Kurosaki Maon Panel and Concert

Kurosaki Maon propelled into stardom (or am I a bit premature in saying this?) relatively recently with the anime Highschool of the Dead and To Aru Majutsu no Index. A lovely young lady who seems to be getting used to her sudden shift from the smaller club venue of Dearstage to events as big as Animelo Summer Live, her showing at Anime Expo 2011 saw a surprising amount of fans appear in support of her performances.
Introduction by Kylaran

Panel Report by Kylaran

Quite frankly, her management seems really strict, and she’s given little freedom. For much of the panel, it was someone else completely doing the majority of the talking. She wasn’t able to talk much except when instructed by her producer (the man to her right), or at what seemed to be like scripted points in the panel. While I don’t blame the management for wanting to keep her image perfect, it’s made the panel feel stuffy.

Luckily, this was offset by the fact that Maon herself seems quite inexperienced at the whole thing, and often spoke without waiting for the audience response or the interpreter. And the fact that she cutely smiled and laughed after each mistake allowed the crowd to forgive her.

That said, the content of the panel was pretty much advertising some of Maon more than allowing the crowd to learn about her or her personality. They – and by they, I mean everyone but Maon herself – discussed HOTD briefly and revealed the concept behind the cover art of H.O.T.D, which was taken from a gory image of Saya. Afterwards, they presented some of Maon’s music videos, two of which were Magic World and Memories Last from Index II. Magic World has some pretty cool scenes, especially with the one that has Maon singing on a skyscraper rooftop, and the occasional cameo appearance of Maon in cosplay. Memories Last had a few too many bubbles in its reference to earlier Japanese pop idol music videos, though.

The panel concluded with an announcement that Kurosaki Maon would be performing at Animelo Summer Live, and stated that Maon would be singing the new ED for the ninth Hellsing OVA. For her fans though, I’m sure this is old news.

Concert Report by Shinmaru

I left Kurosaki Maon’s concert thinking she has a solid future ahead of her.

The best thing I could say about Kurosaki’s concert is how professional it was without being lifeless. Her performance did not have the infectious chaos of Nirgilis, but her singing and the way she carries herself has a polish that seems beyond her level of experience. (Kurosaki made her major label debut in 2010, although she had honed her singing and dancing skills at the Akihabara club Dearstage before then.) I entered the concert not having heard much of Kurosaki (I rarely listen to EDs and don’t often seek anime music outside of shows unless I really like a song); however, I left the concert a converted fan.

Because Kurosaki’s output so far is fairly low at this early point in her career, her concert ran a scant 50 minutes, but she brought enough energy to her performance to make everything worthwhile. From her Highschool of the Dead songs like “Hollow Men” and “Fuss Fuzz” to her Toaru Majutsu no Index 2 songs — “Magic World” and “Memories Last” — and a new song, “Scars”, that will be the new Hellsing Ultimate ED, Kurosaki belted out her tunes with a strong, confident voice.

Also notable is how well Kurosaki engaged the audience throughout the concert. She admitted that her English is limited, but she definitely made the most of what she knows to keep the audience energetic throughout the concert. There was also one cute moment at the end of the concert when after the audience clamored for an encore, Kurosaki came back out and loudly proclaimed, “I do not sing!” A beat passed before she realized her error and quickly corrected herself by saying, “I cannot sing!” (A friend amusingly noted how tsuntsun her initial proclamation sounded.) Of course, I can’t make fun too much; I can only imagine how much I would mangle the language if I tried to speak to a Japanese audience in their native tongue.

But that bit also provides another interesting note relating to Kurosaki’s professionalism: It came out after the concert that Kurosaki came down with an illness during her time at Anime Expo. She had to cancel a planned autograph session (but made up for it on the convention’s final day), but she came out and performed nonetheless. (Reports of her illness were seemingly corroborated by second-hand accounts of a few folks in the front row coming down with the same illness following the concert. How often do you get to swap germs with a Japanese pop star?)

Honestly, if I had never been told that Kurosaki had been sick during the concert, I never would have guessed. She sounded a bit tired during the concert, but at the time, I chalked that up to jet lag (though she had been in Los Angeles a few days by that point) and general expenditure of energy throughout the concert (she didn’t move around quite as much as her background dancers, but she definitely wasn’t standing still and singing, either). Point is, though, that Kurosaki delivered a strong performance despite whatever debilitating effects her illness may have had on her. She’s a young singer, so that probably helped, but nonetheless, it’s not an easy thing to power one’s way through an illness, as I am sure many can attest.

So, short and fraught with perils as Kurosaki Maon’s concert may have been (there was also a moment near the beginning involving a production error that Kurosaki played off well), she made the most of it and sent the audience home happy, even if they were disappointed with the lack of an encore. Kurosaki sang well, made solid use of Club Nokia’s intimate setting and kept a high energy level throughout the concert. You can’t ask for a much better experience than that.

Setlist via Maon’s blog

Show »

1Kimi to Taiyou ga Shinda Hi
MC
2Fuss fuzz
3Memories of days gone by
MC
4The place of hope
5Return to destiny
MC
6SCARS(New Song)
7Memories last
8ANSWER
MC
9Magic∞world

3 Responses to “Kurosaki Maon Panel and Concert”

  1. How often do you get to swap germs with a Japanese pop star?

    Hmmm…

    It sounded like the concert was good, but the panel was too stage-managed. I’m not sure I’d say I consider myself a fan of her music, but for her to deliver a good performance, even despite her not being in top form, health-wise, says a lot about her professionalism.

  2. […] today. Kylaran and Shinmaru continue their Anime Expo coverage, with a report on anisong singer Kurosaki Maon’s concert and panel. Kylaran and I got together earlier this week to talk about his experience at Anime Expo, and […]

  3. Did any of you go to the Mini-Concert on Friday night?

    I was dragged there by my friend, and it lasted a good hour and a half and included songs that Kurosaki didn’t sing in the actual concert. So when I got to the concert, I was really disappoint. Even though they bombarded us with pictures from Index and Railgun.

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