Monday, 3 March 2014

[Live report] Berryz Kobo's first Nippon Budokan performance. Yappari Anata Nashi de ha Ikite Yukenai {page 1}

{In celebration of Berryz' 10th anniversary, I decided to translate the Barks Budokan report - you know, the one that the Berryz-chans got an award for. It's a bit of an epic yarn, so I decided to split it up by page. Here is page 2, and page 3.}

Berryz Kobo held their first Nippon Budokan performance <Berryz Kobo 10 ShuuNen Kinen Nippon Budokan Special Live 2013 ~ Yappari Anata Nashi de ha Ikite Yukenai~>1 on November 29th (Ii Tsunku♂ no Hi2/ Ii Niku no Hi3). For this live performance, the jam-packed set list spanned the history of Berryz Kobo from their major début in 2004.  At the end of it, Kumai Yurina mentioned, "I don't know if these are tears or sweat." The performance had reached a huge climax, brimming with sweat and tears and smiles.

1 Berryz Kobo 10th Anniversary Commemoration Nippon Budokan Special Live 2013 ~ After All, I Can't Live Without You 
2 Good Tsunku♂ Day - play on words with the number 1129
3 Good Meat Day - also another play on words with the date 1129

Celebrating their entry into the 10th year since their début in 3rd March 2014, Berryz Kobo had the experience of establishing a record in the past by being the youngest performers to have an independent performance on the stage of Saitama Super Arena. However, those girls put forward a dream to be achieved before their 10th year milestone. That dream was realised with their first independent Nippon Budokan performance held on that day.

At the same time, the fans also had high expectations, and put their game face on. Driven by the desire to support the performance, a short while after the announcement of the decision for Berryz Kobo's Nippon Budokan performance, fan-made poster visuals and video trailers appeared one after another.
"A night where you can encounter the true Momochi."
"A night to frolic with the dynamic dancing princesses."
"A night where the goddesses dance bewitchingly."
It started with those catchphrases, done only for the sake of their love for Berryz Kobo. But the quality of those compositions were packed with the groups' charm. It gave a great impact to those who weren't fans of Berryz Kobo, and became a big topic on the Web.

In addition, on Saturday, 22nd November, a week before the performance, the hashtag "#berryz日本武道館スッペシャルウィーク雅ちゃんの土曜日"4 started appearing, thanks to the fans. Every day Twitter was flooded with photos and comments conveying the charm of each and every member.
Incidentally, Natsuyaki Miyabi was on Saturday, and on Sunday she was replaced completely by Sugaya Risako. It seems that this arrangement was based on the Thai calendar.
Among the countries all over the world, Berryz Kobo is especially popular in the country of Thailand. In that country, every day has its own colour - purple for Saturday, red for Sunday. The allocation of colours coincidently matched the 7 member colours of Berryz Kobo.

4 #Berryz Nippon Budokan Special Week Miyabi-chan's Saturday

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I'm really nervous .........
I've definitely been restless the whole day.
Because I think all the members feel the same way,  today I'm going to be by everyone's side no matter what!

(Morning of the day of the performance, from the blog of Berryz Kobo Captain Shimizu Saki)

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November 29th, the weather was extremely good. Even from the morning you could imagine the beauty of the sunset. Rain for ℃-ute, clear skies for Berryz Kobo. One would expect no less.

As soon as the doors opened, the fans who had been eagerly awaiting for this day surged into the building. Because it had sold out, the Nippon Budokan was promptly filled, from the arena up to the seats near the ceiling. Beneath the Japanese flag, the scene was of the many colours of the performance commemoration T-shirts bearing "AAICLWY (After all, I can't live without you.)" swaying around. In just a few minutes, Berryz Kobo would be appearing on that earnestly desired stage of the Nippon Budokan. The joy of being able to witness that moment made our chests fully swell up again. Thereafter, for once in our lives, we could relish the few hours where we got to witness and share our feelings, on the 29th November at Nippon Budokan. Yes, "this moment would leave an impression that we'd never experience again!". 5

5 Reference to their 2007 spring tour, 2007 Sakura Mankai Berryz Kobo Live ~Kono Kandou wa Nidoto Nai Shunkan de Aru~ {This moment will leave an impression that you'll never experience again}

While punk rock (BLINK182) was being streamed faintly, an unexpected song was used to signal the start of the performance. About ten minutes past the start time, the audience lighting flared up as a song that symbolised Hello! Project played. It was "Hello! no Theme," recorded on Berryz Kobo's 1st album "1st Chou Berryz". With the rising musical pressure, the audience confirmed that this was no mere background music. Of course, by that point the glow sticks were in full swing, everything was prepared.

When "Hello! no Theme" finished playing and the audience lighting had been dimmed, we were enveloped in the great roar of everyone's voices calling out for Berryz Kobo. And with a heavy opening sound effect, at high volume, 7 figures appeared atop the grand staircase on stage.

The fuse for this memorable Budokan performance was lit by the swinging phrase "Ha-i, minasan ogenki? Youkoso irasshaimashita saa soredeha hajimaruyo Let's have a good time!"6... Yet, it instead led into their début song "Anata Nashi de ha Ikite Yukenai". It had flowed into an impressive ethnic music introduction, shaking the entirety of Budokan.

6 Miya's opening words in 'Asian Celebration' - "Hi everyone, how are you doing? Greetings and welcome. Well then, let's begin. Let's have a good time!"

Moreover, during the song, photos of the girls were displayed on the large screen, a flashback from their début in 2004, followed by introductory clips of each of the members. The images of the screen matched the person in the middle of the spotlight. Each and every one of them fuelled the stage with a dance performance.
At the end of it, Captain Shimizu Saki was shaking her body vigorously.
Here and now, Berryz Kobo had descended onto the grand stage of the Nippon Budokan. Moreover, an art work stating "Yappari Anata Nashi de ha Ikite Yukenai (AAICLWY)" was splayed on the screen. At that time, all the parts came together, and at exactly that moment, those seven disparate characters and personalities were basking in the spotlight on the stage at the same time. It was overwhelming. Berryz Kobo, their presence was overwhelming and breathtaking.

It had been 10 years since their début. These girls had progressed, and to show that the group could also sing mature songs without overextending themselves, they dyed Budokan 'even greater than red'7  with "ROCK Erotic." Their enthusiastic singing had the audience forget about doing any calls, their eyes were fixed on the girls. The extent of the girls' spirit was directly conveyed to every inch of the Budokan.

7 Reference to the line '赤色よりもっとすごい' in ROCK Erotic - even greater than red

"Everyone gathered at Nippon Budokan, good evening.We are Berryz Kobo! "

The first words in Budokan were a slightly proud greeting from Captain Shimizu Saki. Although Miyabi-chan had recently been attacked for aligning herself towards the image of being a cool & sexy "mature woman", with her hair bundled up at the real performance, and even more, with her forehead bare, one felt as if her innocence was unchanged from a decade ago. Miyabi-chan's feelings burst out with a "This day has come at last!" In response to that shout, the individual voices of thousands of people changed to form a great cheer that seemed to shake the earth.

Tokunaga Chinami informed us that, since there were such a great number of songs they wanted to perform at the Budokan, the set list for the live performance exceeded 2 hours. Starting off with their début song and their latest single, rekindling the memories up to now, "Now, it really feels like we've gone full circle," said Kumai Yurina. Everyone's Idol, Tsugunaga Momoko a.k.a. Momochi, "Really, it's a really splendid vye... view," somehow slipping up on her first words. A resounding "Eh-!" from the audience was replied with, "It seems that Momochi's going in circles as well," and a bitter smile.

And, with Captain signalling with a "Let's go8  quickly, onto the next song!", they went into "Golden Chinatown" in a merry-making mode and a "Let's go9 ". Continuing with "Asian Celebration" and "Loveing [sic] ​​you Too much", it continued into a perfect revelry with "Dschingis Khan". The Berryz Kobo extravaganza ended there.

8  The word used is 'icchaimashou', so it's likely a Golden Chinatown reference
9  The word used is 'icchaina', definitely a Golden Chinatown reference

With an enthusiastic shout of "Enjoy!", Kumai Yurina hosted a solo MC corner, already covered in sweat (something not completely unexpected). The plan was to look back on the history of Berryz Kobo through the covers of the CDs they had released so far. She went through them in rapid succession, with stories like an episode about the origin of "Momochi Musubi" during the styling for 'Madayade', or how warm the clothes for 'Ai no Dangan' were. When "Special Generation" was released, how super busy she was with both work and school. Talking about her impressions of those days, she had a memory of "the salaryman's joy from vinegar konbu," where one day, when eating vinegar konbu on the train, there was a salaryman close to her who wanted it, so she discussed with her mother and gave the vinegar konbu to him.

Shimizu Saki, Sudou Maasa, and Natsuyaki Miyabi did the Motown-like "Waracchaou yo BOYFRIEND", then Sugaya Risako performed "Himitsu no U-ta-hi-me" with the dignity of a songstress10 . And with "Tomodachi ha Tomodachi nanda!" by Tsugunaga Momoko, Sudou Maasa, Tokunaga Chinami, and Kumai Yurina, it was a line up of nostalgic songs. Moreover, from the last, innocent 'Sayonara' in "Sayonara Usotsuki no Watashi", they followed up with 'Yume no Naka Yasashikatta ne Anata,' from their latest song, "Motto Zutto Issho ni Itakatta". And then "Jiriri Kiteru," with its motif of Chopin's "Revolutionary Étude". In the past, this song shook Saitama Super Arena, and it was also met with much surprise at the Nippon Budokan.

8  The word used here is 'utahime', lit. song princess, and looks to be a reference to the song "Himitsu no U-ta-hi-me"

{Page 2 is here, and here for page 3!}


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