Despite what would have been the questionable wisdom of taking another trip to Japan so quickly, I was disappointed that fate would have it that I wouldn’t be able to go because of job responsibilities. Although things would work out in the end, this still meant that I waited until September before getting the first glimpse of the rest of my sons at 315 Production.
One of the surprising things about SideM 1st even happening was that, no matter how you sliced it, SideM was pretty thin on content at the time. Sure, the cast was relatively big, but each unit had two songs and DRIVE A LIVE. This made for a short and sweet live without much room for some MCs and other similar features you’d find in a typical imas live. Despite that, it worked: SideM Ps were rewarded for their faithfulness and other Ps were won over. SideM is imas. And 2nd resembles a typical imas live much more than 1st did, simply by having enough stuff to it this time around.
As my Million Live colleagues are aware, there are huge obstacles to getting people into something when it primarily exists as a kusoge. It just isn’t really possible to recommend that people get into a game where you tap your phone screen and see a sprite and text go by, especially if you can’t read it. It doesn’t matter how great the characters are because they’re impossible to get to, trapped as jpegs of cards.
Lives are helpful in bridging this gap. Just sit people down and there you go. You’ve got the seiyuu, the characters, and the music all together in a package that makes it immediately clear why these guys are good. It’s the difference between seeing a jpeg of Kirio wearing cat clothes and smirking and having it explained why he’s the good cat to seeing Yamashita Daiki konchikichin and immediately understanding, yes, Nekoyanagi Kirio, the good cat denynasu.
This is what was most exciting about 2nd: seeing the other nine units cross that space for the first time. One of the great joys of watching SideM 1st with others is seeing the following progression every time:
- DRIVE A LIVE: This is good.
- HIGH JUMP NO LIMIT: Wow, SideM is really energetic!
- ∞ Possibilities: holy shit
In 2nd, there were so many more of those moments, where the unsuspecting non-SideMP has much to discover. That isn’t to say that SideMPs knew what they were getting into either, but one of the fun things about watching SideM with non-SideM friends is seeing which units and performances will hit that ‘holy shit’ centre of their brains.
But for the SideM Ps who know the characters and songs inside out already, there were some pretty wild performances. Personally, I was looking forward to how Mofumofuen would perform, just because of the incongruity of having grown men playing them, and F-LAGS for Sanpei Yuko’s new Ryo. And there were surprises in store for me too, particularly the wild Legenders clock men and the completely unexpected solo corner, featuring some songs which, at the time, weren’t even released yet.
Even with all of that, there was still biggest surprise of them all waiting at the end……