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MY HEROES / Battle the summer heat with outdoor anison event

Participants in the Anison Splash concert on July 22 pose with the superhero trio Sokai Hero Skatman at the Yomiuriland amusement park in Inagi, Tokyo.

By Mishio Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior SpecialistIn the previous installment of this column, I wrote that summer is the season for anison (anime songs). True to my words, I organized an anison concert titled “Manatsu no Anison Splash” by a swimming pool at the Yomiuriland amusement park in Inagi, Tokyo, on a weekend in July.

The artists who kindly appeared in the show were Hideaki Takatori, Zetki, Yuka Uchiyae and a secret guest, Tomohiro Hatano. Takatori is famed for singing the theme songs of many Super Sentai Series tokusatsu sci-fi action dramas, and his band Zetki celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. Uchiyae sings the theme songs of the PreCure anime series, and Hatano sings the theme song of “Uchu Sentai Kyuranger,” the Super Sentai Series drama that aired last year.

The stage was set by the outdoor swimming pool. The temperature soared to well over 35 C in Tokyo that day, and it was incredibly hot. I was the emcee, and sweat ran down all over my body just from running onto the stage to introduce each song in a few words and then running back again. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was hard to even keep my eyes open.

Yet the performers enthusiastically sang many songs, including the theme songs from “Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger” and “Futari wa PreCure: Splash Star.”

The highlight of the event was the appearance of the amusement park’s own superhero trio, Sokai Hero Skatman. The members wear costumes in three different colors — red, blue and pink. Their mission is to rescue people who are tormented by the hot, humid weather. They shower water on such people using the watering pots they carry — one on their back, the second on their head and the third on their hand.

I’m actually involved in putting together the trio and asked Takatori to compose their theme music.

Halfway through the concert, the singers on stage groaned, “We can’t sing anymore [in this heat].” Then the Skatman trio came onstage and blew the heat away — that was the concept. After that, everyone, including the visitors in the swimming pool, sang Skatman’s theme song and danced.

For sure, the outdoor stage was deadly hot. The “we’re too hot” singers on stage were half-acting, but I bet they were also half-serious. The sun, light and heat from the sun’s reflection on the water were all lethal.

And yet I felt elated as I sang superhero songs under the sparkling blue sky with the superheroes themselves. Summer is the season for anison and hero songs, and superhero shows and concerts at outdoor venues are very special. I think that’s probably because by battling the heat, we can feel empathy with fighting superheroes.

Of course, there is a high risk that outdoor shows will get canceled due to rain or other reasons. As a result, very few amusement parks still hold outdoor events in and around Tokyo compared to the past. The shows at Yomiuriland are all the more important for that reason.

The hot weather is likely to continue, but there will be another Anison Splash concert on Aug. 14. If you want to enjoy listening to anison and superhero songs, do visit Yomiuriland.

(The next installment will appear Aug. 17.)

Suzuki is a Yomiuri Shimbun senior specialist and an expert on tokusatsu superhero films and dramas.Speech

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