It was an overcast Sunday in Chiba and the station area was busy just as one would expect on a weekend. But not just with the usual crowd of shoppers—anime fans in their thousands, clad in bright shirts emblazoned with their favorite groups or characters, were steadily making their way to Makuhari Messe in Tokyo.
In celebration of their 20-year anniversary, music label Lantis hosted the three-day festival, Lantis Matsuri 2019 ~ARIGATO ANISONG~ from June 21 to June 23, in dedication to anime songs (anisong) and the people that sing them. We went on the third and final day with big anticipation!
The sold-out third day drew a crowd of 15,000 people, which really lent to the upbeat festival vibe both inside and outside the event halls with even a few guests wearing yukata! The lobby area before entering the main stage was open from 09:00, allowing festival-goers the chance to grab a bite to eat or check out the artists appearing on the satellite stage before the main event.
Day three was a veritable onslaught of heavyweights from the start of the event around 13:00 right up until the finale at 20:30. Each act kept the bar high, showcasing the truly diverse genre that is anisong! OLDCODEX tore the event open with a high energy rendition of Rage On, complete with live painting by YORKE., the unit’s painter, and the accompanying opening scene from anime Free!, bringing the rock atmosphere to a packed and eager hall. With such a huge lineup of artists, each act was limited to one or two songs, sometimes a few more, but if anything it meant that each performance was at 110% and the audience paid that energy back with interest!
We were also treated to performances by the cast of The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, with four members performing their character’s image song, and topped off by all five members of the SOS Dan (a club created by the members of the anime) performing Hare Hare Yukai together for the first time in 12 years! Needless to say, the crowd responded enthusiastically, and the ocean of light sticks bobbed and swayed in sync with what can only be described as a classic.
The largest response from the crowd was for the idol groups, particularly the girls from anime Aikatsu!, and Love Live! If you’re not a fan, you might be forgiven for assuming that the voice actresses are simply that, but each and every single member is a force to be reckoned with. Every single outfit was on point, with each member representing their respective character and showcasing fantastic vocals and dancing. The crowd also switched their light sticks to match their favorite member’s color, turning the monochromatic view into a rainbow of colors. From the powerful full-group performance of THE IDOLM@STER cast to the trio of trios from Aqours, every member gave it their all.
As well as the Haruhi cast performance and THE IDOLM@STER girls, a few personal highlights of mine were seeing “Chorogons”, the dragons from Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid. The cosplays that the voice actresses wore were incredibly cute and only helped to make their performance even more adorable! I was captivated by Shou Hayami and his smoky, deep voice, flanked by flamenco-inspired dancers. Though his voice wasn’t the only one to impress me, as the idol pop group Sphere and rock unit JAM Project’s collaboration song was full of soaring vocals that gave me goosebumps.
Anisong legends JAM Project closed off the event with a five-song setlist that included the intense and epic ONE-PUNCH MAN openings, THE HERO !!, where they were joined by OLDCODEX, and also during the ONE-PUNCH MAN season 2 song, Seijaku no Apostle. After a long day—around six hours if you take away the breaks—of cheering and jumping, the audience still managed to pour out as much energy as they could muster in response to the ridiculous levels of talent and skill showcased by the JAM Project vocalists. It was impossible not to cheer and sing along.
Finally, every member of every act made their way on stage for an ensemble rendition of Lantis Matsuri’s theme song, Starting STYLE!! 2019, accompanied by a 15,000 strong wave of lights swaying to the rhythm, ending the night on a high note.
Lantis truly has a wealth of incredibly talented artists, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be so thoroughly entertained during the entire event. A heartfelt, full-force celebration of anisong and the label itself, Lantis Matsuri 2019 was a resounding success. I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to what the future brings for Lantis, and what they’ll bring to the table for next year’s event!
Lantis Matsuri will also be coming to New York City in November! Don’t miss out!
Lantis Official Website (English)
Lantis Official Website (Japanese)
Anime NYC Official Website
Lantis Matsuri 2019
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Photo: Lantis (BANDAI NAMCO Arts Inc.)