SLAYER CONCERT!!!
MSslayerbanner.jpg

It happened!!!!

SLAYER

In a word, it was...OUTSTANDING!!!


I have been looking forward to this concert for a few months now and as the time got closer, I started becoming more and more excited.

I rarely ever mention my musical interests outside of Moi dix Mois and MALICE MIZER on this blog, but when I get to go to an exciting concert or event I can’t help but want to talk about it!!

In my last entry I said I wanted to make a connection to Moi dix Mois in this entry, but actually I think this time around I would rather focus on Slayer and some of the other artists I got to see the other day.
HOWEVER!! Thats not to say I won’t connect it to Moi dix Mois! As I’ve been thinking about how I want to craft this entry, that thought has still lingered in my mind. I think a fair trade-off would be if I made a separate entry to this one focusing more deeply on the connection between Slayer and Moi dix Mois. Okay?? Okay.

Aslo, I won’t go into as much detail as I do with my Moi dix Mois concert reflections since I get the feeling the bulk majority of readers here aren’t particularly Slayer fans. But for those who do like Slayer, please enjoy!!

LOUD PARK 17



It was a 12 hour day of metal bands that started from around 9:50 am!
Those who know me know I can't wake up in the morning to save my life, so actually I didn't arrive until later on in the afternoon. That was okay with me though because the bands I was most interested in seeing didn't start until later anyway.

The bands I was most looking forward to see were

Opeth
Emperor
Alice Cooper

and of course...
Slayer

It may not sound like much compared to the big schedule Loud Park had prepared, but since these bands are very well known, their performance time slots were much longer than the bands that played earlier in the day. I probably saw a good 6 hours worth of concerts!

So as I arrived to Saitama Super Arena, I was hoping to catch Opeth first, but I got there a little late. However, I was able to see them! But only a portion of the show...

Of course the music was good so I was happy to even see that much!!

One of my first impressions of the event overall was a bit of shock.
I didn't quite know what to expect of the people attending, but it really reminded me of the kind of crowd I hung out with in the US. Naturally most of the attendees were Japanese, but the entire event had this sort of Americanized, or should I say Westernized feel to it. I'm not simply talking about the concerts due to the bands being non-Japanese, I mean everything!! Thats certainly not an atmosphere I often get to experience living in Japan so it was a little overwhelming at first.

I even made a few remarks on twitter that I felt like I was back in high school.(≧∇≦) Really, it looked that way!!! (of course not everybody in my high school was gothic, but I was definitely part of the crowd that was)



The way I dressed was far more casual than when I go to Moi dix Mois concerts, but despite that I still felt like I was more dressed up than most people there! I guess it was the make up and accessories, but everyone seemed to just be wearing T-shirts of their favorite bands and pants. My full dress attire was a little more....



That.

Basically a slayer hoodie with a skirt, leggings, and platform boots, and spiked accessories. For me it was casual, but for other people I guess it was a little bit more dressed up than usual. I got a lot of stares at the venue. f(^◇^;)

One of the two major highlights of the night for me was Alice Cooper!!!



Of course I've known who he is for as long as I can remember and within recent years he starred in a movie I really loved -- Dark Shadows!!
However, I've never been to any of his concerts before so I had no idea what to expect.
In fact, its extremely rare that I get to see concerts by American or European musicians. In the US concert tickets are always extremely expensive so I've only seen big acts a handful of times, and within those times some were out of pure luck. Like Lady Gaga; I got free tickets to see her in the US once because a local radio station was handing out tickets in my area for people who found their radio truck fast enough. Fortunately I happened to be extremely close by and was the first person to spot them! Other times I saw bands like Korn, Deaftones, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, etc, but these were at tours that included VK bands as well.

Anyway, Alice Cooper put on more of a show than I ever expected!! He is a true performer in every sense of the word. Not only did he sing, but every song was like a show! He had so many props, costume changes, and styles with each performance it was impossible to take my eyes away from him! Of course I've heard lots of his songs before, but I think the whole performance caught me off guard.



One of his coolest images was going under a guillotine and being "beheaded" before he reappeared for yet another song. He really thinks of everything!!

For any Alice Cooper fans, heres the set list he played on Saturday.

1. Brutal Planet
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
3. Under My Wheels
-Guitar Solo-
4. Poison
5. Halo of Flies
6. Feed My Frankenstein
7. Cold Ethyl
8. Only Women Bleed
9. Killer/I Love the Dead
10. I’m Eighteen
11. School’s Out / Another Brick in the Wall

Once you see the set list Slayer played, you'll feel like this looks extremely short! But I guess there were some major differences between Alice Cooper and Slayer. For instance, Slayer got a full hour and a half of play time since they were the headlining band, and Alice Cooper got about one hour. Also, Slayer's songs seem to be shorter than Alice Cooper's in general, and since he did put on full shows with his performances, the transition between songs sometimes took a while.

By the way, I took some video footage of both Alice Cooper and Slayer!! Here are two videos of Alice Cooper.




I apologize if the videos are sometimes shaky. I was zoomed in so far with my camera than any small movement looked big in the video. Also these videos are marked as "Unlisted" on youtube, so the only place you can see them is anywhere I post a link...like on this post!

Video #1 is the opening to the Alice Cooper concert with the song Brutal Planet and Video #2 is the finale with School's Out.

I think Alice Cooper became one of the biggest highlights of the entire night for me.



So now for Slayer!!!



The moment I had been waiting for!!!

The band that played before Slayer was Emperor. Since Emperor is also a very big band, tons of people were extremely excited to see them and the venue was completely packed.



Its probably hard to see in the picture, but people were everywhere!!
However, once Emperor ended and the TV screen in the middle flashed "Slayer" for the first time, immediately the crowd started cheering and you could instantly feel the enthusiasm in the air!

There was a big sheet placed in front of the stage, where the Slayer logo started flashing until the first song, Repentless started playing and suddenly the lighting on the curtain reminded me a bit of the World Painted Blood album cover.



Immediately the curtain fell and there was Tom Araya, Kerry King, Gary Holt, and Paul Bostaph right before our eyes!!! Sadly because of the area where my seat was, I couldn't see Paul except for on the center TV screen, but it was still easy enough to see the other three.

Without a breath they played one song after another. A lot of the music was from their newest album Repentless which is probably due to several reasons, but I loved it!!!
I wasn't so familiar with that album, but since I liked a lot of the newer songs I decided to download it on itunes afterwards. One of my instant favorites was "When the Stillness Comes".

In fact, heres my video of the Slayer concert!
Before posting it, I want to note that even though the video is a full 13 minutes long, I compiled several clips together. Not every clip is a full song; some are snippets, and some are MC portions. Everything is edited and labeled so its easy to understand.



Once again, sorry for the shaky quality. If you're patient, the videos do sort of smooth out over time, but as I said with the Alice Cooper videos, any small movement I made ended up looking much bigger due to the zoom.

Also, heres the set list from the concert:

1. Repentless
2. The Antichrist
3. Disciple
4. Postmortem
5. Hate Worldwide
6. War Ensemble
7. When the Stillness Comes
8. You Against You
9. Mandatory Suicide
10. Fight Till Death
11. Dead Skin Mask
12. Born of Fire
13. Cast the First Stone
14. Bloodline
15. Seasons in the Abyss
16. Hell Awaits
17. South of Heaven
18. Raining Blood
19. Chemical Warfare
20. Angel of Death

The last song, Angel of Death, was a huge surprise and the grand finale!!!!
I was really hoping for songs from Reign in Blood so Postmortem, Raining Blood, and Angel of Death were definitely 3 big songs I was hoping to hear! The fact that they played the very 3 that I wanted to see the most totally made my night! Angel of Death was such a wonderful, amazing ending! I'm really sad I didn't film it, but I was enjoying it way too much to want to sit there holding up a camera the entire time.

Once the song ended, Tom Araya talked a little to the crowd, which I thought I filmed but apparently it didn't save. He went out and thanked everybody for coming and listening to them play. The way he spoke was so kind and sincere, it really took me off guard. Actually, their entire stage presence was different than I had expected. I'm not quite sure if its because they were in Japan or if its how they normally act, but they seemed a lot more calm and collected than I thought they would be. Its certainly not a bad thing; in fact I was pleasantly surprised! I felt like their presence sort of quietly demands respect in a way you wouldn't normally see with a lot of bands. They play hard and their concerts are full of energy, but they carry themselves with such confidence and experience that theres no need to attempt to stir up excitement before or during the show because it happens organically. You can absolutely understand the passion that lives within them simply by watching them!

Not only that, as you can see from the video I posted above, they try to play with the crowd in small fun ways that stir up a big impact! A lot of younger metal bands tend to seem a lot more excitable, but as Tom said in the video "You are here because you love the music, and we like to play the music. Its a little love affair we share,” I think it sums up exactly the dynamic Slayer has with their audience.




The feeling was totally different from Japanese bands I usually go see. Of course I think its based on a matter of style, but to see such a unique interaction/performance felt really special. I can't help but respect Slayer for performing every song as if they anticipate it to be the best performance they've ever done within their long career of over 35 years! It must take a lot of dedication and love to maintain such energy but this must be what makes them great.

Theres a lot more I could say about that going deeper into their history and current mentality of the band, but I imagine after a while it may only start to sound like rambling.




For those who are interested, I also compiled a large number of pictures I took from the concert into an interactive gallery!!



MONOLOGUE†SANCTUARY LOUD PARK PHOTO GALLERY

There were so many pictures I was worried this entry could easily get overloaded, so I created an easy to use gallery!!

gallerysampleLP.jpg

The navigation is simple enough to smoothly browse through with your mouse or keyboard and has 2 kinds of menus if you want to quickly access certain photos. I tested it on Safari, Firefox, and Chrome and all seemed to work well without problem.

iphonegalleryLP.jpg

It seemed to work on my iPhone browser too! I was able to swipe and press the arrows to navigate through each picture, so if you prefer to check the gallery by smartphone it works just as well!

The gallery includes a huge Slayer section as well as pictures of the venue, Opeth, Emperor, Alice Cooper, and a few personal photos of me. All the pictures you see on there were also taken by me, and I'm pretty happy with the quality of the concert pictures!!

The link is the same for both smart phone and computer versions, so by all means please check it out!!

http://www.mana-sama.net/LPgallery.html

Maybe one of these days I could make a similar gallery for my collection of Moi dix Mois and MALICE MIZER related photos and scans too!


Sadly the concert ended way too fast for my taste, but I really hope to see these bands again the next time they decide to come to Japan. I would love to compare the differences between their concerts in Japan and the US so maybe if I'm lucky they'll have a concert nearby some day when I visit my family in the future!

One can only hope!


Sarah
TANAQRO *Edit 10/13
*Edit 10/13
I have now edited the end of this entry to now include the new address to send Mana gifts to. Please check the P.S. at the very end of the entry!




I've been holding off making this entry for a couple days now because this situation deserves a lot of sensitivity and care. I think a lot of people may already know what I'm going to be talking about, but for those who don't, Moi-meme-Moitie has decided to transfer ownership from Mana's label, Maglaia, to an outside company, TANAQRO. Here is the official announcement with source links at the bottom:



† Towards a new Moi-même-Moitié


This October, Moi-même-Moitié business ownership has been transferred from previous owner Maglaia to TANAQRO’s apparel division.

Being able to reach the whole world by making use of TANAQRO’s global structure will be helpful with facing Moi-même-Moitié‘s most important future challenge:

To expand Japan’s prized Gothic Lolita culture on a worldwide scale.

My fundamental convictions have stayed the same ever since the foundation of Moi-même-Moitié.
It is my wish to guard this culture and make it known to more and more people.

Moi-même-Moitié  Producer Mana


Notice regarding business transfer of Gothic Lolita brand Moi-même-Moitié

TANAQRO. Co., Ltd., which also runs Wunderwelt online shop,
agreed with Maglaia Co., Ltd. on a business transfer of Gothic Lolita brand Moi-même-Moitié.
In order to realize Moi-même-Moitié‘s worldwide expansion, the brand will make the best use of TANAQRO’s experience with providing service to global users.
The business transfer was decided upon with the aim to revitalize the brand.

https://www.tanaqro.com/

Sources: http://moi-meme-moitie.shop-pro.jp/
http://manamonologue.blog16.fc2.com/blog-entry-601.html




As much as I want to share my thoughts and opinions, I'm going to try my best to keep them to a minimum on here. Of course some commentary may reflect what I personally think, but that really can't be helped. I still want to focus more on the facts than speculation though.

So what does this mean?
For consumers overseas this is somewhat positive news. This means you'll be able to order new Moi-meme-Moitie items as they release in a timely manner, rather than the known issues with websites like CDJapan who had a lot of trouble with sales and distribution through Moitie over the past several years now.
Frankly speaking, the reason why CDJapan had problems is because Moi-meme-Moitie wasn't keeping in contact with them. There were several occasions where customers tried to purchasing from CDJapan but Moitie never responded to the order requests coming from CDJapan.

Earlier this year the company Wunderwelt agreed upon a partnership with Moi-meme-Moitie in order to make Moitie items readily available for overseas customers. As the official notice explains, TANAQRO owns Wunderwelt, so in terms of overseas purchases, it seems at the moment Wunderwelt will be in charge of international sales that will hopefully run much smoother.

Also, as I checked the official Moi-meme-Moitie website it seems the order page is still geared towards Japanese customers only, but the company information has been completely changed over to TANAQRO now.

For those who like data and information, heres a screen shot which includes the new information:

MmMTANAQRO.png
http://moi-meme-moitie.shop-pro.jp/?mode=sk

Since its all in Japanese, I'll translate and explain the main points I'm talking about.

Distributor: TANAQRO Co. Ltd.
Owner name: Junya Tanaka
Postal code: 1510053
Address: 3-24-3 Dai2Umemura Bld.4F,
Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan

After that, all other information remains the same as it was before, so it seems right now no major renovation has been made to the Moi-meme-Moitie website. That same information can be found on the TANAQRO website as well:

https://www.tanaqro.com/company/

Why is that important?
Because I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for the Moi-meme-Moitie website. Wunderwelt already deals in sales and distribution within Japan and overseas, and since they already acquired Moi-meme-Moitie theres hardly a need for two separate websites with the exact same function. That is, except, one of the websites (the official MmM page) doesn't include overseas sales, so when you think about it, the Moi-meme-Moitie website is a bit redundant at this point.
I wonder if eventually the Moi-meme-Moitie site will be phased out and simply merge with Wunderwelt, because from the perspective of TANAQRO that would be far more beneficial to them. Furthermore, TANAQRO's official company description is as follows:
Business Activities: Purchase and sales of used luxury brand apparel and goods

I think this is a really important point because Moi-meme-Moitie itself is not "used" apparel and goods. This sounds far more like the function of Wunderwelt, so it really feels like everything points at a bigger merge than one may initially think. Of course it makes sense since TANAQRO is now the owner of Moi-meme-Moitie; they can do whatever they want with the company.

I'm not saying a full on website merge is going to happen over night or anything, but I would say the information suggests the signs are certainly there for this kind of future.

I think this could seem like a big shock, maybe even devastating to some people because it seemingly strips away the individual identity of Moi-meme-Moitie, but actually similar things happened some years ago. Once upon a time Moi-meme-Moitie had their own retail shops, but several years ago many lolita brands, including Moi-meme-Moitie shut down their brick and mortar stores and merged together with Kera Shop, which has the advantage of supplying multiple brands at multiple locations across Japan. Since Moi-meme-Moitie had to shut down all their shops around Japan several years ago and only retain their Tokyo location, it was a smart move for them to merge with Kera. Shutting down a shop doesn't necessarily mean theres absolutely no interest in the brand, it just means that the client base wasn't big enough to warrant a retail shop dedicated to the one brand alone.

I think this will be the same fate of the Moi-meme-Moitie website. Its not particularly bad; its a move to attempt to save the brand from problems that would inevitably shut the entire company down. Of course now there are key elements that are going to lead to big changes and I think this is something a lot of people are worried about. Still, this is a move to allow Moitie a better chance at thriving for a longer period of time. Without this change Moitie would hardly have a chance at survival much longer. I don't mean that in terms of interest or lack thereof, I'm talking about business practice. This has been problematic for a long time now as many customers (especially overseas) can attest to.

I believe Mana has a strong will and desire to see Moi-meme-Moitie go in a direction that would satisfy and honor him as well as everyone else who loves Moi-meme-Moitie. Remember, criticism is okay, but take into account Mana's perspective and why he felt this was the right move to make. Obviously he wouldn't do it if he didn't think it would be in the best interest for Moitie.

I have no doubt that a lot of careful thought and consideration went into making this decision as he loves Moitie way too much to hand it over to someone he didn't feel would do it justice. Hes always had a track record for being very careful with who he allows to work on his projects, and I don't think Moitie is an exception to that rule.

At this point only time will tell what direction Moitie will go in next. Maybe TANAQRO has special plans for the brand that aren't being shown in the details yet, or maybe it will go in the direction I described here. Either way the most we can do now is continue to support Mana and Moi-meme-Moitie.





If you got to the end of this entry, once again thank you!!!
Surprisingly, my previous entry seemed to go over really well and I was extremely happy and excited to see so many comments and messages that you all would like to see more entries similar to that one! I was so scared everyone was going to hate it!! ( ̄◇ ̄;)
Even though we're nearing the end of the year and thus the end of Mana's 25 year anniversary as an artist/Moi dix Mois 15 year anniversary, I think the future entries pertaining to those contents will still serve as a fun commemoration! I'm so motivated to work on those entries I would love to jump into them right now, but I felt it was important to address the current Moi-meme-Moitie situation first.

Also, the Slayer concert is in 2 days, so I really hope to write about it on here!!
Slayer is an important element to Mana as an artist, so maybe a Slayer entry will be up for grabs next.
Even if you're not a Slayer fan, I'm hoping that entry will still be interesting and filled with relevance to Mana/Moi dix Mois so all Mana fans can appreciate it!

Once again thank you so much! You have no idea how much it means to me to hear so much encouragement! I want to give you all everything I've got!!!!


P.S.
10/13 Mana's blog has now been updated to include the new address to send gifts and letters. The translation of the entry and new address are as follows:

† Forwarding address for postal items to Mana-Sama
Due to Moi-même-Moitié going into a new system the forwarding address to send Mana-Sama letters and such has changed to this.

〒151-0053 東京都渋谷区代々木3丁目24−3 第二梅村ビル4F
Moi-meme-Moitie Mana様宛

Moi-meme-Moitie C/O Mana-Sama
Dai 2 Umemura Bldg. 4F
3-24-3 Yoyogi
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
151-0053
Japan

* Please refrain from raw materials (things that can spoil easily).

Source: http://manamonologue.blog16.fc2.com/blog-entry-602.html



Sarah
関ジャム VK special episode
kanjammalice.jpg

Was I right or was I right???

関ジャム (Kan Jam) aired last night with the anticipated MALICE MIZER clip!!
I'm a little excited about it, maybe for stupid reasons, but somehow it felt good to see my predictions come true!

For those who don't know, Kan Jam is a show that focuses on music and on last night they had an episode focused on Visual Kei history. Mana mentioned on Twitter that a MALICE MIZER clip might be shown on this episode, so of course fans had their hopes up that the clip would air.

I then took to this blog in the last entry to talk a little about more recent updates, which included a commentary about this show. In that entry I talked about how even though the TV show had requested to use the clip, it may not be guaranteed that it will actually be used. However, considering the fact that this was VK history and MALICE MIZER certainly had a big influence within that world surely it would air.

I also commented that I believed the subjectivity of the MALICE MIZER clip would likely be something generic and easy to understand by a large number of viewers. When I said that originally Gekka no Yasoukyoku was the first thing to pop into my head. In fact, looking back at that entry I'm surprised I didn't say it! Did I write it and then erase it?? Anyway, thats exactly what appeared.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to record any high quality footage of the show since I don't have a DVD recorder or anything, but I did live broadcast it on twitter as it aired!!




I'm sorry the quality isn't great, but as of right now this is all I have. I think the MALICE MIZER portion is somewhere towards the middle mark (30 mins in or so) of the episode. I had to hold the camera up to the TV for the full hour because the ledge I had it sitting on broke off right from the beginning (><)

If you're interested in the commentary, Shou Kiryuuin (Vo. Golden Bomber) talked about how MALICE MIZER was his first band and how they made a huge impression on him. He mentioned particularly how he questioned if they were really playing instruments at all since they were often dancing or creating productions where they may not have seemingly been able to truly play, but in fact they do play their instruments. (For those who don't know Golden Bomber, they're sort of an air rock VK band that doesn't actually play instruments, so the reference was somewhat of a tie-in to Golden Bomber's band activities)

In terms of MALICE MIZER, the focus was more on their music style and quite a bit of attention seemed to be payed on Gackt and Kami's piano and drums duet.

The MALICE MIZER video of the clip used for Kan Jam can be found here:



Kami & Gackt Duet



When thinking of the entirety of this show, it brought back memories of bands I used to listen to all the time but have somewhat forgotten over the years. It was actually refreshing to hear songs that made me think "I remember this!!!"
I miss those days a little......

More interestingly to me though, the show divided it's content up by decades and it made me think about the timing I got interested in VK and which era I feel the biggest connection to. They even talked a bit about the western VK boom in the US and Europe and how its popularity arose, as well as its connection to anime and "cool Japan." Their explanation was exactly right, but its fascinating to think about the situation from the perspective of Japanese people (essentially the artists). In fact, thats a topic I really wanted to add my own thoughts to on here!!

††††††††††††††††††††††††

What should I call this section?

Sarah's International VK Perspective ??😂


Heres a stupid old picture of me so you're not too bored looking at a giant wall of text.

Maybe this isn't a point of view many people get to hear about, which is why I wanted to share these thoughts.

So far I’ve been living in Japan for 8 years, but actually my first visit to Japan was 10 years ago! Going back even further than that, I probably became interested in VK about 15 years or more ago at this point.

As I recall, when I first learned about Visual Kei it still wasn’t something that was widely known but it was on the verge of breaking through to western audiences. The information I was able to find at that time was scarce and relatively dated, but I think in some ways the trend of outdated information prevailed for a long time until finally social media started to shorten the gap between Japan and western countries.

As VK was gaining popularity there was a common urge among fans to find as much material as possible despite the limitations we faced. It was also such a new concept to us that we were all consuming as much content as possible in order to embrace VK to the best of our abilities. It felt like a scavenger hunt, particularly online, because you could forget finding anything in real life.

Heres a trivia question: Do you know what my first MALICE MIZER song was?
(I'll answer it at the end)

As a result, my VK music library slowly grew with samples of various band's most popular songs. Finding full albums to listen to was a little tricky, so sometimes I was limited to only a couple songs by each band I came across. If I was lucky I could find more than that, but for a while I had to make do with what I could find. I think thats why when I watched Kan Jam it brought back a lot of nostalgic feelings. I'll never forget those early days sorting through a huge mesh of various band's songs and attempting to reach out to anyone possible to share music and information with.


The short samples contained on this CD were the first Moi dix Mois songs I ever heard because at the time no full length songs were available.

But finally the boom hit. Lots of bands came to the US and played at anime conventions because thats the market where VK would likely have its highest chance to succeed. And succeed it did! However, notably, just as it was discussed on Kan Jam, Dir en Grey eventually became an exception to that rule and was able to tour and perform outside of anime conventions.
VK bands at that time were able to have an ever stronger hold in Europe where they were able to have concerts and tours in major cities that weren't connected to anime conventions.


Old picture of me with Shun (Gu.) from the band Duel Jewel. This was my first encounter with a VK band in person and a first for VK bands at anime conventions in the US.

Online communities focused on VK started popping up too, especially on websites like Livejournal where people could create "communities" focused on their favorite bands. I wonder if there are many people still around from that time period?

When the VK craze was at its highest, in the mid-late 2000's, information about Japanese pop culture found a sharp rise in interest too. Suddenly US anime conventions became polarized. It was obvious who was explicitly going for VK bands, who was there for fashion (lolita, ganguro, oshare kei, etc), and who was there for anime/manga/cosplay. These groups isolating themselves from the others (for a lack of better words) caused a lot of tension, particularly between anime/manga fans and VK fans. Those who were interested in street fashion seemed to be somewhere in the middle, but more or less leaned towards the way of VK fans.

Thinking about it now, I feel like even the more hardcore VK fans outside of Japan still didn't entirely have a grasp on the insight of their favorite bands. I say this while thinking specifically about MALICE MIZER and Moi dix Mois (probably to an extent bands like Dir en Grey too). While it was easy to understand and appreciate their music and aesthetics, I often felt like we westerners may have been missing out on some deeper meanings lost in translation. Perhaps that contemplation came from the fact that MALICE MIZER's intent was to explore the ideology of "What is human?"

With obstacles such as language gaps creating barriers, it seemed we were about 10 years behind the actual current trends in Japan. Everyone talked about the infamous Harajuku bridge and how loads of VK and Japanese street fashion enthusiasts gathered there on Sundays as a sort of a huge fan frenzy. However, you could imagine my shock when I finally came to Japan for the first time in 2007 and didn't see the spectacle I had been anticipating. All the people at the bridge in Harajuku were.....GONE!


Well, that is, except for this very small group of kids who were fighting to keep it alive.

I think as time progressed on there was another sort of "soft revival" of interest in places like the Harajuku bridge and VK bands in general when speaking about Japan, but I wonder if that had some kind of connection to the enthusiasm coming in from overseas? When I finally moved to Japan permanently in 2009, I noticed a short lived boost in participants at the cosplay bridge, but a key element of that was the sudden influx of tourists specifically looking for the illustrious Harajuku bridge cosplayers.

Once I gained a deeper understanding of the VK culture from within Japan, my own perception was changed. I think before then my mentality was pretty typical of most overseas VK fans, and I think that implies a lot of misconstrued ideas of VK's current status at that time...or at least the era I was most familiar with.

This is why when I say the west was about 10 years behind Japan, it created a lot of inaccurate portrayals of the reality.
The bands I was most familiar with mostly came from the 90's (and to some extent the 80's), but since almost all VK bands were considered "new" outside Japan, I was looking at older content that depicted how popular/famous many of these bands were in Japan and believed those sentiments still applied today. Thats not to say they weren't famous, but a lot of major recognition of these 90's bands were already in the midst of diminishing due to the changing of times. Its like talking about groups such as the Spice Girls in the west and claiming they still hold major relevancy today in 2017. Of course there are still people out there who are very passionate about them, but the bulk majority of people would probably say "Oh yeah, I remember them! I used to love them when I was younger!"

With that realization, I began to struggle with the VK community outside of Japan. Before I knew it, getting involved with the Japanese community was giving me an inside look into VK culture that painted a more realistic picture of the situation. If I tried to speak about this reality to people outside Japan I would be demonized because it didn't match the image that was being perceived. As a natural course Visual Kei in the 2000's and early 2010's was handed over to newer bands and some older bands that had achieved massive commercial success. Several of the 90's bands I knew and loved didn't quite fit into that mold anymore, but a lot of westerners were convinced that they did.



Dio, Rentre en Soi, 12012, and Sugar were a few of the many bands I met in the 2000’s who were quickly entering the forefront of the VK world.

Since I took the route of following Mana as an artist over other VK musicians, my understanding of the VK world also gained some other unique perspectives. As Moi dix Mois toured Europe a couple times, a lot of the western Moi dix Mois/MALICE MIZER fanbase was centralized in Europe, and it seemed the attitudes of those fans matched up with the views of American fans as well. That is to say, everyone was under the impression that Mana was a major star, implying some kind of major commercial success. Statistically speaking Merveilles was the commercial success of MALICE MIZER and of course Mana is without a doubt one of the most important components of that. However, with the progression of time, a major observation I've noticed is that when speaking to the general public in Japan, Gackt's role seems to be what people remember the most of the band. Thats not to undermine Mana or any of the other members, but in all my years of working in Japan I think I can only count the number of times I've met people who understood who Mana was on one hand...

So was Mana a success? Yes absolutely, of course! I have no doubt in my mind about it. But when looking at the bigger picture, I started to gain a sense of "people who were invested in VK at one point or another certainly know who Mana is, but people who may have casually listened to music related to MALICE MIZER or VK in general without much investment may not remember." So I felt like the western perspective was somewhat misplaced. I think a lot of these fans didn't take into account the difference between "fame within the VK industry" and "fame in general." This is exactly why I claimed "Gekka no Yasoukyoku" to be "generalized material for a wider audience." Since Merveilles was MALICE MIZER's most famous album, Gekka no Yasoukyoku often seems to be used as a major representation of their success.

I think this point of view applies to a lot of the VK world, so I absolutely love what Kan Jam tried to achieve on their show last night. It showed the culture of Visual Kei and where fits in the world. They not only talked about it's history, but a deeper understanding that is rarely touched on nowadays. Visual Kei is at the forefront of things I have been passionate about the longest in my life, and being able to see it from various angles is something I cherish a lot. Since I connect with the 90's era the most, I don't tend to go to many concerts anymore outside of Moi dix Mois, but that doesn't mean I don't respect what it has become today. Its amazing to see how VK has changed over time, and I think its important that it does so it can continue to peak the interests of people who will strive to keep that passion alive.



Trivia Question Time!
What was my first MALICE MIZER song?
The answer is Seraph!!
I will never forget, the moment I heard this song it felt like something clicked inside of me and from that instant I said "THIS is the music I have been looking for!"
Ever since then the rest is history...

††††††††††††††††††††††††


If anybody actually reads this to the end, thank you!!

Visual Kei, especially MALICE MIZER and Moi dix Mois, is something I've been very passionate about for a long time and it was nice to go in depth about the topic again after many years.


As one last remark before closing this entry, I wanted to make a special note that the other day on Mana's blog, Monologue†Garden, he made a small commentary about the upcoming Novmber guest appearance. It seems my hunch that this event will never officially be announced was also correct. Heres a translation of that post:

† シークレットゲスト
11月にとあるライヴにて、少々ギターを弾く事になりました。
私ととても繋がりのあるアーティストのライヴです。
なかなかレアなので、探し当てて来て下さいね〜
† Secret Guest
I have decided to play a little bit of guitar at a certain live in November.
The live is with an artist I am very connected to.
It will be pretty rare, so find out who it is and please come~

Mana
http://manamonologue.blog16.fc2.com/blog-entry-600.html



Anyway, I hope this entry was fun to read. I was so happy to finally see MALICE MIZER on TV first hand!!
Its like a dream...
Really, I'm so glad for the opportunity!


P.S.
If any of you enjoyed this entry, maybe it would be fun to make this into a more regular column on here?
I could talk more exclusively on information pertaining directly to the history and details of Mana, MALICE MIZER, Moi dix Mois, Moi-meme-Moitie, etc. if that seems interesting.
If you like the idea of it please let me know!



Sarah
October News & Updates
Over the past year or so I feel like it might seem as though I have fallen off the wagon in terms of keeping my site and blog updated frequently with information, but as of right now I'm hoping to change that a bit. However, I wonder a little...is it really me that isn't keeping up with the news on here, or is it simply that there isn't a lot of news?

Anyway, I thought it might be worth making an update simply with current Mana related news and information.

関ジャム
(Kan Jam)


kanjammm_edited-1.jpg

Yesterday it was announced on Twitter that the late night Sunday TV show "Kan Jam" has requested to use clips of MALICE MIZER for one of their upcoming episodes on October 8, 2017. As you may guess, this implies MALICE MIZER will be shown, but that isn't necessarily ensured. Some years ago, there was supposed to be a clip or image of Mana used on another TV show about lolita fashion, but that clip was never used in the final production. Regardless, it seems Kan Jam will be focusing Sunday's show on Visual Kei history, so theres a strong likelihood the clip will in fact air!

For those who live in Japan and want to watch this show, here is the information:

Channel: TV Asahi
Date: October 8, 2017 (Sunday)
Time: starting from 11:10 PM
Official site: http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/kanjam/

It seems Kaya's material has also been requested by Kan Jam for the same episode, so be on the look out for both MALICE MIZER and Kaya.

For those outside of Japan, I will try to see if theres some way the clip can be shared with everyone. I can't guarantee anything, but if anyone has any suggestions I'm open to hear your ideas! Otherwise I'll still try to figure out if anything can be done about it. In a worst case scenario, I still plan on watching the show and reporting about it on here! I imagine the footage used will be somewhat generic and easy to recognize for a larger group of viewers, so aside from commentary I don't think the content will be particularly new.


November Mana様 Special Guest Concert: The Continuing Saga



Just as I suspected, no"official" information has yet to come to light. However, back after the initial announcement was posted on twitter, some days later Mana confirmed that the information has been "leaked somewhere".
These is only my personal thoughts, but I would be truly surprised if there was ever an official announcement of the details of this appearance, and I think mentioning that the information was leaked is the closest we're ever going to get in terms of announcement. This also means the likelihood that the appearance is at the Schwarz Stein 15 year anniversary concert in Shibuya is the correct assumption, because no other speculations have been discussed as probable, nor any hints as big as this one.
I imagine if an announcement is made, it will be much closer to the time of the concert if tickets don't sell out already.

For those who want to see this appearance, I believe its safe to say you should consider securing tickets for the November Shwarz Stein concert at Shibuya REX.



Dis Inferno XV



Theres not a lot to update about the upcoming Dis inferno in December, but I thought it might be worth noting that Mana posted on the Moi dix Mois twitter here that a rare song is being prepared for the concert!
In fact, this may be a reprise of Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku that was recently performed in the September dinner/concert. It has already been established it will be played again at Dis inferno for those who couldn't attend the September concert this year. Therefore, based on the rest of the tweet which focuses on Mana's history over the past 25 years as an artist and has a particularly heavy focus on MALICE MIZER, it may be safe to assume that song was the reference. However, since it wasn't explicitly stated in this tweet, it gave me the impression that perhaps theres even more to look forward to, but I'm not entirely sure...
Anyway, whether or not the reference is made to the same song or not, its an exciting prospect!!


Hopefully in the future I can make more general updates such as this about current on-goings, if this is something everyone likes?
Since its been a long time that I've talked about the direction of this blog, I'm curious to know what kind of content everyone enjoys reading about the most and whether updates such as this one are worth posting or not? I'm always happy to know your thoughts!!


Sarah
TGS 2017


Its September, so that means its time for Tokyo Game Show again!

In the past, whenever I attended I always wrote entries about Tokyo Game Show on here. Of course since this is another TGS entry for this year, theres no need to further explain the topic. However, I don't think I'm going to go too much in depth this time around, so I'm anticipating that this entry will be fairly short with a bigger focus on pictures.



I had planned on going with a friend, which I did, but to be honest I got to the convention center really late. I felt really bad that by the time I finally made it inside, there was only an hour and 45 mins left before the event closed. Long story short, we agreed to meet up at the convention center, which I think worked out for the best.



As always, there were tons of huge booths doing game demonstrations and advertisement. Last year I watched a few demos, but this time around I just walked around the premise to get a sweeping glance of everything.

One thing that excited me to see was an advertisement for Poken Tournament!! Nintendo never seems to participate in Tokyo Game Show, so I had no expectation to see something like that but I was so happy to see it! I'm guessing this probably had more to do with the software company producing it more than anything, but still there was something Pokemon!!

I wish I had a Nintendo Switch so I could get my hands on it as soon as possible! I love fighting games, and as many of you probably know, Pokemon. I used to play Tekken quite a bit at game centers/arcades in the US and was fairly good at it. I've also played Pokken at game centers in Tokyo, so I already have a little bit of a handle at it. Its a game I really wanted to be made available for home consoles and finally it was, but I didn't own a Wii U when the first one came out. Once again, it seems I'm still stuck in that same situation with the Switch, but I want to make a real effort to buy one sooner or later.



One new feature I noticed this year was the opportunity to take photos in various settings that some companies had set up for their featured games. I couldn't resist taking a picture at The Secret of Mana (≧∇≦)
I've never actually played that game before, is it fun?
Also, I will never understand why I always look like a midget every time I take pictures next to statues that are only a little bit shorter than me. This picture looks so strange, but its not the first time something like that has happened to me. Whats going on here???



The convention wasn't very different from last year; a lot of the same kind of booths advertising similar games as last time and tons of VR that feel impossible to get a chance to play. If I had more time, I would have tried at least one VR game out, but then again there are big VR centers popping up in places like Shinjuku and Shibuya lately. Even though I haven't gotten a chance to play yet, I could still try at one of those places and I hope to do so soon!



Lastly, I bought a new phone case!! It seems whatever this phone case is, its not connected to any game (as far as I'm aware), but I really couldn't resist it, not only for the occult imagery, but it was also called 魔導書スマホケース!(Madousho Smart Phone Case) ......Get it? Madousho? Moi dix Mois? ...(^◇^;)

Anyway, I'm glad I could go again this year! Last year the atmosphere of TGS felt a little different from this year. I'm not quite sure if it had something to do my timing or other factors, but it was nice.

I look forward to Tokyo Game Show again next year!!!


Sarah
Let's talk about Schwarz Stein


Last night an important announcement was made on the Moi dix Mois twitter, which inspired me to make this flyer.
However, theres a lot that needs to be said about this so I wanted to address it on here.

First of all, although I made this flyer advertising Mana as a special guest at an upcoming Schwarz Stein concert, I should mention it is not 100% confirmed yet. However, we can be about 99.99999% sure this is the case, so thats why I wanted to talk about it.

In order to get everyone up to speed, I should take a moment to explain the current ongoing situation.

Last night Mana suddenly updated his Twitter stating that he will be performing at a certain concert in Tokyo in November, but it has nothing to do with Moi dix Mois. Here is the tweet and the translation will be below:



I have hurriedly decided to play guitar a little bit at a certain Tokyo LIVE in November!
All of a sudden another chance has arisen for me to meet everyone this year!?
This is not Moi dix Mois. So I wonder how it will turn out?
It will definitely be a strange sight!

Mana

Soon after, Kaya retweeted Mana and then proceeded to post the following tweet of his own:



Three wonderful announcements in one!
First of all, SS newest picture, isn't it great. And then concerning CafeNOIR, we will have an event in Nagoya! There are only a few seats, so hurry and make your reservations! Also, a special guest has decided to come perform at the SS Tokyo concert! Everyone please look forward to it. huhuhu... Ah, there will be more information again this evening♪

A giant hint here was hidden within the message where Kaya wrote 腐腐腐… (huhuhu...). For those who don't know, this has been Mana's special way of laughing when he posts online for many many years now, and its distinctive of him.

Afterwards, Mana tweeted again:


Everyone seems to be interested in the November LIVE...
Do you want to know the details? It would seem so...
Its an artist I have a very deep connection with. huhuhu...

Mana


So here we have again the laughing 腐腐腐・・・
Honestly speaking, the correspondence between these two as well as the connections and timing in terms of this "mysterious" November concert have become overwhelmingly obvious. In fact, Kaya dropped yet another giant clue today when he updated his blog about his upcoming shows and plans.
Kaya's Blog Entry

The portion we should be most concerned with is in the beginning of the post as follows (translations below the original text):




1. Schwarz Stein東京公演スペシャルゲスト決定!
11/12(日)に開催の『Schwarz Stein -15th Anniversary』にスペシャルシークレットゲストの出演が決定ですきらきら!!
超 豪 華 ゲ ス ト です!!
さぁ一体誰なのでしょう…!?
それはご参加の方だけがわかります…腐腐腐…3511152.gif3511152.gif3511152.gif


大阪公演はKöziさん、名古屋公演は眞呼様がゲストとしてご出演してくださいます。

しかも東名阪、それぞれまったく異なる演出です。

あぁ、なんて豪華なのでしょう!!!


1. Schwarz Stein Tokyo Performance Special Guest Decided!
A special secret guest has decided to perform at the “Schwarz Stein -15th Anniversary” held on November 12 (Sunday)!!
Its a VERY WONDERFUL GUEST!!
Who could it be…!?
Only the people who attend will know…huhuhu…3511152.gif3511152.gif3511152.gif

At the Osaka performance, Közi, and at the Nagoya performance, Maco, will come perform as guests.

However between Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka each performance will be different.

Ahh, its going to be so wonderful!!!




Based on this entry, I wonder if they plan on officially revealing that the guest is Mana at all? Even though we can clearly see by context Mana is more likely than not the guest at this concert, I'm not entirely sure if an official announcement will be made. In fact, based on Mana's habits on twitter, I was expecting at least one more tweet about this event last night, but it never came. However, I and several others pointed out the evidence from Kaya in response to Mana directly, so I'm also not entirely sure if thats something that discouraged him from continuing to make more posts about it.

At this point, its going to be a waiting game.

HOWEVER!!!!!!
Theres one more IMPORTANT bit of information!!

The tickets for this concert are already on sale!!

Schwarz Stein 15th Anniversary Tokyo Concert Tickets

Immediately after Mana made his initial tweet and Kaya dropped major hints that its the Schwarz Stein concert Mana will perform at, I started to investigate further information on my own.
It turns out the concert tickets went on sale about 1-2 days ago. Immediately I ran out the door and bought my ticket before everyone else started to notice! I figured that once the news dropped, tickets would likely sell out immediately. However, I must admit, at this point in time I have a lot of mixed feelings...

On one hand, if they decide not to officially reveal Mana as the guest of this concert, I get the feeling the intention was that it was supposed to be a special treat for fans who came to see Schwarz Stein in particular. I think its a nice move and I certainly respect that point of view. In fact, its kind of a fun feeling, when you think about it!

However, now that the news is out, I also feel split on it because I think everyone should at least have an opportunity to know the details and how to get tickets. Sure the tickets are publicly available right now, but I imagine theres a lot of people who still don't know about this information. Basically it takes a bit of minimal research (scrolling a short ways through Kaya's twitter) to find all of this out, but wouldn't it be nice if it was made more publicly available and easier to find? Like I say, if they are only anticipating this for a very particular group of people, I can understand, but they've already gone a pretty big distance to arouse more interest and it feels like they should make the information more readily available now.

I guess I feel mixed about this not only for those reasons, but because the venue, Shibuya REX, only holds a maximum of 250 people! Even though I got my ticket as soon as I found the information, my number was still relatively high when you consider the capacity (A 147). Of course it was also high because I had no idea prior to this about the circumstances of this concert so naturally several people probably already bought their tickets some time beforehand. If I already have a higher number, that means everyone else who are only now finding out about this concert have a slim chance at getting tickets if/when official information is further brought to better light.

I've never seen Schwarz Stein before and I've wanted to for probably well over 10 years now, so at least for me this has become a great opportunity! I'm just hoping everyone else will get an equal opportunity to go as well.

This isn't something I often speak out about on here, but I also feel like this is a wonderful opportunity for Mana. Moi dix Mois isn't nearly as active as it once was so its a wonder how Mana truly makes a living in his everyday life. At this point I don't believe Moi-meme-Moitie is even enough to keep a sustainable lifestyle, so I've felt for some time that perhaps he should consider taking on other projects. I'm not saying he needs to make any massive changes in his life, just that it would probably be good for him to do some extra things here and there to keep up as an artist and in his everyday life. This idea of performing together with Schwarz Stein is exactly the kind of thing that would be good for him! Not only that, its a real treat for everyone else who supports him!

Anyway, this entry has gotten long enough. I will try to keep this blog updated as more information arrives and of course since I already have my ticket there will certainly be a live report.
Let's look forward to November!!


Sarah
華麗なる〜La包丁貴族〜スペシャルディナー付きライヴ Report


Today was the special Moi dix Mois event + concert, 華麗なる〜La包丁貴族〜スペシャルディナー付きライヴ (translated— The Great ~La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat~ Special dinner and live)

As expected, this event had a totally different flare to it, and as I think of that I feel like I want to make this entry have a special vibe as well. Theres a lot of information to cover, but I hope to write this in sort of an engaging way that may come across different from my past concert reports.

First of all, before entering the venue, the staff put up seating charts so we would know where to go.
This time I wasn’t able to get a ticket on my own, but I was contacted by someone on twitter who had an extra. What was really surprising to me was that today when I received my ticket, the number was way better than what I expected! The table I was seated at was in the second row from the stage!


(click the thumbnail for larger size image)

For those who are curious, I was number 62 so you can find it on the seating chart if you like!

Once I entered the venue, the set up was just as I mentioned some entries ago on this blog!



This time around, taking pictures during meal time was okay, so everyone was freely taking pictures by and of the stage. I thought it was a unique view to see the venue before too many people sat down.




(click the thumbnail for larger size image)

Another thing I talked about in a previous entry was the number of people who would likely be in attendance. If I’m not mistaken, I said the number would be somewhere around 200 people (more specifically, without writing it on here I had estimated about 192 seats), and it turns out my estimate was extremely close!! The grand total was actually 186, so it was only off by a few.

DINNER

Before going further with the dinner portion, I should mention there were a lot of points that were either a hit or a miss. My impression overall is still extremely positive and I enjoyed it, but there are a few things I feel should be done a little bit differently in the future, or at least clarified. Since this was the very first time for Moi dix Mois to have an event like this, its to be expected that things might not go perfectly, so I hope this event serves as a learning experience and there can be more events like it again some day!

As we entered, the first thing to do was get a drink before sitting down. There were basically only two choices.



Both of these cocktails are cocktails Mana made up some years ago and gave away as a gift at the Moi dix Mois 10 year anniversary live to only a few lucky people. In my case, I chose the alcohol version because I was really curious to see what it would taste like.

Here are the contents of each drink:

Alcohol Ver.
White Rum
Tonic Water
Grenadine Syrup
Blue Curacao

Non Alcohol Ver.
Pineapple Juice
Soda
Blue Curacao



Unfortunately by the time I received my drink, the venue was running out of the blue curaçao so its not quite the color it should be. I’m not a person who usually drinks alcohol, so it was a little strong for me…in fact, after a little while I started to feel like I was getting drunk. (;゚∀゚) I always wondered what a Moi dix Mois live would be like drunk, and I my question was answered tonight!! More on that later though…

While the drinks were a nice touch, there is on thing I really wish everyone would have been informed of before the concert…
Usually before any concert in Japan, you are likely to have to pay a mandatory “drink fee” of about 500 yen ($5 USD). This is essentially a venue admission fee, but in Japan it includes a ticket for one drink at the bar. Most people exchange these tickets at the end of the concert for something like a bottle of water. Anyway, as always we needed to pay that 500 yen fee, but it turns out that there was an additional fee on top of that for the cocktails! The alcohol version was an additional 200 yen ($2 USD) and the non-alcohol an extra 100 yen ($1 USD). The additional price in and of itself wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it really caught me off guard. I guess I had the expectation that since the tickets to this event were double the regular price all the costs were already included. I think that if I was surprised by this, surely everyone else was too…especially when these were the two drinks that were insisted upon… Mana, you don’t just sneak in hidden fees like that!! Inform everyone before hand so we’re prepared! m(_ _)m


Once I got to the table, the first thing I noticed was the menu.



If you read my last entry about curry, then maybe it won’t come as a big surprise to you that we ate….curry!
I was really expecting curry to be on the menu. However, something I found a little confusing was that earlier in the past weeks Mana wrote on twitter about the menu. He didn’t explicitly say what it would be, but he gave me the impression that perhaps the menu would have choices, especially when he mentioned listing ingredients of the menu choices in case anyone has allergies. Before he talked about that, I had assumed he might make everyone eat the same thing, but after those tweets it felt more like there would be a selection. In the end, there was only one true menu item, but everything written is the details of what food was included on the dish itself.




The food came from a catering company called “Sushi & Beyond”, so there were several catering staff completely dressed up as they went around from table to table and handed us our dishes. The blue part is the curry itself and then the meat included was fish and tandoori chicken. It really wasn’t bad and not overly spicy either (actually it was pretty mild). We also got a salad with some kind of vinaigrette dressing, but I forgot to take a picture of that (it was served way later for me because the staff didn’t see whether everyone got all the dishes immediately or not). Anyway, it was a salad. Just imagine a salad in a bowl. (≧∇≦)

If anybody wants to know exactly what the menu says I can translate it. Just let me know!

At some point while we were all eating, Ryu walked out on stage with a camera on a selfie stick, making a video for Mana. He ended up walking around the entire area talking to various people and filming as much as he could. To me it was a little bit embarrassing because I don’t really want someone to take a video of me eating, so I wonder how others felt about it? I understand why he wanted to do it though. The reception towards this seemed to be answered with a bit of cheering and semi-embarrassed sounding laughs from everyone. It was nice to see one of the members at least come out and say hello to everyone during this time!

Speaking about that, this is where my prediction in my last entry turned out to be wrong, but I wouldn’t say it was a total defeat for me!!
Originally when this event was announced, I talked a lot with friends about how it could possibly work. I knew there was no way the Moi dix Mois members would come out and eat with everyone, so I really feared that maybe they wouldn’t interact at all with this portion of the event. I big reason why I worried about that was because I kinda felt like whats the point of having such an event if theres no participation from the people hosting it? What would anybody get out of it, really, if they have no idea what they’re going to eat, they have to potentially sit next to complete strangers, and the band members won’t come out? It seems like it would far easier to just let people go where they want and eat what they like in their own time…

I can only imagine Mana’s answer to that would be “You won’t know if you will like the food or not until you try it, so does that aspect of the dinner really matter so much? Also its a special ‘Mana’-style meal! You can’t get that just anywhere, so thats the real value of this event!”

Be that as it may, the details were so shrouded in mystery before today that it was hard for me to imagine how such an event could really be pulled off if the band members weren’t going to be a part of it. Therefore, I really wanted to hope for their participation in some way, which is why I proposed the theories that I did in the previous entry. In the end, my initial thoughts from the beginning became the reality. But its also important for me to add that actually it wasn’t really so horrible that the members didn’t participate. I think it would have been a nice touch, but it ended up okay regardless.

EVENT PART 1

Dinner lasted for about an hour and a half, so as soon as time was up, suddenly French Pop music started playing (Mylene Farmer— if you don’t know, back in Malice Mizer days Mana was known to be a big fan of her) and Mana, Sugiya, Hayato, Seth, and Ryux walked out on stage wearing custom made chef jackets! Each jacket was white, but with red or blue trim around the edges (of course Mana’s was the blue one and all the other members had the red trim). Aside from the jackets, the bottom portion of what they were wearing was typical for Moi dix Mois (gothic boots, black pants or leggings and in Mana’s case a black long mesh Moi-meme-Moitie EGA skirt). Of course they had on all their standard Moi dix Mois make up and hair styles too, so it looked more like a group of gothic chefs than band members. I noticed Mana’s jacket had an extra band of blue ribbon sewn onto the sleeves of his jacket, so I imagine it was supposed to signify he’s the “chef”.

Immediately as all the members entered the stage, they shouted out the name of the event tonight “The Great ~La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat~” as they did some kind of hand movement for it together.

Immediately after they went to sit on these stools that were lined up on the stage and Mana was already smiling and laughing from the beginning. Each member had to introduce themselves in terms of their “position” as if they worked at a restaurant. I forget what everyone was, but I remember Sugiya said he deals with alcohol, Hayato works with spices, and of course Mana was the chef. I forget exactly what Ryux answer was, but it was basically something he made up on the spot, so the other guys said “you don’t actually cook anything!!” and he laughed about it with a shrug.

Basically they all chose an introduction related to whatever it is they like about food. For people who have gone to Moi dix Mois lives for a long time, it was something fun and easy to understand because there have been various times in the past where they mentioned what kind of foods or drinks they liked.

However, this is the part that gets a little blurry for me. Since the alcohol was a bit strong, I was already feeling the affects by this time and it was making me suuuuuper tired!!! Apparently drinking makes me sleepy, so as I was trying to concentrate super hard on this part of the event, it was really difficult! I wanted to close my eyes and lay my head on the table so bad that I had to continuously fidget around in my seat to stay awake. I noticed Mana looking in my direction a few times so I wonder if he noticed? (/ω\*)

I still go the gist of it though. Basically they spent about 30-45 minutes just talking about food related topics. I think it was a little difficult for Mana at first because there was so much he wanted to say and he would try whispering to Seth. At one point Seth made a mistake in what he wanted to say and suddenly Mana jumped to correct him, but as he did for a split second I noticed he felt out of character and made some kind of sound like “ah!!” and then got flustered for a second and rushed to whisper to Seth. All the while, he was holding a notepad with the logo he designed for this event in his hands, so Seth told him “write it down!!”

At first, the conversation was more of an introduction about the meal we had just eaten. I felt like it wasn’t really new information because a lot of it was already conveyed on the menu. One detail that did interest me though was the creativity behind the dish. The blue curry was supposed to be like water with the rice and toppings like a hill with a tree at the top. Hmm…doesn’t this seem kind of reminiscent of an imagine Mana has spoken about in the past that he really likes? The whole romantic idea of sitting on a hill under a single cedar tree? Anyway, I noticed from the beginning the dish seemed to have this image in mind, so I felt like the image Mana wanted to create was a success! To go with it, the drinks were based on a similar idea of “blue paradise” — the feeling of being on a desolate island surrounded by a beautiful blue ocean. Truly the concept of the meal matched the image of “summer” and “Mana” all at the same time.

From there, the discussion opened up more to all the members, as everyone talked about curry restaurants they like. Funny enough, Mana is such a curry otaku he knew all the shops, their locations, and extra details (like meanings behind the restaurants names) that each member talked about! Not only the audience, but the other members were shocked too that Mana knew so much about all these places…its a bit obsessive!!(≧∇≦)

Mana also wanted to mention another food he likes aside from curry — Ramen.
His favorite kind is Tonkotsu Ramen (A miso based soup with ramen noodles) and during Malice Mizer there were many times when everyone would eat ramen because they felt it would bring their strength up, especially for the MC portion of concerts. The way it was described was as if Mana took an active speaking role in those moments, so Seth had to laugh at that point because its not like Mana himself has ever done an MC. Why imply that ramen is going to power him up to talk on stage?

After a lot of discussion based on food and various restaurants around Tokyo, eventually everyone walked off stage for a short intermission before the concert started. That way if people needed to use the restroom or drink the rest of their drinks, etc, they could.


EVENT PART 2 - CONCERT -

So finally the concert began! Everyone came back out on stage in the same outfits (the chef jackets) they were wearing from the discussion prior to the concert.
If I remember correctly, I believe the first song was Solitude?

Anyway, everyone in the audience during this first song sat at their chairs and tables because nobody was sure what to do in terms of the concert. Once the first song finished Seth told everyone we could stand up and enjoy the concert, and asked us to come closer up to the stage rather than stand by our seats. Everyone seemed really unsure about it, so we all slowly kept up right to the front. Usually these venues have some kind of barrier, but this time there was nothing so those of us in the very front felt like we were practically on the stage!! At first the atmosphere was a little strange because it was hard for everyone to stand like they usually would at a concert venue. Tables blocked the way for people who were originally seated in the middle or back, so being in the front felt a little abnormal. Theres nobody pushing from behind or anything…not that its a bad thing, but it felt so empty! However, when you think in terms of the number of people who were there, it was relatively empty. There were many times when I looked around at everyone in the venue it all felt so surreal and even a bit “personalized” seeing such a limited number of people.

Many times Mana would stand right up at the very edge of the stage in our faces and shove his guitar at us, making us touch it.

I forget what all the songs were, but if somebody finds a set list out there, please let me know and I’ll update this entry with it!
Of course several of the new songs were played such as Beast Side, Twilight Flower, Material Death, and Onto the Hill.

If I remember correctly, the MC was relatively short in comparison to the past, most likely because of the discussion earlier. Seth asked for Mana if everyone was having fun, but since the crowd was so small, there wasn’t a lot of power to everyone’s cheers. They made everyone yell louder several times over, until Mana decided he wanted everyone to answer with “Oui, Chef!” to him about 3 times or so to get the energy up in the venue.

There was also a giveaway portion this time. Mana had several autographed menus to give away to people, so we were all asked to go back to our seats and find our tickets so we can see if we won the giveaway. Each member came up with a number off the top of their head, but they each tried to come up with a number related to a food word, such as “Tofu” among other things (In Japanese these words sound similar to certain numbers). Each person who won raised their hand, and Mana walked down to personally give them the autographed menu and shake hands. In fact, during this time he continued to stand throughout the seating area with everyone as each member came up with a number. I was a little bit surprised, because in some way doesn’t it seem a little vulnerable to stand like that amongst everyone? Of course this is Japan and Moi dix Mois…the vast majority of people who go to MdM concerts in Japan are adults (typically older than 30 or so), so you don’t really see any extreme cases of crazy fans trying to smother the members or anything. Its something truly fun and nice to see that I can’t imagine you would be able to experience in most other countries!

Once the winners were selected and the MC finished up with information like the date and location of dis inferno in December, the concert resumed back to a huge surprise!!

They played Mayonaka ni Kawashita Yakusoku!
Everyone in the audience started screaming at this point! Of course it can’t be completely the same without the original Malice Mizer members performing it together, but it felt like a breathe of fresh air to hear a song like this!

Also, Mana and Seth changed out of their jackets into two of the new shirts that went on sale for this event. Mana wore a white x silver long version shirt with the Moi dix Mois 15 year anniversary logo he created on it, and Seth wore a new shirt with the logo for tonight’s event. Some how Seth didn’t notice Mana had changed his shirt, so once he did they posed together to show everyone how they looked.


Immortal Madness is a song thats played at every Moi dix Mois concert, so once this song began, Seth came up with a few keywords to shout out at the appropriate times during the song. The first keyword was “La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat” (in Japanese) while doing the same hand/arm movement they did at the beginning of the discussion event. Seth had to attempt to teach everyone how it worked which was confusing at first. However, I realized when they were teaching it, there was some real thought put into the movement! First we had to lay our left arm flat horizontal to our chest with our right arm raised straight up from the elbow. By doing this our arms would create the letter “L” (for La Kitchen Knife Aristocrat), then we had to break out of that pose and wave our right hand/arm around in the shape of the infinity symbol (∞) and finally raise that hand up in the air to make the “dix” sign.

It probably sounds confusing, and it is!! A lot of people had a hard time comprehending or doing it. They didn’t explain the meaning behind it, but it became pretty evident to me the more they showed us how to do it.

Afterwards, Seth then changed the keyword to “Blue Paradise” for everyone to yell. He made everyone do a different set of motions for that, but I couldn’t even begin to explain it because it didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think everyone had a hard time with it, because all these movements and keywords being shouted one after another seemed to feel like complete chaos.

Finally Immortal Madness ended after a long time, and the last song that was played before everyone walked off stage was “Ante”.

Of course after this song, everyone chanted for an encore, so eventually all the members came out this time wearing aprons with the logo for the concert on them! Mana was wearing a blue one with gold writing, and all the others wore wine red aprons with gold writing.



From Mana's twitter: https://twitter.com/M_d_M_official/status/903796674530873345
From Seth's twitter: https://twitter.com/artcube_z/status/903801057393786880

Seth then announced the last song will be Je l’aime, but this time around he asked us all to sing the opening part of the song together acapella. From there, the song was played like normal, but then again at the very end of the song we were asked to sing the last part together. It was a nice feeling and a great way to end the evening! Due to the seating situation, everyone was forced to sit with complete strangers, but some how when considering the fact that many of us were put out of our comfort zones but were able to experience something like this together, by the end of the night the atmosphere at the venue felt like a friendlier place than how it started. Even I had some positive interaction with people I had never met before, so it was nice to feel some sort of camaraderie.



This concert was unique not only in contents, but in atmosphere. The number of people who could attend were extremely limited, but it felt like everyone there were people who have an undying love and support for Moi dix Mois. I can’t stress enough how sad I am for everyone who couldn’t go because the concert sold out. To be honest, I was feeling extremely depressed for quite a while thinking I had no hope of going, so I feel beyond lucky somebody offered me a ticket. I really don’t take it lightly because I feel there were probably many people they could have offered a ticket to over me, so I feel immense gratitude for that. You’re my hero!!!!♥♥♥
The situation was a little hard because I don’t like anyone to feel left out from something they love. As great as the feeling I experienced tonight was, I hope those who didn’t get a chance to go this time will bring all their support and energy to dis inferno! I think nothing can truly compare to the energy of a venue filled with as many people as possible supporting Moi dix Mois! The time until the next live will fly by, so let’s set our sights for Shinjuku ReNY! That venue has a capacity of 800 people, so everyone is sure to have a big chance at getting tickets for this live!

dix Love!!!!!!!!!!


P.s.
This is just a little bit extra information thats slightly unrelated, but its something that entertained me!

While I was getting ready for the concert today, suddenly my doorbell rang. I thought it was a little strange because I wasn’t expecting anyone or anything that I knew of, but as I opened the door the post office gave me a package…

What was inside…?

loudparktshirt.jpg


Its a T-shirt for the Slayer concert in October!!! Back when I ordered my ticket, I had an option to buy a T-shirt for the event at the same time. I decided to buy it because I knew I would probably buy one anyway, so that option seemed easier than standing in big lines at Saitama Super Arena. However, I completely didn’t expect the shirt to be sent to me by mail! I thought I would receive it at the venue. For a little over a month now, if I wear this shirt its going to seem a little strange because theres a print on the back with the dates of the events, which are future dates rather than past.

Anyway, in connection to that, I noticed after the Moi dix Mois live there was a huge advertisement for this same concert!!



Seeing as Mana draws in a ton of inspiration for Moi dix Mois from Slayer, it seems a little too coincidental to just be a coincidence…..especially when that concert is at a totally different location from where we were tonight!

See you at the Slayer live next!!!!!!!!!!(微笑)


Sarah