcements in 2016, Nana Asakawa recalled how she was unable to keep her promise of not crying when the news was oficially released. Hotaru Ishibashi revealed that she had gone to the Osaka concert for the SUPER★CASTLE tour before she was announced as one of the 3rd generation members at iDOL Street Carnival in June.
The 3rd generation members shared how much things had changed for them since then, Shiori crying into Yumeri’s lap as the memories came flooding back. After they shared their determination to keep growing as idols, Rina Miyazaki praised them as being good girls, causing Ruka, Rika, and Hikaru to assert that they were still quite young.
While Nana spoke about “Koi☆Kirameke-tion!!!”, the single where she was selected as center, Sakurako shared that she thought it was an unusual development, leading to a fake fight on stage between sempai and kouhai.
Koume Watanabe brought the talk to a close, asking the fans to keep watching over them and SUPER☆GiRLS bowed before marching off the stage to prepare for the live performance.
Strutting back onto the stage and planting their feet with their backs turned, SUPER☆GiRLS whirled around to kick off the performance with their 15th single “Koi☆Kirameke-tion!!!”. Bouncing along to the funky disco beats, shaking their hips and pointing their fingers high in the air, a case of “Saturday Night Fever” began to break out (even though it was Thursday). The fans called out to the members as they took their lines, letting out a shout when Nana Asakawa whispered “Kiss me”.
“Isoide Adam”, the coupling song from “Koi☆Kirameke-tion!!!”, slowed down the pace as SUPER☆GiRLS raised their microphones high above their heads, sliding and skipping gently around the stage and singing in unison. Swinging their arms as if running, they emphasized a time-strapped couple’s urgent feelings of wanting to meet despite the cruel advances of time working against them.
Turning up the gain with the simmering mid-tempo rock of “Gomenne. no Tonari de”, as flared their elbows and shook their shoulders to the wandering melody of the bass and steady guitar strumming, SUPER☆GiRLS had the energy inside Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall bubbling up once again.
The building tension burst forth as the intro of “Gira Gira Revolution” rang out from the speakers, the fans letting out a loud shout and continuing to call out as they shook the floor with their jumps. Rika grabbed Runa Ozeki and swung her around the stage. Koume Watanabe was met by a round of “Koume” calls after delivering her solo line right before an even bigger wave of “cho kawaii” calls wrapped her and the rest of SUPER☆GiRLS during the dance break, Nana shouting to the fans to get even louder.
Checking that the fans were having fun, Ami assured them that SUPER☆GiRLS would be doing a completely different set than the afternoon show. Rina chimed in that they were going to do “that legendary song”, causing the others to start laughing out loudly “ahhahha!”, providing a segue to “Ahhahha! ~Chouzetsu Bakushou Ondo~”. Japanese drums and shamisen notes punched through the air as Rina sang the traditional-sounding opening lines. With the tempo picking up speed, members and fans alike took up their towels and swung them around as the temperature rose even higher.
Second generation members Risa Uchimura, Nana Asakawa, and Koume Watanabe positioned themselves behind microphone stands as the others went offstage, belting out the cool rock stylings of “Hatsukoi Labyrinth”. Taking turns starting a call and response, they were met by several waves of enthusiastic shouts.
Third generation members Luna Ozawa, Shiori Nagao, Yumeri Abe, Sakurako Kidoguchi, and Hotaru Ishibashi tagged themselves in, swaying and bouncing to “Koi wa Shoshinsha Mark” as the fans shouted out their support. Yumeri tried to put her arm around the shoulder of Luna, flashing a wide-eyed look of surprise when she was shoved away and sent spinning.
Dressed in bright white outfits, the first and second generation members returned to the stage, recalling their time in Hawaii for the Honolulu Half Marathon. Rina shared how it had been so hot that they started wading into the sea and became panicked when their feet were no longer to touch the bottom, resulting in Hikaru shouting out “Help me!” when she resurfaced, eventually being rescued by a surfer. Ruka added how she and Koume bonded over acai bowl breakfasts on the beach.
The lights dimmed and a gentle piano melody of “「Sayonara」Nante” wove its way through the air as the members joined their voices together, their hands fluttering like falling leaves and bodies swaying like trees caught in a breeze.
The outpouring of thanks and gratitude continued with “Tribute”, the stage being bathed in warm orange light as Ami thanked the fans for choosing SUPER☆GiRLS among all the idols out there and supporting them for the past 6 years. Reaching out towards the audience, the members sang from the bottom of their hearts to express their feelings to them, Ruka Mizote putting a touch of extra emphasis behind her solo lines.
Ami reminded the audience that because it was SUPER☆GiRLS’ major debut 6th anniversary, they had put in a lot of thought behind the set list in order to express their thanks, even picking several songs which they had not performed in a while. With the clock ticking ever so steadily towards the end of the evening, she assured them that they would do their best to end the night with a smile, appointing Nana to hype of the fans for the last spurt. Ami raised her hand to deliver the opening pledge to “Hanamichi!! Ambitious”, igniting the audience once again. Hikaru and Risa took aim with their finger guns as they let loose a few shots into the forest of shining penlights.
Switching to the cooler end of the color spectrum, Hotaru (Fairy Green), Nana (Mint Green), Risa (Royal Blue), and Sakurako (Fancy Navy) took flight and soared through the skies high above the growling bass lines and glassy quitars of “Hikoukigumo, Itsuka”.
Flashing peace signs, SUPER☆GiRLS sprinklered and “penguin danced” their way into “Karei Naru V!CTORY”. Nana shouting to the fans to get louder and the responses kept growing in intensity.
As the piano into to “Love Summer!!!” began playing, Ami thanked the fans again, answered by waves of cheers as SUPER☆GiRLS set sail for the last song of the main performance. Jumping and pointing out into the audience, the members flashed smiles to the fans in response to all the energy they were receiving. Despite being just a few days before Christmas, the air was as stifling as a midsummer’s day as the song continued, spiking when Ami exclaimed “dakishimete” (hold me). Due to Japanese child labor laws (those under 18 have restrictions until how late they can work), the live came to an end, Rika Shimura bringing out a banner covered in messages from fans and they took a picture with the fans in the background.
Ami thanked the fans and staff for making the day possible, recalling the changes that SUPER☆GiRLS went through, and promised that they would keep working hard to make their dreams come true as they move into 2017 and their 7th year as a group.
Running back out for the encore after a few brief moments, SUPER☆GiRLS had any fans who sat down back on their feet as they jumped right into “Miracle ga Tomannai!”, swinging their fists and rocking from side to side.
Rika exclaimed that she would have never imagined such a day 7 years ago when they made their major label debut and promised that SUPER☆GiRLS would keep working hard, asking the fans to keep supporting them. A wave of cheers came when Ami asked the audience if they had fun and came to love SUPER☆GiRLS even more than they did. Taking a bow and giving their thanks, the members gradually made their way off stage as they stepped forward into their 7th year.
While the graduations of Rino Katsuta and Reira Arai in June at iDOL Street Carnival were a major loss for SUPER☆GiRLS, the debut of the 3rd generation members and inauguration of Ami Maeshima as the new leader of the group brought a new sense of excitement. Congratulations to SUPER☆GiRLS on 6 years and here’s to whatever they have planned for the future as well.
Photos by Nathan Gey
02 Isoide Adam
03 Gomenne. no Tonari de
04 Gira Gira Revolution
05 Ahhahha! ~Chouzetsu Bakushou Ondo~
06 Hatsukoi Labyrinth
07 Koi wa Shoshinsha Mark
10 Hanamichi!! Ambitious
11 Hikoukigumo, Itsuka
12 Karei Naru V!CTORY
13 Love Summer!!!
E1 Miracle ga Tomannai!
SUPER☆GiRLS Official site: http://supergirls.jp/
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