Saturday, 11 July 2015

Hyper Japan @ The O2

It was something completely different for me today (well partially at least). I took Zoe to The O2 for the Hyper Japan Festival that they had on. I've done gigs before, I've done conventions before but this was the first one that was a combination of the two.

When we arrived the queues were starting to form:

Unlike places like Comic Con thew queues moved fairly quickly and we were processed and given wristbands and inside in no time at all really.

Our first stop was the HYPER Game & Anime Park:

Lurking in the background was the Colossal Titan from Attack On Titan.

As you would expect at an event like this cosplay does come into effect and there were some impressive displays of creativity. This guy was behind us in the queue and I was glad to get the chance to take a photo. Introducing an enemy from the Metal Gear Solid video game (complete with alert symbol):

We then moved on to Area 2 to see what was happening there...
...and there was a Horse In A Suit:

Zoe loves Domo......

.....and apparently so do I:

We stopped by the J-Culture Showcase to see some young talents singing some anime songs including the Sailor Moon theme.

Another cosplayer in my sights:

We stopped by the X Japan booth to take a picture of Yoshiki's crystal drum kit:

Freebies are usually part of the experience at events like this and Hyper Japan was no exception with some lovely snacks being given out:

Our next stop was the HYPER Live stage. There were lots of people there through the whole day, we opted for the balcony view. It was a good chance to start putting the camera through it's paces.

First up was This group of girls are J-Pop idols and went down a storm with the glow stick brandishing crowd. Not really my cup of tea but I guess they were kind of fun.

Here's a short clip for your pleasure/torture (delete as applicable)

Next was a talk in the HYPER Theatre on Anime and how it works as a business. The presenters were Michihiko Suwa (from a Japanese TV company), Tetsuya Watanabe (from a Japanese advertising agency) and Hirokatsu Kihara (a Japanese novelist).

After the talk Hirokatsu Kihara shook our hands as he left the stage and then again near the exit. I asked him if we could take a picture and he was more than happy to oblige. Here is one star struck but very happy Zoe!

After this she said she would never wash her hand or t-shirt again! LOL

We went in search of food back in Area 2 where I was introduced to onigiri. Oh my goddess, that was heaven in the mouth! I'm going to be making some of that myself when I get home.

Oooh look, some more cosplay:

It was then back to HYPER Live for more music. Things were running a bit late which unfortunately meant that we were subjected to more Tokyo Girl's Style than we were both comfortable with. Another J-Pop act but this time less good than but the crowd loved them.

Once again, a short clip just for the experience LOL

Final act of the morning session was Eir Aoi who has performed on many anime shows. This was brilliant, really enjoyed this. She was full of energy and the music was much more to my liking.

Here's a full length clip of her final song:

Chaos then ensued...... Hyper Japan is run in a morning and afternoon sessions and you could be a ticket to one of them or a dual one that gave access to both. This is what I had bought for Zoe and I. The building that we were in was cleared out to boot out the morning punters. It was all a bit disorganised and it was disappointing to be made to walk all the way around the outside of the O2 just to get back in again. By the time we had got there the afternoon crowd had already started coming in and much to our disgust we found that we then had to queue again to get back in the HYPER Live area. I had no problem with queuing but it was a little galling to not be given preference over the afternoon session folk. What should have been a 30 minute wait turned out to be just over an hour and the queues were large:

In front of us:

Behind us:

This slight annoyance though was soon removed from my mind as the reason that I agreed to go to this at all was about to occur. When Zoe had shown me the event details I was very excited to see that Yoshiki and Toshi from X Japan were doing an exclusive acoustic set. This was enough to make me buy us tickets. I was not disappointed!

I LOVE X Japan, they are a fantastic band and Japan's most successful rock act. To be treated to an acoustic set by Yoshiki and Toshi was a dream come true. It was a set of X Japan numbers with Yoshiki on piano and Toshi on vocals.

Proceedings kicked off with a bit of Forever Love:

We were invited to sing out loud to be recorded for a track on X Japan's first album in 20 years. Apologies for the guy standing next to me who couldn't hold a note, but you get the drift.... apart from it was awesome!

Just before the final song , Endless Rain, there was a pinata thrown on stage. It's presence caused a restart of the final song:

Wow is all I have to say! Totally blown away as was Zoe. We can't wait to see X Japan live in Match 2016.

After the performance we popped back to the X Japan booth where the band where going to appear. There was a quick talk about the upcoming tour. 

It was then announced that anybody that had already bought a ticket for the March gig at Wembley in 2016 could high five both Toshi and Yoshiki. Zoe and I both engaged fangirl mode and went in search of the end of the queue which was here:

Sadly it was a no photos job but we moved along the line and high fived both band members and Zoe was even happier. It was a very cool experience. It was filmed so hopefully it will appear online at some point. 

We then went in search of food and took a time out at Frankie & Benny's. That was the end of a brilliant day at Hyper Japan, will definitely be going again (I suspect with Zoe too!) The fun wasn't over yet though as our next stop was Japan Night at the indigO2....... separate blog post for that!

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