There is so much to see at Hyper Japan's Summer Festivals and Christmas Markets that the full three days are indeed required, and even then there is a chance that certain aspects might be missed. It really is the sort of event where time flies by so quickly without you realising. The first day kicked off with a special introduction for members of the media, which went down extremely well and was thoroughly appreciated, setting things off in style. Onward and upward!
What followed was a plethora of superb acts on the Hyper Live stage, starting with The Tomboys, an almost British-like punk rock band in their style, except with four pretty awesome young girls delivering the aural glory, rather than four burly, bearded blokes (nice generalisation, right?). Having sadly missed the very intriguing NeoBallad due to other engagements, next on the agenda was Ekotumi, a solo singer that has a very ethereal presence on stage as she performed songs that brought Japanese legends to life.
1980s pop group Shohjyo-tai, recently resurrected with new members, excited the crowd with a combination of addictive hits and delightful dancing, followed by ex-AKB48 singer, Misaki Iwasa, accompanied by the energetic male trio of Hayabusa. Fuki, known to many as being in the likes of rock band Doll$boxx and Light Bringer, gave a rip-roaring solo performance that totally blew everyone away, whilst Versailles guitarist Hizaki also impressed with his visual-kei style and rocking guitar riffs. As if that wasn't enough, the legendary Nao Masaoka took to stage to belt out classics from her past, as well as covers of Andrew Bocelli's Time to Say Goodbye, and Amazing Grace, amongst others. What a set of lungs she has on her, we can certainly tell you!
The weekend then just went from strength to strength, with The Tomboys seriously stealing the show, not caring that the microphone levels for their vocals were not turned high enough to really be heard over the loud guitars and drumming - their sheer energy alone carried them to stardom in the eyes of the masses in attendance. The special dance talent that is Bang returned after impressing on Britain's Got Talent, stunning onlookers at the summer Hyper Japan festival, and coming off the back of victory over in New York at the "Amateur Night at the Apollo" live entertainment show, getting a full 100% applause rating, knocking the competition out of the park. He never ceases to amaze.
Rock chick Fuki got hotter and hotter, kicking her way around the stage, giving it some real oomph, vocally triumphant every time. Then there was The Hoopers, a band filled with eight young ladies dressed as eight pretty boys, acrobatically flying around during various songs, whipping fans into a frenzy, and all-round fulfilling that idol fix that is always needed at events like this. Yes, member Misaki Iwasa is from the world of idols, but not singing pop hits, rather sticking to the more traditional Enka direction that her solo career has taken, plus she was teaming up with the comical Hayabusa guys for smile-inducing acts. They were fantastic as a whole, but from a totally different viewpoint than The Hoopers.