The saturday arrived and it was the day I most anticipated this trip: The Platinum Sonic and the subsequent PASSPO One Man Flight right afterwards at the same venue, Ebisu The Garden Hall. The Platinum Sonic would be my first encounter with the groups Pinky Poker, Petit Passpo and Yururirapo. From the rest I was of course waiting for Predia and PASSPO, and to a certain degree San Mini (former San Minutes). The rest – FYT and Palet – are not to my liking.
What I don’t understand: With the line-up featuring eight groups from the same agency, why don’t they do a proper full-day festival with longer time frames for each group, to attract more fans? The competition with other idols events was very high that day, being on a Saturday during the summer holidays. Even I would have had several options, amongst it a performance by Bellring Girls Heart. I doubt that the general fan of either of the groups at the Platinum Sonic cares much about their sister groups. No wonder, the attendance was rather low for the big venue. I would assume it only being half full (or half empty).
Anyway my sister was caught between anticipation and anxiety, as it would become her first ever experience with Japanese idols. I was assuming she would love, despite PASSPO, San Mini and Predia, but the real issue would be the fan behaviour and the way it consists of majorly males of all ages. The venue was easy to find, as we just had to follow a roofed walkway that lead right to The Garden Hall. It seems the place and its surroundings are some kind of recreation area, with some malls, restaurants and children playgrounds amongst it. This meant it was also perfect for this day, as places for food were close by and the area had many shadowy places.
Before the entry began, I bought myself some merchandise. First was the Platinum Sonic shirt:
As stupid as Platinum products mostly are, it only had an imprint on its back, leaving the front completely white. Lame. At least the back was great with displaying time, location and featured groups. As expected the name for San Mini wasn’t changed on it, still featuring their old one. I never get it why they choose to change the name just days before the event and AFTER the shirts were printed.
The purchase of the shirt enabled you to take a lucky draw with pre-signed 1shots of the group of your liking. I chose PASSPO and hoped to draw a member, which autograph I haven’t already. It became Mio. Lucky!
I continued buying badges for Hyeon Su, who asked me about it via Twitter and also bought me a Predia shirt. It happened that only their Predia attack shirt was for sale, But I like its statement ‘ADULT MUSIC’, exactly why I like them, a much welcomed distraction from all those uber-cute general idols. It also provided me with three event tickets.
In the midst of it I came to meet Adrian and Marty and some idols were handing out flyers. But I recognized Palet. One of the assumed idols later turned out to be a staff member of Yururirapo. It was quite funny to see, how she shyly looked at me and my sister, obviously uncertain if she should approach us. In the end she courageously handed us the flyer, but immediately withdraw to avoid any conversation. It was left to our own for figuring out what the flyer was about.
Soon people lined up according to their ticket numbers. All went smoothly and during the festival it was pretty easy moving around. Outside in the hall were the sale booths of each group again, and I couldn’t help it to bother the Yururirapo staff from before again and bought a single of the group. She further refused to talk though, just handed me out the CD and one event ticket. Well, whatever. I can give the CD to Shaun some days later, when we meet. I made a quick stop at the PASSPO goods stand to buy myself the three event tickets (limitation in place) by choosing three photo sets randomly. I then set off with my sister to the stage, as the festival began.
Pinky Poker was a loli group and therefore failed to get my interest. Petit Passpo afterwards was not that much better. But as the group is partially managed by members of PASSPO, I try to keep a slight interest in them. Their song ‘Samurai Girl’ is catchy, with its ‘Nippon, Nippon, Nippon, Nippon – pon, pon, pon. Japan, Japan, Japan, Japan – pan, pan, pan.’, but otherwise it is pretty generic music, not in the least comparable to its name-giving sister unit. San Mini became the first highlight, with their now member-coloured dresses. As I had hoped, my sister also came to like them. Yururirapo on the other hand were nice to look at, but their music left me cold. As they are still new and their members are all above 20 years old, I will give them another chance. Now followed a segment, were each of the individual groups covered a song by another Platinum group. The highlight for me here was Palet doing PASSPO’s ‘Baby Jump’ and Predia doing ‘Wing’. PASSPO themselves did the aforementioned ‘Samurai Girl’, which was funny to see if you know its choreography. Next came FYT and Palet, which meant for us: Time for cash-in our drink ticket and relaxing by sitting on the ground.
When the time for Predia and PASSPO arrived, many fans near the stage were leaving for the back, which enabled me and my sister to come rather close, for Predia as well as PASSPO later on. Both set lists were so-so. PASSPO did ‘Wanted!’ (highlight) but also ‘La La Love Train’ (Ugh!). Well, matter of taste, I guess. Nevertheless it was enjoyable and my sister really liked both presentations (apart from the weaker songs of course).
Now the event would take place in the front hall, with the exception of PASSPO, who would hold their events, akushukais, after the end of their One Man. The idols of the seven remaining groups split up in the two-story hall and finding my way around was quite hasslesome. What made me relieved was the exclamation of my sister, when Predia walked by: “They are all so small.” Finally someone else to which idols appear much taller on stage. The problem now was, that Predia, in addition to chekis, only seemed to do all-member handshakes that day. My motivation for talking to eleven girls in a row, of which my knowledge for most members is only limited to their names, was not very high, but I took the effort nonetheless. It would be fun in its own, twisted kind of way. So I climbed up the stairs where the handshake would take place (Later on I realised that they would also do single akushukais, just at the story below. It was probably mentioned on the sign boards, but you know how foreigner friendly they are. Oh well…)
The group akushu had its up and downs. What made my task more difficult is my general aversion of repeating the same topics over and over again. At least you had some seconds to talk with each member, so it wasn’t too sudden to come up with ideas, and not too long to run out of it. Still I forgot (or rather suppressed) most of it. What di I remember? Reiko was first in line, and damn, she is not only hot but really likeable in her demeanour. No idea what we talked about though. Next came Akina, who I approached by calling out her name, to which she reacted happily, affirming it by telling me she prefers Aki-chan. With Akane later on I praised their music, with Mai I had nearly 15 seconds to kill. I tried to tell her, that we met before in March, but she couldn’t remember and when we reached a good point in our discussion, I already had to move further. Runa on the other hand greeted me like an old acquaintances, asked me how I have been. Sakurako was last. Okay, that is all. Most of the girls were smaller than expected, but I mentioned that already.
While waiting for Predia doing the chekis, I went up to the other side of the balcony to cash-in my Yururirapo event ticket. Turns out, that one ticket allowed you to do the akushukai. I was shortly thinking about buying a second CD to enable me for a cheki, but I have neither interest in doing chekis with an idol I don’t care about nor did I want to spend money for music I don’t like (yet). I therefore waited on the first floor for the members to line up for the individual handshake session and queued up for the only girl I understood the name of during their self-introduction on stage, Azami. She was nice, but by looks Sachiko is more to my liking. Anyway I talked with her about having seen the group for the first time today. I had to tell her, where I am from, the usual stuff. I could tell them still being new in the business, especially when in contact with foreigners.
Let’s switch to Predia. This turned out interesting. I queued up for a cheki with Mai, as the talk with her before was rather positive. Again I had more time with her than usual as the first try wasn’t to liking of the staff, presumably because I had my eyes closed in the picture.
At first I wanted to revive the topic we had last, the show in March, but I refused to do so. It would seem importunate. Instead I told her that I would love to attend another Predia-Party (One Man). Of course she reacted positive about it and asked when I will be back in Japan. I told her that I was considering Decembre, which would coincide with their Tour Final and 5th Anniversary Live. She told me the exact date of it, the 29th, and then we parted.
Platinum Sonic was now over for me and me and my sister left the venue. But wait! When already outside I was looking for a handkerchief in my pocket and realised that I still had two event tickets for Predia! The staff forgot to collect it! So I made a U-turn and after checking with the staff and using my foreigner bonus (re-entering wasn’t allowed) we could enter again. My way was free this time for a cheki with Runa, who in my impression had expected me to take photos with her instead of Mai. As the event was near to closing, all went very quick. Runa asked, if she could leave on her jacket, the photo was taken and we parted with best wishes to each other. NOW we could leave the venue for good.
After getting some food and cool air in a nearby Burger King it became already time for the next show – the PASSPO One Man Flight! At the same time it was the first performance with seven members. I was very pleased with the show. Not only did they have a great set list, which included many of their new songs:
openingSEヘブンズバーガーHONEY DISHmcいたずらRock’n’RollPock☆StarLove Diary—-世界一周便—-Shang Shang シャンデリア夏空HANABIWING妄想のハワイSTEP&GO———————-mcキャンディー・ルームCosmic YouFairy TalemcPretty LieWANTED!!マテリアルGirlくちゃLOVEYoumc2DAYS(アンコール)mcはっちゃけメドレー・気分はサイコー！サイコー！サイコー！・はっちゃけセンセーション・ハイテンションエモーション・サンキュバースデイ♪mc(告知VTR)ダムダムフリーダム
but also used a big video screen during the whole show, something that is very rare outside of special lives with PASSPO. It featured images and names of the members for introduction and even a display of Germany during the performance of ‘WING’, as the song was influenced by German Metal (their statement). Of course beer was one of the aspects of Germany. Nice! Another personally plus was the extended Hachake Tai segment during the encore, which featured all PASSPO members, a wish expressed by Nachu, as it was also her official birthday show (four days prior to her real birthday). So yeah, me and my sister had a lot of fun! I hope more Flights will be organised like this in the future.
Soon after the show the event was starting. As it was individual akushukai today, the girls placed themselves in a row behind tables and fans were queuing up according to the members names. Something new (regarding a probably unintended foreigner-friendly aspect) was installed here: The names of the members were again shown only in Kanji, but this time displayed in their respective colours. This made lining up so much easier. As my sister was on a high after the show, I was successful in providing her with an event ticket, so she could talk with Annya. This would make her first idol interaction! In consequence I was only left with two event tickets now, so instead of using one for Nachu, to congratulate her, I chose two of favourite members, Yukki of course and Morishi.
I started lining up for Yukki – and was the second in line. Behind me no one else. I feared for popularity. Luckily as soon as Yukki appeared, people began to line up and I was pretty surprised that the demand for each member was very high. Obviously Aipon, MioMio and Nachu (birthday girl) were the most popular that day, but the real surprise was Annya, ending the akushukai as the last (Nachu as birthday girl excluded), even surpassing Aipon and MioMio by far. Completely deserved though: She grew a lot, does the majority of MCs and makes a great centre in many songs, with also acquiring more singing lines. I am proud of her. But back to Yukki. While waiting for her, I got into a conversation with the guy before me and made him jealous, when I affirmed his question about me being in Japan majorly for PASSPO’s sake and that I met Yukki quite often during prior trips. When some of his friends joined the discussion later, one of them remembered me from a PiiiiiiiN show. Now I put the guy in complete despair when I told him that my favourite member there was Ayano, as she was his as well. I felt a bit embarrassed now, as in my point of view a foreigner may be special, but the regular Japanese fans are much more important to the idols. I lacked the skills to tell him that though.
The akushukai with Yukki began unexpected. I could properly hear the guy in front talking with her about me, even saying my name and in consequence shifting Yukki’s attention towards me, than rather to him. I can’t understand why people would do that, using their precious (as well short and expensive) time with an idol to talk about someone else they don’t know. But it was positive for me as I could hear, that Yukki affirmed to the guy of me being a frequent attendee of their shows and events. Even better, when it was my turn to speak with her, she greeted me with her trademark smile and by shouting my name, a fact I am sure she didn’t know if the guy haven’t told her before. Anyway great feeling! Me wearing her fan shirt should have added to her enjoyment. I told her that I loved the show and that I was happy, finally being able to have seen their new songs live. She then named a few of the new songs and we parted right afterwards. I left with a great feeling.
By the way Adrian was also around and as a blue passenger as well he was using ALL of his three tickets for Yukki. Respect! I wouldn’t have the means to line-up for 15 seconds, just to line-up again two times for another 15 seconds each. It is not only difficult to get in a conversation, when both sides don’t speak the same language but also getting disrupted over and over again because of the time limitations would make me confused. That is why I rather prefer a longer time frame for a talk (at least 1 minute) or do a diversification by talking to several members instead. With the latter approach I also avoid running out of topics – in parts at least, as it wouldn’t work with group handshakes, like with Predia some hours ago.
My talk with Morishi went smoothly. Just by seeing that girl I am put in a good mood immediately. She was starting with a ‘hisashiburi’, I told her I was glad to see her again. she asked if the live was fun, I confirmed by stating to like the new songs. Short but sweet.
My sister returned successful from her talk with Annya and we, together with Adrian, watched the event until the end. Surprisingly Morishi was the first who had no-one in line for her, this resulting in putting her head on the table for defeat. But she came back to good spirits, when unexpectedly a roaring applause was starting the second she stood up to leave. Obviously surprised and overwhelmed she bowed a few times and then left, under the continuous applause of the fans gathered around. This procedure was repeated each time another member finished her events, a fact that made all of them happy. Me too enjoyed this great atmosphere. Naomin was the second girl to finish soon after, then – after small pause – Yukki, as expected shyly bowing to the passengers, and to me and Adrian in particular. MioMio and Aipon finished much later, but I forgot who was first. What I am sure of is that both left way before the remaining two members, that still had a high demand of fans lining up. Nachu and Annya basically ending the event at the same time. Annya played with the audience and prompted them to new heights, whereas for Nachu a ‘Happy Birthday’ song was sung, leading to her coming back to bow again! A great end to a fantastic day!