Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekisou DVD
The legendary Suzumiya Haruhi Live Concert was released on DVD yesterday – sure it had its ups and downs, but everyone had an absolute blast – that’s all that matters!
The actual Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekisou (The Extravaganza of Haruhi Suzumiya) live concert took place on March 18 this year at the 2,500 capacity Great Hall of Omiya Sonic City in Saitama (a quick train ride for Konata). The whole thing lasted about four hours, including a 30 minute intermission, with the first half consisting of a panel discussion with the character designer, director, and all the main cast members, followed by a skit detailing a particular day at the SOS-dan; the second half was a full on concert with 16 songs and an encore performance.
So let’s get to it!
With the curtain still down and people still getting in their seats, we hear the familiar tune of “wa wa wa wasuremono…” Oh yes, its MC Shiraishi (Taniguchi) and MC Matsumoto (Kunikida), warming up the audience. They even announce that the show will be starting in a few minutes, so whoever needs to go to the bathroom should run now! …only to start after the people have gotten up and are halfway to the door, haha.
The crowd is pretty much ecstatic at this point, as the two MCs start introducing the characters. Who’s in the lineup today?
Hirano Aya: Haruhi – her t-shirt reads “Did you cum twice too? Feel so dirty!!! I need a tongue bath!”
Sugita Tomokazu: Kyon – walks out cosplaying as Char Aznable.
Gotou Yuuko: Mikuru – looks like a nun, a nice side-to-side wardrobe contrast with Aya.
Chihara Minori: Yuki – the crowd goes wild; after all, Nagato was the most popular girl…
Ono Daisuke: Itsuki – he looks every bit as suave and greasy as his voice.
Matsuoka Yuki: Tsuruya – “is everyone megas genki!! Let’s have a great time nyoro~!!”
Kuwatani Natsuko: Ryouko – wearing all black, every bit as prim and proper as her character.
Aoki Sayaka: Kyon’s sister – the girl with the loliest voice is also… the tallest?
Shiratori Yuri: Emiri – forgettable, but at least she’s there!
After the introductions, Ishihara Tatsuya (director) and Ikeda Shouko (character designer) are brought out and give a little comment on their roles in the production. Then, they move on to commenting about each of the characters and some of their defining scenes:
Kyon: Haruhi kiss scene, Haruhi’s backfired grass-attack
Haruhi: Self introduction, God knows – the crowd goes crazy!
Mikuru: Combat waitress battle, getting bunted by the baseball
Yuki: Fight with Ryouko, learning how to type
Itsuki: Fumoffu fireball, going super saiyan in the closed space
Tsuruya: Laughing at Mikurun-run, maid fuku nyoro
Ryouko: She’s ranked AA+!, going she-Rambo on Kyon
Emiri: Asking Haruhi for help in the clubroom
Kyon’s sister: bagloli, playing old maid, with Shamisen in episode 0 – where’s the scissors scene!! Tehehe~!!!
Taniguchi: Getting wet with Mikurun-run, wa-wa-wa-wasuremono
Kunikida: Talking about Haruhi’s reputation during lunch, ditching Taniguchi before God knows
Up next, the actors put on a skit, with Kunikida narrating. Goes something like this – Nagato is reading Toki wo Kakeru Shoujo in the clubroom when Kyon walks in, the two join up Dragon Quest style, and stand around being awkward. Next, Itsuki walks in and sticks his face too close to Kyon’s, then grabs an Othello board and winks at Kyon a few times. Haruhi, dragging Mikuru with her, runs in and declares that it’s time to rehearse – through some inexplicable chain of events, we get a fumoffu from Itsuki and a mikuru beam from Mikuru. They grab their instruments… and the Othello board falls on the ground as Kyon makes a Hikaru no Go reference. Still not content, Taniguchi strolls in and does another wa-wa-wa-wasuremono, as the SOS-band drones on.
The concert kicks off right after the lights dim, and in walks Mikuru… in maid fuku! The list of songs performed:
1. Koi no Mikuru Densetsu (Gotou Yuuko)
Unfair advantage – she doesn’t really have to try to sing bad!
2. Bouken Desho Desho? (Hirano Aya)
What should I be staring at – the shirt, the shorts, or the boots?
3. Kazeyomi Ribbon (Hirano Aya)
Complete with backup dancers!
4. Yuki, Muon, Madobe nite (Chihara Minori)
Dramatic hand movements – she’s probably a parapara pro; not a bad singing job either
5. SELECT? (Chihara Minori)
Definitely mixed up the mood with a slow, slow song
6. Parallel Days (Hirano Aya)
She changed her porno shirt to a tank top that continues to slip down…
7. Mitsukete Happy Life (Gotou Yuuko)
Terrible song made acceptable with some maid on stage doing cute moves
8. Seishun Iijanaika (Matsuoka Yuki)
She’s wearing a real cute dark grey kimono with pink sakura petals and a fuchsia obi
9. COOL EDITION (Kuwatani Natsuko)
Looks like the killer queen of the night with her black dress and major bling
10. God knows… (Hirano Aya)
Aya is playing guitar! The colors are really well done – everything looks black and white except for the red guitars. The special lighting and additional camera angles make this one extra special – not to mention Aya looks like she’s having the time of her life on stage! I wonder if Kurikinton Fox is one of the guitarists?
11. Lost my music (Hirano Aya)
ENOZ desu! Aya introduces the band just like she did in the anime, and comments how she broke her guitar pick -_-;
12. Magare↓ Spectacle (Ono Daisuke)
Original gangster Itsuki rolls out in a white suit with a chick on each arm – too cool!
13. Kentai Life Returns! (Sugita Tomokazu, Hirano Aya)
Kyon is totally messing around with his sarcastic voice and school uniform, and then Aya hops out with a frilly pink dress and does some adorable poses. Great fun!
There’s a little pause in the concert here for some comedy relief from Kyon, Itsuki, and Suzumiya Taniguchi. Scary!
14. Saikyou Pare Parade (Hirano Aya, Chihara Minori, Gotou Yuuko)
The girls enter the stage from below – the dance looks great, especially considering there’s a lot of hip shaking, perfectly suited for Aya’s intentionally short and floppy skirt, which flips up at the slightest movement. 2chan reports she started with white and moved on to light blue.
15. Welcome Unknown (Hirano Aya, Chihara Minori, Gotou Yuuko)
The iconic song gets the live treatment, and it looks and sounds great! Let’s just make it clear that these panty flashes are NO ACCIDENT
16. Hare Hare Yukai (Hirano Aya, Chihara Minori, Gotou Yuuko)
You knew this was coming – thousands of youtube videos later, the original three perform the mythical dance! For the most part, they are spot on with the steps, and it’s clear that Aya is on a different level in terms of skill than the other girls, but it was still SO SO GREAT to see the three go at it. I should note that they were lip-synching this song (and probably the two before it), but it probably works out better this way, lol
17. Encore – Hare Hare Yukai
Now with Kyon and Itsuki in the lineup, the five do the dance with the actual full-length anime dance on the screen behind them. Almost everybody in the crowd is following their dance -_-
Final words – all the cast members give their parting words, with Aya getting choked up in her tears the whole time. The concert closes with some memorabilia distribution to the crowd – ijou!
The DVD finishes with the cast members giving their final final words – Aya is still in tears and gets some hugs all around :)
With the exception of some much smaller events, I believe this was the first live event for anything Haruhi related, and to many, quite possibly the best anime live ever! All the bases were covered, all the jokes said, and even those minor characters like Kyon’s sister and Emiri got plenty of face time (even though they didn’t sing). Ultimately, it all came together in one satisfying package, highlighted by the stoic sarcasm of Sugita Tomokazu and the charismatic professionalism of Hirano Aya.
I had originally thought the entire live would just consist of the concert, but the character introduction and discussion of the first half turned out to be quite worthwhile. I’m still not sure if such a low key format was appropriate for the venue, and it would have worked better if there was much more candid interaction amongst the cast members, but it was nice to hear the thoughts that the cast and staff had about a production that that was very deliberate in its success.
The skit made absolutely no sense and was painfully awkward at times, but that really doesn’t matter as the point was to just provide some laughs and an atmosphere, which it did fantastically. Their frequent referencing of outside materials was on full display here, and for the first time we can definitively say that the producers knew exactly the audience they were marketing to. I gotta say, this was one of the best audiences I’ve ever seen in any live performance – they were just reveling in every second, their excitement translating directly into energy which the performers fed off of. It was quite a sight to behold, and as icky as I felt watching all those otaku all glossy-eyed just like Konata, I wish wish wish I could have been there and been a part of that energy.
The concert itself was great to watch, and it covered pretty much every song in the Haruhi lineup, with each one choreographed and rehearsed to death. The unique talents of each performer were brought out well, with Aya’s energy, Minori’s stoicism, Yuuko’s cuteness, and even the suaveness of Itsuki and the sarcasm of Kyon. Not sure if that’s how the seiyuu are in real life, but they totally personified their characters well.
Aya’s God knows and Lost my music duo was clearly the climax of the concert – I think she had to go through some intensive lessons just for this performance! She’s still pretty shaky as she had to look down at her left hand every time she switched a chord (which put her mouth out of alignment with the microphone), but her effort and bravery was truly admirable. She is great at working the crowd, and while she was probably nervous, it surely didn’t show as it just looked like she was having such a great time.
The last three songs with the female trio seemed to be lip-synched, but it was fun to watch them do their dance. Let me reiterate for the 50th time that Aya’s dress was (intentionally) the only one designed to not stay down, as the two other girls didn’t have any problems with keeping their pantsu hidden – it’s a bit surprising that all this was left in the DVD release, but then again, Aya is a full 19 years old now, and entering that Koda Kumi wannabe phase (previous tragic attempt by Goto Maki). I don’t have a problem with it (no, I absolutely love it), but it’s definitely a departure from her innocent, cute image she had when she was just getting popular with Haruhi.
After the concert with all the cast members giving their final words, Aya was the only one who couldn’t control her emotions, and gave her impassioned speech through sobs and salty tears. It was real touching to see her have such an attachment to the Haruhi franchise – it is, after all, her defining role, the one that really catapulted her to megastar status at the top of the seiyuu world. And it was people like those 2500 fans in the hall that led the charge for her stardom – really spoke to her character that she truly appreciated all the support she’s been given. We see it in everything Aya does – she never lets up and always gives a tremendous effort – Aya never lets her fans down!
All in all, a well-produced DVD that does justice to an epic concert – this is anime history!