AniSong World Matsuri Review: 3 Incredible Bands (OLDCODEX, JAM Project, and T.M.Revolution), 1 Unforgettable Night

  • AJ Circuit in Ryogoku Kokugikan AniSong World Matsuri 2017
  • Sunday March 26th, 2017
  • Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo

Intro: An Unexpected Venue

It was an uncharacteristically rainy and cold night in March, but anime song and rock band fans were making the pilgrimage across Tokyo to the Ryogoku Kokugikan, a famous sumo venue. Some were coming from their home, and many were travelling from Tokyo Big Site after a big day at Anime Japan. Men and women of all ages wearing their anime t-shirts or band gear were huddled under umbrellas together, braving the horrible weather for one thing – AniSong World Matsuri!

AniSong World Matsuri was run in conjunction with Anime Japan, but in an independent venue with a separate ticket meaning anyone who wanted to attend just the concert was welcome to go as well. Inspired by its previous success at Anime Expo 2016 in Los Angeles, this was the first year for AniSong World Matsuri to be in Japan! It featured three leading bands in the anime song industry – OLDCODEX, JAM Project, and T.M.REVOLUTION. These three groups have different record labels, but all three are leading producers of anime theme songs, so they came together for the fans to put on a great show.

As stated before, the show took place at the Ryogoku Kokugikan, a large sumo hall near Ryogoku JR Station in East Tokyo. It meant the show was on a big stage with plenty of seats all around – and uniquely, a ring of massive sumo wrestler posters around the whole venue. The seats were almost completely full on the ground level, and mostly full in the balconies as well as fans of all ages came to support their favourite artists together in one incredible three hour show. Most of the fans were Japanese, but there were a few foreign faces amongst the crowd as well. And of course, the queues to get the usual merchandise (towels, t-shirts, and light sticks for the show) were super long too as fans scrambled to get memorabilia from their favourite artist.

By the time the lights went down at 5pm exactly, everyone was more than ready to get started with the evening’s fun! And from the first note of music to the last, it was a night to remember.

honey's anime character
Can you believe this was the first year for this event? With how many people showed up, I’d call it a huge success!

honey's anime character
You’re right! Rain or not, nothing stops music fans from coming out. I really can’t wait to see what the AJ Circuit will bring next year.

Performance: Head Banging, Jumping, and Singing All Night

The show opened with OLDCODEX, and set the pace for the night by being incredibly energetic, upbeat, loud, and fun right from the start. Ta_2 and Yorke opened with “Feed A” from God Eater, and it was a really intense start! The entire audience was head banging within seconds and rocking out together, and the venue was a sea of red light sticks moving to the beat of the music with strobe lights flashing from the stage. Ta_2 was singing, and Yorke doing his unique painting along with the song, making graffiti-style art with spray cans and paintbrushes on two huge canvases on both sides of the stage throughout the music. It was a really unique experience to see how the art was combined with and complemented the music (and there was no shortage of Yorke’s fans cheering him on by name through the whole show).

OLDCODEX slowed it down a bit after the first song with a few calmer numbers, but the energy went right back to the top with one of their newest songs “Deal with,” and it didn’t die down again for the next few numbers! Fans were singing along with The Experience, and the light show that accompanied the music and the art was really well done and added to the intensity and energy in the hall. And Ta_2 surprised everyone when he jumped off the stage and started singing directly to the fans in the front row, even grabbing one lucky fan’s head and singing with him right in his face! Then he circled around the whole ground level to give all the fans a personal experience with him before climbing back on the stage and finishing the show with “Rage on” – a definite fan favourite judging from the massive cheer that went up just with the introductory notes of the song, and the sing-a-long that happened shortly after.

After a set change on the stage and a brief break for all the fans, JAM Project came out to a massive uproar and cheer from the crowds. They opened strong with “THE HERO!!,” which hit everyone full force and had the hall full of jumping fans. All five members were playful on the stage together, and with the audience, even pretending to be sumo wrestlers in their self-introductions to highlight their special venue. Throughout the show they had the audience laughing with their commentaries, and everyone was clapping and singing along with the music.

When JAM Project slowed things down a bit with “HERO,” the floor came alive with fans swaying to the music, their light sticks switching from red to blue and moving together soothingly. The emotion in the room was high, and you could tell the song meant a lot to a lot of people! But of course they ended their set on another high note with a few more upbeat songs, and left to a standing ovation and screaming fans.

Last but certainly not least came T.M.Revolution, and after an epic instrumental build-up he appeared on the stage and went straight to business with his in-your-face, powerful music style. Aside from a few short commentary breaks, T.M.Revolution never let the energy level drop during this show and kept everything at a fast pace that gave no one a chance to relax – not even him! But it meant that the 45 minutes passed by incredibly quickly, maybe too quickly for his biggest fans, because the fun just never stopped. And judging from the grin on his face and bows of thank you to the audience, it was fun for T.M.Revolution too!

While the whole show was intense, it’s hard to think of a more memorable moment than when the sound of a clock striking rang through the darkness, and then “Resonance” from Soul Eater came on at full volume. Everyone immediately cheered to hear the older song playing and started jumping together as one, and the room felt super-charged with energy and excitement! And with no break before Preserved Roses, the exhilaration never stopped. By the time T.M.Revolution ended with “HEART OF THE SWORD,” every fan as well as he himself was really emotional, and the energy left in the room took a while to ebb.

Whatever band the fans were there for, everyone had a great time. From the fans to the singers to the band members creating the music itself, everyone was smiling. The show may have been three hours long, but it felt like only one at the most it went by so quickly (though everyone’s bodies and throats were probably pretty sore the next day!).

honey's anime character
Did you see the way Ta_2 was down in the audience with the fans? I can’t believe he held that guy’s face while he was singing to him!

honey's anime character
I’m so jealous, Bee-kun! I wish that Ta_2 would come and serenade me too!

Outro: Music Brings Everyone Together

AniSong World Matsuri in Japan was only the second chapter in a continuing saga. Because the show was successful in Los Angeles last year, it is going back to America again this year – including at Otakon in Washington, D.C.! And it will also be premiering in Shanghai! So even if you couldn’t make it to the show in Tokyo, keep your eyes open for another World Matsuri show coming to an area closer to you, because you never know who might be performing together next.

All three bands at AniSong World Matsuri have their own unique style, and their own fans. It was clear from people’s clothing and merchandise who they were there to support, but everyone actually got into all the band’s music! Hardly anyone was sitting in the entire venue, and everyone was dancing and cheering together. Especially with the surprise ending the show had in store - JAM Project and T.M.Revolution unexpectedly singing “Skill” together and laughing and being silly on the stage. It was easy to see how the performance really brought everyone together.

At the end of the day, we’re all anime fans who like to rock out to anime theme songs. So whatever style it is we like, whatever band, whatever show and character – we’ve all got something in common. Even the band members themselves in all three bands were talking about anime and their love for it during their commentary moments, and also saying words of encouragement and support to one another’s music, too! AniSong World Matsuri was meant to bring fans and record labels together for one great show, and it succeeded tenfold. We can all have a great time together and make unforgettable memories like the ones everyone shared at AniSong World Matsuri!

honey's anime character
Just when I thought my weekend at Anime Japan couldn’t be any better…

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…this show definitely was the best finale the event could have had!

SETLIST
OLDCODEX

1. Feed A


2. Lantana


3. Aching Horns


4. Deal with


5. The Experience


6. Scribble, and Beyond


7. カタルリズム


8. Rage on


JAM Project

1. THE HERO!! ~怒れる拳に火をつけろ~


2. THE EXCEEDER


3. The Brave


4. HERO


5. SEVENTH EXPLOSION


6. VICTORY GONG


7. レスキューファイアー


T.M.Revolution

1. Inherit the Force -インヘリット・ザ・フォース-


2. INVOKE


3. ignited -イグナイテッド-


4. RAIME


5. resonance


6. Preserved Roses


7. 革命デュアリズム


8. HEART OF SWORD~夜明け前~


Jet Nebula

Writer

Author: Jet Nebula

Living the dream in Tokyo, where you can find me working at a theme café catered towards women. When I’m not writing for Honey’s, I’m working on original dystopian science fiction or blogging about Tokyo’s trendy coffee scene. I spend my free time in Harajuku and Shibuya wearing alternative Japanese street fashion. I love video games, J-rock, tattoos, and Star Wars.

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