An Essay on my Impressions of Halcali at ACEN Anime Central

Ongaku No Susume Music Video

Togenkyo Music Video

Baby Blue Music Video

Tandem Music Video

Twinkle Star Music Video

Halcali in CHICAGO!

I was waiting for this moment to come for a very long time. Ever since I found out that they would play at ACEN 2008, I could not wait for my chance to see them. I’m in a crowd of people staring at the stage for them to come. We see the DJ start to setup and our anticipation rises. He starts his turn table and the music booms out of the loud speakers. Two pixies by the name of Haruka and Yukari trot on stage to sing their first song. The room explodes with applause and cheers. It is one of the memorable parts attending ACEN 2008 at the Hyatt and Donald Stephen’s Convention Center. It was memorable because my favorite JPOP band, Halcali, made their US concert debut in my very own Chicago!

Here is a short bio and Halcali. For those who don’t know them, here is a quick run down. They hail from Meguro, Tokyo where they were born and raised. Haruka born April 21, 1988, age 20, and Yukari born July 18, 1987, age 21, make up the duo of Halcali. They were discovered when they went to an audition for female rappers held by Rip Slyme. They were chosen out of many applicants and were signed by Oshare Track Factory on July 26, 2002. They recorded and released their first single called “Tandem” on January 8, 2003 where it went to number 19 on the Oricon Charts. Today they are active and still making music, even dabbling in the anime section. They are a major phenomenon in Japan. Some anime borrow tracks for their shows. The most famous being Eureka 7’s ending credits being “Tip Taps Tip”. As of this articles conception, they will be playing in New York at Central Park on June 1st 2008!

If you can’t tell, I am a fan of Halcali. So when they played at ACEN 2008 in Rosemont, IL May 16-18, I could not believe my luck. Being a native of Chicago, I jumped at the occasion to go to Anime Central. I love anime and enjoyed the convention and the cosplayers had awesome costumes. What I was truly wanted to go and see was Halcali. It is very rare for me to like so many songs by an artist. It is even RARER for me to like an entire CD! Usually if I hear a new artist, I would only like 1 or 2 (if they are lucky) of their songs. I can count on one hand where I liked 30+ songs from ONE artist. The Ramones and Daft Punk are two that have 30+ songs that I never tire hearing. The Ramones self titled first album and Daft Punk’s “Homework” are CD’s that have nearly all songs favorites of mines. Of course, Halcali has around 30 that I like hearing. Halcali Bacon, Ongaku No Susume, and their newest CD Cyborg Oretachi are all great. Some of my favorites are “Fuwafuwa Brand New”, “Fes de Ouissu”, “Baby Blue”, “Strawberry Chips”, “Togenkyo”, and “Otsukare Summer” just to name a very few. I think the video add more fire to the flame as well. I first saw Halcali by chance. I was watching a Jpop video channel on a music player. All of a sudden, I saw two dancing trees rapping to a great beat. I was hooked that very moment. I wanted to find more stuff on them. That is my first encounter with Halcali. BTW, that music video was for the song Strawberry Chips. The music video is here on this page.

Anyways, back to the concert. On Friday, I didn’t make it to the Halcali panel because of some trouble. Since this was my first time at a huge anime convention, it tired me. Actually my legs and feet were throbbing from all the walking around. I didn’t complain because of all the cool stuff but I went back to my hotel to rest. I read the discussion went pretty well. They also signed stuff and answered people’s question. This person named Alice went there and to the other concerts. She wrote a full three day report on her page. The link is on this page as well. After Peelander-Z and Mari Iijima everyone that was sitting rushed to be first near the stage. The crew needed to set up a barrier. The DJ, I think his name is Kimjun correct me if I’m wrong, set up for the concert. Music videos from songs of theirs played on two huge screens on each side of the stage. They even showed the ending to Eureka Seven as “Tip Tap Tips” played. He than started to play When they got on playing, it was freaking awesome. They played so many songs that I haven’t heard off their new album. Some that I cant even find on albums. Everyone was having a good time. People were smiling and dancing to the songs. Some where singing to the songs too! I tried to sing to some but my Japanese is abysmal. Hakura and Yukari were just full of energy. They would dance to their music and even have choreographed dances to specific songs. They got the crowd involved too. For example, Yukari would pump up the crowd by asking them to yell “YA” after her during the song “Girl !Girl! Girl”. Actually, I was wondering why that song isn’t on an album, because its one of my favorites. They talked to the crowd every couple of songs. They did this also to catch their breaths and drink some water. They asked “Are you having fun” and the people would shout yes with applause and screams. This one adorable part came up when they were about to sing “Tip Tap Tips”. Yukari was trying to say “theme” as in “the theme to Eureka Seven.” She struggled a couple of times until the audience yelled out the word. She smiled and laughed and we smiled and laughed. Cute! The show was awesome and here was the set list courtesy of halcali.blogspot.com

Setlist (May 16th):

1. It’s Party Time

2. Marching March

3. Girl! Girl! Girl!

4. Sister Ship

5. Check!! Check!! It!

6. Tip Taps Tip

7. Endless Lovers Rain

8. Giri Giri Surfrider

9. Wakakusa Dance

10. Halcali No Michi

The last song was a really good one. It had us jumping up and down for the hook part of the song. It had the whole place trembling from out jumps. It was a sight to behold. Halcali finished and said thank you and left the stage. That would have been a fine concert but the fans wanted more! We clapped our hands and screamed “Hal-Ca-Li! Hal-Ca-Li” over and over. The whole auditorium was resonating from our pleas. The DJ came out with much approval. Than Halcali came out and they looked a little surprised by our call for an encore. Then they jumped into the next songs.

Encore:

11. Twinkle Star

12. New Song: Zig Zag Saturday Night

I could hear people scream for “Twinkle Star” as they beginning of the song played. The last song called “Zig Zag Saturday Night” was a new one by Yukari’s words. She said that they had just recorded it two weeks prior. It sounded great! I can’t wait for it to be released. Yukari said that “I’m so happy!’ before the last song played. We cheered because we were happy too. All in all, it was a fantastic concert that I enjoyed immensely. I was wheeling after the concert about not believing I just watched Halcali live! I will never forget it! Apparently they thought the same. Seemed like Halcali was surprised by our reactions and were truly happy about the turn out and energy we gave them. All can be read on a translation from their blog that I have as a link. Went out and bought their CD, Cyborg Oretachi. I was able to get the last CD too.

I was still remembering what happen on Friday night and Saturday came. I was excited to renew my journey at ACEN. I was still in a daze because of the concert and wanted more. I wanted to watch the second concert. There was a problem though; you could only go to one of the concerts. They marked the badge with a marker to signify that I went to the first one. So I took out my badge and cleaned off the mark saying that I attended the Friday concert. It was made of plastic and easily mark proof. Got in line and got Saturday’s tickets too. Sorry ACEN employees, I really wanted to watch them again. We waited outside for the ACEN staff to let people in when something great happen. My girlfriend pointed and I looked and I saw Halcali come out from a door. They were checking out ACEN and I managed to snap some pictures of them walking around! I actually waved to Haruka and said “Hi” and she waved back and said “Hi”. How awesome is that! Check out my photo gallery to see these pictures. Got in easily and awaited their show to begin. They came out in the same fashion with the DJ playing them in. This time, the crowd was bigger than the last time. They came out dancing and waving to the crowd. It was another stellar concert. The fans were more cheerful and loud than the last concert. Halcali could see this and smiled and laughed during the songs played. I noticed at both concerts that Haruka, Yukari, and DJ Kimjun had an expression of shock on their faces at times during the concert. I guess they didn’t think their music was that popular over here. I’m glad that we shocked them! Here is the set list for that day.

Setlist for May 17th:

1. It’s Party Time

2. Koi no Bububun

3. Marching March

4. Girl! Girl! Girl!

5. Zig Zag Saturday Night

6. Sister Ship

7. Check!! Check!! It!

8. Tip Taps Tip

9. Endless Lovers Rain

10. Giri Giri Surfrider

11. A One Two

12. Wakakusa Dance

13. Halcali Michi

This time around the songs were increased by 3! There were some new songs that weren’t played yesterday. One song was “Koi no Bububun” was really good. Sounded like a motorcycle through out the song. They played their newest unreleased song “Zig Zag Saturday Night” for us again. There was so much cheering and good times. My hands were really raw from both days from clapping so much. They finished with the same song as the last concert. Again, my legs were sore from all the jumping that song had us do. They left the stage but I knew what came next. People wanted an encore. It happen as soon as they stepped off the stage. The crowd started to shout “Encore, Encore, Encore!” This time around Halcali was ready and came back on stage like lightning. I guess the last concert; they didn’t expect that we wanted an encore. So they took a good amount to come back. This time around, they were ready to sing again. They played 3 more songs this time.

Encore:

1. Twinkle Star

2. Tandem

3. Continued

This was another great encore song list. To my amazement, they took song requests for their second song. I immediately thought “Fuwafuwa brand new” and I could hear my girlfriend yell out “Strawberry Chips” They began discussing it among themselves in Japanese on which one to decide. This girl next to me got her wish when she yelled out “Tandem” at them and they heard her. They picked “Tandem” to the joy of the girl next to me. It was great! They did the dance and everything from their first single ever released. Everything turned out great; I was so glad that I was able to go to not one but two shows to see them.

They had said that they were signing autographs so I went over there as soon as it was time. ACEN was selling these autograph shirts, so I bought one. Those shirts were a nifty idea. The line was long! It took a good hour where I was at to get to the front of the line. I’m glad that Peelander-Z was there to watch them. Those guys are way too funny! Anyways, it was my turn to get up and get my autograph. I can’t believe I got so nervous but I did. I barely was able to squeeze out any words of encouragement. I posed for a picture with them. The way the table was set up was a little awkward. I had to squat down so they would be on the side of me in the picture. I didn’t like the picture because it was too much of me and not enough of the girls. All you can see was my big head! After awhile, I got used to it because it was kind of funny. Yukari looked like she was diving out of my ears! The shirt looked really cool. They way they drawn their names (I’m assuming it’s their names) on the shirt with the really big kanji looked like art! Check out my gallery to see these pix.

On Sunday there were no more concerts but there was one last autographing session. So I made sure to go there again. It was the last couple of hours before ACEN closed down for the year so it was a little hectic. I made sure I did all my shopping before I would get in line. This time I came prepared. I had forgotten my CD at the hotel the last autograph session but this time I remembered. This time I made sure to get their earlier. I was in the middle of the long time and made it to the front in no time. When I got my chance again, I once again got nervous! I nervously took out my Cyborg Oretachi CD out and pulled out the insert mini poster from the inside. This time I was able to say something good about them. I said that I loved their music and Haruka pumped her fist and said “Ya!” which was very adorable. When I was in line, I saw this guy have the smart idea to pose on the side with them on the other side. O I mimicked this stroke of genius and what turned out was one of greatest pictures I ever have gotten. You need to check out and see it. The picture was of me on the right side holding up their CD. While Haruka held up the autograph and Yukari did a cute pose. It turned out really great! I waited around and snapped some photos before the management told me to stop. I waited around anyway just to see them interact with people. It was great all the poses they came up with. I saw them off and that was the last thing I did at ACEN. All ended well for me as I made my way back home after a great outing at Anime Central.

I’d like to thank Anime Central for making my first time there a memorable one. I plan to go next year and more along the way. I really want to thank Halcali for coming to Chicago for their first US concert debut! I and everyone there were happy to see you and listen to your great music. Come back to Chicago one day!

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Comments 2 comments

ryan 8 years ago

excellent write up there Cesar :) was a pleasure to read your enthusiasm and nervousness, hehe. completely understandable. i was at the panel, i was the first to ask them a question if they had the chicago deep dish pizza :D everyone laughed, then Haruka replied, "BIG SLICE." the US promotor guy added that half of the pizza remained.

"Tandem" seemed already pre-arranged, as some fan noted before the concert that they would play that song.


EternalSin profile image

EternalSin 8 years ago from Chicago Author

Ahaha thats funny to hear, i wouldnt think they could finish a whole deep dish pizza. Tandem was cool even though it was pre-arranged, even though i would have liked to hear Strawberry Chips or Fuwafuwa Brand New. Glad you liked my writing!

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