「恋離飛翼～サヨナラノツバサ～」 (Sayonara no Tsubasa)
“The Wings of Goodbye”
Almost one year ago, I said in my coverage of Itsuwari no Utahime that I considered a trip to Japan to coincide with the theatrical release of Sayonara no Tsubasa. I can definitively say now that it would’ve been well worth it, as the second movie shuffles the story around more and features brand-new jaw-dropping animation. Movie-quality visuals backed by an epic soundtrack by Kanno Youko and new songs by May’n and Nakajima Megumi, plus a conclusion where Alto finally picks one of the songstresses? What more could a longtime Macross fan possibly ask for?
Spoiler warning: This post (minus the screen caps) is purposely free of major spoilers. There’s no summary of the plot, the final battle, or the ending. Still, I mention some specific developments, so it’s not recommended for those who don’t want to be spoiled at all.
「虚空歌姫～イツワリノウタヒメ～」 (Itsuwari no Utahime)
“The False Songstress”
Given that this movie premiered in theaters almost a year ago, the anticipation towards watching it had naturally dwindled since then. However, as a long-time fan of the Macross franchise, the Blu-Ray release of this movie quickly took me back to 2009 once I saw the drastic visual improvements over its television counterpart. With new songs, concerts, more focus on the relationships, and mostly new animation, this retelling proved to be a real treat for those who have already seen Frontier.
A surprise for May’n and Megumi as the anime cast members step on stage to present them with flowers.
For this last part of the Galaxy Tour, we’ll look at how things wrap up in the encore. While the DVD includes clips from a smaller concert at Yokohama as well as various behind the scenes footage, this concludes the 165+ minutes of Macross F performances on Japan’s biggest stage. Picking up from the Seikan Hikou duet and band member introductions, May’n and Megumi take a moment to thank all the fans. Following that is an encore duet performance of Anata no Oto, where everyone asks Kanno Youko to make their heart skip a beat. Like with all the duets thus far, May’n's voice just compliments Megumi’s here, so it was quite a treat to hear.
As the concert nears the end, we have a performance of the goofy SMS anthem with the crowd singing the majority of it. Before that song’s over though, the anime cast members that were there stepped on the stage to surprise May’n and Megumi with flowers. Apparently the two songstresses weren’t aware of this part of the script. Unfortunately though, it looks like Sakamoto Maaya wasn’t there after all, but Endou Aya definitely was. Just when you think things are over though, Youko, May’n, and Megumi appear from beneath the retracting stage for one more piano performance of Diamond Crevasse! It’s one to remember too!
The galactic fairies Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee sing off with “Lion”.
What would a Macross Frontier concert be without THE Macross song that has transcended time itself, “Ai Oboete Imasu ka?” (Do You Remember Love?) If there’s anything that blew my mind with the series that marked the 25th anniversary of the franchise, it was the inclusion of this song. Having seen the original series way back in the day, the song not only gives off a real sense of nostalgia but “completeness” as well. It’s hard to imagine anyone ever matching up to Iijima Mari‘s original Lynn Minmay, but Nakajima Megumi makes a good pitch for it as Ranka Lee. For the performance of this infamous song, May’n also helped sing backup.
In part 4, we also see the conclusion of the main portion of the concert, which reaches a climax with the awesome instrumental medley “Fold Out ~ Shinkuu he! Flying Guitar” before going all out in a flurry of songs “Nyan Nyan Service Medley” Budokan Special style. However, with no full performance of “Lion”, things seemed incomplete. This brings us to the beginning of the encore portion of the concert, which realistically could’ve been a standalone mini-concert on its own. Starting with an instrumental performance of “Private Army” featuring Kanno Youko on an accordion, we’re set up for the long-awaited live performance of Lion… and more!
Sheryl Nome rises high above the crowd and welcomes them to her fan club’s night.
In part 3, we’ll take a look at May’n's return to the stage. After a costume change, she comes back in Sheryl Nome-like fashion with a dominating presence care of the big screen. While the crowd gets excited about her performance of “Welcome to My FanClub’s Night!”, it’s not until the start of “Northern Cross” did they get really fired up. For that performance, they even had the air blowers going to give May’n's hair and fluffy clothes that extra angelic touch. Surprisingly, Megumi returns to the stage right after (costume change and all) in a never before seen Aimo acappella performance. May’n also adds in her Aimo acappella bit, before Megumi takes us into a full-blown Aimo O.C. It was amazing to see the captivated crowd of 14,000+ go completely silent for the acappella performances.
Part 2 of god knows how many I’ll need to cover this Galaxy Tour concert. Continuing from the two marathon-like performances in Part 1, Megumi takes the stage alone to perform six more songs. She did get a bit of a break in the middle with the character skit and “Chou Jikuu Hanten Nyan Nyan” CM commercial song I mentioned before, but her “singing endurance” is still pretty amazing. I couldn’t help but wonder why they decided to sit May’n for so long, but she did show up for the Ranka version of “Iteza Gogo Kyuuji Don’t be late” before taking over the stage for the next couple of songs. In any case, part 2 is all Ranka Lee. Enjoy~
…Lots of videos after the jump. Not recommended for computers with limited RAM!
Nakajima Megumi, Kanno Youko, and May’n serenading us with a piano version of Diamond Crevasse.
In pure anime-like fashion, the Macross Frontier colony landed in Budokan last November 5th, 2008. Almost a full year later, we finally get to see what what down there in our very own homes and almost a week ahead of its scheduled release! (DVD: 09-10-30, Blu-ray: 09-11-27.) Starring May’n as Sheryl Nome and Nakajima Megumi as Ranka Lee, this huge concert marks the long-awaited onstage duet I’ve been absolutely dying to see since Macross Frontier was still airing. With over FOUR hours of footage (150 min concert, 90 min specials), this gigantic two disc DVD release doesn’t disappoint. It wasn’t all about these two singing princesses though, as the concert featured the one and only Kanno Youko. In addition to conducting her beautifully arranged score, Youko was also center stage on the piano for a lot of the songs.
…And causes a storm for that matter. A few days ago, Nakajima Megumi (中島 愛) of Macross Fronter/Ranka Lee fame got the attention of a lot of Nico Nico Douga viewers with the release of the video above — a choreographed dance to her new “Be MYSELF” song. While my initial reaction was that Megumi is coming off more and more like a real-life Ranka with her “cuteness appeal” (moe?), evidently that’s not the case with people who love trolling anything and everything in cyberspace. Mixed in with the supportive comments on Nico Nico were a lot of slanderous ones, which got out of hand to the point that Nico Nico’s management intervened and started removing comments themselves. This (ridiculous) incident even made headlines on some Japanese sites. The original video found here (account required) now has over 285,000 views and 28,000 comments, which probably makes it one of the fastest videos to achieve such popularity. As for the song itself, I heard it earlier from her Akihabara performance and didn’t think too much of it then, but it’s grown on me after listening to it for a while. Megumi also has another new song, “Tenshi ni Naritai” 「天使になりたい」 (lit. “I want to become an angel”), and both are available for sale on the iTunes store (Japan only). ~Kira*
-divine …is still hoping to get a hold of some May’n and Nakajima Megumi duet performance videos.
While this performance is several weeks old now, I didn’t have time to check it out until now. Given how much I’ve been enjoying Macross Frontier‘s music for the past couple of seasons, I guess it’s only natural that Northern Cross grew on me fairly quickly. My favorite song to date is still “What ’bout my star? @Formo” (which I would absolutely love to see a live duet performance of), but I really like this song because it’s a lot more upbeat and very unlike the songs typically written for anime. I’m sure most Macross fans have listened to it to death by now (myself included), yet somehow I find that I’m still not sick of it in the slightest.
Anyway, I’ve seen May’n's performances before, but I’m still impressed by how well she sings live, especially with the dance choreography that goes along with this performance. Granted, the choreography isn’t overly strenuous being mostly Para Para-like movements and she is a J-pop artist first and foremost; however, I’m sure we’re all aware that not a lot of artists can sing studio-like quality live. For those wondering, her stage name “May’n” is a contraction of her full name, Nakabayashi May (中林 芽依). For whatever reason, she decided to change it to this at the beginning of the year.
Finally, I should mention that I was a bit surprised to find out that she’s only 18 years old. Judging by her appearance (which comes off a bit mature), I figured May’n was in her earlier twenties already. In any case, enjoy the video!
As the new Frontier President, Leon receives a report from the Environmental Sustainability Agency saying that the Macross Frontier has only three more months in the current wartime regulations mode.