Hello, everyone! This is Kowhey of VNN Japan, back with our coverage of the Magical Mirai show floor. Today, I bring you my report of the live concert event! You can check out my exhibition area report and photos here!
The Magical Mirai 2016 concert was the fourth of its kind. Last year’s concert commenced with an especially Disney-esque fanfare and wrapped up with an encore of “The First Melody“. It was hailed by fans as the best Magical Mirai concert yet. Thus, it must have been under immense pressure that the Magical Mirai staff had to work in order to prepare a concert event that could top even that. But in the end, they’ve succeeded in creating a live concert event that not only felt fresh and provocative, but also introduced the audience to a brand new side of Miku, accomplishing what I like to call a worthy “second movement” to the Magical Mirai series’ finest hour. So let’s take a look at what made this year’s concert such a monumental success!
(Please note that because photography was strictly forbidden, I do not have any photos to share. Nevertheless, I hope that my report here can spur your imagination and give you, our valued readers, at least a small impression of what it was like to actually be there.)
After having my fill of the exhibition area, the time finally came for the live concert. However, I had no idea where I was supposed to be headed, so I went to where the crowd of people who attended the noontime performance went, and found this sign. It looked like I needed to go all the way around the Messe Mall area and the parking lot to finally arrive at the rear entrance to Hall 9 where the performance was to take place.
While still dumbfounded at the fact that I had to take such a long route (through the back lawn, no less) to get to the main event area à la a Chokaigi or Wonder Festival event, I was able to arrive at the concert hall entrance. And across from the entrance laid an absolutely enormous stage area, far and away larger than last year’s Nippon Budokan stage.
— ヤコー (@yako_FLPR3) 2016年9月11日
“#マジカルミライ Great work, everyone. We’ve had the honor of planning the stage performances for 39, Ray, and Hand in Hand. We were the ones behind Ray’s MV, so we were ecstatic to get the chance to work on it again. We’re also pleased that our proposal to collect and display various illustrations for 39’s stage performance has become an established practice year after year.”
Based on this photo tweeted by someone in charge of stage setting, the projection screen on which Miku would appear is set at the very center, and set above the LED panel is what looks almost like an illuminated protractor. Still, the first impression that I got upon seeing this stage setting was “Doesn’t such an oversized stage look kinda empty and lonely, facing the rest of the room like that?” But even with that tinge of unease in my mind, my heart was racing knowing that the Magical Mirai live concert was going to begin soon..! (For the record, I avoided reading or hearing anything about the official album or any of its songs before attending this concert.)
From the stage, the announcer could be heard saying that they will begin soon, and that’s when the background music in the room changed to various pulse-pounding rhythms to get the audience ready, much like how 2015’s concert began. I was attending the September 10th evening performance with a ton of attendees who, upon hearing the music start, became fired up in an instant!
Once the music faded, the whole room became pitch black, and the audience’s cries were practically loud enough the make the room shake! But just then, from the center screen emerged the main icon of Magical Mirai, the cube, along with a number. The cube would then fly about and pass through the number onscreen, which would then emit a sound and flash as it would increase, and each time that number grew, so too would the audience’s cheers.
As the stage lights, number counter, and the audience’s excitement all grew in tandem, any sense of unease that anyone got from seeing such an “oversized” stage would melt away, replaced by the sense of excitement and goosebumps on the back of one’s neck. That’s because on the “service vision” screens (the screens to the sides of the stage that display what’s going on onstage to audience members sitting in the back rows), numerous other illumination panels are set up, especially noticeable by the show’s end. It’s when you notice the impact that all this extra space adds that you really understand the impressive scope and grand scale of this Makuhari Messe stage, and why it’s worthy of being the staging ground for Magical Mirai.
But as I started to wonder just how high that number was supposed to climb, I got my answer. As soon as the counter hit 39 (everyone’s favorite number!), Miku appeared and the concert commenced!
◆ “39 Music!” to “Hibikase”
The live concert began with Magical Mirai 2016’s main theme song, MikitoP‘s “39 Music”! The song got everyone in the room out of their seat and shouting “Oh Yeah!!” and “Yes!!” along with the lyrics, kicking off the concert with a rocket-sized bang! My only regret is that I wasn’t nearly prepared for all the cries of “Hatsune Miku!” going on all around me! (lol)
Up next was DECO 27‘s “Ghost Rule” as the 2nd song (which, incidentally, is DECO 27’s 39th VOCALOID song). This pretty somber-themed song about the loneliness of ghosts nonetheless got the audience stirring by the time it reached its high-energy climax. Following this piece came the 3rd song, GigaP and Reol‘s “Hibikase“! A song about Miku herself, hearing her sing it in an intentionally low-toned, robotic-sounding voice, the parts where she goes “Don’t forget my voice…” had a mysterious way of resonating in one’s heart.
◆ Miku as M.C. + “Strangers” to “Hitorinbo Envy”
After she finished singing these three songs, Miku greeted us with “Hello, and welcome to Magical Mirai 2016! Are you ready to get fired up?” And with that, she moved on to the 4th song of the night, “Strangers” by HeavenzP. As a song about the harsh struggle and gap between one’s dream world and reality, it truly tugs at the heart strings of many young people. Continuing from there was the 5th song, “SLoWMoTIoN” by PinocchioP. For this song, Miku changed gears and donned a sleepy-looking module. I guess it makes sense, since if you listen closely, you’ll hear her sing “Slowly…” in parts. (lol) Up next came the 6th song, “Hitorinbo Envy” by DenpolP. This one was first performed live last year, and was the first song of the night with its really relaxed and calm rhythm. Looking back at this point, though, I realized that 5 out of the first 6 songs have never before been performed at a Miku concert, making this year’s Magical Mirai quite a different beast.
◆ “Time Machine” to “Dreamin’ Chu Chu”
Moving on, we arrive at the 7th song of the night. As soon as I heard that familiar piano melody begin playing, I knew that it was going to be 1640mP‘s “Time Machine“! It was like I was back at MIKUPA in Wakayama all over again! The impact I got from watching 1640mP’s Miku perform onstage can still be felt to this day. While listening to this incredibly nostalgic piece, I took a moment to sneak in a quick sip of water and prepared my body for the next big, exciting development!
After this, Miku disappeared from the stage, and Luka appeared and started to sing one of her staple songs, “Hello, Worker” by KEI! With Luka cheering them on, even the most work-fatigued working person will have their day brightened up upon listening to this song! Of course, Luka proved that she could look cute onstage too, because next we had another stage-debuting song, “Dreamin’ Chu Chu” by emon! Right away, I could hear everyone around me exclaiming “CUTE!” in one loud, unified voice. This year’s Magical Mirai has really shown us a whole new side to Luka that we’ve never seen in concert before!
◆ “Ai Dee” to “Nostalogic” (MEIKO-SAN MIX)
Continuing on, with the words “Kimi no oku nemuru kioku wa tooi koe~!” assaulting our ears, Miku returned to the stage and joined Luka in singing Mitchie M‘s “Ai Dee“! The sight of Miku leading in main vocals while Luka provided backup singing was enchanting, to say the least. Then, while Miku and Luka exited the stage, KAITO came on with a rendition of “Doctor=Funk Beat” by nyanyannya! If I had to sum his performance up in one word, “chaotic” would probably be fitting! (lol) After “onii-san” left the stage, on board came “onee-san,” MEIKO, with “Nostalogic” by yuukiss! While this song was performed last year too, the excitement and cheers for “MEIKO!” here easily beat last year’s, making for a magnificent performance!
◆ “Animal Divination” to “Umiyuri Kaitei Tan”
After the series of solo performances by Luka, KAITO, and MEIKO, it was Miku’s turn again. Now at the halfway point, she performed the 13th song, “Animal Divination” by scop! Truth be told, since this is a song about a girl coming to grips with adolescent love, I was unsure about how it would fare at a Magical Mirai concert, but in the end, Miku was just too cute to not love. Then came JimmyThumbP‘s “Calc.” as the 14th song of the night! This song was featured in Project Diva X and is another song about love — broken-hearted love to be exact. Following this trend came the rather sad piece, “Umiyuri Kaitei Tan” by n-buna, as the 15th song.
◆ “Embarrassment-Hiding Adolescence” to “Remote Control”
After Miku completed this 3-song run, next came Len’s debut! Clad in his “White Edge” module, he performed the concert’s 16th song, “Embarrassment-Hiding Adolescence” by HoneyWorks. I myself am really fond of this song about the sometimes seemingly insurmountable gap between a brother and a sister (though I’m actually the oldest of four brothers, so without a younger sister, I guess I felt a tad left out…). It makes me wish I knew what it’s like to feel that sense of distance from one’s little sister. Moving on, Rin made her debut with a “PA PPA PPA RAPPA PPA PPA RAPPA!” (from what I can recall) as she jumped straight into her rendition of “Sweet Magic” by Junky! Onstage, she transformed into a sweet little magician while onlookers shouted “Yeah!” with such force and vigor as to even surpass the cheers of the opening act! Then for the 18th act, both Kagamines stepped up to bat! Once onstage, they both donned their “Remote Control” outfits, and got the crowd fired up with a performance of the popular JesusP song! Watching Rin shove around and tease Len was a cute sight, and waving our glow sticks sideways to beat out the rhythm was great fun!
◆ Band Member Introductions
Before moving on to the 19th song, the onstage screen started displaying the names of all the band members for the show, each of whom took turns playing a solo part of the music for us. By the way, I should point out that according to a certain music news site, the typical concert is about two hours long with 17 to 20 songs, but this Magical Mirai concert is a whopping 26 songs long! The sheer stamina of these band members was praised highly, but to that, they just smiled and bowed their heads while continuing to play their music.
Once the band member introductions were over, Miku came back on stage asking, “So, who will be singing? One, two, three…” to which everyone loudly responded “Hatsune Miku!” thus restarting the concert! Listening to everyone in the room call out the name of their beloved idol in complete unison was a moment of sheer bliss.
◆ “Baby Maniacs” to “39”
With the band member intros behind us, onto to song #19, HachiojiP‘s “Baby Maniacs“! Kudos to the song selectors for giving us another delightful HachiojiP piece besides the usual “Sweet Devil“. Then before long, Miku, Rin, and Len all took to the stage to announce that they were now entering the last leg of the Magical Mirai concert. Kicking off the final stages was the 20th song (which was the 2nd song from last year’s Magical Mirai), “Raspberry Monster” by Honeyworks! At this rate, this song is well on its way to becoming a staple concert song, I feel! Then came the 21st song, “39” by sasakure.UK and DECO 27, which is no doubt already a staple Magical Mirai song. However, each year the performance always features brand new illustrations of Miku, making it a performance that looks back on the past and never fails to makes one’s heart go aflutter! This wasn’t the last performance, though, so the endgame rush was still going on!
◆ “Shake it!” to “Ray”
Song #22 was another emon hit, “Shake It!” Though it’s another Magical Mirai staple song, it was still a magnificent performance with laser lights shining everywhere, and the word “YEAH!” appearing on the ceiling turned the stage into a party area! But then we hear Miku explaining “The next song will be the last one ,” to which everyone let out a bewildered “Eh!?” Ironically, the next song wasn’t something composed by a VOCALOID producer but was the result of a collaboration with BUMP OF CHICKEN, Ray! And just like at the performance in Tokyo Dome, everyone started waving their glow sticks sideways in unison, almost as if to invoke the spirits of the guest singers from Tokyo Dome here at Makuhari Messe.
After this last song came the incessant cries of “Encore! Encore!” I guess everyone wanted more! And when it became clear that these cries would not cease, Miku appeared again! Wearing a module outfit from Project Diva X, she started singing the 24th song of the night, “Satisfaction” by Livetune! This song, which made its debut in Project Diva X, reignited the crowd’s excitement!
Rin came back onstage too to sing her very first encore performance at a Magical Mirai concert! The 25th song of choice was “Masquerading Ganger” by KulfiQ! The parts of the song that go “1, 2, 3, 4, yeah yeah” and the guitar solos were especially mesmerizing.
Then, suddenly, the message “Clap your hands!” appeared on the main screen, signalling the start of the 3rd encore performance! The audience did just that and began clapping their hands in unison with the beat. Then came that familiar piano chord for Magical Mirai 2016’s 26th and final song, Livetune‘s “Hand in Hand“! Throughout the song, appearing onscreen were photographs from the Magical Mirai Exhibition Area of people holding hands together. After it was over, Miku gave us one last “See you next time!”, thus bringing the Magical Mirai live concert to a close.
Interestingly enough, Miku’s closing words at the end of each concert performance were supposedly different. According to a tweet by someone who attended each performance, Miku’s words went as so:
- Noontime performance on the 10th and 11th: “Have fun at Magical Mirai♪”
- Evening performance on the 10th: “Come visit Magical Mirai tomorrow, too♪”
- Evening performance on the 11th: “Come to next year’s Magical Mirai, too♪」→Displayed onscreen were the words “Magical Mirai 2017 Confirmed!”
So what do you think? Out of the 26 songs performed at Magical Mirai this year, 15 of them were never-before-performed songs. Furthermore, with the exclusion of the staple concert song “Tell Your World” from the set list, and without a single song from Supercell who supported VOCALOID since its inception, and with Miku even singing a collaboration song with BUMP OF CHICKEN, this year’s Magical Mirai was one filled with many new decisions made and many new challenges to the norm. I believe that this year’s set list can truly be called the beginning of Magical Mirai’s “second movement.” Still, with next year being Miku’s 10th anniversary and Magical Mirai’s 5th anniversary, I wonder what kind of show they will put on next. With that thought and anticipation for the day when I can write my next magical Mirai report all in mind, I bring this article to a close.
I hope to see some of you at Makuhari Messe! Until next year!
Originally written by Kowhey of VNN Japan.