30 May 2013
Melos' Report on JKT48 Theater Shows 25~26 May 2013
Last weekend I finally had the chance to fly to Jakarta again with a couple of friends to watch JKT48. It hasn't even been 2 months since I became a fan of JKT48 on my previous visit but I already couldn't wait to go back, and I grabbed the first opportunity that I could. As I'm still in the army, my leave is very limited so I had to wait until the Vesak Day holiday in Singapore on Friday to minimize my leave usage.
Unlike my first trip where there were only JKT48 Trainee shows, this time round there were both Team J's [Renai Kinshi Jourei] stage on Saturday, 25 May, as well as JKT48 Trainees' new stage [Boku no Taiyou] on Sunday, 26 May. Unfortunately the noon Team J show was women and children only, so I have to base my report on just the 1 evening show.
But before I start with the stage report, I need to mention that my knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia has not improved since my last visit. At most I have learnt a few new words.
Team J 2nd Stage [Renai Kinshi Jourei]
Date: 25 May 2013
Ayana Shahab, Beby Chaesara Anadila, Cindy Gulla, Frieska Anastasia Laksani, Gabriela Margareth Warouw, Ghaida Farisya, Haruka Nakagawa, Jessica Vania, Jessica Veranda, Melody Nurramdhani Laksani, Nabilah Ratna Ayu Azalia, Rena Nozawa, Rica Leyona, Sendy Ariani, Shania Junianatha, Stella Cornelia
As always, I had a hard time getting used to change in language. I have been listening to the original Japanese version since it came out so during the show I kept singing along with the Japanese lyrics lol. Another thing that took some adapting to was the different chanting style unique to the JKT48 wotas. For example in Japan, the wotas don't chant to songs like Nagai Hikari and JK Nemurihime. But it was a good change and certainly livened up the show.
Team J's MCs were also fun and hillarious. The "Legendary Team J MCs" that everyone says they are famous for certainly lived up to it's name for me, even if half of the MC was Haruka laughing. She kept stealing the show with her childishness and her inability to pronounce properly in Bahasa Indonesia (the Rs and Ls etc). For example when asked what movie she would like to star in, she replied Iron man, but she pronounced it as the Indonesian "ayo man" (come on, man), causing a great confusion and when the rest of the members finally realized what she meant and corrected her, she broke into a laughing fit for a good 5 mins. This happened during 2 MCs. I was amazed at how much Bahasa Indonesia Haruka has learnt already. She's speaking almost naturally now. Keep up the good work Haruka.
Luckily for me that day, I had the pleasure of seating on the 3rd row together with Richardson of JKT48stuff, who helped translate bits and pieces of the MC to me so I didn't fell left out. I can't remember most of the content but I do remember that during one of the MCs Haruka said she wanted a documentary of JKT48 movie, to the approval of the whole audience. Then she added that she wanted to be the producer, cameramen and at the same time star in the movie. Hahaha. On the same topic, Gaby also said that she wanted JKT48 to have a Cafe & Shop just like what AKB48 has. I think that will take off quite well if that wish is ever realized.
I have to admit that even though JKT48/Team J has been out for over a year already, I haven't been paying much attention to them, until my previous trip where I saw the trainees. At most I watched a couple of videos of them, but none really caught my interest. All my friends that have watched JKT48 have a favourite member in Team J, so I was left out as the only member of the group who had a Trainee oshi, but I blamed that on the face that I haven't seen Team J in person.
I went to the show looking forward to finally finding a Team J oshimen, but I left the show empty handed with my feelings stronger for Rona.
Now don't get me wrong, the members are damn good. They can sing great and dance even better. In particular, Stella, Jeje and Beby impressed me the most. Stella sang the opening line in Nagai Hikari and her vocal prowess is unmatched compared to the other members. Both she and Beby rocked Renai Kinshi Jourei. And Jeje gave Kuroi Tenshi a new level of sexiness that I have never seen before when AKB48 performed it in Singapore.
But something was missing. Somehow I couldn't find that connection with the members that I felt with Rona when I first saw her. Maybe I'm not destined to find a favorite in Team J yet? I realized that finding an oshimen is not as easy as it seems, and appreciate the bond that I found with Rona.
I had really high hopes on this stage from all the comments and tweets about my previous report watching the trainee stage, but somehow I came out underwhelmed. I'm not sure what was lacking, but it definitely wasn't the members. They showed off their vocal and dance and i'm definitely impressed when it came to that department. Nor was it the MCs, as stated above. Could it be the stage set list itself? Me and my friends agree that compared to Pajama Drive, Renai Kinshi Jourei is more laid back and for, quote "relaxing on the beach on a summer afternoon". If that's the case, then I would say that Pajama Drive would be more like "teenage fun" with it's high number of energetic and cheerful songs. If only I was here to watch Team J's Pajama Drive stage, but that's too late now.
Though I sometimes feel left out when my friends speak of the early days of JKT48 where the members can tweet personally with you etc, and how I missed out the best times of Team J, I am convinced that is not the case. I know for sure that I have yet to see the best that my oshimen Rona have yet to offer and I am certain she is well capable of reaching new heights not seen before.
Wait a minute isn't it too early to say that? I haven't even talked about the JKT48 Trainee stages. Let's get straight to that shall we. LOL
JKT48 Trainee 2nd Stage [Boku no Taiyou]
Date: 26 May 2013
Alicia Chanzia, Cindy Yuvia, Della Delila, Intar Putri Kariina, Jennifer Hanna, Jennifer Rachel Natasya, Lidya Maulida Djuhandar, Nadila Cindi Wantari, Natalia, Noella Sisterina, Ratu Vienny Fitrilya, Riskha Fairunissa, Rona Anggreani, Shinta Naomi, Thalia, Viviyona Apriani
JKT48 Trainees held the Senshuuraku (final performance) for their previous [Pajama Drive] stage just earlier this month. If I didn't fly over on my previous trip, I would have missed out possibly the best stage that JKT48 has to offer. Yet even though I was sad that I could not see Pajama Drive again, at the same time it was an amazing experience to see a new stage that hasn't been polished yet. Not that the members weren't doing badly, in fact they were great but I noticed they were still fine-tuning the dance moves.
This was my first time in two months reuniting with the Trainees. Unfortunately for this trip, I only won the Super Far seats for yesterday's Team J show (even though I requested for Team Trainee Super Far tickets lol) so I had to settle with General tickets. That didn't go well either because for both shows bingo we were called in last and had to stand at the back. This was fine for 1 show but after 2 in a row my leg started to cramp.
I'm going to skip the report for the 1st show, because to put it bluntly majority of the audience wasn't really there. They were just sitting there not doing anything, their lightsticks turned on but on their laps not their hands. One guy near me was even sitting down mid-performance, in the standing area! Granted it was a new stage so I can understand if there isn't any chanting, but even during the self introductions the audience were generally silent. Hell, my friend's cheers were louder then everyone else. It was only until Lay Down that the crowd finally got lively.
Fan interaction works both ways. If the girls sees such a lackluster crowd, they won't see the need to give it their all. And that was exactly what I saw. After 4 or so songs their dancing was getting slack. I'm not asking you to know the chants to every song or shout all the members' names, because frankly I don't know even half of the members or chants. But the least you could do is show the girls that your interested in what's going on.
The 2nd show was a big improvement over the first. And as a bonus, it was Acha's birthday show. This was unknown to me and the rest of my group so we were lucky to have applied and won the show. Because it was her birthday show, she ended up being the subject of all the MCs. One of the MC topics was "talk about the other members", but in the end all of them just talked about Acha lol. It was amusing seeing Acha getting mocked during her birthday show. Sadly since they were trainees, there wasn't any birthday cake for Acha in the end.
Boku no Taiyou stage was exactly what I expected it to be. Earlier I mentioned that Renai Kinshi Jourei is for "relaxing on a beach" and Pajama Drive would be "teenage fun". Boku no Taiyou is about the same as Pajama Drive but a little less "teenage fun" and a lot more "raging hormones", courtesy of none other than Lay Down.
Lay down is definitely the highlight of the stage for many. After all who wouldn't appreciate girls in leather touching each other suggestively, acting rowdy and headbanging? Luckily it wasn't censored like many thought it would because of its gaudy lyrics. But that's not actually my favorite song, that would go to Boku no Taiyou. It's just such a happy song that I ended up dancing along with the members during the show, not just the hands but the body too. I'm sorry if I hit anybody while I was dancing lol.
Dreamin' Girls was one of the songs that I wanted to see live ever since I first heard it. How many times do you ever see an idol group sing A Cappella? Unfortunately it wasn't by the original Himawari-gumi members, but the Indonesian version still lived up to my expectations. The girls managed to pull it off without any noticeable off keys. Great job girls.
Well you know what I'm going to say right?
Rona was amazing during Boku to Juliet to Jet coaster. When the stage first debuted, a lot of people tweeted to me about how perfect she was in the unit, and when when I saw it for myself I could only say that they were damn right. She really feels like a young Oshima Yuko. Everytime I see her she never fails to amaze me, even when I'm all the way at the back of the theater.
Acha was also shining that night and managed to grab my attention away from Rona quite a few times even during Boku to Juliet to Jet Coaster. After all it's her birthday show, she would want to give it her all. Rachael and Della were faboulous during Himawari, and despite not being the center 2 members for that unit I think they outshone them.
I'm sorry that I don't have much else to say about the rest of the members, but I'm still unfamiliar with most of JKT48. I think another trip to the Theater is needed to get to know more members :D
I always regarded the Himawari-gumi stages to be the best stages that Akimoto Yasushi ever produced, with a good balance between cute, relaxing, and fierce songs, and I still think that. The girls still have some work to do to match up to their Japanese counterpart, but the stage is still new and like I said earlier they are still fine-tuning the steps. The next time I go there around September, their performances should be much better, and so will I when it comes to JKT48 members.