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.

Intermission!

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 🙂


Thoughts

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!

-jaalin

61 Comments

  1. I got once a audio someone posted in a torrent of this show. Damn, the audio was hilarious but this … I don’t know if I run away or pretend I didn’t see it. –;;

    Change
  2. so after we see the animated version of the gekisou, we see the real version =P gosh i wish i was at either there or AX…

    when i first heard shiraishi’s voice on the preview i about fell over the chair laughing…

    firai
  3. Please DO NOT ask or give links to raws/subs/PVs. Instead, please check the Community section on the sidebar for useful links.

    It’s in one of the links.

    Minorin’s Yuki, Muon, Madobe nite dance freaked me out =X
    I wasn’t expecting that.

    zanarky
  4. Great write-up for a great concert. Now that was a good time. Anime history, for sure. If I hadn’t loved Aya before, I certainly would now. She’s “ganbarimasu!” personified. And despite the outfit and the professionalism, I think she still gives a cute, innocent air: she seems more like a wannabe rocker than a real one. But who’s complaining? I’m pretty sure she said in her blog well before this concert that she played guitar, so I think she just polished it (hard) for the concert, rather than learning it from scratch. It was funny when one of the band’s guitarists came forward for a little competitive picking and she laughed and bowed out of the speed-strum.

  5. thanks for the heads up hashihime, i edited that line about her guitar work a bit.

    loved your comment about how she is “ganbarimasu” personified – i couldn’t agree more!

    jaalin
  6. Let’s see… @foxfire79, that was Shiraishi Minoru.

    Kyon’s outfit in the start was hilarious, especially since everyone kept making the joke that he was asleep behind his shades while everyone else was talking. The “Taii desu.” every so often was hilarious.

    Hirano Aya: Haruhi – her t-shirt reads “Did you cum twice too? Feel so dirty!!! I need a tongue bath!” ~ I SO did not notice that, I made the mistake of ignoring the shirt, thinking it was just some engrish that I didn’t need to bother reading. Oh man, that simultaneously makes it better and worse at the same time… Man she was cute though.

    Ono Daisuke: Itsuki – he looks every bit as suave and greasy as his voice.
    ~ If ever there was a case of life imitating art, I can’t think of a better one…

    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?
    ~ I highly doubt it. The guitarists seemed to have a different play style than the one that we’ve seen from KF. I could be wrong, though.

    12. Magare↓ Spectacle (Ono Daisuke)
    Original gangster Itsuki rolls out in a white suit with a chick on each arm – too cool!
    ~ Again, life imitating art…

    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!
    ~ Aya was REALLY cute in this song, but am I the only person that noticed that Kyon looked like he was reading the lyrics off of either a screen or a prompter a la karaoke?

    There’s a little pause in the concert here for some comedy relief from Kyon, Itsuki, and Suzumiya Taniguchi. Scary! ~ “Hentai 1 desu.” “Hentai 2 desu!” “Hentai 3 de-su~” “Hai! 3-nin sorotte… HENTAI DESU!” Oh man, when Itsuki did the “Hentai 3 de-su~” I died a little bit inside, my skin was crawling. Man he’s good at that.

    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
    ~ You know, I originally assumed (once again, I was sadly mistaken) that she’d just put on a skirt over her short shorts that she was wearing earlier… I had to go back and watch it again. Holy crap!

    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 -_-
    ~ Aya was definitely much better, and yeah, it was pretty obvious they were lip-synching, but they’re not professional singers (well, Chihara Minori supposedly is, but that’s another story) so we can give them that, and besides, it’s not like they weren’t dancing hard to begin with either.

    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 thought the skit was hilarious, and when Taniguchi came out and did the “Nyoro~n, smo~ku chee~zu” I almost died laughing. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

    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. ~ She commented after God Knows that she’d been practicing pretty hard for that, and I’m glad she actually made an effort to learn at least some of it, so it wouldn’t come off as incredibly fake and just a prop. Bunch of points for that.

    Overall, I must admit I watched this solely to see Aya, but Chihara Minori was a nice plus too, she’s got a pretty nice singing voice as well as being pretty cute in her own regard. Aya’s outfits looked really good on her, so that was a good job on the costume people’s part. I don’t quite understand the need to go with the sexually-charged shirt and pantyshots, but I guess it’s playing to the crowd, even if half of them wouldn’t even realize what was going on with the shirt to begin with (but then again, that’s probably why a shirt like that is permissible in Japan, since no one would understand it, kind of like the dumb kids that walk around with the “I want a Japanese girlfriend” kanji t-shirt. It doesn’t offend enough people in the target markets for it not to be sold.

    And yeah, it was pretty impressive to see the animated version in Lucky Star be identical. Good catch, Kyoani.

    Tetsuei
  7. Tomokazu Sugita was doing his dance fairly well, but he did mess up in a few places. Still, he’s 10x better than Johnny Young Bosch who doesn’t even attempt to learn the steps. Johnny just dances randomly like an idiot on stage when he’s supposed to do the dance.

    KiraTakuto
  8. Well, after reading this, Lucky Star 16’s cosplay cafe seems to be a mini parody of the concert in the part where they dance Hare Hare Yukai, and the crowd dances along with them

    Visi
  9. Favorite one-liners:

    Chihara (Yuki): “Daisuki” (final words to fans, prompted by Sugita: “I love you”)
    Ono (Itsuki): “Kimokakkoii” (how to describe Itsuki: “creepy cool”)
    Sugita (Kyon): “CM no ato de, rankingu desu” (“Rankings after the commercial”)

    Seriously, I don’t know if Sugita really has that much comedic genius or it was all written and planned for, but he had some of the best boke’s and tsukkomi’s in the whole performance.

    “Yappari nagai yo” (referencing his own song: “Indeed, it’s a long song.”)
    “Netenai yo” (when in the Char outfit: “I’m not sleeping”)
    “Ii nioi wo suru” (referencing when Ono put his face close to his: “He smells good.”)

    There’s more but my Japanese isn’t proficient enough to pick them all up. 🙁

    Nutty
  10. That red guitar Aya`s playin` is a Japan-made Fender Mustang, special full-scale model, in contrary to the original U.S. model from 60`s which was a 3/4 scale small guitar. Aya has written about it in her blog in several occasions. She has probably played some guitar for years, but she got inspired of that Enoz-thing, and decided to give it a serious try.

  11. @KiraTakuto: I thought the improvised moves were quite funny. XD Anyway, you can’t really blame Johnny Yong Bosch for that. The producers tell him that he doesn’t have to learn the dance, only to push him out onto the stage for comedic effect when everyone else is doing it. Besides, he was quite the good sport for staying up on stage for both events. Most people would have just walked off.

    Bakazuki
  12. @ Nutty: Don’t forget his “SHOKOTAN!!!” outburst when Ikeda Shoko introduced herself lol.

    Also, about your point about whether Sugita really being this good; there was a SHUFFLE! live event some years ago, and he had that same awesome humour we saw in Gekisou here. Up to you to decide whether he wrote a script for that too as well. 🙂

    ShadowrazoR
  13. I remember going to the SOS Brigade Invasion Tour for this year’s anime expo…and…after seeing the performance of Aya Hirano doing the songs, I compared to how she did it at the event and on this…and…my best friend, whom I attended the expo with, said that she didn’t seem to be performing at her prime during the event, comparing it to this one. She seemed to be performing a lot better on this event than at the one during the anime expo.

    And…I agree with you guys that said that they looked a lot cuter at the expo.

    aotatsu
  14. Is it just me, or Yuko Goto was uber-cute in that performance. Especially after the ‘Koi no Mikuru Densetsu’, she said multiple times ‘Minna, arigatou!’ in a very jumpy manner. And gosh, judging from her photo alone, I tought that she was all serious and stuff. 100+ moe points for Miku~, umm… I mean Yuko Goto.

    Aya can’t do a stage singing well, but she sure knows how to please the audience. *Bows to Aya Hirano-sama* Too bad the audience seems exhausted enough after the second half of the concert, so the Hare Hare Yukai encore doesn’t get as much applause compared to the energy of the crowd when Minorin sang her first song.

    The best anime live event ever. I second that. Except if there’s another Haruhi event in the future… 😀

    KorganoS
  15. @KiraTakuto:

    Maybe he didn’t think a silly little dance that was meant to be for fun was such a huge deal with the fans. I wouldn’t care if I were him. I think he felt the point was to have FUN (knowing he can’t dance) not to please the shows unpleasable raving fanboys who only want Aya Hirano, Chihara Minori, Yuko Goto etc. I actually talked with Johnny in a brief 2 off reply on Youtube (Kermitfries is what he goes by) and he said he couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about concerning his emceeing at the show (Though I guess people would have preferred Aya Hirano to Emcee and speak in Engrish)as he understood people were upset with the organization, but he thought they seemed satisfied with the show. He apologized for the inconvience, but said he was starting to become aware that certain sections of fans are unpleasable and chalked it up to fate. He seems like a decent if slightly self-absorbed guy, but then again what celebrity isn’t.

  16. 1000pts for noticing that Mikuru’s VA ,Gotou Yuuko,can not sing well. i hate when people say she can. That maid outfit makes her look fat ,sigh…
    Aya hirano can wear whatever she wants with that figure,damn you and your skinny waist!
    13. Kentai Life Returns! is my favorite song but i can’t find the cd to buy it. Kyon is actaully LIKED as much as the girls somehow.

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