Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Top 20 Favorite AKB48 Tokyo Aki Matsuri Karaoke Tournament 2010 Performances

The AKB48 Tokyo Aki Matsuri was held on October 9 and 10, 2010 and the DVD was released weeks ago, and although I haven’t done one of these in a while, even if the past concerts were great as well (Yokohama, Yoyogi, Ogi Matsuri, SKE concerts), I couldn’t help myself from making another one for this.

One of the best things I love about AKB is that they are so innovative. You get to see things they haven’t done before in past concerts. And although the Tokyo Aki Matsuri Evening Performances were good as well, it was the Karaoke Tournaments before them that made this a spectacular event. There were two “Karaoke” Tournaments (even though not all of the entries were karaoke performances), one for each day of Tokyo Aki Matsuri. One of the best things about this was that they performed non-AKB songs, not showing any lack of confidence in performing songs from even their rivals; they are not insecure to acknowledge other artists exists, and that they even like them. The various live performances were impressive.

I’m going to say early that I didn’t list any of Yuka Masuda and Natsuki Sato’s songs. I know Yuttan has one of the most powerful voices in AKB, but I think her song choices were poor. Yes, I think the lyrics of the songs were great, but they didn’t showcase her powerful vocals as much as “Maria” would have, for example. Of course, performing a song she normally centers would have been uninteresting though. Nacchi’s voice is so beautiful, but I thought her song choice was rather boring. And this is interesting considering the duo performed my favorite AKB song as a duet. I guess this wasn’t the best venue for them to do it. Special mention goes out to Sasshi, Myao and Kitarie performing Wimbledon he Tsureteitte. Normally, I wouldn’t give a thumbs down to a performance of my favorite SKE unit song, but this was so funny, the judges immediately raised their X signs and they had to apologize to SKE in the end. And who would have thought Reina Fujie and Rina Chikano’s song for that commercial they did with the cow costumes would ever get performed in an AKB concert. Special mention also to Minegishi’s vocals on Secret Base ~Kimi ga Kureta Mono~. I was also so hoping that someone would sing an Utada Hikaru song.

Here’s my top 20 favorite performances.

#20 Mayu Watanabe, Aika Oota, Sayaka Nakaya and Miku Tanabe Perform Happy Material

Wota 4 materializes and performs an opening theme to the anime “Mahou Sensei Negima”. Wota 4 has been an unofficial group of manga and anime superfans between members of original Team B for years now so to see them come out and perform a song like this was such a treat! Very, very cute! I hope they do more!

#19 Mariya Suzuki and Sakiko Matsui Perform Tonari no Banana

What I loved about this was how much they tried to suck up to the judges and host by placing messages on the bananas they gave out while performing; messages like how much judge Maeda was their #1 favorite member, how much they want to see Hawaii (which was the tournament’s prize), and how handsome host Ijirii is. They got all X marks anyway. Cute and very funny.

#18 Yuki Kashiwagi and Sae Miyazawa Perform Infinity

I wasn’t fond of the idea of Yukirin and Sae entering a song they performed in Infinity in a Karaoke Tournament, but I’m sure a lot of people wanted to see them perform it again. The vocals and performance were still beautiful.

#17 Misaki Iwasa and Aika Ota Perform Oshibe to Meshibe to Yoru no Chouchou

The judges were complaining about how this wasn’t enka, but I was so excited to see Wasamin and Rabutan perform this. I was hoping they would finish the song.

#16 Suzuran Yamauchi, Manami Oku and Haruka Ishida Perform Tenshi no Shippo

I wasn’t quite fond of the idea of AKB songs being performed at this tournament as I thought the selling point was that they got to perform songs from other artists, but this version was just good. Not as great as the original but I loved the vocals. Very cute. I agree with judge Shinoda though, I wanted to see dancing.

Harukyan is getting prettier.

#15 Oya Shizuka and Mayumi Uchida Perform Suirenka

What I liked about this was how much Shiichan, Ucchi and just about everyone else enjoyed the performance. They had a good time.

#14 Minami Takahashi, Haruna Kojima and Minami Minegishi Perform One Night Carnival

Awsum funny! No Sleeves performance of this Kishidan song was so good on so many levels!

#13 Tomomi Itano, Tomomi Kasai and Atsuko Maeda Perform Choo Choo Train

What J-pop fan doesn’t recognize the opening dance to Exile’s Choo Choo Train. The good friends had a lot of fun with this one, especially Acchan, who loved keeping in role. The dancing was great, of course! Such handsome boys!

#12 Tomomi Itano and Tomomi Kasai Perform Go! Go! Heaven

Sang on the second day, this was the second Speed song they performed. It was a bit harder for them to sing than their song choice for the first day but I still enjoyed it.

#11 Tomomi Itano, Tomomi Kasai and Atsuko Maeda Perform Heavenly Days

Heavenly Days was just a hard song for these three good friends to sing, but it was a beautiful song choice regardless, and the concept of this trio, also three of AKB’s top Senbatsus, singing a Yui Aragaki song is just a treat, considering how Yui is one of my favorite J-drama actresses as well. I want this trio to rehearse this song more and perform this for us again.

#10 Haruna Kojima and Yuko Oshima Perform Melodies

The two lovers, I mean, good friends chose such a good song for their duet! Gam’s Melodies was a great fit! This was such a great performance! This is a must watch for those who love the Yuko-Kojiharu pairing. Yuko going for Kojima in the end was especially funny. This was brilliant!

#9 Mayu Watanabe and Yuki Kashiwagi Perform Wasshoi B!

What is a duet version of Wasshoi B! like? Mayuyu – Yukirin – Mayuyu – Yukirin B! B! B! Wasshoi! Mayuyu – Yukirin – Mayuyu – Yukirin B! B! B! Wasshoi! Only these crazy girls can come up with something as funny as this! This was such a great opener for the second day. It was also funny how even though they are part of the original performers of this, they still forgot some of the lines, considering how long ago they last performed this. This concert was just good times!

#8 Tomomi Kasai Performs River

Tomo~mi played the intro to River on a Taiko, a Japanese drum. She was really good, I wanted her to play more. I wanted to see more of these talents we’d never know about without these kinds of events.

#7 Yuko Oshima, Kayo Noro, Ayaka Umeda and Natsumi Matsubara Perform Nageki no Figure

Original Team K members who perform Endroll and pride themselves as one of the best unofficial dance units treat us to an original tricked up hip-hopish dance version of a remix of an old AKB song, Nageki no Figure. No singing in this one, this original dance that stayed faithful to the theme of the original version was a huge treat. I’m so glad we got the opportunity to see this. Very good.

#6 Tomomi Itano and Tomomi Kasai Perform Wake Me Up!

I love the TomoTomo duo and the style of Speed’s Wake Me Up! just fits them. Nice song choice. I hope they release more Aki-P songs with this style as a duo. Probably not gonna happen again because of Tomochin’s successful solo single but at least we have Love Wars and Summer Lips.

#5 Mayu Watanabe and Yuki Kashiwagi Perform a Dog Show Skit

Cutest thing! Yukirin plays the trainer while Mayuyu plays the dog where she has to perform tricks with her trainer in this adorable and funny skit! Mayuyu’s barks were so cute!

At one point, Yukirin tells Mayuyu to strike a sexy pose, which Mayuyu cutely refuses. A fan shouts out something not very audible, something to the effect of “I wanna see that!”, which causes Mayuyu to cutely, angrily point and bark at the fan.

The second to the last bit where Minegishi asks for a flying kiss was really cute and funny, and so was the ending where Yukirin asks her to do a stunt she keeps saying she can’t do.

#4 Yukari Sato, Minami Minegishi, Oya Shizuka, and Rino Sashihara Perform Imitations of AKB Members

Very funny bits that the members themselves loved.

Yukarin starts off with a Minami Takahashi impersonation.

Miichan continues with Aika Ota singing Kanpeki Gu-no ne. Mii already did this in the Shuukan Pool Games Special though. This is especially funny for Ota since Mii is Rabutan’s oshi.

Shiichan does some of Haruna Kojima’s common gestures.

Sasshi continues with Asuka Kuramochi’s arm fetish, and then quickly walking away as if nothing happened when called.

Although not really forgotten, Yukarin is an original member of AKB who was transferred to SDN, and when Yukarin imitates Kenkyuusei as they meet the very popular Tomomi Itano and herself…

Kenkyuusei (very excitedly, coming up to Tomochin): “Tomochin! Good morning! Please support us!”

Kenkyuusei (turning to Yukarin): “Who are you? Wazzup?”

Kenkyuusei: “No way! We would never do that!”

Miichan impersonates Tomomi Kasai and her chiyuu.

Shiichan impersonates Aki Takajo’s dancing.

Sasshi impersonates Yuki Kashiwagi’s exaggerated reactions.

Yukirin tries to knock Sasshi’s block off for it at the end of the concert.

#3 Yuki Kashiwagi and Haruna Kojima Perform Koi-ing

This normally would be an odd pairing, but Yukirin was cut in her audition for Morning Musume before she auditioned for AKB, while Kojiharu is known for an old AKBingo episode where she acknowledged how much she used to want to be in Momusu, so how fitting is it that at the top of AKB’s career, they would sing a Morning Musume duet. Their vocals were so beautiful, I could listen to this over and over again. I hope they do more duets. This is confidence from AKB.

#2 Mariko Nakamura Performs Tairyo Matsuri

Tairyo Matsuri is a 2008 song originally sung by Maya Sakura, the preteen enka singer Minegishi interviewed on the Feb. 28, 2011 episode of Shuukan AKB (who was already 12 at that time). Enka is a popular Japanese music genre reminiscent of older, traditional Japanese styles, and this was a very impressive performance, especially of such an old-style song. These girls can shut up their critics. Nakamura performed this 2 months before her surprise promotion along with the other remaining 9th Gen Kenkyuusei.

#1 Misaki Iwasa Performs Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki

Just when I thought Nakamura was impressive, Wasamin gives us more enka, this time a song by Sayuri Ishikawa. Many fans are aware of how powerful Wasamin’s voice is, and her prowess at enka. This performance deserved the win it got.