Sakura-Con 2011: Berryz Koubou’s Resounding Debut in America




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by Jason Young, staff editor, Inside AX-Anime Expo

Berryz-Koubou-Sakura-Con-2011

Berryz Koubou’s first appearance in America was quite impressive! I must congratulate the lovely starlets not only with their great fan interaction, but staying for the entire convention from opening ceremonies to closing. Something that not many groups have done in the past. With a highly successful, and entertaining, Q & A session on Friday, along with two well-organized autograph sessions and a rocking concert on Saturday night, their debut can only be described as “wota bliss.”

Pulling a number of hits from their top albums and singles including Shining Power, Heroine ni Narouka and Otakebi Boy WAO!, the concert was easily one of the top j-idol concerts that I’ve been to. Dedicated to the victims of the Tohoku Earthquake, the group’s poignant message of “all for one, and one for all” at the beginning of the concert was something that was very classy and touching in my opinion. Especially after how they all thanked all of the countries worldwide that pitched in to help them during their time of crisis, particularly America. I couldn’t help, but feel particularly proud of the way that our country has pitched in with “Operation Friendship.”

As the concert went on, I was very impressed with the staging of the performances. Although it took place in an exhibition hall, the lights, fog machines and screens made it feel as if it were a larger budgeted concert. Congrats to the Sakura-Con staff for doing such an awesome job. Standing in the mosh (otaku?) pit, I had a chance to experience wota euphoria as we all jumped around waving glow sticks for one-straight hour plus the encore as we all chanted in unison. The party didn’t stop afterwards though, as we all continued to yell “Berryz Koubou!” as we left the hall.

However, what impressed me just as much as their actual performance was the camaraderie shown between all the fans. With a diverse amount of backgrounds, ranging from the hardcore fans that traveled from Europe and Japan, and ages, including an adorable seven-year old kid, everyone was welcoming and caring as we all took care of each other to make sure that none of us were left behind. The most impressive feat to me though was the fact that it was us fans who ensured that whoever lined up early in the morning to land one of the precious guaranteed 300 priority autograph spots got their autograph. Joining the line at 9 a.m., I was one of the lucky 300 to get an autograph and even got a chance to give Kumai-chan a plushie kumamushi!

kumamushi-water-bear-plushー熊井ちゃんの熊虫です

熊井ちゃんの熊虫の縫いぐるみです. 彼女を世話しなさい.

From a fan standpoint, I couldn’t ask for anything more from an American debut for one of my new favorite idol groups. I went to Sakura-Con with the purpose of meeting enjoying the concert and a chance to relax from the daily grind. Although I accomplished both of those goals and more, I walked out with a new slogan in mind, “all for one and one for all.” And just like the Three Musketeers, I hope that all of us Berryz fans can live up to the expectations given to us by our j-pop starlets and continue to help Japan during their time of need.

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15 Responses to “Sakura-Con 2011: Berryz Koubou’s Resounding Debut in America”

  1. mark reitinger says:

    Your post makes me so happy. Ever since I learned about Berryz going to Seattle all I could think is I hope we make a good impression and my fellow americans don’t embarrass me in front of them. And that they leave with a strong desire to return. My reasons are in part practical insofar as I hope that one day Jpop idols coming to these shores is standard operating procedure.

    • JasonY says:

      Thanks for the kind reply. I certainly hope that WE DID make a great impression on them. I would love to follow-up with Yurina to see if she remembers me if they return…that and to find out what she did with the plush I gave her :D .

      Did you have a chance to attend Sakura-Con yourself?

      • Marek says:

        > This blog has been on hiatus for serveal months now so I was surprised as I got your comments. I’ve been thinking of re-activating this blog again soon.Did you knew that I have another blog called Berryz Kobo International? Link is there in the sidebar on the left. Chii’s birthday is coming soon so I’m doing Chii’s b-day countdown posts there. You’re welcome also there.

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