12 Days X: BATTORU

Yes, that's Shimakaze

Yes, that’s Shimakaze

Ever since being introduced to Real Akiba Boyz’ rendition of the opening for Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, I’ve been a bit obsessed with the world of anime breakdancing. Now, RAB is good and all, but the real fun started when I stumbled upon a video in the Niconico dance rankings titled アニソン2on2ダンスバトル 『あきばっか~の vol.7』 予選ダイジェスト, or in English: Anison 2 on 2 dance battle “Akibaccano vol.7” Preliminary digest. And then I discovered an entire mylist of Akibaccano videos all the way to the first edition and spent a weekend going through those.

Anison breakdancing is fascinating to me because much like a lot of the other great stuff you find on Nico Nico Douga, it showcases people putting their incredible talents to the service of their favourite anime. You can find tons of videos of incredibly talented musicians and dancers doing covers of anison (or Touhou or iM@S or whatever) and breakdancing is just another one of those things.

Well, it’s not exactly just another one of those things. There’s this breakdancing culture that you can sort of see in the videos and I do know quite a few of the participants in Akibaccano also participate in actual non-anime break dancing events. So there’s this really interesting mixture of breakdancing and otaku culture, where you can have dudes in weird cosplay step onto the battle area and pull off the sickest moves you’ve ever seen and you also have serious looking bboys step up to do windmills to an Aikatsu song (which turn out to be fantastic for dancing).

And the best part is everyone loves it! I’m always amazed at how everyone somehow knows every anison for every show that ever aired, no matter how old or new. The dancers clearly know all the songs because they know all the cues and can pull off moves that incorporate some obscure reference to the show or the lyrics (for example, I’ve noticed every dancer knows the dance for the first Love Live OP). The audience also knows all the songs because they flip out at every song that comes up and they all know all the calls to the songs. It’s a good time all around.

While getting started on the volume 7 videos, I noticed that the date for the next Akibaccano had been set for 12/12, which happened to be while I was in Kyoto. So I did what any normal person with a Japan Rail Pass would do and Shinkansen’d my ass to Tokyo for a day. Unfortunately, the last Hikari train from Tokyo to Kyoto was before most of the final rounds (which I hadn’t anticipated because I screwed up reading 24h time), so I ended up leaving during the best 16 battles. I wish I’d planned things a bit better so I wouldn’t have to miss out on the most exciting part, but it was a blast. I’m really looking forward to the videos getting up loaded so I can find out what happened after I left and revisit some of the really excellent moments I was there for.