J-Pop Summit Festival 2011 Event Review

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When:
Saturday, August 27 2011 11:00am-9:00pm
Sunday, August 28 2011 11:30am-6:00pm (9:30pm for those who attended the showing of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya)

Location:
San Francisco Japan Town
Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115

Admission Price:
Most events: Free
Ticketed events: Free-$20(?)

Website
http://www.newpeopleworld.com/festival-2011/about/

J-Pop Summit Festival 2011 was a 2 day cultural festival/street fair held in San Franciso Japan Town on August 27th and 28th, 2011.

This year's event heavily featured the virtual idol/voice synthesizer program Vocaloid Hatsune Miku with chances to play the Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade game and events such as the Vocaloid Conference, Vocaloid Dance Contest and the Vocaloid Dance Workshop. Cosplay at the event was also heavily populated with Vocaloid characters.



The TinierMe booth setting up and "San Francisco Sailor Moon" Mari Watanabe taking pictures of the crowd gathering around.


A very cool Hatsune Miku costume variation based on the series of viral Hatsune Miku Toyata Corolla TV & YouTube commercials! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIxI1eB2-vo Brass * Knuckle, one of the food trucks at the event was serving bacon wrapped hotdogs. "Wah! Bacon Wrapped Hotdog!"

The Japan Center Peace Pagoda was used to host musical performances by Vex Mode, The Patsychords, Layla Lane, Bay Area Girls, The Bayonettes, Maya Song Bird, SpacEKrafT, Emi Meyer, ZANEEDS and DJ Amaya.

Left: The Patsychords, Right: Bay Area Girls



Layla Lane

San Francisco's Post Street was closed and used for exhibitor booths and food trucks while the New People building was used for movies and events. Films shown included GANTZ II: Perfect Answer (English subtitled), Rurouni Kenshin: Trust & Betrayal (English subtitled premiere), K-ON! Volume 3 (English dub premiere), and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya (English dubbed with a live introduction by the ASOS Brigade).

Vocaloid/Hatsune Miku Vs. K-ON?

While events scheduled for the same time forcing attendees to choose happens all the time, it's interesting that both days had a Vocaloid event scheduled for the same time as a K-ON! event. Saturday had Miku DJ BATTLE! Vs. K-ON! Mini Concert & Premiere Screening while Sunday had Vocaloid Conference Vs. K-ON Mini Live.

Bandai Entertainment continues to promote Haruhi and K-ON! with DVD and Blu-ray deals at their booth along with the K-ON! Live Promotional Team and English voice actresses.

The K-ON! Mini Concert and Mini Live events featured English language voice actresses Cristina Vee (Mio Akiyama), Karrie Shirou (Azusa’s Friend, Additional Voices), Stephanie Sheh (Yui Hirasawa), Cassandra Lee (Ritsu Tainaka), Shelby Lindley (Tsumugi Kotobuki) performing sets of karaoke songs while cosplaying K-ON! characters and pretending to play instruments. It's a little silly to pretend to be play instruments, but it's understandable that not all voice artists can be expected to play instruments while singing. While the intruments weren't plugged in, the singing was real. This event worked great as a lead-in to the showing of the K-ON! anime volume 3.

K-ON! Mini Concert karaoke performance.

Bantai Entertainment also did something similar with the showing of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya which had a small intro & trivia giveaway by the season 2 ASOS Brigade and the English language voice for Mikuru Asahina, Stephanie Sheh. Intros by relevant guests of honor are great to have coupled with video screenings. It would be nice if showings were also followed by Q&A sessions. That way attendees can develop questions while watching the screening.

An exclusive image of the ASOS Brigade & Stephanie Sheh's introduction to The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
"Mi-mi-mi... Mikuru Beeeaaam!!!"


English language K-ON! voice actresses signing posters at the Bandai Entertainment booth.

A VIP party was hosted in the New People building Saturday night. The event had many guests of honor in attendance, plenty of food such as sushi, dim-sum, and chow mein with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade game was moved from Post Street to the party where it continued to have a line and continuous play. There were also performances by Danceroid's Ikura and Kozue!

Hatsume Miku Project DIVA Arcade at the VIP Party.


Left: Ikura and Kozue performing Luka Luka Night Fever. Right: Early Happy Birthday, Ikura-chan!!! ^_^


Left: Valerie & Heday of Layla Lane. Right: The Hatsune Miku x Hello Kitty keychain given to those who pledged $20 or more to the Kickstarter page. A nice item, but the USB memory card originally planned would've been preferred.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/j-pop/j-pop-summit-festival-2011

The Vocaloid Conference : The Voice of Future Music was a panel moderated by Brian Zisk of SF Music Tech Summit featuring PPRP & Torino of ZANEEDS, Kozue & Ikura of Danceroid and Tempo-P of Vocalekt Visions. The panel covered the panelists' involvement with Vocaloid technology and how it has influenced the future of music.

Vocaloid Conference: The Voice of Future Music

The Vocaloid Dance Workshop featured Danceroid dance group members Ikura and Kozue teaching attendees warm up exercises, dance routines, practice sessions, and held a small Q&A session.

Vocaloid Dance Workshop

The Vocaloid Dance Contest was very interesting. Unlike the traditional cosplay costume contests held at many events, this event focused on participants' mastery and interpretations of popular Vocaloid dance routines. This event was judged by Danceroid dance group members Ikura and Kozue. Part of the grand prize for winning 1st place was dancing on stage with Ikura and Kozue! (Videos coming soon.)

Left: Kaito cosplayer (only male entry in the contest) performing First Kiss!, winning Honorable Mention.
Center: Cherry, performing First Kiss!, winning 2nd Place.
Right: Tiffany, winning 1st Place for her performance of Strobo Night.


Tiffany performing Strobo Night with Ikura and Kozue as part of her 1st Place prize.

Danceroid's Ikura and Kozue were definitely one of the biggest highlights of J-Pop Summit Festival 2011. In addition to their awesome dance performances at the Peace Pagoda and VIP party, they also held autograph sessions, held the Vocaloid Dance Workshop, were part of the Vocaloid Conference and judged the Vocaloid Dance Contest!

Danceroid dance group's Ikura and Kozue.

Overall, J-Pop Summit Festival 2011 was a lot of fun with plenty of events for attendees to participate in. That being said, the lack of J-Pop as a music genre was a little odd and one's interest in the Vocaloid concept would greatly influence their enjoyment. Perhaps it should have been called the "SF Music Festival Featuring Hatsune Miku"?

As a fan of the Vocaloid concept, I rate this event: 8 out of 10.

According to the event website, approximately 55,000 were in attendance over the 2 days. It was amazing to see San Francisco taken over by a gathering of Vocaloid fans. :)
-Michael Tang
mtangATconventionlife.com (fix the @)

Supplemental updates are planned for this article.

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