So I feel like doing this. A lot of other people are probably doing the same too. This is a story of my journey to AFAID 2014, the final day, Sunday, August 17th 2014. It was a memorable and wonderful day in many unexpected ways. I attended the event solely because I wanted to watch GARNiDELiA’s live performance (for you who don’t know GARNiDELiA, you should check them out), but while GRND’s performance was great, there are many other great things that happened (some not-so-great things also happened, though). However, because I don’t have any camera (my phone’s awful camera doesn’t count as a camera), I can’t post any photos here. So yeah, this post might be a bit boring to read.
I took off from my place in Bandung at around 5:40. That morning was the worst. I am pretty vulnerable to cold, and randomly get sick from time to time because of the weather in Bandung, and the night before the D-day, I’ve been really worried about my condition because I’d need to leave early in the morning. And it really happened. I caught a cold (not the “influenza” kind of cold, but the “masuk angin” one). I left my room with a terrible headache. If this was a work day I’d take a day off, but there’s no way I’m letting a sickness prevent me from meeting MARiA and tokuP. So I took a medicine, bought two sachets of Antangin JRG (I prefer Tolak Angin, but couldn’t find one), and hoped that everything will be fine after I sleep for around 3 hours in the travel car. Oh by the way, the travel agent that I used was Citi Trans, just like when I went to Miku Expo. The destination, Plaza Festival Kuningan, is quite close to JCC Senayan, and it’s pretty easy to get there using the Transjakarta bus. You get on the one that goes to Kuningan Barat, and then from there you get off to change the bus corridor and ride on the one that goes directly to JCC Senayan.
2.) AFAID 2014 Pre-Concert – The Venue
So finally I arrived at JCC Senayan, and after getting my ticket from Aryo, the first thing to do is of course, queueing before the entrance! Last year’s AFAID 2013 was horrible because of the hellish crowd, inconveniently placed ticket booths, heat, rain, and also because my ticket was Exhibition only. I had to spend about 4 hours just to get in the venue, only to find that the venue was overcrowded and I couldn’t walk anywhere except by just going with the flow of the crowd. It’s like being inside a bus on a rush hour, but instead of a bus, you’re in a building. This year, however, everything’s better. It’s still pretty crowded, and some places (especially around the Sony booth) can get really packed, but overall we can still move around with comfort. Maybe it’s also because it was the third day of AFAID. From what I have heard, the second day was a lot more crowded.
The AFAID 2014 venue was divided into three sections: the “main” section on the first floor, the “activity” section, and the “rest area” section. These are just my interpretations, but I definitely felt that that’s how the venue was divided. The main section is where you shop for goods from major publishers such as Good Smile Company, Sony Music, Bandai, etc. The activity section is where you take cosplay photos, try Sony’s products such as the PlayStation 4 and head-mounted display, and watch DJ performances on the Sony Mu-Te-Ki stage. This place also had food stalls, and the AFA Cafe, which I didn’t visit. The rest area is the 2nd floor, which is used as a food court.
The most interesting thing about the venue is probably the Creator’s Hub section, or the Doujin section. Last year, the Doujin section’s booths were small, and they were placed on the basement floor, together with food stalls. The heat was crazy. Shopping in narrow corridors filled with sausage’s smoke is definitely not the most amazing experience. But this year, the Creator’s Hub and food stalls were placed in the Assembly Hall, which is quite spacious. And the booths at the Creator’s Hub were bigger than last year’s. At first glance, I didn’t even recognize them as Doujin booths–they looked like company booths! For around Rp 2.500.000,-, you could rent this kind of booth for three days at AFAID. That’s an awesome deal.
Some of the food stalls were also placed on the second floor, complete with chairs and tables. The foods there were expensive, though. You need to dish out Rp 70.000,- for a plate of Nasi Goreng. It’s like eating a piece of Puchi Nendoroid. The second floor was a good place to take a break, because it had lots of empty spaces. Lots of cosplayers gathered there and used this floor as a backstage. The empty space under the stairs was also a popular place to slump together and reflect on your past actions, or just wait for the next autograph session.
3.) AFAID 2014 Pre-Concert – What I Bought, What I Did
My first destination as soon as I got inside was the Sony Music booth. I wanted to get GARNiDELiA’s CDs. But unfortunately, they didn’t sell any! Sony Music Y U NO SELL GRND CD?! Щ(ºД ºщ) You can get an autograph by buying a CD in the Sony Music booth, so I kinda wanted that. You can also get an autograph by buying the VIP concert ticket and drawing lottery coupon. You can also get an autograph by buying Sony’s hardwares and winning a lottery at the Sony Mu-Te-Ki booth. I bought Haruna Luna’s CD, and got an autograph coupon, but didn’t get the autograph because I got the time wrong. With so many different autograph sessions, it got kinda confusing. I’m glad I only missed Haruna Luna’s autograph session. If the one I missed was GRND’s, I’d probably cry.
Speaking of Haruna Luna, I passed by her twice when she was taking a walk around the booths. She was accompanied by crews, so I couldn’t approach or interact with her (of course). But seeing her very close like that… I just realized that Haruna Luna is really, really, REALLY pretty! Really cute! And…. uh…… really short XD XD XD Many people didn’t seem to realize who she was, because she usually appears with a twintail whenever she’s on a PV or a live performance, and at that time she didn’t. Even though she has a small body, somehow I felt that she has a strong “celebrity aura” around her. It’s amazing and intimidating at the same time. Or probably I was just being delusional as always.
At 11:30 A.M., there was an Anisong Artists Appearance on the main stage. Here, we could see DannyChoo and Nyash/Diasta interacting with the Anisong artists. Just as I’ve predicted, someone just had to pronounce GARNiDELiA’s name wrong. MARiA said that they’ll be performing songs from before their debut, and toku asked the audience about Vocaloid and SPiCa in particular. I got pretty excited and wondered whether they’ll perform “COLOR” or not. It’s one of my most favorite GRND songs, and toku said two days before that he’ll perform it at AFAID. TMR looked like he was really excited too. It seemed like he’s really happy to be back again in Indonesia (and boy was he happy–more on this later). Haruna Luna was back on her twintail style again, and she learned to speak a few words in Indonesian. It was really cute! Ganbatte, Luna-chan! Q(≧▽≦)Q
Speaking of Diasta… was that Yueloid 2.0 costume she was wearing?
After the Artists Appearance was finished, it’s time for GRND’s autograph session. Me super jelly. I couldn’t get an autograph, but I came to the autograph session spot anyway, just to stare at MARiA, while hoping that toku-senpai would notice me. Turned out, the autograph session wasn’t an actual autograph session like how it usually would be. Instead they just gave away pre-autographed GARNiDELiA posters. Well, that made me less jealous than I was before.
After the GARNiDELiA autograph session, I visited the Sony Mu-Te-Ki booth/stage… to wait for GARNiDELiA’s appearance there. I did say that my only reason for coming to AFAID was for GRND, right? The Sony Mu-Te-Ki stage was pretty crowded, and it was really fun with DJ Kazu playing anime songs on the loudspeaker. It’s a free mini performance, and everyone had great fun with it! DJ Kazu is really good at driving the audience’s mood. Afterwards, REDSHIFT took over the stage and played more anisongs. I think REDSHIFT’s performance was a bit underwhelming, though. Partially because the sound they managed to produce was not as good as DJ Kazu’s (needed more treble… we could hardly heard the vocals), and partially because many of the songs they played were pop songs with slow tempo, like Futakotome, or Ren’ai Circulation.
And then GARNiDELiA took the stage. Now, this is probably the most disappointing moment of AFAID 2014 for me. First of all, this was supposed to be a “Q&A session with GARNiDELiA”, but many of the questions that the MC asked were just Sony’s advertising materials. It felt really awkward. And the few other questions which weren’t ads were just repeating the standard questions that had already been asked in the Anisong Artists Appearance. Well, at least it’s fun to know that MARiA is a PlayStation lover, and plays Monster Hunter. And then came the autograph/meet and greet session. I was a bit upset because some of the guys who got to interact with MARiA and toku did things that are quite rude. Or at least, things that I consider as rude. But whatever. At the end, GARNiDELiA promoted their newest single, “grilletto”. I thought they were going to do a short karaoke performance or something, but turned out they only played a short audio clip of “griletto”. This Sony Mu-Te-Ki session, and the fact that they didn’t sell any of GRND’s CDs at all, made me hate Sony a little.
After the GRND session ended, nothing much happened. Just me missing Haruna Luna’s autograph session, and spending the hours taking a break, taking another medicine, and drinking another sachet of Antangin JRG. There’s this event where I met a very beautiful Mirai Suenaga cosplayer who smoked… Now I know it’s not my place to comment on a stranger’s smoking habit, but… smoking is not good for your health, Mirai-chan T-T
4.) Anisong Concert 1 – DJ Kazu Rocks the Stage!
The time came for the Anisong Concert to begin. Me and Wisesa queued in the wrong line once. We were planning to attend the concert at GA Seating Area, but we queued in the line for GA Standing Area (this is partially my fault, because a security guard had said to me before that the entrance on the 2nd floor will not be opened). Not a big problem, though, and the three of us managed to get a comfortable spot in the Seating Area. After a few minutes of waiting and watching glow sticks vendors wander around, the show finally started.
Or so we thought.
The announcer suddenly asked the audience to stand. In order to celebrate Indonesia’s Independence Day, we sang Indonesia’s national anthem together, with Anisong Stage’s sound system playing the backing music. Now THAT is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! A few moments later, the show finally started, and it’s great!
DJ Kazu stood alone at the middle of the stage with his DJ-ing arsenal. He played lots of anime songs that I was pretty sure specially tailored for the Indonesian audience. Many of the songs he played were songs from popular anime that filled our childhood. From Digimon World’s “Butterfly”, Rurouni Kenshin’s “1/3 Junjou na Kanjou”, Saint Seiya’s “Pegasus Fantasy”, Naruto’s “GO!”, and many more! He also played many popular songs from the more recent shows, like Shingeki no Kyojin’s “Guren no Yumiya”. It’s a really fun session, with lots of the crowds singing and chanting together. DJ Kazu also looked like he had lots of fun. Wearing short pants and a happi, he jumped around the stage, while giving signs to the audience to chant or wave the glow sticks or just do whatever we’d like. It felt like a summer festival!
One trick that DJ Kazu used very well was turning off the playback at some moments, allowing the audience to chant together while the music went silent. This was especially exciting on “Pegasus Fantasy”, because hey, yelling “SAINT SEIYA!!!!” together wildly is a crazy fun thing to do! XD
5.) Anisong Concert 2 – Haruna Luna, the Voice of Rainbow
I like Haruna Luna. She has a very nice voice, and she has many nice songs. She also performed Monogatari Series S2’s ending theme, which I really like. But one thing that made me unable to become her fan is probably caused by the excessive amount of “Overfly” covers that dominated J-Festivals in Bandung a while ago. I know it’s a good song, but, “Oh no please not this song again argh.” However, in this day, I was able to enjoy “Overfly” in its true form. And it was beautiful.
Haruna Luna’s performance blew my mind. I knew she has a nice voice, but I didn’t think it would be THAT nice. If you read the Dragon Voice manga by Yuriko Nishiyama, Haruna Luna is probably the real-life version of the Ocean Voice diva. Her voice was so clear and soothing, and so powerful at times. She sang the theme song of Sword Art Online II, performed a dream-like live performance of the theme of Fate/Zero (good job, lighting guys, seriously), and also sang Monogatari S2’s theme, and then she gave me a big surprise by singing Jin’s “Kisaragi Attention”, out of nowhere! I haven’t watched Mekaku City Actors, I didn’t know if this song was featured in it, so it was a surprise for me. “Overfly” was her last song, and it left a very sweet taste in my ears.
There’s a different feeling in watching Haruna Luna’s performance, compared to watching the other artists. Haruna Luna’s live performance is almost like watching a drama, or a theatrical act. All of her moves seemed rehearsed. It’s not a bad thing, although I prefer a performer who would get very open and expressive on the stage. In fact, it worked wonders at times (especially when she sang “Sora wa Takaku Kaze wa Utau” from Fate/Zero). I said before that Haruna Luna has this strong “celebrity aura” in her, but after watching her performance, I began to wonder if she’s actually a shy person.
By the way, Haruna Luna’s MC session was really cute! She said that she ate Nasi Goreng the day before (looks like eating Nasi Goreng had become a ritual for every Japanese artist who came to Indonesia). And at the end of her perfomance, she said something that almost moved me to tears. She said it in Japanese, so probably not everybody got it (she wrote it on Twitter later, though). She said, “I’ll work hard so that I’ll be able to come to Indonesia again.” Usually, an artist would just say, “I’ll come back to Indonesia again.” What Luna said, in my opinion, was very humble and filled with sincerity. And since that very moment, I finally became her fan.
6.) Anisong Concert 3 – For a chance to be with GARNiDELiA, miracles in unison.
This was the moment I’ve been waiting for. This is the reason why I came to AFAID 2014. It still feels unreal that GRND actually held a live concert in Indonesia. I think GRND is like a bridge between the major music industry and the indie scene. Even though GRND’s debut was not too long ago, the fanbase in Indonesia is already pretty big because of their popularity within the Vocaloid community. Being with GRND gives a unique atmosphere, it almost felt like watching old friends who finally managed to get their debut as professional musicians. Because everyone who loves Vocaloid are friends.
What GRND performed were many of my favorite songs. They performed “True High”, which was their pre-debut single. It’s probably not as popular as their other songs, but it’s a very good song. They performed “ORiON”. It’s an old song, but among GRND’s songs, this is one of the songs that has a very memorable lyric for me. It’s a song about hope, and I listen to it a lot whenever I feel down. They performed “ARiA”… which was the first song that made me fascinated with both MARiA and tokuP. If there’s a “love at first sight”, then probably it was a “love at first sound” or something. They performed “SPiCa”, this time using an arrangement that I’ve never heard before. It sounded like “SPiCa HPT ReACT”, but with a slower pace, and a different intro. They performed “COLOR”! Toku-senpai noticed me! (lol) I don’t know whether they actually performed that song because of my request, or that they’ve been planning to perform it all along, or that it’s just a coincidence, and I don’t really care. They played my favorite song, and that’s all that mattered. They performed “grilletto”, which… I actually don’t like that much, but still fun anyway. They also performed “Lamb”. MARiA danced on the stage while singing this song. Too bad Miume and 217 were not there to dance together with her. And at the end of their performance, GARNiDELiA performed Kill la Kill’s opening theme, “ambiguous”.
The Anisong Stage exploded.
7.) Anisong Concert 4 – Takanori Makes Revolution!
After GARNiDELiA’s performance, Wisesa left us because he needed to go home early. The other two of us actually contemplated to go back early too because we needed to go out a while for Maghrib prayer, and we weren’t sure if we’d be allowed to go back in (turned out we were allowed to). I’m not a fan of T.M. Revolution. I respect him as a great musician, and there are a few of his songs that I like, but if I were asked anything about TMR, I’d probably just say that I know nothing except for “Heart of Sword”. I thought I wouldn’t be missing much even if I didn’t attend TMR’s concert. I came only for GARNiDELiA, after all. So we went out of the Anisong Stage, prayed a while, and bought drinks. We remembered that TMR’s concert was going to be a full band experience, so we thought that maybe even if we’re out for more than half an hour or so, we can still go back and watch most of the performance, because they’d need some time to prepare the music equipments. So we decided to go back. IT WAS THE RIGHT CHOICE.
TMR stole the show! TMR burned the stage, blow away the ashes with a cyclone, and burn it again! Like I said before, I’m not a TMR fan, so I didn’t know any of the songs AT ALL. I’ve probably heard one or two before (was that a Valvrave soundtrack?), but I didn’t really remember. AND I DIDN’T CARE. TMR’s show was INSANE. It felt like the whole AFAID 2014 thing was just a prelude to his solo concert.
Takanori seemed like he really REALLY loves Indonesia. This is not his first concert in Indonesia, and he said earlier that he was really happy to be able to come back, but only when he’s performing on the stage can you actually feel that passion. It didn’t feel like watching a Japanese artist performing abroad. It felt like watching a Japanese artist performing at his hometown! It was crazy. It was awesome. It was crazy awesome. The audience were very excited. Everyone was in high spirit from start to end. Whenever Takanori asked the audience to scream, everyone would scream at the top of their lungs. And whenever Takanori said the word “INDONESIA”, he always said it with a very loud screaming voice, and everyone would reply with another scream. And he said “Indonesia” a lot. A LOT. Indonesia this! Indonesia that! “Indonesia is very hot! But can you make it hotter?! CAN YOU?! HUH?!!!” “I’m learning Indonesian a bit… yesterday I ate Nasi Goreng, Sate, and Semur. Enak sekali. Enak sekali! Enak sekali!” He laughed a lot, and he sounded really satisfied when he managed to say “enak sekali” and “terima kasih BANYAK”. Everyone was laughing. Everyone was having fun, and the one who had the most fun was not the audience… but the performer, Takanori, himself.
Takanori performed wearing a fur jacket, the “Phantom Pain” costume. But as the live went on, he took off the jacket. And then he took off his shirt buttons. Lots of fangirls screamed like crazy when he showed off his abs. No, he didn’t wear hot pants. I couldn’t remember how many songs TMR performed, but the concert felt like it went for a veeerrryyyyy long time. And then TMR closed the show with a song that he sang with all of his heart. A song which of course, I didn’t know.
Was it the end of the show? Of course it wasn’t! The audience asked for an encore! Encore! Encore! The chant went non-stop for a long time. Sometimes they’re in sync. Sometimes they’re not. Sometimes some people screamed in a loud voice. Some people chanted with their running-out voice. Some people didn’t chant, but they kept on swinging their glow sticks anyway. Some people initiated a synchronized chant with half the tempo of the initial chant, and soon many people followed. The chant went for a long time. It really did. TMR didn’t have any choice but to answer the call. He’s back on stage, and he looked really happy!
All along the show, Takanori spoke a lot with us. But this time he asked for a little time to speak about what’s been on his mind before the performance. He said that he’ll be speaking in Japanese, so it’s okay if many of us didn’t understand, but he felt that at least, the feeling in his heart will be able to reach ours. Yes. He really said all these. And then he spoke with a low voice. My Japanese language skills are not really good, so I was unable to understand all of his words. But I understood that he said that he was anxious about his performance. He knew that this is not his first time in Indonesia, but he’s still worried, especially because this time he brought a full band together with him. He was worried whether he’ll be well-received or not. Haruna Luna also said a similar thing. I can understand about Haruna Luna, but TMR is a big artist. He’s a senior J-artist who’s been in the industry for almost twenty years! And yet he can still feel that way. And he opened up to us. Really, when he said that he loves Indonesia, he wasn’t kidding.
The show has gotten quite emotional, and what song would be most suitable to close the entire show, answer the encore call, and show his love for his Indonesian fans? Thaaat’s right. “Heart of Sword”. My goodness.
This is not AFAID. This is a T.M. Revolution concert. At some point in the show (I couldn’t remember, sorry, my memories are a bit hazy), Takanori jumped down from the stage, took an Indonesian flag, and brought it to the stage. This is similar to what happened at ONE OK ROCK’s concert, when Taka brought an Indonesian flag and spread it on his back. Come to think of it, they share a similar name. At the end of the show, Takanori introduced all of his band members. I couldn’t remember their names, but this is where the most intimate moment between a performer and his fans happened. When he introduced himself, he didn’t introduce himself as T.M. Revolution. He didn’t introduce T.M. Revolution as himself. “Me, and you, and you, and you, and you, and all of you! Are T.M. Revolution Indonesian members!” We are all TMR! We are all one! There’s no performer, and there’s no fans. There’s just one T.M. Revolution!
And he’ll be back again. He promised.