On the first day of Anisong World Matsuri at the Hammerstein Ballroom, tons of anime fans lined the street as they eagerly waited for the performance. It was a fairly mixed crowd consisting mainly of cosplayer who had attended the Anime NYC convention happening nearby, Jrock fans, and just plain curious convention goers. Inside, excited fans gradually poured in, most holding glow sticks to be used during the concert.
The concert began with instant energy, as Konomi Suzuki, nano, Luna Haruna, and TRUE opened up the concert by collaborating to sing a cover of the opening theme for Sousei no Aquarion, to which fans responded with enthusiasm, waving their glowsticks in unison and singing along to the song. Before switching to the next artist, the current artist onstage would sing their last song along with the next artist to perform, which lead to collaborations sung by artists that would likely not have ever performed together if not for the festival.
nano was the first artist to perform out of the four, and due to her fluency in English, she was able to MC to the fans and hype them up. nano had a great stage presence as she stood out from the rest of the acts that night, in performance and in clothing. She even commented on this, saying in between chuckles:
Wow, I’m wearing so much black compared to the others. They’re dressed so cute!
nano presented great power in her voice and a fierceness that really set her apart from the rest. Luna Haruna and Konomi Suzuki brought the kawaii, pop, and idol factor into the show, and unsurprisingly captivated the audience with their dances. TRUE had a surprisingly powerful voice, singing with a higher range than I had anticipated hearing.
The second day of the festival had artists Hironobu Kageyama, Hiroshi Kitadani, Shoko Nakagawa, and the extremely popular idol group Morning Musume ‘18. While Morning Musume’s performance was definitely the flashiest, the energy presented on the second night was arguably greater, as more straightforward rock songs were being performed. And in my opinion, the more memorable songs were performed on the second night. Hironobu Kageyama sang through three Dragon Ball Z opening themes, Hiroshi Kitadani also performed some One Piece hits, and of course, everyone collaborated in singing the memorable opening theme for One Punch Man, creating a clash of artists never seen before performing at once.
Overall, if you’re a fan of anime, as well as anime theme songs, you would want to consider checking out the next Anisong World Matsuri, as some of the artists expressed hopes of returning in 2019 to perform. Aside from breaking records of being the largest music festival hosted by Japanese artists in New York, Anisong World Matsuri brings about a sense of nostalgia. It’s definitely an event worth checking out!