Berryz Koubou Sakura-con 2011

Berryz Koubou Sakura-con DVD

This DVD is a recap of Berryz Koubou’s appearance and concert at Sakura-con 2011. It’s a fan club only DVD (despite what other sites tell you) that I was fortunate to get a copy of through a friend. I was very anxious to get a hold of this since I was actually there and wanted to compare my experiences with what was filmed on this disc and of course re-live the memories of my first Berryz concert as well.

For those who missed the coverage of the event you can read the daily reports below:

  • Sakura-con 2011 Day 0
  • Sakura-con 2011 Day 1
  • Sakura-con 2011 Day 2
  • Sakura-con 2011 Day 3
  • Sakura-con 2011 Recap & Final Thoughts

Review

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

The introduction to the DVD is a shot of Safeco field from afar and then segues into the girls goofing off outside the baseball stadium. They are shown walking around the sports arena area filming themselves on HD cameras for Hello! Pro Time and for this DVD.

Berryz Seattle

Oh what a wonderful view.

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

“It’s sunny!!!”

You do get some great bits from the girls including Chinami and Saki practicing their English. It explains where the whole “I’m 80 years old.” from Hello! Pro Time comes from and introduces a new one, “I’m 90 years old.” Which is supposed to be “I’m 19 years old.” but with the thick Japanese accent the “teen” part kind of gets misunderstood.

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

The first four chapters of this zoom through the opening ceremonies, panel and first autograph session. And not in that particular order. I do mean zoom as a lot of what made the panel great like the cute little boy who made the girls freak out and Captain beat boxing were excluded. Instead we got questions and blinking contests. At least there was a Miya Beam. Definitely not the most detailed account of the panel but I guess I should be thankful there was at least footage of it

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Whenever there were crowd shots I played “Where’s Waldo!” looking for my friends and all the people I met in Seattle.

During the first autograph session there were interviews with each of the members. The  most pressing of questions was “What English do you know?”  Most of them knew simple words like “Hello”, “You’re welcome”, “Thank you” and the like.

Berryz Seattle

You can see my arm and gift for Momo in one of the shots. Yes! I made the DVD. Or at least part of me did. I’m fucking famous! =P

After the quick snapshot of early Berryz related events we get to the concert itself. Unlike the Morning Musume concert we were allowed to be closer to the stage. We were also allowed to enjoy ourselves without some line Nazi threatening to take us to jail or telling us to step back because we looked unruly for having fun.

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Another difference was in the presentation of the concert. The cameras were much closer & perhaps a bit angled which made for some rather interesting shots at times. Anything that was straight ahead was mostly from way the hell in the back so many of the close-up and group shots were from the sides of the stage. The camera work was not as expertly executed as a normal Hello! Project concert but for the most part it was well done.

Berryz Seattle

There were some strange edits that made the flow of the concert disjointed and for some strange reason the audience shots were of the same people in the front sitting on their hands, not joining in on the glow stick waving fun and instead they leaned up against the guard rail watching passively as if they were at a Japanese pro wrestling match. Maybe they were tired from wota’ing it up?

The concert itself was just as awesome as when I saw it live. The proximity of the cameras to the stage did bring up some interesting things that I didn’t notice in my 2nd row center area with my NSK buddies. (What up!)

  1. No audio manipulation – Yes, a dumb thing to point out but with all the audio sweetening that is done on H!P concert DVD’s it is nice to know that their groups are up there actually singing unlike some other groups. *cough*AKB*cough* *cough*PERFUME*cough* There were some off notes and some of the girls sounded winded during the more intense songs, but they pulled everything off in style.
  2. When looking at the group as a whole Miyabi looked like the center girl 80% of the time. – When I was there I was just looking at Miya for 90% of the concert, the other girls were oblivious to me. Watching the playback, what I stated is kind of true.
  3. Yurina is fucking tall. Just thought I’d throw that one out there for shits & giggles.

For those who are curious, you do get the entire 1 hour concert mostly uninterrupted with all the talk segments intact.

Now on to the biggest gripe with this DVD and that is some essential missing footage that showed just how crazy we fans outside of Japan are. That of course was the stampede of jacked up Berryz fans marching through the Washington State Convention Center screaming “Berryz Saikou!” and “ENJOY!”

Some may consider that display a little embarassing & not true to how wota are supposed to act. Really? I wasn’t given a guide book when I joined the fandom. Is there a secret hand shake that I don’t know about as well?

From the experience of actually being in the midst of the chaos I would have to disagree with that. Many in attendance were living in the moment having experienced the joy of seeing a group they may never see live again. Do you expect them all to file out in an orderly line saying, “Jolly good show by those young ladies. Bravo I say.” Fuck that. Screaming down the halls of a convention center was a much more productive & fun way of expressing the glee of seeing Berryz live.

Anyway. It’s a shame that was left on the cutting room floor. Perhaps those of us who participated were a little too rowdy for the fan club members to handle? Or maybe we were the seedy element that UFA didn’t want to show opting for quivering girls crying over Miyabi (I would too by the way) as a representation of the non-Japanese fan base?

Just saying…

Berryz Seattle

Moving on. After the concert more footage of the final Berryz activities including their Crunchyroll interview, 2nd autograph session & the closing ceremonies. The most notable part of that accelerated group of clips were my friends at Hello! Ranking getting their Hello! Party 2 sign board autographed, their victory lap & their awesome experience being capped off with some camera time.

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

This was the best shot I could get guys. Again, congrats!!

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

I should also mention the little boy I talked about earlier. Really nice kid who got his backpack signed by Momoko. People cheered him as he proudly displayed it. (which was not shown) Otherwise there was more skimming over the last events with plenty of camera whoring in between.

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

Berryz Seattle

I should probably not be surprised there’s no official airport footage too huh? =)

In The End…

As a concert DVD this was great and it brought back so many wonderful memories of my first Berryz experience. As a document of Berryz time in Seattle? Well it was kind of lacking. The Morning Musume AX 2009 DVD at least invested some time in showing some decent behind the scenes and touristy stuff. I got more out of the Berryz 30 minute Hello! Pro Time episode than I did from the rather rushed feeling of the non-concert footage.

In the grand scheme of things that isn’t a big deal and this is a keepsake of my Hello! Project fan history and even though I felt certain things were left out there’s always YouTube to remind me of what else went down.

If you can get a copy of this I highly recommend it just for the concert alone.