First Year Convention Fires Kanons on Attendees

This July 1st marked the inaugural year for convention Anime, Music, and Manga, otherwise known as AM2. Though just starting out, the otakus in charge brought together a nice collection of musical guests to entertain fans. Kanon x Kanon is a musical collaboration between cellist extraordinaire Wakeshima Kanon and oshare-kei band Antic Cafe’s bassist Kanon. The two came together in late 2010 because they both had a strong affinity for anime, music, anime music…and, well, because they share the same name. Though I wasn’t really a fan of either Wakeshima Kanon (despite my love for classical instruments integrated into mainstream music) nor the duo of Kanon x Kanon, I can’t deny they were entertaining.

The penised of the two Kanons spent most of his time playing to fans, no doubtedly culled from his past experiences playing with AnCafe. During the opening ceremonies, both Kanons entered to (somewhat surprising) fanfare, but it was Kan-the-man who won the bigger pop with his own rendition of Son Goku’s famous Kamehameha. Female Kanon was relegated to a kawaii, yet shy, role as the two spent their time in Anaheim.

During their fan panel, the two exhanged awkward greetings with their gathered audience and the MC before having their translator replaced by a friend/employee of Wakeshima’s (dressed as a maid, no less). The pair revealed that though they have been collaborating for almost a year now, their concert later in the con was to be their first live performance as Kanon x Kanon. The fans reacted with restrained glee at the announcement that they would be the first to feast upon the team’s debut stage show. The rest of the panel went about as well as a panel for a moderately known visual duo  with all but 2 singles under their belt could really go. Most of the remaining time was spent laughing at the name confusion when addressing either artist, as for some reason they decided not to just call Ms. Wakeshima by her last name. Also, a first for me, the guests decided to quiz the audience on random information about themselves, the reward being a signed t-shirt. In case you were wondering, Kanon-kun ate nachos the day before and Kanon-chan’s cat is black.

Despite it being their first concert as a dynamic duo, the seperate parts of Kanon x Kanon are no strangers to performing. Wakeshima Kanon started off the show with a brief solo set, stepping toward her cello beneath a lace parasol. She warmed the crowd up by playing singles like still doll and Suna no Oshiro and rounded out her set with tracks from her 2nd album Shoujo Shikake no LIBRETTO to great applause. While Wakeshima’s stage presence is quite striking, with her signature gothic lolita style and wonderful cello work, I can’t really say the performace is very exciting. She sings, takes a few steps, plays her cello, takes another few steps, sings some more.

After close to 30 minutes, Wakeshima Kanon made her way backstage and a video began to roll alerting the audience that they are about to be treated to an instructional video in one of Japan’s favorite past times: The Wotagei. A man (highly suspected of being the male Kanon) in an alien suit gave a lengthy tutorial on a specialized wotagei routine set to Kanon x Kanon’s second single, Koi no Doutei. After an agonizing 15 minutes of watching the alien do the same thing over and over, the Kanon wonder twins (form of…AniSong Band!) emerged to thunderous ovations.

Wakeshima slipped neatly back into her spot on the stage while her partner took up a place on the opposite side, seemingly behind a DJ booth. They opened their set with their first single, Calendula Requiem, with Mr. Kanon on guitar, doing the only musical work I recall from him the whole show. Later in their performance, the two livened up a bit and performed a slow motion parapara routine as well as gave a rendition of Sailor Moon theme Moonlight Densetsu, complete with Tuxedo Kanon passing out roses to his fans. As the show came to a close, Sir Kanon informed the audience that it was time to put their wotagei skills to the test as he ran to the front of the stage and led the amassed fans in the routine from the video. By far the most entertaining portion of the concert, Kanon worked the crowd into a frenzy with his dance moves, though less than half joined along. And just as quickly as it started, it was over.

Though it may seem like I have a negative attitude towards the show, I actually was entertained. It was about what I expect from a convention concert, which is to say fast, full of people screaming random Japanese words, but overall decently put together. If you happen to be a fan of either Wakeshima Kanon or Kanon x Kanon, hopefully you can catch them in concert as well, I’m sure they will play more conventions in the future, and by then they will also hopefully have more than 4 songs to play. Aside from that, the pair are also extremely accessible. They not only held two autograph events, signing anything put in front of them, but also attended a meet and greet where they sat with groups of fans and answered questions in a quasi-intimate setting. The pair did genuinely seem enamored by the fans and their attention, and for that I applaud them. Thanks for the show Kanons!

To see the rest of our pictures, please click here to visit the gallery.