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Anime Expo 2010: May’n and Megumi Nakajima Live Concert

July 8, 2010 | | 12 Comments Share thison Facebook Anime Expo 2010: May’n and Megumi Nakajima Live Concerton Twitter

Note: These images were blatantly ripped from our friends over at Japanator.

If there was any single event that served as the catalyst for getting me to go to Anime Expo this year, the announcement of the May’n/Megumi Nakajima concert was it. Despite not being a hardcore fan of the Macross franchise, I really enjoyed Macross Frontier’s musical offerings. Though I have been critical of May’n’s delivery at times when I listened to the Macross Frontier soundtracks, I do know that she’s got a strong track record with live concerts, and so, was curious to find out just how good she is on a live stage. Megumi Nakajima is more of a question mark as far as live performances go, but I still held high hopes that she’d be able to deliver a memorable experience since I liked her songs the most between the two.

With those towering expectations to be had, I’m pleased to say that the concert turned out to be absolutely phenomenal. The singing was solid and engaging, yes, but there was one major surprise that really made my jaw drop. More after the jump!

The concert opened up with May’n, who sang “Welcome To My FanClub’s Night! (Sheryl On Stage)” accompanied by two dancers, and I immediately saw that her reputation for electrifying the audience with her live performances was fully deserved. Everything about her performance within the live concert setting felt more whole and complete, ranging from seeing her facial expressions to watching her movements on stage and having that blend in with the music. She definitely puts a lot of effort into engaging her audience, radiating passion and confidence in “Welcome To My FanClub’s Night!” and while her singing occasionally wasn’t on the mark, this was mostly confined to the beginning of the concert. As the concert progressed, she would become more comfortable with her voice, or perhaps she fully warmed up. Whatever it was, the songs she did later down the line matched closely to that of the songs on the Macross Frontier CDs.

“Northern Cross” ups the intensity further and May’n’s thrilling delivery sent chills down my spine, so involved was I in the entirety of the presentation that nothing short of an apocalypse could have diverted my attention. What this piece demonstrated is May’n’s ability to bring out her presence on the stage, where she completely dominates the scene with every little action she takes.

Between some of the songs, she’d try to talk to the audience in English and the audience appreciated those efforts even if her accent was as thick as molasses. Still, the value was in the performance, and with songs like “Universal Bunny,” “May’n Space,” where she got the audience to sing the refrain at the end, the emphatic “Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare” (from the Shangri-La anime!) and the ever popular “Diamond Crevasse,” there was much to cheer for. I especially enjoyed May’n’s seamless transitions to a different mood when the situation called for it, like in “Diamond Crevasse” where her voice took a nostalgic tone. That audience could see her expressions as she sang, which helped her convey those heartfelt connections all the more, resulting in a very moving rendition.

After “Infinity” and “Iteza Gogo Kuji Don’t be late,” it was time for “What ’bout my [email protected]” and this time, May’n wouldn’t be alone. Megumi Nakajima came out on stage in a frilly dress that aimed to convey her character’s fun, upbeat manner and the two performed an enjoyable duet, after which May’n left Megumi Nakajima to sing “Anata no Oto.” Of the two singers, Megumi Nakajima was less experienced, and so, more prone to singing out of tune. It didn’t hurt her performance of “Anata no Oto,” which was really bouncy with the catchy “dokun dokun dokun” phrase that comes in during each line of the chorus, but it would become an issue later on.

Nakajima continues with “Ninjiin Loves you yeah!,” which turned out to be a fun affair and moreso when she added her own twist to the song by singing it in English the second time through, which got plaudits from the audience. “Watashi no Kare wa Pilot” came next, and that’s a song that hearkens back to the older Macross series. I do remember watching the episode where her character, Ranka Lee, sings that song in a competition, and I was always struck by Ranka’s expression as she sang because of how she plays up the cute factor. Nakajima’s performance was about as cute, and unlike other times where I’d be dumbfounded by watching an adult act in that manner, Nakajima managed to be endearing and charming. She does the cute thing really well, and it works!

The rest of the setlist before what I’ll refer to as the defining moment of the concert consisted of “Sunshine Girl,” followed by “Soudayo,” and the enjoyable “Jellyfish no Kokuhaku” from the Kobato anime, with its mellow, longing tones. “Seikan Hikou” came and went with Nakajima getting the audience to rally with a heartfelt “kira!,” but the biggest surprise came halfway through the song. Prior to the concert, I knew they’d have a secret guest come on stage. My bets had been on Mari Iijima who did both the singing and speaking voice for Lynn Minmay in The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but I was completely wrong. The surprise guest was none other than composer Yoko Kanno!

My world was completely rocked. Of all the people to show up! Kanno playfully danced around a bit on stage as “Seikan Hikou” finished up before sitting down at the piano and began to play once Megumi Nakajima started “Aimo.” It segued rather nicely into “Voices” (Kanno added bird sounds to the mix), and that delighted the audience since it was a throwback to Kanno’s work for Macross Plus. Through it, you can feel the nostalgia running deep in Nakajima’s longing delivery and Kanno’s poignant piano playing. The poignancy continued and this time, Nakajima’s voice brimmed with reassurance and hope, with the result being a decent rendition of “Ao no Ether,” decent only because she was really shaky when she sang this song.

It should be noted that Nakajima’s voice had started breaking around “Jellyfish no Kokuhaku,” but I think she was starting to really wear out by this time since her ability to hold notes was much more diminished. Remember when I said something about her relative inexperience as a performer? This was reflected in her relatively low stamina and was something to keep in mind during the performance.

Anyhow, Kanno delighted the audience with some bird sounds once more before Nakajima launched into “Ai Oboete Imasuka.” Talk about nostalgia! Megumi Nakajima’s rendition kept the audience deeply engrossed, and she was soon joined by May’n. Together, they closed that song out with a lovely duet and started on a duet version of “Diamond Crevasse” which left me in awe at how well their voices intertwined in that heartfelt song. This contrasted greatly with “Lion” which had all the intensity of the original and grabbed your attention right off the bat. The concert then closed off with a rousing, energetic “Triangular,” and though there was no encore, I was very much satisfied by how it went.

Phenomenal would be the word that comes to mind after seeing this concert. After being resoundingly impressed by May’n’s sense of presence, enjoying Nakajima’s upbeat delivery and getting my mind blown by seeing Yoko Kanno live in concert, there’s really no other Anime Expo event that could have topped this experience. Given that this was the first event I attended at Anime Expo, my convention experience started off with a bang, and I enjoyed it very much!

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