To say that I’ve been highly anticipating this release is an understatement. This being the first Morning Musume concert tour to feature the 9th generation members, I was literally counting the days until this was delivered to my home. Read on for my general impressions. Perhaps a general warning first, if you don’t like posts that are basically all out lovefests than please stop reading now. Because I freaking adore this release.
First up, a quick note about the stage design. While Nakano Sun Plaza is the stalwart workhorse of many H!P concerts, it can sometimes give the impression of being a bit cramped. Luckily, whoever did the stage design for the Fantasy DX Tour has managed to make Nakano Sun Plaza appear far larger and deeper than it actually is.
The intro and opening VTR are utterly brilliant. At the beginning we see 5 silhouettes, the lights turn on and the 9th generation members take their rightful place among their senpai. The opening VTR is flawless, one of the better VTR’s in recent H!P history. The usage of a sample of THE Manpower!!! which then transitions to the song proper was very well executed.
Of course this being the first concert tour with the 9th generation members, my attention was mainly focused on them. They are still new of course so the concert itself was mostly dominated by the older members, but each 9th generation member gets their time to shine as well as small but crucial lines in old Morning Musume classics. The 9th gen sang the intro to LOVE Machine together and I was particularly pleased that Suzuki Kanon got the “Janai!” line.
The song that best allows us to observe how far the 9th gen has come is of course Suki na Senpai, the song every generation since the 5th has sung when they newly joined the group. I won’t mince words: the 9th gen blew me away. This generation can sing, there’s no doubt about that. Yes, they sometimes get a little out of breath and yes, sometimes it seems as if they’re shouting more than actually singing but still, they can only improve from here on out. They have a good base that will serve them well in the years to come.
Looking at the individual members there are a few things to point out. Sayashi Riho is clearly the ace of the moment. She’s someone who already has impressive skills both in dance and in song but at the same time still has heaps of future potential. Suzuki Kanon is the hidden power of the generation. I don’t think she herself realizes what sheer vocal power lies within her. Her dancing seems to have improved a lot since she joined as well. Fukumura Mizuki, having been an Egg for two years, doesn’t disappoint. She knows how to dance, she knows how to sing. She may have to work on her facial expressions a bit but technically she’s spot on. Ikuta Erina, while perhaps vocally the weakest of the 9th gen makes up for that with a magnetic charm that I find difficult to explain or even describe. I get the impression that I could listen to her read the phonebook and I’d still be mesmerized.
There’s so much awesome in this concert, both in the big and the little things. The way the lighting shifts to this awesome spectacle of green when Niigaki Risa fiercely sings her lines in Only You. The “so cute I could die” rendition of Rainbow Pink by Michishige Sayumi and Ikuta Erina. There’s Sungoi My Birthday, a song that finally fits Mitsui Aika’s sometimes exaggerated cute voice. There’s Namidacchi which never fails to tug on the heartstrings. There’s an epic rendition of Ikimasshoi! There’s Sayumi who’s sexing up the stage while Ai gets to go crazy on the vocals during Fantasy ga Hajimaru. The list goes on and on.
Of course I can’t talk about this concert without mentioning how epic the performance of Moonlight Night ~Tsukiyo no Ban da yo~ is. It’s insane. Riho, Ai and Gaki dancing like devilish maniacs to a revamped choreography both solo and in perfect sync. Focusing on Riho, this is the performance that should shut up all but the most ardent haters. Yes she’s getting pushed as a new front girl but guess what? The girl can sing, she can dance and she can both at the same time without ever running out of breath. The fact that this 13-year old girl can keep up with the likes of Ai and Gaki astounds me. I think she’s well deserving of her ace reputation.
As you might guess, I could go on and on about this concert. I could talk about Gaki who is like a fierce warrior goddess who has chosen this concert to be her battlefield. I could talk about Suzuki and how her little hands seem to have a life of their own. I could talk about the costumes which ranged from more than decent to sheer epic. I could talk about Reina’s solo which despite reports of her being ill that day, she performed with such competence and emotion I had shivers going down my spine. There’s also the group of female fans at the very end screaming their lungs out.
I urge everyone who is a fan of things that are awesome to go buy this DVD this very instant. It’s available from CDJapan and it’s epic.