Idols run Anime Expo. Period.
To kick off Idol Expo, we start off with the Bushiroad products panel. Bushiroad has given us the Love Live, Revue Starlight, and Bandori gacha games. These are mobile rhythm games with story focusing on each entertainment group. Love Live follows schoolgirls who desire to be idols. Revue Starlight follows stage actresses desiring to have the spotlight through sword combat. Bandori, or Bang Dream, follows amateur high school bands and their slice of life issues. Bushiroad also hosts Chara Expo. Their panel also revealed their Chara Expo 2019 mascot, Matsuri. We also had guests from Bandori and Revue Starlight for Q&A. The panel was more of an intro to these franchises – no new announcements or updates released for the games. Fans in the audience posed with the Bandori standees and actresses following the panel. Attendees did not leave empty handed. Each attendee was given either a Revue Starlight or Bandori clear file (great for storing important documents!).
I also was given the opportunity to attend the Love Live Sunshine press conference. The panel featured Takatsuki Kanako (Hanamaru), Anju Inami (Chika), and Aina Suzuki (Mari). We had an idol from each year (or grade level). The press conference focused more on the return to Los Angeles and the upcoming American debut of the Love Live Sunshine movie. So no questions about five album deserted islands were answered.
Anju was here to have fun when asked why the girls always had bright smiles. They begun talking about the movie. They talked about how it was a fun atmosphere and how they can be crazy and have much more fun working on the project. Anju’s greatest triumph was working on the movie – it’s for her “bright future.” The group was asked what was their favorite Anime Expo memory. The girls agreed that it was the premiere for the first season of Love Live Sunshine. They loved seeing everyone’s faces at their first Anime Expo.
The girls were asked what part of their characters inspired them. They had this to say:
Aina: Very bright, cheery, energetic – gives you power. (Mari) taught me how to be kinder.
Anju: Honest and curious. (Chika) knows exactly what she wants. I’m inspired by Chika.
Kanako: We look alike.
When asked about their favorite things about Los Angeles, Kanako loves visiting Disneyland. The group also mentioned how impressed they were seeing the 9 colored rainbow of lightpens at the concert last year. When asked about the legacy of Love Live, they appreciated that the old and young will cherish this series.
Aqours World Live in LA ~ Brand New Wave
I attended the first concert on Day 2 of Anime Expo. The venue was held at the smaller venue, The Novo. The Novo is suited for smaller, acoustic acts. Typically, Aqours would performer at the larger Microsoft Theater. I did miss the old venue. However, it also meant we got two Aqours shows in one weekend in a smaller, venue. The line up was pretty chaotic. We had to line up in the main sidewalk in a busy LA street outside the convention. There were still many tourists and LA business people walking on that sidewalk to get to where they need to go.
We were right by the street and the line felt exhausting. Folks were lining up as early as the day before. Someone even brought a mattress! To entertain themselves in line, idol fans were passing out pamphlets showing directions on how and when to use penlights during which songs. No set list was released, but these fans were prepared! Once we got through security, I got myself a drink at The Novo and took my seats. I was surrounded by Love Live fans from all over the world. I was sitting next to folks from Texas and Canada. They were very excited to be a part of this once in a lifetime event!
We were waiting for our idols to show up on stage. We had waiting music from various top 40 hits. We started using our light pens to the music to kill the time. The show opened with the opening song to Love Live Sunshine: Over the Rainbow. All, but one of the girls, performed at Anime Expo. Dia was absent for this performance. This was a very high energy concert. Everyone had penlights ready and followed all the songs.
However, we ended up having an aftershock during the middle of the show. The girls ran back stage. We weren’t sure if it was an earthquake or if we were rockin’ the house. It was confirmed that it was an earthquake. However, this did not shake Aqours. The show went on and everyone had a great time. Anime Expo twitter was blowing up to find out that an earthquake happened during a Love Live show. The show also had “Hop? Stop? NonStop!” from the latest movie. Animation played in the background showing the girls dancing in St. Mark’s Square. The show ended with “Thank you Friends” and “Number 10,” reminding all of us that not only we’re fans of Aqours, but we’re also the 10th member.