Event Report

July 30-31, 2005 at Loft Plus One, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Featuring MIQ, Takayuki Miyauchi, MoJo, Shocker OH!NO!, Hidekatsu Shibata and Akiko Sekine, with emcee Keisaku Kimura, Kazushi Hinoki, Kenji Yamamoto and others

For the Anison Medley and its staff, the quest to try to present 1,000 songs in a single go has spanned more than a decade. Seven tries had been made between 1994 and 2004, each mixing anime songs, tokusatsu songs and commercial jingles; the top result had been 710 songs in 1998. The 2005 attempt would be the best chance yet, with the Anison Medley lengthened to 24 hours for the first time...but even this latest try couldn't reach the 1,000-song goal.

It's the journey that makes memories, though, not the destination--and the 24 hours of this event were filled with a wealth of things to see and learn, energizing live performances, great humor, and camaraderie that grew all the stronger as the hours towered!

Before the start, attendees lined the two steep flights leading down to sub-basement-level Loft Plus One, waiting for their section of ticket number to be called. Tickets had been sold through Lawson's; mine was number 96 (of maybe 350 or so?), and the seats were whatever you were in time to claim. I was too late for the section of chairs directly in front of the stage and for the fancy raised platform of tatami-and-cushion seating to the right of the stage (there were also two large sections of chairs directly to the left of the stage--a camera trained on the stage delivered the action to them via video monitors--and chairs and round tables along the back, near the bar), but was just in time for a wooden bench near the front, between the base of the raised tatami section and the right edge of the center section of chairs. (That wooden bench was great for position--about 10 feet from the stage--but turned out to not be the best choice for a near-solid day of sitting!)

On a projection screen onstage, a variety of videos were being shown to entertain the crowd until the event's official start. Among the shorts were a collection of episode-ending moral messages from the '80s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero TV series, all in English; emcee Keisaku Kimura's quip-filled running explanations had us in hysterics!

A neat idea that helped keep us busy, both before and during the event, was the Anison Bingo game sheet we were each given at the door. The grid included free spaces in which you filled in your favorite anime song, the name of your favorite character, and the name of your "poison"--the show that had made you an incurable anime/tokusatsu fan. The remaining 21 spaces were for you to fill in with titles of anime/tokusatsu songs and the name of the series each song was from. When you finished filling in the grid and your name and address at the bottom, you took your sheet to one of the staff members (easily spotted in bright yellow "Anison Medley" T-shirts), who signed in the center free space to make it official. As soon as a song on your bingo sheet was played in the Medley, you could check it off your sheet. A hefty assortment of prizes was piled to the left of the stage--figures, toys, kits, CDs! There was enough for everyone--and with 24 hours' worth of songs, everyone eventually was a winner...even me! (Got nifty loot, too: the Banpresto multi-mecha ComBattler V set!)

On hand to launch the 24-Hour Anison 1,000-Song Nonstop Medley in style was MIQ, known prior to 2001 as MIO. As awesome as she'd been at the spring Super Robot Spirits concert, she was even more impressive here, belting out her classics at close range. She opened with "Men Of Destiny" (Gundam 0083), "Fushigi Call Me" (Bismark) and "Evergreen" (Gundam 0083), then shared some memories of early days singing at area clubs and getting her break with Xabungle. She then said she'd sing Xabungle Graffiti's "Get It," and my heart just leaped--that's one of my all-time favorites, and getting to hear her sing it has been one of my Holy Grails!--but then the music from "Hey You" (Xabungle) started. "I mean 'Hey You,'" she apologized. "I got the names confused." She sang "Hey You"--and then hot on its heels came "Get It," and my rebounding heart hit the moon! And when she hit and held that long line drive of a note--if you know the song, you know That Note--ohhhh my, can't even describe what a thrill it was to hear live! She closed with "Dunbine Tobu" (Dunbine) and "Starlight Shower" (L-Gaim). As she left the stage, fan Ken-san presented her with an enormous bouquet of flowers (complete with sunflowers!). We applauded her back for an encore, and she sang "Time For L-Gaim" (L-Gaim) with that mondo armful of a bouquet propped on one hip! Wow!

(For an excellent view of the place during MIQ's performance, check out this photo, and this one too, on her official site! The awesome bouquet is memorialized there, too.)

The projection screen was again lowered into place, and emcee Kimura and his sidekick, manga-ka Kazushi Hinoki, took up their stations at a low table onstage. A counter positioned in front of them would show the number of the song on the road toward 1,000...and with an opening message from anisongster Akira Kushida (filmed at Narita Airport as he was about to leave for Brazil's Anime Friends event) and block of assorted Time Bokan-series opening titles, we were underway!

Surprise guests had been promised for the event, and the first two were brought onstage after the 69th song: veteran seiyuu Hidekatsu Shibata, now 68 (even if you don't know his name, you probably know his voice: he was [half of] Baron Ashura of Mazinger Z, Captain Dan of Danguard Ace, the narrator of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Degin Zabi of Gundam...), and his youthful wife Akiko Sekine, who voiced Mio Kisaragi in Tokimeki Memorial. Shibata-san recalled how he got his start in voice-acting, doing the voice of Mr. X in Tiger Mask. Kimura told us that Shibata had performed on one anime song, and would do it again live for us now...and on the screen, the Brygar opening titles started up: Shibata had done the opening voiceover! He reprised it with power, and our explosion of cheers turned into what had to be the most enthuasiastic en masse performance of that song ever!

A 20-some-song stretch of the Medley followed, with Shibata reminiscing about his roles in various series as their opening titles were shown--Acrobunch, Blue Noah, Plawres Sanshiro, Lensman, Space Cobra, Votoms, Hokuto No Ken, 999, Harlock, Triton, Tiger Mask, Apache Yakyuugun, Mazinger Z, Gaiking, Devilman, Naruto, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist, and more! Then a Tokimeki Memorial opening title was played, and the guys sang along with gusto, surprising Sekine-san!

After the pair's portion ended, the Medley continued just a little further until, after song 96, it was time for the second of the event's two announced guests (MIQ had been the first). Out came Takayuki Miyauchi, who sang "Tokusou Exceedraft", "Video Senshi Lezarion," and a song I didn't know (but scribbled down "Yuusha Robot Gundan")...and then we were treated to another surprise, as MoJo came out and sang "Battle Fever J"! (I got a thrill when in verse 2 he sang the "Miss America" line with a grin at me--I "Yay"ed real loud!) And then out came Shocker OH!NO!, who donned a plastic Machineman facemask and struck the proper poses as MoJo sang "Seiun Kamen Machineman"! With MoJo leading, the three sang "Kagaku Sentai Dynaman," and then MoJo and Shocker turned the stage back over to Miyauchi, who sang "Choudenshi Bioman," "Astronauts ~ Uchuu Hikoushi No Ballad" (Uchuu Eiyuu Monogatari) and "Kamen Rider Black RX."

With the mini-live's conclusion, the place became noticeably less packed; some folks had come just for MIQ and Miyauchi. The remaining crowd stretched, got food and drink from the bar in the back (we had also each been given a pass that let you leave and reenter up to five times if needed, so some went briefly back to the surface to hit the conbini next door), and then resettled as the projection screen and lights were lowered once more. Now there were 904 songs between us and our goal (the live performances didn't count). If we reached song number 1,000, Kimura promised, a super-special guest would help us celebrate!

Opening titles, ending titles, anime, tokusatsu; we watched and clapped, and ate and drank, and laughed and sang along. There was really great blending from one show's titles to the next--sometimes the next titles even seemed to emerge from the previous ones! Kimura's pen-light pointer would occasionally highlight something onscreen--background characters doing odd things, actors with short attention spans, notable names in credits, the web pattern on Spider-Man's giant robot... For some of the more rarely seen series, he'd sometimes ask how many of us had seen it before, sometimes ask how many were seeing it for the first time. Every so often he'd share trivia facts, and his occasional comments (like his assessment of the gal floating across the screen in the Brain Powerd opening titles: "Hmm, she's naked, isn't she. ...Can't be helped!"), never sinking to sarcasm, kept us tickled throughout.

The opening and ending titles being played in the Medley were coming from a laptop computer on the table on stage, with the titles stored in several large chunks. Between the chunks, as a new block of titles was loading, Kimura-san always had something planned for us.

One break came at the 10-hour mark. He urged us to our feet so that we could try something he'd recently unearthed (I happen to have it too, so you can see ;^) ): the Sunvulcan Calisthenics, a photo-illustrated routine that allowed the eager youth of 1981 to emulate Vuleagle, Vulshark and Vulpanther and build strong bodies, exercising to Taiyou Sentai Sunvulcan sub-theme "Kagayake! Sunvulcan"! The photo illustrations were projected one by one, as he explained each ("This one might be a little difficult," he observed of an upside-down, airborne move). We did a hesitant walk-through--and then the music started, and the crowd was game! For the moves we couldn't pull off, the laughter brought just as much exercise.

During other breaks, video mini-features were lined up to introduce us to some rarely-seen wonders. One was "Toumei Shounen Tantei Akira" ("Invisible Boy Detective Akira"), an unintentionally hilarious old Nakku pilot film of dead-serious intent and Tatsunoko-wannabe design. This peek at Akira's adventures included his car dropping down a suddenly-appearing (*poink!*, there it is!) giant hole in the road, him awakening as the subject of some creative bondage, bad guys threatening him with a death ray that makes a chicken explode, him becoming invisible but still managing to get hit when a bad guy across the room throws a knife (well, okay, Akira's inexplicable urge to stop and eat an apple may have been a tip-off ;^) )...!

Another break featured a look at actor Hiroshi Miyauchi's roles in various tokusatsu shows--from the guitar-toting titular star of Kaiketsu Zubatto; to sleazy Banba, who's revealed to be baddie The Big One, who becomes the new head of the JAKQ Dengeki Tai (as that team learns to their horror; soon after, they're captured by Hitler--no, really!--who straps our heroes to crosses high atop a cliff and attempts to fire a tank at them from below, but is thwarted when wackiness ensues among his minions...); to the head guy in Car Ranger, who sends his sentai team to boot camp and turns out to be behind the laff-filled filleting of their sorry asses there. Hiroshi Miyauchi, we salute you!

The hours rolled on and on, marked by changes of sidekicks (among those taking a turn in Hinoki's seat was manga-ka Kenji Yamamoto) and a change of menu at the bar (morning brought "Anisoumen" noodles and super-sweet watermelon!) and the march of the numbers on the counter. We reached #500, the Magiranger opening theme, at 7:30am. Song #600 came at 9:57. Song #700, the New Obake Q-tarou opening, was reached at 12:25. At 2:50 we got to song #800, which I scribbled was "Born Free Dinosaur Expedition."

Before getting to the event's climax, here are some of the other scribbled notes for things still unmentioned that had struck me (although now I can't remember a talking hamster or why it was important...! ;^) ):

    • Godman: "SOS SOS SOS SOS" and has a groovy white yarn wig!
    • These look like fun: Sugoi Masaru-kun, Princess Nine
    • Tatsunoko Babies?!
    • Imported shows with brand-new theme songs in Japanese: Smurfs (same tune), Tom & Jerry, Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, A-Team, Wacky Races, Shazzan, Get That Pidgeon (an ondo?!), $6 Million Man, Funky Phantom, The Impossibles, Pink Panther, Silverhawks, Dino Boy in the Lost Valley. Birdman = "Ubard". And people know the songs!
    • Good song: Kaze No Fujimaru's opening theme
    • Youkai Ningen Bemu II really swings!
    • "Mouse Chu Mouse" sounds dirty somehow...
    • Live action ('60s?) space aliens that are Japanese rip-offs of Laurel & Hardy...
    • If there aren't words, people are reciting with the voiceover or doing the music.
    • A show (missed name) has "Twilight" for a theme, animated by Gonzo--bunny girl, many scenes mirror Daicon IV!
    • Lots of characters named "Domon" in Blue Noah ending titles...Yamato III link?
    • Makibaoh is #568--lots of guys could do the race call!
    • Not only does the Pink Panther have a new theme song with lyrics, everyone sings it super-enthusiastically... Special guest appearance by the Aardvark, yay!
    • In the Pink Lady anime, opening theme is sung by...Young Fresh. Hah?!
    • Iron Leaguer has really good songs!
    • Started to hallucinate at #619 (10:27am)
    • Heat Guy J has a cool opening theme!
    • #731-736 is made for me! Baldios/Galvion/Tobikage/SPT Layzner (*4* episode chunks in the bridge instead of one! We kept starting to sing but there'd be another little chunk!)/Machine Robo Butchigiri Battlehackers (!!! And everybody went "dit-dit-dit"! Hee!)/Ashita No Joe
    • #753 Cyborg Kero-chan. Somebody...please...kill me...
    • Think a chick in Gravion is missing the seat of her pants...
    • U.S. Captain Power new Japanese song, last line: "You gonna be free in the sky." Alllrighty.
    • Hurricaneger probably has talking hamster.
    • "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Five Man." Wish the rest were that easy!
    • Another Iron Leaguer opening theme, sub theme and important scene. Should check this out!
    • BIG SIGHTRON! Laughed like crazy all the way through! It's the BEST EVER!!
    • It's cool when the car drives onto the tunnel roof in the Janperson opening...
    • Oh boy, saw God Sigma for the first time! Only took 25 years!
    • Almost dropped off during some long Sailor Moon movie dramatic scene-thing that went on and on (folks recited with it...if you dig it, do it...). Saved by "Ai No Kinjitou." Thank you, God Mars!
    • Life is good, singing Giant Gorg and Dorvack songs full out! And Dai Apollon. And "Ta Ga Tame Ni"!
The event's 24-hour timeframe was firm. As 5:00pm neared, it was clear we weren't going to reach the 1,000-song goal, so the super-secret-special guest wouldn't appear--but Kimura and Hinoki had us all stand after song number 879, and together we took on the final five songs.

The first was "Ai Senshi" ("ai" meaning sorrow, not love), from 1981's Gundam II: Ai Senshi film, and practically an anthem for a generation of anime fans. Being part of a crowd all belting it out was an emotional experience, and by the second verse I was battling brimming tears.

Next came "The Galaxy Express 999," the end theme from the 1979 movie of the same name, and as we sang, a section of fans provided fantastic harmony!

Third from the end was "Uchuu Senkan Yamato," with the 1974 first series' opening titles shown. Partway through, the two guys to my left struck the salute. I couldn't help feeling a little like Yuki next to Kodai and Shima as I joined them. The fellow behind me followed...and at song's end, there was a ripple all around the room as arms lowered again!

Akira Kushida wasn't present, but after having provided the event's filmed opening message, his voice was there for us as the end neared too. His Uchuu Keiji Sharivan end theme "Tsuyosa Wa Ai Da" was next to last, and the crowd joined in with gusto.

The final song, number 884, was another Kushida great: "Kawaita Daichi," end theme of Xabungle. We sang along with the one-verse TV ending titles...but then the music continued on into the song's second verse, and on the screen that verse's printed lyrics ("Moshimo yume ga aru no nara...") soon led to a special message: in September 2006, the 24-Hour Anison 1,000-Song Medley--this time for sure!--will be held at 600-seat Shinjuku Loft, Loft Plus One's larger sister facility!

We applauded and cheered, and then performed the sambonjime clapping ritual to close the event. I joined the throng thanking Kimura-san, Hinoki-san and staff, and then climbed the stairs to stumble out into Sunday's late-afternoon sunshine.

Those 24 hours underground had been a giddy time, a gruelling time...and the greatest time I've ever had at an anime event held by fans, for fans!


Feel free to e-mail me.

This page was created August 7, 2005. Last updated July 24, 2006.

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