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  • Seiyuu Dake no Jazz Party in Toyako

    Event Toyako Manga and Anime Festival 2012
    Seiyuu Dake no Jazz Party in Toyako
    Location Lake Toya Onsen Resort Town
    Toyako Manseikaku Hotel (Saturday performance)
    Toyako Bunka Center (Sunday performance)
    Date 2012.06.23 (Saturday)
    2012.06.24 (Sunday)
    Time 18:00 - 20:00 (Saturday performance)
    13:30 - 15:00 (Sunday performance)
    Cost 3,000 yen (Saturday performance)
    2,500 yen (Sunday performance)
    CastSakurai Tomo ()
    Maruta Mari (ޤޤ)
    Kimura Subaru (¼)
    Kanemaru Junichi (ݽ߰)
    Keyboard Hitoyoshi Nobita (ҥȥ襷Υӥ)
    Jazz Band Muroran Institute of Technology Jazz Society (JAZZ)
    • Event report by Gary L. Blickhan, 2012.07.10

    I arrived the night before and stayed at a spacious mountain lodge called Pension Ohno at the base of Mt. Usu. Though it was a bit inconveniently far from the onsen resort town, the lodge proprietor was gracious to give me an unexpected ride. After enjoying the sightseeing boat tour of Nakajima (middle island) in the morning, I decided to check out the event on Chuo-dori (Main Street). Of course, there were many cosplay participants all around, and the main street was cleared of traffic.

    Just a minute into my walk, I noticed a woman in a beautiful pink dress, and did a double-take, as she was none other than Sakurai Tomo herself, standing unexpectedly on the street corner talking. After taking off my hat and calling her name, she immediately recognized me some ways down the street. We chatted a very friendly conversation for a few minutes, and she graciously agreed to pose with me for a photograph (taken by Kimura Subaru) to commemorate our unexpected encounter on the street corner.

    There was a parade led by the cast walking in front of the cosplay participants and renowned seiyuu Kamiya Akira driving a special Porsche Boxster with anime characters on the sides. After a walk down Chuo-dori to Manseikaku Hotel, the cast posed for photos and addressed the crowd. I wished Sakurai-san well, and she playfully waved goodbye.

    There were several events and vendors outside along Chuo-dori. In the Bunka Center parking lot, there was a massive cosplay reunion and many neat cars with anime themes. There were many events inside the event venues with admission gained by showing the commemorative pamphlet. Due to other sightseeing plans, I did not participate in many of them.

    The Jazz Party's first performance was delayed was over a half hour, and the men in the cast could easily be heard still rehearsing with the jazz band. I met a few fans there to see Sakurai Tomo and conversed with other fans while waiting.

    The first performance venue was a nightclub in the lower level of the hotel, though it was not dark yet at the start of the performance. There were about 80 in attendance, with free seating by admission number. There were only six seats per row, so I was able to get right-most second row with #12. Unfortunately, the seating was not terraced, so the audience in the back was probably not easily seeing the performance. I was near the speakers, so the sound was a bit loud at times.

    The second performance was a 800-seat theater, but the stage was separated from the seats by quite a distance. There were about 120 in attendance, with free seating by admission number. With #13, I was easily able to get a front-row seat. The house sound system was much better for this performance.

    There was a good balance of jazz standards and jazzy versions of anime song selections.

    1. Entire Cast: It Don't Mean a Thing (in English)
    2. Entire Cast: Welcoming Remarks
    3. Sakurai Tomo: Ai Oboeteimasu ka
    4. Sakurai Tomo and Maruta Mari: Talk
    5. Maruta Mari and Sakurai Tomo (backup): Fly Me to the Moon
    6. Maruta Mari and Sakurai Tomo: Talk
    7. Maruta Mari: All Green Down the Street (in English)
    8. Maruta Mari and Kanemaru Junichi: Talk
    9. Kanemaru Junichi: Suddenly (in English)
    10. Kanemaru Junichi: Talk
    11. Kanemaru Junichi: Lonely Aviator
    12. Kimura Subaru: Talk
    13. Kimura Subaru: If I Ain't Got You (in English)
    14. Kimura Subaru: Talk
    15. Nobita Hitoyoshi: Talk
    16. Nobita Hitoyoshi: Gojuukata no Uta
    17. Nobita Hitoyoshi and Entire Cast: Talk
    18. Entire Cast: Cosplay Medley
      Maruta Mari: [*unknown*]
      Kimura Subaru: [*unknown*]
      Sakurai Tomo: My Friends
      Kanemaru Junichi (with cast as backup): [*unknown*]
    19. Entire Cast: Talk
    20. Entire Cast: Surprise "Happy Birthday" for Kimura Subaru
    21. Kimura Subaru: People Get Ready (in English and then Japanese)
    22. Sakurai Tomo (slow solo in Japanese) then Kanemaru Junichi (faster solo in English) and duet in Japanese: I Will Wait for You
    23. Kanemaru Junichi: Talk
    24. Kanemaru Junichi: Tomodachi
    25. Kimura Subaru: Talk
    26. Kimura Subaru: Over the Rainbow (in English)
    27. Maruta Mari: Talk
    28. Entire Cast featuring Maruta Mari: Dream (in English)
    29. Entire Cast: Parting Comments
    30. Entire Cast: It Don't Mean a Thing (Reprise)
    For the first selections, the cast wore formal attire as expected for jazz in a nightclub.

    During the welcoming comments, the cast asked who was from Toya and Hokkaido, then proceeded to personally welcome me from the stage, for having come so far to be there.

    During "Fly Me to the Moon", the performance was interrupted by Kimura Subaru in hip-hop attire, who proceeded to sing a hip-hop version and imitate the jazz band. It was very funny.

    The middle was an unexpected costume change, as the cast appeared as their favorite characters. Sakurai Tomo was wearing a very short white dress in the part of Mylene Jenius of Macross 7.

    The highlight of the concert for me was the very beautiful "I Will Wait for You". Sakurai Tomo wore the same short white dress with a few more accessories, carrying a clear white plastic umbrella. After the solo, Kanemaru Junichi entered with yellow raingear.

    For "Dream" to the end, the cast wore formal nightwear.

    The keyboardist and the band were very talented and contributed to an entertaining performance. However, there were a few funny technical difficulties. In addition to the Saturday performance's delayed start, at one point, the keyboardist had to hurriedly locate the music for the next selection. At the beginning of the Sunday performance, the keyboardist had to run and turn on the stage lights while the cast waited to start, with their backs to the audience.

    There was an autograph session with the cast at the conclusion of the Sunday performance (with the exception of Sakurai Tomo (unfortunately for me). Kimura Subaru kindly signed my ticket.

    In summary, the unexpected encounter with Sakurai Tomo and the very entertaining performances made this a suberb event well worth the arduous trip to be there.

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