Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ayaka Kitazawa Captivates Singapore fans at Key's 1st Overseas Live


Singer Ayaka Kitazawa held her first overseas live in Singapore

"Kud!" The entire hall erupted in applause as Ayaka Kitazawa strode onto the stage cosplaying fan-favourite Little Busters! character Kudryavka.

Hailing from Saitama, the Japanese singer held her first overseas live in Singapore at the CharaExpo Entertainment Stage on 21 June. She performed as part of the VisualArts/Key Special Live Stage, which included a talk show segment with both music producer Shinji Orito and herself.

The VisualArts/Key Special Live Stage at CharaExpo

The 26 year-old, signed to Key Sounds Label after she auditioned for Shinji Orito's album Circle of Fifth, is well-known for singing the Little Busters! Refrain ending, "Kimi to no Nakushi Mono" and vocal music in many of Key's visual novels. Her delicate and soothing voice has charmed many fans across the world. She released her first album "nature coleur" through crowdfunding last year.

The two guests greeted the large enthusiastic crowd on stage and expressed their happiness meeting them. Orito introduced VisualArts/Key as a PC game company behind popular titles such as Angel Beats!, Little Busters! and Kanon to loud cheers all around. He was surprised that everyone knew about Key although they did not market their properties outside of Japan and was impressed with the turnout.


Ayaka Kitazawa cosplaying as Kudryavka from Little Busters!

Kitazawa took to the stage next, performing two songs in succession. She captivated the crowd with "Sunbright", her first song with VisualArts and her latest single, "Todoketai Melody", the theme song for Key's 15th Anniversary project, "Harmonia".

Speaking about "Sunbright", she recalled performing the song live the first time at VisualArts 20th Live three years ago. The venue where she performed, Yokohama Arena, was a really huge arena and she had many good memories of it. It is the character song of Lucia, one of the characters in Key's acclaimed visual novel, Rewrite.

High-spirited fans all around

After the intercession, she charmed the crowd with three more songs, lively pop anthem "Namidairo no Tsubasa", the soulful "Soko ni, Kimi ga Iru Dake de" and her most well-known hit, "Kimi to no Nakushi Mono".

"Namidairo no Tsubasa" was the coupling track for her debut single, "Kimi to no Nakushi Mono". Kitazawa described it as a very popular song with the fans. Its genre is pop, which also makes it very pleasant to listen to.

Ayaka Kitazawa performing "Soko ni, Kimi ga Iru Dake de"

Her favourite song, "Soko ni, Kimi ga Iru Dake de" was originally a piece of background music in the visual novel Little Busters! Refrain. However, a decision was made to add lyrics and turn it into a song which she sang. She explained that it was actually a song by the protagonist of Little Busters!, Riki, to express his love for Rin (Natsume), one of the main heroines.

Her final song, "Kimi to no Nakushi Mono" elicited the most ardour from the audience. Being the ending theme to the popular anime adaptation of Little Busters! Refrain, there was no doubt that almost everyone in attendance was familiar with it. Ardent fans waved their livesticks while the entire hall chanted along lyrics to the final song.


Shinji Orito spills the beans on making good music

The spotlight shone on Shinji Orito next as he was interviewed by the emcee. When questioned on what he pays attention to the most when making music, the producer replied "the melody". He is always thinking about a melody line which stirs up the most excitement in his audiences whenever they listen to his music.

Genre-wise, he commented that he particularly likes dance music and cited "Kimi to no Nakushi Mono" as a good example. He quipped that he would never reveal which music he's not good at making before letting out "violins" as the answer. He added that violin players have different styles of playing, which can produce different sounds.


Orito and Kitazawa had good chemistry during the talk show

When Kitazawa was quizzed on which part of her songs she likes the most, Orito commented that he likes her natural voice and the feeling of being "healed" whenever he hears her. Kitazawa, in turn said that she liked being able to sing music of different genres and would like to sing differently for Orito's music. She added that she hoped to sing his songs really well, reflecting the good chemistry between the two.

The emcee then asked both guests, "What is something you are really into these days?" Kitazawa replied that she was really into the iPhone cat-collecting game, Neko Atsume, which her fans had taught her about. The crowd responded vehemently when asked if anyone knew the game. Kitazawa also added that she has been visiting onsens (hot springs) to detox recently.

Orito mentioned that he liked an energy drink, which came in an old-looking black can and could only be purchased in Singapore. The audience was called upon to help identify the drink but it was to no avail.


Crowds thronged the VisualArt's booth at CharaExpo

With the stage programme drawing to a close, Orito and Kitazawa both thanked the audience for a really short but fun and enjoyable time during the two days of CharaExpo. They hoped to be back in Singapore again the following year.

Orito closed by saying that he would be playing a DJ set at the first overseas Anicrush event in Singapore from 12 midnight onwards, at club kyo and encouraged the audience to join him there.

Kitazawa remarked that being her first time in Singapore, she felt really nervous initially but the warm reception from everyone calmed her nerves. It was a pleasant experience for her and she had fun singing.

Signing session at the VisualArt's booth (you can see that many items were sold-out too)

Following that, the stage programme wrapped and the two guests went for a signing session at the VisualArts/Key booth, where almost all the goods on sale were completely sold out, including Na-Ga's limited edition rindou artbook.

A free photo-taking session with Kitazawa in her Kudryavka cosplay was also held afterwards, which delighted many members of the public. Key's first time in Singapore was definitely a highly successful and memorable one.


Look out for our interview with Shinji Orito and Ayaka Kitazawa!

I am sure that most of us enjoyed having VisualArts/Key in Singapore and would welcome them back anytime. With Kitazawa's bedazzling performance, a riveting talk show with the two guests and a load of exclusive, special and best of all, reasonably-priced merchandise at their booth, the XDantheManX Online team certainly enjoyed ourself tremendously at CharaExpo. We hope to see Key's presence in CharaExpo 2016 again next year.

With that, we've almost come to the end of VisualArts/Key's coverage for CharaExpo. Almost? We still have an interview with Ayaka Kitazawa and Shinji Orito for you! Check back in the week for updates.

 Check out our CharaExpo coverage here:

In the meantime, you might like to check out our interview with Ayano Mashiro, who also held her first overseas performance in Singapore and our report on Kurosaki Maon, Masami Obari and two New Japan Pro-Wrestling fighters.

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Report by XDantheManX Online
Pictures by Nakitty Channel and Roaming Dog for XDantheManX Online
Pictures by CharaExpo 2015